DURING my week's vacation I
got much nearer to the sad sea waves than I had dared to nope, tor that particular piece of beach to which I went was in process of being stripped of barbed wire and cleared of mines. It was a big thrill to SOO the 13ritish public, from children who had never walked on a beach berme to grandmas, going almost berserk at contact with their own true element, the boundless main. A stiff south-westerly was driving the sea in great breakets on to the shore, the sun poured down catching the rainbow in the spray, children shouted for joy, nometimes not even waiting to take off their shoes before rushing in, the four and five year olds just stood knee-deep in the surf looking out to sea in a kind of trance and the grandmas, in traditional style, gathered their skirts well up and waded out in the direction of Normandy. The older boys soon found that the concrete blocks (these will take a good deal of demoliseaing) made magnificent leaping-posts so that standing near them involved being swept from the rear by a human whirlwind. Not all the beach road was clear—as a soldier observed when asked if one particular stretch was safe for walking: " Well, our sergeantmajor has attended ten inquests already on people who tried it 1"
And what a thrill to be able again to lean on the sea wall and watch the sunset. (Sink red sun I and it sank 1) Looking back on these five years I realised that one of the hard things our aloud race has had to endure has been this exile from the shore.
* * * * fiNE day, looking out to the horizon
a small, freckle-faced, snub-nosed boy with an open shirt and grey slacks, heard me wondering aloud, " What kind of a ship that is." " It's a minesweeper," he informed me—and after that he told me many more things. His uncles and his father were in the Navy Or the Marines and in about a quarterof-an-hour F was taken on a sort of world tour of the war with special reference to the experiencee of his own relations. It was a bit uncanny to hear an eleven-year-old talk about " the beaches that smelt of death," and to watch him describe. with the deft twist of the wrist how the Jape have been taught to cut out the liver of their
enemies ! This child obviously was convinced that by the time he was sixteen and ready for the Navy either this war wouLd sill be on or another would be in full swing. " The Germans are getting ready," he said. " It'll be the Marines for me—they'll never get me into khaki 1" Atter which he talked
about the hatching of duck eggs, the way the teacher aimed at one's hand before applying the cane and the relief
he was keeling at getting out of the junior school into the senior — away from the girls
* * * *
ALL this dallying by the sea means " that my correspondence is at least a week behind. Among the letters waiting for ene was one from a Halifax reader who says: "I wonder if it is possible for the ordinary person to obtain a copy of Hansard or a book that explains in simple language such things as Communism, Common Weatlh, Leftism, etc. I read newspaper leaders but have only a vague idea of what all the ' isms mean. I am a weaver in a small factory and the only Catholic." I think a good many other people would like to know how to get a copy of Hansard when they want to read any particular debate. Short of subseribing to it (which would be a rather expensive affair for individuals) you can generally get single copies by sending sixpence and 1d. for postage to N.M. Stationery Office, Kingsway, London, giving, of course, the date. If you're not sure of the date just mention what debate it is you want to read. As for the other part of this query, the Catholic Truth Society have several good pamphlets dealing' with Communism (address, 38, Eccleston Square, London, S.W.1). Common Wealth is yet too young to have many books written about it, and the hest way to find out all about it would he to write to thee headquarters at 4, Gower Street, London, W.C.1.
IVO room this week for discussion of I the White Paper on Social Insurance. But I've an interitAting letter to discuss later written by a bachelor isho says that spinsters have little to complain of compared with unmarried men.
-x• * * *
MUSICAL noveltv of the coming
week is Eugene Goossens's Fantasy Concerto for piano and orchestra which will be having its first performance in this country. It is included in Wednesday's concert, the highlight of which, for me. will be Brahms's Varialions on a Theme by Haydn.