You certainly will, abbeybufo. Here is Part 2 now!1st December 2015 - Pre school eraThings That Go Bang In The Night Part 2 of 3
Denny did not see Farrar to speak to until after church parade. He found his friend in the tent that served as the Officers’ Mess, smoking a cigarette and looking somewhat mournfully at a Christmas card in his hand.
“What cheer, goodly comrade?” he asked merrily as he sat down beside Farrar. “Come now, why the long face? Do you not realise that we are about to get the first decent meal we'll have had since we got here?”
“Oh, it’s nothing,” said Farrar, folding away his card. “It's only that I miss my wife, that’s all.”
“Oh.” Having no wife nor sweetheart of his own, Denny always found it difficult to know what to say at times like these. “I am sorry. How is she, your good lady?”
“Bearing up,” said Farrar. “I tried to get leave this Christmas, but no luck. I'm stuck here, and she's up in South Shields.”
“South Shields? I thought you lived in Herefordshire?”
“We do, but Olive comes from South Shields, and when we realised she'd be on her own for Christmas, we agreed she might as well go back and spend it with people she knows and loves. She's staying with a friend of hers - an old girlfriend.”
“That will be pleasant for her, I imagine,” said Denny, “not have to spend it by herself.”
Farrar made a visible effort to pull himself together and nodded.
“Elinor - that's the girl my wife's staying with - she’s a good sort, but…oh,” he sighed, “I can't help feeling I ought to be with Olive at Christmas. Who knows, it may be the last we have.”
Denny shivered at the melancholy in the words, but he could say nothing to contradict his friend, for it was perfectly true. Before he had time to think of something heartening to say to cheer Farrar, another friend of theirs, a young lieutenant by the name of Sanders, flopped down onto a seat opposite them, his fair moustache bristling with amusement.
“You'll never guess what caused the explosion last night,” he said.
“This morning, corrected Farrar, pedantically, but Sanders ignored him.
“Go on, try,” he insisted, and Denny sighed.
“Someone dropped a Mills bomb,” he suggested and Sanders scoffed.
“Rubbish! Where's the casualties?” he said. “Your go, Farrar.”
Farrar sighed as well and rolled his eyes.
“Bird tripped some booby trap somewhere?” was his suggestion.
“I told you you'd never guess,” crowed Sanders, and Denny flicked a pellet of paper at him, narrowly missing his eye.
“Just tell us!” he growled, and Sanders grinned and leaned in.
“Custard,” he said triumphantly.
Farrar and Danny exchanged glances.
“Custard?” said Farrar.
“For the Christmas puddings,” said Sanders, with an air of revealing mysteries.
“Ah, that explains everything,” said Denny. “I expect they’re testing it before the next big summer offensive. After all, mustard has been tremendously effective this year - why not custard too?”
“Perhaps it’s a radical new way of developing armaments,” suggested Farrar. “From now on, everything must rhyme. Perhaps they’ll be dropping the custard from the back of a bustard?”
“There’s an idea!” Denny was giggling now. “Oh, I’ve an idea for a slogan. ‘Don’t get flustered - use new Custard!’”
“‘Get the enemy mustered and treat them to Custard!’” Farrar was warming to the game. “‘Feel like a busted flush? Try Bird’s for a custard rush!’”
“Oh, no,” said Denny, grimacing. “No, a ‘custard rush’ sounds like a recipe for dysentery, and just before dinner is not the time to be thinking of dysentery.”
Farrar raised an eyebrow at him. “You do say the nicest things,” he said. “And,” he added with a sigh, “now I’m curious as to the correct time to be thinking of dysentery!”
“Listen!” demanded Sanders, cutting in before Denny could begin to expound on the finer points of trench sanitation. “Stop being silly, you two - I swear I’m telling the truth! There was an extra delivery of custard powder late yesterday, and the cookhouse wallahs had no time, or perhaps simply couldn't be bothered, to sort it out, so they left it in the delivery van. Now, you know how flour can get a bit…jumpy sometimes? When you get it into a cloud, you know, and set a spark to it, and it goes up in a big roll of flame? We tried it at school once - it was rather jolly, actually. Well, it seems that custard can do that too. No-one’s quite sure what sparked it off, but it went from being a big vat of custard powder, to a custard powder cloud, to a custard powder bomb with the power to blow an AEC lorry right across the yard!”
He let them digest this for a moment or two, then grinned, touched his cap in imitation of a salute and moved on to the next table with his story.
Farrar and Denny looked at each other, and simultaneously shook their heads.
“He’s been here too long,” said Denny. “It’s time he went on leave. Custard bombs! Whatever next?”
“The dinner gong, with any luck,” said Farrar, and indeed any reply Denny might have made was interrupted by the announcement that dinner was served, so the two men parted company and went to enjoy the first truly edible meal they’d had since arriving in camp. Part 2 of 3