4 December 2002

Cyprus # 7. Post Holiday
OldEric says :-) Well, back in Cyprus and the holiday was over. A holiday I enjoyed. The workshop Sergeant said he was pleased to see me back. It was he who had to do my duties in CCS. I took over my little Empire again and my freedom to roam and the Sergeant returned to his comfortable chair in the workshop.

During my wanderings I would sometimes pass two young sergeants, usually together. I have them in my minds eye even today. Someone told me they were only nineteen, and Sergeants! They were from the Cipher section. Neither looked their age and they always seemed to be very aware of themselves. Probably most people stared at this out of place duo. Looking back now it must have been most embarrassing for them. The younger looking one of the two was fair skinned, rosy cheeks and didn't shave much and looked nearer sixteen. The other, of sallow complexion was not quite as obvious but because of his age still looked out of place.

Our mess hall was very new and modern. The food as a whole was palatable, only two items stick in my mind. One item when in season, was water melon and the other was tinned bacon swimming in grease and liquid. The bacon used to fall to pieces, even the fat part and rind. I used to carefully cut the fat and rind away, I've never liked the fat content in meat.

On Saturdays I would, when down in Famagusta call at a particular cafe.... I no longer remember the name.... and order steak, egg, salad and chips. The salad was always crisp and fresh and the steak was always large and tender. The cafe proprietor would open his cold store door, pull out a huge hunk of beef, get his ever sharp knife and cut the steak off. He would look in askance, a silent ok?, and I would nod. He was a perfectionist, he took delight in the presentation of the meal and basked in your satisfaction.
Stomach full, I would then usually go and have a beer in the nearby beer garden and wait for Windy to turn up, or if he was on duty or somewhere more interesting or important, some other friendly faces would come along. We would go to the outdoor movie theatre if the film caught our fancy, or on to one or two or more bars and whisky sours. Sometimes both.

A permanent curfew was in force, I think it was 10.30pm. Occasionally we would overstay the curfew time and the RAF Military Police major would stick his head round the bar door and point the way out with his thumb. Now and then if we were only two or three he would offer us a lift back to camp. He was a big, broad blond man in his late thirties or early forties and when he spoke he would have a small smile on his face. Some thought the smile friendly and others thought of more sinister implications. He almost always travelled alone. He was unmarried and lived in the camp, some pundits opined he was on the lookout for young fresh faced airmen with dark thoughts on his mind. I think it was probably an urban myth, more like he didn't want the hassle of paper work on a Sunday morning if we were picked up by the Army MPs. Who knows?

Life went on comfortably smooth, Summer ran into an Autumn of warm days and chilly nights. One day I began to realize December was starting to appear on the horizon.

More to come.

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