H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948
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Monday 20th September. Calvi.

Colours this am then some practise. Not that it had anything to do with those girls yesterday, but I am going ashore this afternoon. Five of us have decided to tackle what is evidently called 'White Mountain', although it looks very green from the ship. It is about 4000 ft high we are told so we'll be well tired before we have to play for a dance put on for the crew at the town hall. Will the girls be there we wonder???

Just got back after climbing the mountain. Wow, we made it to the top but it wasn't easy. It had looked as though it was all grassy slopes but when we got closer the green turned out to be about ten feet high gorse of a particularly prickly kind. We had to scramble about through the roots, ever upward. Just to make it worse they alll seemed to be crawling with nasty biting ants that fell upon us and bit! When we eventually emerged from the blasted bushes there was only about 2-300 feet left to climb, but that turned out to be the hardest part. Great once at the summit though. Felt as though we had conquered Everest. All we needed was a flag to plant. The town and ship in the bay looked tiny. The really annoying thing was that once up there we discovered that a winding track on the landward side led all the way down to the town. Still it made our return a lot more pleasant and we didn't have to brave the b. gorse and ants again. Of course, it took us longer than we had estimated and so we have only just had time for a wash before preparing to go back ashore for the dance. Still, they couldn't have started without us, could they? I'm scribbling this as we await the boat. Tell you more in tomorrow's entry.

Tuesday 21st September. Calvi.

The dance was very good and the ship's company seemed to enjoy themselves. Plenty of drink and good food. They had to pay for theirs, but we got ours free. And, due to some arrangement we are to be paid for our playing, I think from the Ship's comfort fund. Half the usual rate which will mean about 10/- for 3-1/2 hrs work.! Most of the same girls did seem to be there but they came late and things didn't warm up until about 2100 and I was chokker as they wore dresses this time. By the time my head hit the pillow it was well after midnight and I- WAS-TIRED!

Uusual colours this morning and then a rehearsal at 1130 for a Ceremonial Sunset effort on the quayside tonight.

We played dance music on the quarterdeck for 'guests' invited from the town. Wasn't told that it wouldn't be military band until we'd got back from the sunset ceremony and shortly before we were to set up our stands. I'd only stowed all the dance music from last evening away and got out the other band parts, then had to reverse the process! Grrr. Still, I quite enjoy playing trombone for a change and it helps the band considerably as the official trombone player also plays piano.

Wednesday 22nd September. Calvi - depart

Colours, then nothing so another chap and I went ashore and decided to walk to a light-house we could just see from the ship beyond the town. So as it didn't look very far we set off, but once outside the town we discovered that we had to go right around a large bay to get to it on the next headland. Nothing daunted we eventually got there and had a look around it and were shown how it worked - mostly sign language. Then the keeper gave us a couple of glasses of the local 'vino'. We drank it with the right expressions but it tasted a bit like vinegar to us. The sun was quite hot on the way back and there were thousands of lizards, some about 12 inches long sunning themselves at the roadside. Some were so small that you couldn't see them until they moved.

We sail at 2100 tonight as it is only a short hop to Villefranche and are due there about 0800.

Thursday 23rd September. Villefranche.

Entered harbour at 0830 so whilst we thus missed colours we were there for a 'Garden Band'. The harbour looks delightful. Very Mediterranean and French Riviera-ish. From the small harbour the town appears to go straight upwards with all the buildings perched on the hillside. The mountains all along behind look huge. Went ashore this afternoon with one of the corporals and walked into Nice. We could have caught a but but it was only 4 miles so we walked and had a good look at everything. Some of the houses (mansions) were massive. Presumably where the money barons spend their summer holidays. Nice itself was very, well, Nice although everything seemed to be very expensive. There are heaps of things in the shops but the prices! We went to see an English film called 'Othello' with Ronald Coleman and Signe Hasso and quite enjoyed it. Then we went and sampled a biere, but it would cost a lot to get drunk on it, so we didn't! Then we caught a coach back and went back aboard.

Friday 24th September. Villefranche

Colours again and then had an exercise down the TS for about an hour and a half. Following that we had a rehearsal for yet another ceremonial sunset - after which we will play dance music for the guests. I forgot to mention that in the cinema yesterday I was just enjoying a smoke when I saw a sign stating 'Defense des fumiere' which obviously meant 'No Smoking'. Silly idea.

Just finished playing for the 'pigs' = officers and their guests. It annoys me to watch them drinking gin etc., at about 4d. a tot when in England you have to pay about 1/8d. - or that's what it was when we left. Some of the aforementioned seem to have been imbibing the stuff all day long. Anyway, our music went down very well and some couples were trying to dance on the quarterdeck - not too easy as the pitch between the deck seams stand out a bit.

Saturday 25th September. Villefranche

No colours this morning much to my surprise. When back at Malta we never have them on a Saturday but they always say that the first Saturday in a foreign port we must have colours. Anyway I'm not grumbling about it! After breakfast I set to and cleaned the library out again and it needed it. Nobody ever inspects it - probably the only place on the ship that they don't, but it is my cabin and consequently it does get well used and therefore mucky. In the afternoon I had a sleep until 4 p.m. when visitors came aboard. Everywhere we go the visitors seem very nosey and peer into everything (except my private cabin which I keep locked) chattering away in their various languages. French here, of course. Not many girls this time.

Afterwards I cleaned all my gear for tomorrow and then went back to bed.

Sunday 26th September. Villefranche.

The usual. Colours, divisions, church and cocktails. Phew, I whacked out, but going ashore this afternoon for a walk somewhere or other, probably towards Monaco. Might be lucky and get a lift.

Just got back from 'Monte' were my corporal friend and I first walked and then got a lift to. We started about 1400 and walked down through Beauleigh and onto the main road. After a couple of miles we were picked up by an open tourer run by an ex submarine commander (and his wife) who had been taken prisoner during that raid on Rommel's H.Q. When we stopped for petrol the proprietor told us that Churchill had stopped overnight at a nearby hotel named 'Eden'. Wonder if Anthony was with him? We got into Monte Carlo and were dropped off right at the front door to the casino. Bought some p.c's and took a photo or two, then went into the Casino but only for a look-see and also into the Opera house, which was very impressive, all red velvet, statues and candelabra and one enormous chandelier. The shops were very interesting too. We looked (from the outside) at the 'Hotel Monte Carlo' where we are told it costs 50 pounds (not Francs) just for a room and breakfast. Then we caught a bus back to Villefranche.

Monday 27th September. Villefranche.

Colours and then military band practise till 1130. Did some photography this afternoon and then wrote a letter to you, apart from trying to get John's/my wireless set to work. It no longer does for some reason or other. I'll have to get a radio mec to have a look at it for me. I'm going on an excursion tomorrow to Grasse in the Alpes Maritimes so I hope that the weather stays fine.

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