H.M.S. Euryalus. 'SUMMER CRUISE' 17/6/1948 - 29/7/1948 - not quite complete
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Tuesday 14th September. At Naples

It was pouring with rain this morning so there was no colours for us. Only the duty bugler was required to toot his hooter in the rain. We practiced dance band for a while this morning to sort out some numbers for tonight and we seem to be developing into a pretty good combo. It's improved no-end, specially since I joined it on trombone!!! Everyone who hears us compliments us on our playing.

It seems that if it's fine when we get to the Embassy we will be required to play military band on the roof for an outdoor 'do' and then dance band later inside, but if it is still wet - as expected - we will have to play orchestral indoors before the dance-band bit. So we'll have to take all our instruments with us. "We're just so versitill" aren't we? Everyone has been using that word since it was used in a recent American film. I am booked to go on a trip to Capri so we're hoping that the weather gets better than it is at present. It's real English type rain, heavy and continuous. I suppose I should welcome it as being a pleasant change from the sun, sun and more sun we've been having, but everything gets so damp,

Just back from the B.E. Had quite a good time. Played orchestral indoors in a large room and it sounded quite good to us and then afterwards we had 'eats and drinks'. Very nice, the food anyway. Apart from a taste of someone's cocktail which was horrible I abstained. Must get to bed now as I've to be up early (and not to be Queen of the May!)

Wednesday 15th September. At Naples.

(Actually this is being written on Thursday as I didn't have time yesterday). A large group of us left the ship at 0800 to get into a lovely, luxurious (every convenience) coach that was waiting to take us to the boat for Capri. Fortunately it wasn't raining but looked as though it wouldn't take much persuading. The boat was a converted MTB, quite comfortable but smallish and as we got further from shore, quite rough. In fact once or twice it got very rough and almost all the civilians aboard were seasick, plus two of the band. I wasn't, but didn't feel too good until we got closer to the island and its shelter. We ran into a terrific hailstorm which completely blotted out the view. With visibility so poor it took nearly three hours to get to Capri instead of the usual two. As soon as we arrived, the MTB took us straight to the showpiece, the famous Blue Grotto, where there were small boats waiting to take us in through a small opening, by hauling on a chain. The entrance is so small that if there had been any greater swell, the cave would have been inaccessible. As it was, the boatsmen were experts at timing it so that we shot through at the bottom of a swell. It really was magical inside as the light reflects through the water turning the interior a lovely light sparkling blue. The boatmen splashed water up with their oars and the splashes were the same colour.

Afterwards it was back onto the MTB and into the Marina Grande - and into another rainstorm. We went up the mountainside in the 'funicular' to the Piccolo Marina, set up in the mountains. I'm sure that there would have been a beautiful view - if we could have seen it. We had a snack at a café and then four of us went for a wander around. We looked for and found Gracie Fields's house which looked very nice from the outside, but unfortunately she was away, curse it. She has the reputation for welcoming British servicemen. It was soon time to make our way back down to the harbour and then to Naples. It was somewhat calmer on the way back and the boat was able to 'open up' so that we got back a lot faster than we came.

Now for Thursday 16th September. Depart Naples

Slept in late this morning, must have been the sea air yesterday, but there were no colours as it is still raining. We were waiting, all rigged up at 0900 for leaving harbour when it came on very heavily again so we were fallen out. Then just as we'd all changed into our 'glad rags' it stopped raining so we were wanted 'at the double' so had to reverse our efforts and get back there.

As soon as we cleared the coast we went to action stations until 1200 and after that . . .yes, you've guessed it. I got my head down for a couple of hours, there being nothing better to do.

Friday 17th September. Arrive Calvi. Corsica

We arrived here at about 0915 and anchored not far offshore. From here it looks to be a lovely and quiet place and there is a lovely hill to climb. As we approached, the land breeze brought with it a tangy smell of pine trees which was lovely after the sea and ship smells.

We are to go ashore on Sunday to play on the promenade for the inhabitants of Calvi. Aren't they lucky? Apart from that, there is nothing else planned for us, so a few of the band are going to climb the mountain that overlooks the town and bay.

Saturday 18th September. Calvi.

Colours again. They are without doubt the most boring duty that we do, day in day out, week in, week out, year in etc.,! Nothing doing this a.m. so I turned out all the library books, sorted and updated the cards for the books. Then I felt virtuous for having done so! The weather has now turned nasty, blowing hard and dark skies so I don't think I'll bother to go ashore after all. I'll go to the cinema tonight which is showing 'My Husband's Affairs' with Franchot Tone and Lucille Ball. I was told that it is amusing. I feel like being amused.

Sunday 19th September. Calvi

That day again, Colours, Divisions, Church and last but not least, Cocktails - but not for us. And playing ashore later today.

Just finished the on board tasks so I'll prepare for the later do. I've already got all the music organised.

Just returned from playing ashore. It all went down very well, with just about the entire population on the quayside to listen. We played a lot of the old faithfuls, Firefly, Jerome Kern's melodies etc. And some of the girls were very ooo, la,la! Very short shorts and flimsy tops. Practically all the band had their tongues hanging out - which made it difficult to play! When we were part-way through the music a tray of glasses and a couple of bottles arrived, courtesy of the nearby bar. It was Pernod or something. Aniseed which I didn't like a bit . like drinking and nasty medicine, but it was o.k. once inside!

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