25 APRIL 1941, Page 14


Civvy Street I think many country-dwellers, for Whom country-life expresses tranquillity, tramps and all sorts of varied interests, have no notion at all of the intense boredom felt by thousands of soldiers stationed far away from towns. Some weeks ago I wrote of how, by accident, I picked up a north-country soldier and took him home. He is now a friend of the family, a regular visitor every Sunday and at least once during the week. The incredible boredom of his days— a day's work often consisting simply and solely of fetching the morning's newspapers in a 15-cwt. lorry a distance of ten miles !—is now broken by the knowledge that he has somewhere to go for a meal, a drink, friends,, conversation, music. In return he is happy to work in the garden, and since the rural-labour shortage is so acute I am glad that he should. He is simply one among the many thousands of the dispossessed—of whose problems many voluntary country-dwellers still remain unaware. I hate the word adoption, and in these days it is not always easy to keep open house even for one man, but it seems to me that it is up to country-people to do something about this. Citrvy street, whether it means a decent cup of. tea, apple-pie for supper, a Sibelius record or an hour on the potato patch is, after all, simply the new synonym for Utopia. It costs little to share.