31 Aug 1945, Barbara Anslow's diary
Slept fitfully, heard the bugle call from Naval Dockyard.
Glorious day, planes about, and 3 Chinese are doing shadow boxing in Cathedral porch. The trams are making their old creaking noises.
Have upset tummy, praying it won't continue lest I get sent back to camp again.
Dorothy Holloway arrived from camp but rooming at Hong Kong Hotel, whither Nan Grady, Barbara Budden and I visited her this evening. Rather eerie going out at night. We had an escort back. ((Can't remember who that was))
((I wrote the following to my Mother in Stanley:))
'Nonchalantly we read the daily paper while waiting to be served. Who said that congee tastes like porridge? I honestly didn't recognise porridge when it appeared, with milk and sugar ad lib. We also had pineapple, then a fried corned beef cake, with a few chips; there was bread and butter and jam ad lib, but I'm going easy on everything, because I don't want to upset my tummy and be sent back to Stanley! Being served is wonderful, there are boys even to light one's cigarette, if one smoked; I almost wished I did, just for the luxury of being thus waited on.
Had you forgotten that cups of tea and coffee usually sit on saucers? I had! And honestly, I couldn't think what to do with a serviette when I saw one sitting on the table in front of me – then I remembered. A boy has just come round the office (it's 11am) serving coffee, but all I fancy is a drink of water, as I'm getting up an appetite for tiffin.We can have tea and cake in the afternoon, dinner is between 7 and 8pm.
The Japanese gendarmes are still keeping law and order. We are quite safe here, and sleep on the very top floor of the French Mission. The fan is going in the office, and it just seems as if we've never had to shift for things the way we did at Stanley. The luxuries of the meals are just too too lovely - last night when first I sat down to dinner, I was almost afraid to take the first spoonful of creamed asparagus soup with crackly toasted bread bits inside, because that is usually the stage in dreams at which one wakes up. Would you believe it, I couldn't even touch the sweet, which was pineapple on pastry, and my coffee I couldn't finish because it was too sweet.
Tonight at tiffin time we had peanuts on plates to nibble between courses – only about Military Yen 1,000-worth every two yards down the two long tables!
Just received your note. I hope we do all go to Australia, as you suggest, but haven't really much hope that Olive and I will get away with the rest of you (so busy). Anyway, maybe we won't be very long after you. So funny to hear trams groaning past, and dogs barking etc. But the best sight of all is the Fleet anchored out in the stream.
Mabel was right, I don't need my plate and spoon and mug, and will try to send them in to you, Planes are zooming over us all day long. I'm working in particular for Mr. Megarry, but we stenos are all apt to have any work shot at us by any one who comes in.
Did I leave the nut from my camp bed at home? One is missing – it's the bit that goes on the end of the screw securing the legs. If you find it, perhaps you'd send it.
I learned that the hospital ship is leaving tomorrow and am all agog to know whether you and Mabel are to go too. We can't ring Stanley unless they ring us.'