This to say we're in.
The camp Napoleonic;
a fort - dining room of brick,
ablutions cut into the chalk,
ridge tents on concrete bases.
(We're sharing with school leavers.)
High spirits last night - too high!
"Commander" John went outside,
raincoat folded on his arm.
"That boy there!" he yelled,
paused, whacked the coat like murder.
Silence from then on.
Explored the chalk escarpment.
The boys' route being waymarked,
we sent them down the valley,
watched them from the ridge,
called out to them a few times.
Our voices did not carry -
though we heard them, every word!
It's a long walk to the loos.
Heavy rain last night.
Eerie sounds from dripping trees,
so the big lads stayed at home -
until they were mob-handed.
(Our youngsters thought it funny.)
The camp fire sing-song
and a ghostly figure comes
draped in long white sheets,
beneath which strong lights flicker.
Great excitement - then he falls:
Our "commander" John.
A day-long ramble.
Jim badgers Frank the whole way.
Frank's turn to serve the supper.
First up: mugs of ox-tail soup.
Jim's mug is full - of oxtail.
Last night: traumatic.
A stranger opens tent flaps
inviting boys to join him.
Police in non-attendance -
say they know the man:
"harmless", "miles away by now"!
Coming home to-day.