The diaries of Ronald Baldwin, British Constable in the Palestine Police Force from 1946 to the termination of the British Mandate in 1948.
Monday, 9 December 2013
3rd & 4th January, 1948 - Cold winds, a bit of teasing and a haircut..
The days are becoming colder now with gale force winds blowing through
the valley in which Nablus lies. As
yet there is no form of heating in our offices but we hope shortly to get a
stove of some description. The barrack
rooms are not heated in any way so in the evenings evidence of their desertion
can be seen around the crowded fireplaces in the canteen and Club. I am very glad I am off the normal foot
duties which mean, in this station, an endless series of night and day static
guards with a few escort duties as a variant.
I notice the sangers as used by the guards have been amended in
construction so that they would now be of little use in case of attack as the
loop holes, so appealing to draughts, have been blocked up. All this goes to make the sanger a cosier
place in which to spend a night.
When our particular friend is on guard we take a sadistical pleasure
in educating him as to the number of seconds in a minute and minutes in an
hour. When he makes as if to cock his
rifle we bid hurried farewells and return to the warmth of our beds.
We always have made a habit of rising late on Sunday mornings but
since the cold weather has set in the day is becoming even brighter when we
brave the keen air.
This morning I rose just in time to dash down to the mess before
breakfast finished. After breakfast I
had my fortnightly haircut administered by a short tubby Arab who always wears
a “Fez” as if he were selling a hair restorer of which
his hair was no capable advertiser. This
barber comes from the town every second Sunday morning with his portable
shop. The portable is a marvellous
combination of drawers, shelves, mirrors etc. and has so many compartments I
often wonder how he knows which drawer contains which. As all barbers out here he does not consider
that his customer will be pleased unless he finishes by half drowning the poor unfortunate in about six varieties of hair oil. His face can be seen to drop quite plainly
when I refuse to have more than a small quantity of type 1. The tip usually restores his confidence in