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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

Mena Memories

page 10

Mena Memories.

Finding myself to be in the possession of more money than was really good for a swaddy to have—no, I had not picked the card at Gezireh, I had simply stayed away from the races—I decided to renew old acquaintances. Accordingly, I bought a car, for the afternoon only, and it was the devil for the hindmost along the Mena Road. We reached the Pyramids in a fraction of an eyewink, and I again saw at close quarters those monuments of misapplied energy. They were the same as ever, and so was everything else. The same old guides, ready to tell you anything you wanted to know, and a lot that you didn't want to hear of, the same old donks, same old camels, even the old Sphinx had the same old mournful appearance.

Everything was as it was three years back, with one exception. Gone were the old pals that sweated and sweltered with me when camped 'neath the shadow of these monstrous landmarks. Bill has long since gone where they do not trouble about Pyramids, he has a small Pyramid of his own in another land, where they appear to write their language in left-handed shorthand.

I remember, when we arrived out at Mena, it was dark, and so we only had a glimpse of the Pyramids. The following morning we were up early and getting to work on the horse-lines; there was a heavy mist over all, and someone or other made the discovery that no Pyramids were to be seen. After swapping versions of the affair, they asked old Bill if he knew where they were to be found, and he mournfully replied, "I suppose they'll blame 'A' Squadron if they've been pinched."

Mena seems a strange place to me now. I remember when there were five picture shows in the Camp. We had some good times then, what with dodging the picquet on the canal bridge, and riding on the tops of the cars. We stood right on our own when it came to beating the picquet. One night we were unlucky, but that was all in the day's work, and we paid for our experience, fourteen days at 5/- per day, and one day's R.P.W. It looked far more imposing in the pay book than it does here.

Coming back to town, I sacked the car and driver in Opera Square, and had a mooch around. This war has caused a lot of surprise to all, but I really think the greatest sensation, to the Cairenes at any rate, was when the good people awakened to find that some kind-hearted Billjim had placed a nosebag on the old neddy of the gentleman who flourishes a sword in Opera Square. I think a nosebag was missing from Meadi that day. But now this kind of joke is seldom played. Is it because we are getting more sense in our old age, are more amenable to the discipline of the Army, or what? Please let me know, as I am rather anxious to find out. Personally, I am certain that this child is not in any particular way becoming more learned and sensible.

(Aust. Official Photo.) The Village of Ludd

(Aust. Official Photo.)
The Village of Ludd

(Aust. Official Photo.) New Zealanders in The Hills, Palestine.

(Aust. Official Photo.)
New Zealanders in The Hills, Palestine.