The army officers emerged in Balchin's book as 'red-tabbed stooges' who had entered a 'profession for fools', but to Alan the army system was less pernicious than ludicrous.
He was very fond of Trollope's novels and kept a stock of them in the Hanslope cottage.
He would hold forth on the similarities between the organisation of the Church of England and that of the army.
So that a lieutenant-colonel became a dean, and a major-general a bishop, while a brigadier was pegged at the status of suffragan bishop (the cheapest kind of bishop, Alan explained).
Occasionally there would be episcopal visitations, when Gambier-Parry and Maltby would look in to pay their respects and listen to the Delilah output,
but this would be for reasons of form rather than out of real interest, as they had no direct responsibility for the work and only the haziest of notions of what Alan and Don Bayley were up to.
Nor was it much use asking, since Alan was quite incomprehensible to them, a fact which was somewhat uncongenial since they claimed some scientific knowledge.
The visitors were liable to be treated to a rendering of Winston Churchill's voice, since they used a gramophone recording of one of his speeches to test the Delilah.
It was the broadcast made on 26 March 1944 in which after dwelling rather uncharacteristically on the subject of post-war housing policy, the Prime Minister had turned to more immediate prospects: