My dear Mother
A merry Xmas to you all. I am sorry I have not been able to get home for it but I really think I shall get back early in January & may see some of you if not all. Many thanks for your last letter & for one from Father. It is a pity the election causes trouble, though
I hardly imagine that the effects will cause much [illegible] bitterness. You will be able to strafe each other a little more openly. I suppose Cato will get in fairly easily. I am at Baisieux, between Lille and Tournai — 14 kilometres from the former & 8 from the
latter. We are gradually spreading out, as more troops leave the place to go to their proper areas & I hope everyone will have gone in a few days & let us settle down. I have had a fellow in Paris the last few days getting Xmas dinners, & he has now returned after buying a sufficiency for everyone, but has not been able to bring the stuff with him,
though he has seen it on to a truck & I trust
it will materialise in a few days. However
there is a risk yet, as trucks have a habit
of getting off on to weird sidings unknown
to everyone & I have horrible nightmares of good pork & fat geese left unprotected near some camp, where they will be kindly attended to by the inhabitants & we shall go without. The thought is too terrible.
They are threatening us with (as all New Army Battalions) with the burden of a Silk Union Flag — otherwise Union Jack, to take the place of Colours but to be treated in all respects with the same reverence & devotion. We have got along without
the beastly thing for 4 years, so why we should be burdened now I cannot say. It will involve
horrible ceremonies of consecration & such like & will bore everyone to tears. I can see myself at the end laying it up somewhere — probably with dreadful ceremony though preferably in a bowler hat with the thing in a brown bag. We have got Madame dining with us to-night with her son who has just come from England where he has been for the last 4 years running some business or other. I trust we have got something to give her, but one never knows these days.
Love to all