My dear Cecily.
Many Thanks for your & Mothers last letters. Also for some Daily Graphics, the Autocar & Loco. Magazine. The Daily Graphics I can see here, so please do not trouble about them. I have also had a cake & other things to-day from, the Junior Army & Navy, for which very many thanks. The cake is very good, but with regard to the other things they amount at present to a superfluity of riches as we are well supplied with such things from the Local Field Force Canteen. We are at the moment on the move and weights are consequently reduced to a minimum. The Division is on its way back into Corps Reserve. We were relieved in the trenches on Monday night by a Battalion of the New Division & then went back to our camp. It was an exhilarating walk from my point of view, as the horse was slipping all over the place owning to the frost & eventually it became so bad that I had to get off & lead him. He at once proceeded to collapse & repeated the occurrence twice afterwards once catching me an almighty crump on the leg with his forefoot. The following day – yesterday – we spent in our very muddy camp & left in the evening for a 12 mile march here, Steenvoorde. (there is no harm in mentioning this as we are off again to-morrow) Quite a serviceable French Country town & the people seem very affable. The men are in Farms billets & the Hqr. Staff in the house of the local tanner & his wife who are doing us very well. The tannery business has ceased owing to the war, so the good man can attend to our wants while his lady does the cooking. I got a very good bed last night which is a great luxury as I don’t think I’ve had one for six weeks, & found it very hard to get up this morning.
I don’t know yet where we are going to be these next few weeks & if the Huns propose to be offensive, as I see from the papers they do, we may have to go back within range again, but at present we we [sic] can look on the war with disinterested eyes. We can only just hear the guns & can see an observation balloon in the distance otherwise we might be anywhere. The country is not so deadly flat here & things are not so fearfully dull & depressing. I think Reninghelst was the most dreary place I was ever in, but there is much more colour about everything here.
We have no Interpreter with us & as not one of the others knows more than oui & non in the language I have to do all the interpreting & am getting along swimmingly, thanks to Mdlle Gouget.
I was much amused to-day at the way the flying corps manage their things. Of course the ordinary way of getting water in a horse-drawn wooden cart at 2 m.p.h would be much too slow for them, so they have taken its wheels off & put on others with rubber tyres & charge over the country with it behind a light lorry at 30 m.p.h. Most efficient down here but they couldn’t do it on the roads further up.
I hear that French is going to address the Division to explain that he didn’t realise how it had been jiggered about, when he wrote his last report, though I should have thought that someone might have told him before he wrote it. However we have not got the address yet & it may be all wind.
I must now cease to catch the post.
Love to all