16. 2. 1918.
My dear Mother,
Many thanks for letters from the family. I am glad your finger is better & that the Red Cross likes its new abode. Please thank Father for getting me the watch, which is just what I wanted. I hope to need it soon, as there is a competition going to be run between Battalions in the Division for the practise of various soldierly exercises & I shall want it in training our crowd. I shook hands with Duggy. himself two days ago, as he happened to be round here with various luminaries in his train & I shook some of their hands as well, so I’m a proud man the [illegible]. I thought Duggy’s hand a little clammy. There is no news & if there was I couldn’t give it. I have become a gardener & have been planting the waste in front of our mess (we have a Battalion mess now) with nodding snowdrops, celandine, winkles (peri) & other herbaceous flowers. Incidentally the frost came the next night & they all look pretty silly now, but I trust they will buck up in time. My greatest effort is a
massed concentration of roses, which, barring the idiocy of the officer who stole them but in doing so left their roots behind, should do well. I am in some doubts whether to prune them & if so where. At present the spread long & thorny branches over the only path to the mess & by rights they should be cut down to the earth, but I’m afraid that to do so would completely ruin their present very slender chances of flowering. I expect they will get pruned automatically after a few people have been tangled up in them. so I will let them be. Perhaps I shall see Con McCausland & will then congratulate him on his engagement. I thought he had sworn eternal fidelity to the Wilson girl. However these young sparks will jump about so that one can’t keep pace with them.
My garden contains a rockery which is at once ornamental & useful. It is intended to keep out bits of bomb which the Bosch sheds round here from time to time & is in fact about due now, as it is a lovely moonlight night. I watch it [illegible] daily, as it grows rapidly under my eagle eye, & am planting it with box at the moment.
Love to all