My dear Cecily,
Many thanks for your letter of the 5th received this morning. It looks as if we are going to get the cold & frosty air you mention, which will be a good thing as we may then be able to do something to these blanky trenches. I came back two days ago & found them in a fairly rotten condition, in fact the communication trench was so bad that we could only get in & out of the fire trench by night or in the early morning mist. This was most annoying as it entailed my getting up at 5 a. m. to look round. We moved our headquarters further up the canal last night to the same ones we were in when we came here first, this alteration being made on our taking over a bit more of the line to the left & giving a bit on our right to another battalion, & our left is now on the canal aforesaid.
Even to get up to our new trenches we have to get out of the communicating trench for some of the way, but it doesn’t matter, as it is dead ground & the Bosch can’t see us.
We are being relieved again to-night & will then have to do our usual ten mile walk back. They say the Division is due to go back into Corps Reserve soon, which will mean clearing out altogether & going back into billets ten miles further away but I won’t accept it, till I find myself there.
In moving our headquarters, we have been able to despoil our old ones, as no one is now going to be there, so all the more solid furniture including a most marvelous hatstand & all chairs with more than 2 legs are coming up here.
A pause, while we are telephoning to our batteries to strafe the Huns, who have been making themselves obnoxious by dropping whizz-bangs (so called because they whizz & bang) on our fire trenches. This done we will resume.
The new headquarters are very palatial & made for a French General in times past, who must have been a very large or excitable person, as they have given him a lot of room to expand & his bedroom was palatial with a commanding view of the opposite canal bank. As a matter of fact this place is rather attractive as it is in a wood & the bull rushes are in full bloom, if they do bloom in the water & the moor hens are all over the place. Unfortunately the canal is practically empty or we might have a regatta on it.
I hear the Saxons are opposite our trenches in the right & one of the men of the regiment on our
[illegible] right was seen to go out the other day & shake hands with a a Saxon, who had done ditto from the other side & then return. I fancy neither side will strafe the other & no one quite knows what to do. I should say that the crowd opposite here had been relieved, as the present lot are far more vicious, & at times are openly insolent. However we have bagged one or two of them & will get more as we learn their little ways.
What do you think of the enclosed, which I got the other day.
Love to all