B. E. F.
25. 3. 1916.
My dear Mother,
I think I must owe you a letter & hope your foot is all right. We are still in billets on the borders of France & not likely to move for one or two days. I was to have gone up this morning to look at the place we go to next, but though we waited for some time no one has arrived to take us, so I didn’t go. This afternoon I have been studying the country round from the top of an exceeding high hill, from which one gets a wonderful view to the North & East. It was very clear & the sun shone from time to time & we saw the Dunes on the sea coast near Nieupoort & Dunkerque & Ostend in the distance. While nearer by Dixmude & Furnes – while all the country we have been in for so long was nearer still & Wipers itself seemed no distance. One could trace the line a good deal of the way, as it looked like a desert in the middle of the cultivated area. We could also see the shells bursting at different points & they were putting a lot of shrapnel over the place we have just come from & in places one could see the flashes of the Bosch guns. There is another hill much nearer to the Hun lines further up & I hope to get up that sometime to view the landscape over, as one can see everything the Bosch does from it & his artillery is very inactive in consequence because he gets spotted directly he fires & we can put his guns out of action pretty easily. The G. O. C. said he was coming round this morning, but failed to materialize as usual, so we had to try & do without him!
Please tell Father that the glasses are marked with half an arrowhead, which means that they are not passed for Government service. However there is no fault to find with them, except that there must be a small flaw in one of the prisms, as one can see a small crack running across the edge of the right eye piece when looking through it. The flaw doesn’t seem to affect the vision at all, as the glasses are beautifully clear.
We have just got a new cook for the mess, who in private life is a chef. So we are now living in luxury, comparatively speaking, but he hasn’t got all the materials he needs or utensils he is accustomed to. However we have a written menu at night’s beginning with “Hor. d oeuvres” & ending with Angels on Horseback & he certainly surprises one by his efforts.
In comparison the old cook, who has been tactfully (I did it) transferred to the transport, his meals are as those of the Piccadilly to the Black Dog.
The new cook was a Sergeant at one time, but as he was no use as such, he was reduced to the ranks & I collared him outside the orderly room & compelled him to come in. I have now succeeded in palming the mess off on our Doctor, so I am now at liberty to strafe him, if things are not as good as they might be, which I could hardly do when I was supposed to be running it myself & I am a rotten bad housekeeper.
Love to all