7 August 1915

Having washed, & shaved & generally cleaned up all round, I feel in a more or less fit condition to write a letter.  The cleanness is of course only very temporary for as soon as I leave the portals of my mansion I shall start getting dirty again.  It has rained, it is raining, & we have every reason to believe that it will rain.  The trench is full of mud, everything is wet through & one cannot walk down the narrow communication trenches without looking as though one had been gamboling on  Brighton beach in a thunderstorm.  My feet are very wet & are likely to remain so.  As a matter of fact I have not had my boots off since the memorable Friday week when we “Stood to” in the early hours of the morning.  When I do finally raise the courage to remove then I shall need my platoon to stand by with two dozen respirators, forty smoke helmets, & several cylinders of oxygen.  The military situation as far as we are concerned remains here unchanged.  The Huns are still at Hooge, not for long I trust.  The papers each day say that large bodies of troops & big guns are being moved this way; while our official communique, commonly known as “Sketchy Bits”, is firmly convinced that they are moving men from here to the Russian front.  The probability is that they are moving no troops at all anywhere.  In any case we are all hoping that they are not moving them here.  My new dug-out is not at all a bad one, it has a bed & a door, & a window.  One can sit upright in it in comfort & since it is not a hole in the wall one can fit in & out with comparative ease.  At present it is somewhat unfurnished, the chief assets being a well–stocked fly-paper, & a guttering candle.  But the real glory is the window–box.  A dozen gorgeous blossoms of honey-suckle & a great fat lazy bumble-bee quite make up for the deficiencies in ordinary furniture; they are beautiful & grow in profusion all over the place. One other good thing there is which I think this benighted country will produce for us & that is blackberries.  I have tasted one or two quite good ones.  Talking of blackberries carries one on to apples, apples to crab apples & wind falls – thence naturally to chutney.  Twice in your letters you have mentioned chutney, it sounds jolly good & if you could spare a jar or two for D. Coy. Mess we shall all feel highly honoured & delighted.  I am afraid my wants are many but I cannot help it, or rather them.  I see yesterday’s paper shows Colebrook killed – he is much too young to go & get knocked out, it is rotten.

Have just heard Talbot killed, hope it is not true.

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