Our rest this time has been much more restful, & our company got off very lightly indeed in the way of fatigues. The General’s inspection passed off alright. Before he was an Infantry Brigadier he had been an R.E. The result of course is that in the trenches he is very keen indeed on draining & wiring & other engineers work, but as for inspection he just runs around, & no more notices too much beard than he does to little boot-lace. He asked a few people what they had been in civil life but beyond that appeared to take no notice of any one in particular. The same evening I went for a ride with young Williams who is not a great horseman, but we went about ferociously all over the country & managed to have a very good ride. I was, as usual, on the Adjutant’s old horse, now well used as I believe you know in the more humble position of drawing our medical cart. Yesterday was one which might well be described as varied. To start with an early Celebration at 8 a.m. in the mess hut, then breakfast, & then various Church parades during the morning. These we can no longer have in the open air as before because of the great activity of the enemy’s aeroplanes in this benighted spot. If they do manage to get sight of a largish body of troops they can switch their artillery on to them with most remarkable rapidity. After lunch I had a little instruction in bomb-throwing, & the various kinds of bombs used by the British Army. Grenades hand & rifle, jam-tins & double cylinders, pitchers & Bethunes, in all I am now a most efficient anarchist. After the instruction we threw a few live bombs to see what they were like – a most curious performance. One throws one’s bomb, standing in a little hole, then ducks & takes cover, because the bits fly sometimes as far as 100 or even 200 yds from the explosion. All these army bombs are filled with a very high explosive, & either have a shrapnel casing which splits up & flies about, or contain the ordinary little shrapnel bullets.
After tea we played the XVIth Lancers at cricket. We had a team composed entirely of Officers, while they had two or three officers & the rest men. We managed to raise 53 – the Adjutant, Langdale, played a great game & made most of the runs. We then got them all out for 31 so won a most glorious victory. They seemed a very decent lot of fellows & the whole show was quite a success. The weather for the last few days has been very hot & quite a change from the weeks & weeks of wet that we have had lately. We go trenchwards tonight & if only it will hold out we might have a reasonably satisfactory stay up there. Everything is arranged for my trip to the Hospital & I shall go as soon as this tour is over, stay there for six days & come back in time for the next tour. I don’t suppose I shall want to stay there longer than the bare six days. They say the feeding is not up to much, & unless I can get some doctor to say that I am run down, nothing to drink. If only some doctor will be kind enough however to certify to that effect they will try to liven me up with champagne. The only difficulty that I can foresee is that I never look run down – in fact I can never persuade anyone that there is anything the matter with me. Wollaston, lucky beggar, has gone to St Omer on a machine gun course, he will probably have a jolly good fortnight’s holiday.