Today has been a very ordinary affair & there is nothing special to relate in connection with it. The usual morning parade, the usual meals, followed by the usual recreation & the usual arguments as to our exact position on the map. I have polished off another novel, rather a good one The Golden Butterfly, by no means new I gather from reading it. As there is neither date of writing nor of publication it was impossible to find out when it was written.
One rather curious thing happened during the morning. There is a notice in standing orders that the ships time will be observed daily & this we have been trying to do. This morning my watch showed the time as 10.10. – as I had set it half an hour before there was no reason to doubt its correctness. By chance I glanced at the saloon clock, this showed the time as 11. All the other clocks agreed with it so once more my watch was altered. Speculations were now flying about as to the cause of this curious business, & some began to imagine that we must have put about during the night & gone a hundred or so miles back towards the East. Lunch time came, at least it came by my watch. Imagine our annoyance when we discovered that the ships clocks now all agreed that it was only ten minutes past twelve. This was too bad. We searched out the stewards & demanded an explanation. This was it, apparently the clocks are worked by electricity but owing to the vibration they show a slight difference after two or three days. At 10. O’clock therefore the current was shut off & all the clocks were put on to 11.0 at which hour the current was switched on again & all started together to the tick.
It is very curious how differently people behave on board ship to what they do when carrying out their ordinary occupations on terra firma. Senior Colonels & Brigadiers run madly about playing deck tennis. All sorts of sedate cross-grained & livery majors sing comic songs at the concerts. The various ranks seem to mix very much more together than would ever be possible in the field or even in the Mess.
Last night we had the Welsh Singers again to provide us with music both during & after dinner: tonight they are having a rest. Tomorrow all being well we should reach our destination sometime about midday & ought to get on shore before it is dark. We are all hoping for just a day or two in Marseilles by way of a last farewell to civilization before going back to the mud, muck & muddle of that Flanders fighting. But so far we have no news of what we shall do; soon now this fact ought to be completed & we return once more to leave, letters, newspapers & mud.
Feb 8 So here we are back once more in Marseilles.