4 March 1916

Work again at last thank goodness, & plenty of it.  We are still in the same place but shall very shortly take over some trenches, & at present are kept busy with maps, plans, photographs, & all sorts & kinds of preparations.  Yesterday there was nothing very much doing until after tea.  In the morning I visited several battalions, making arrangements about bombs, & seeing to one or two things in general.  After tea when I was just about thinking of writing you a line or two, a whole bundle of maps arrived, & I had to work on them in preparation for today.  We have just got back now from today’s business – namely one of those horrible joy-rides which have been only too frequent during the past few weeks.  The idea was that we should go & visit the trenches that we are to take over, this proved impossible.  At 8.0 a.m. this morning, the hour fixed for our departure, it was snowing hard & bitterly cold; I took every available stitch of clothing & my gum boots.  We had about twenty nine miles to go, & it took a good four hours, one of which was spent in extracting ourselves from a ditch-snow-drift.  The whole journey took so long that it was impossible to go further than to the head-quarters & one of two of the villages: we did not get a glimpse of any trenches.  The area to which we are going is a very famous one indeed; the names of most of the villages are familiar to all.  Naturally we expected that the trenches would be horrible in such a place, & were looking forward to something considerably worse than Ypres.  Strange however as it may appear, the people there say that they are very quiet & we can expect to have a very peaceful time.  So we will hope for the best.  The ride home was apalling. We were wet, very wet, & more than cold, we were actually frozen in places.  My feet were about as painful as I have ever known them, & my hands still feel numbed, witness my handwriting.  However a hot bath & a hot meal (jugged hare which we “found”) – & I for one feel very much improved.

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