10 April 1916

Yesterday evening, last night & this morning were spent in the dug-out which has been vastly improved by a large amount of white-wash.  Rude people call it a whited sepulchre but it is certainly lighter & cleaner than it was.  The rats & mice are still pretty numerous but our food is kept locked up so that they do not trouble us much.  Now that the weather is warm it is really very nice up here.   Viccars being still away there is no shortage of work.  I seem to spend a most apalling amount of time at this table scribbling away when one ought to be more actively employed.  However I still find time for a ride now & then, & had a particularly enjoyable one this evening.  My animal is now fit again & very skittish in consequence, ready in fact to jump about all over the place, & shy at the first or slightest provocation.  The 5th are now out for a rest so I occasionally see the Colonel & one or two others.  In a short time the rest camp should be really delightful; there are large spacious huts & the situation of them is by no means unpleasant.  Also the gentleman over the way is not in the habit of interfering with their peaceful pleasures in any way; I do not think a shell has ever visited them.  The Bosch was very rude during the morning & fired several rounds of shrapnel at the identical piece of ground which I had selected for my matutinal perambulations.  One small piece fell on my helmet, which might have bruised my cranium in the absence of any protective armour.  Myriads of other pieces came humming down all round but none of them were gifted with the necessary impertinence to hit me.  After the first burst my matutinal perambulation turned itself into an undignified scoot for the nearest cover.  I may have told you some time ago that we had a Colonel staying here for a day or two who was going a sort of Cook’s tour of the country.  He has now got back to England & returned thanks for his stay here by sending us a most enormous cake, a large box of Carlsbad plums, two jars of “patum” & some “foie gras”.  That comes of forgetting to present him with a mess bill, a fact which, up to the arrival of the parcel, I had deeply regretted.   Messing looks like becoming a more or less expensive luxury soon as a great many prices have gone up.  Even tinned fruits are more than they used to be, & one hears rumours that certain drinks are to be absolutely ungettable; if this should prove true I shudder to think of the after dinner tempers of certain officers of higher rank who are accustomed to a whiskey & soda or two.  There is no time for more now as the pile of papers at my elbow has been steadily increasing & I must attend to them.

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