24 June 1916

I spoke too soon yesterday when I said “at least we are not having any rain. Soon after lunch we were favoured with what can only be described as a young cloud-burst. Within a few minutes of the first large drop coming smack on the road, there was a stream six inches deep, and as many feet wide, sweeping everything before it and careering full tilt before our front door. Fortunately I had had the forethought to remove my bedding to a place of shelter, but the bed itself got soaked in the first few seconds. The air was cooler afterwards but we did not get a fine evening which is what we had hoped for. In fact it is still raining at intervals. It should of course be fine at midday since the old saying has it “Rain before eight fine by noon”. It is not only sundials that are put out of gear by the daylight savings Act – rhymes seem to suffer also. I did not of course spend last night under the canopy of Heaven but came and shared a corner of Hacking’s room – quite a cheery little boudoir in the village mill. The Miller is a most tremendously hard-working man. He was still up when we went to bed at eleven last night, and the mill was going again with him in charge at five this morning. I had my mare out last night just for a short ride. I have not ridden her for nearly a month and she was accordingly very fractious, jumping about all over the place, and shying at anything and everything. The new bridle looks very swish – and I think she is much happier in it than in her old one which was rather a tight fit. Now that we have moved the mess to a more congenial and less aromatic spot the General is not quite so awe-inspiring. The only difficulty now is that there is no kitchen and all our cooking has to be done in the open – no very easy performance during a cloud burst. To add to our other troubles, the kitchen range which we have carried about so long – and which has proved so faithful a friend has at lasts fallen to pieces. For some months it has needed constant attention – new rivets – patches little bits here and there, and a daub or two of cement to cover the more obvious fissures. But now I am afraid it is beyond repair. Great holes and gaping chasms have appeared all round the oven; the chimney – the ninth – disappeared in the accident to the mess-cart – and we have decided to abandon the whole concern. It is very sad to part with the old thing – it has accompanied us on all our travels ever since landing in France. It went to Egypt and came back again and has in fact been everywhere. In spite of the rain and most adverse circumstances the band, and the divisional concert party –“The Whizz-bangs” provided a very excellent entertainment in the open air yesterday evening. I cannot say that I was there myself – the crowd was so great that I could not get near them. It was not our own band but that of one of the other Brigades – a military and not merely – as ours is – a brass band. They were very good and gave us all the old favourites with great gusto. Soupe Light Cavalry – and the Mikado, and others that they must have played nearly 365 times in the last year. However though hackneyed they seem to be always popular which is the main thing. We have had two most excellent dishes of strawberries, and managed to find some real good cream to go with them, so we have not done so badly. There are one or two in the Mill garden on which I am contemplating making a raid the next suitably dark night that comes along. Unfortunately they keep a dog here and my pyjamas are sufficiently holey already; they do not need any animals teeth to make pretty patterns on them. I am thinking of having a Turkish bath today – they have an apology of one at the Divisional baths here. That is to say they keep a sort of black hole of Calcutta made of Army blankets into which they turn volumes of steam while one sits there for half an hour or so. At the end of that appalling performance one can get a tepid shower and a cold plunge so really it does not sound at all bad.

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