26 June 1916

I had only just sealed up my letter to you yesterday when we had a revelation, a most unusual revelation of the lengths, depths & breadths of audacity and impudence to which the Bosch occasionally aspires. No less than sixteen of his aeroplanes came cruising about overhead and I believe they even got as far as dropping one or two bombs. Of these the majority failed to explode, and those that did were miles from anybody or anything. Our fellows very soon chased them back to their own lines, here they stayed until the afternoon when about half a dozen tried to repeat the performance, and succeeded in putting up a most futile show – not even terrifying the civilian population. In the afternoon I went for what proved to be a fruitless journey since the person I went to see could not be found. However the weather was good and though rather a long way, the ride was most enjoyable. The mare was very lively and very fresh but went very well, and I think enjoyed being ridden quite as much as I enjoyed riding her. She goes very well indeed in a canter on turf or soft sandy tracks, of which there are a fair number in this part of the world. One has to keep more or less clear of the main roads during the summer, because there is always a very large amount of heavy motor traffic and the dust is terrible. There is usually a by-road winding its way in and out of the villages which lie on each side of the main road, and though its’ surface is usually unmentionably bad, one is at least undisturbed there by snorting lorries. This morning I have been taking slightly more energetic exercise. There was no saddle available for my mare so I had to ride a bike. I wanted to watch some small fracas that was going forward, and incidentally discover from the resident Intelligence Officer what exactly was going on in the line since I left. It was weary hot work ploughing through the clouds of dust in some parts, and great chunks of sticky mud in others, on a bicycle that must weigh the best part of two cwts. However I was amply repaid by the excellence of the view at the end of the ride: I saw all that I wanted to see. “San Joy” and “Bric a Brac” came along yesterday, and for them very many thanks, as also for a letter from you which arrived at the same time. Last night we had a beano – probably there will be another tonight. Do not imagine that the General has been indulging in these frivolities, it was with the regiment who have managed to raise a battalion mess. With great difficulty I had succeeded in procuring the necessary phizz to celebrate my Captaincy, and one or two other little things – and we had, as I say, a beano. Far into the night the mess gave forth noises of all descriptions – songs were sung – people were ragged junior subalterns were taught the elements of good behaviour – the less strong-headed slid quietly and slept underneath the table – everyone enjoyed himself immensely and the performance will very probably be repeated tonight. There are still several Captains who have not yet “paid for” their promotion and they will I think avail themselves of this opportunity to do so. The weather was fairly favourable and I again passed a most excellent night under the stars, waking fairly early to what looked like being a most excellent day. It has unfortunately gone to the bad and it now rains at intervals and is sultry in between showers. It is after lunch time so I must hurry along and have a bite or two more especially as my appetite is at present in great form – I am sorry to say that it usually is. There is one great objection to this place and that is the long distance that the mess is from the office and billet. I do not like having to walk the best part of a mile home after dinner on a dirty night, when one is wearing one’s best clothes and thin shoes.

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