29 August 1916

We have just had a most terrific and awe inspiring thunderstorm, which vented its  chiefest wrath smack over the top of this beautiful little country village.  We, that is to say my shanty and myself escaped death by drowning but  not be very many inches, while the lightening simply dug huge holes in the back garden.  I must ask you of course to bear in mind that as an Intelligence Officer I am, and have to be, a most accomplished liar.  The storm having now subsided we have a large fatigue party filling up the holes – almost of the available troops engaged in 1 building a pontoon bridge from the office to the mess  2 constructing a canoe for me  3 making a balloon waistcoat for the G.O.C. and  4  rescuing submerged staff officers who, owing to the weight of red and gold carried on their August persons were unable to swim home.  The effects of the inoculation wore off as I anticipated and I was able to trot round trenches yesterday.  In the evening I went up to my very best nook and was well rewarded.  What exactly happened I don’t know, but something so exciting that streams and crowds of Bosches came forth from every corner of the globe to look at it.  Of course we were able carefully to locate and mark down their abodes and some day perhaps a few atoms of unexpected cast iron will mingle with their sauerkraut, and give them, we hope, severe indigestion.  Everybody here is very bucked over Rumania having decided to put a finger in the pie.  They all seem to think that there is now a reasonable chance of the war ending by 1925 – some even go so far as to say December 1924 but that is perhaps rather too optimistic.  However, as the old saying has it, the first seven years are always the least pleasant.   My arm is still a little tender from the serum.  I believe that is the correct expression for the injected poison.  Morning rides have therefore been rather out of the question so Huskisson has been keeping Kate fit.  He is very fond of riding and has no horse, so is only too glad to find that I don’t want mine.   Col Jones is in great form and his reports from the trenches are always most amusing.  Just at present his Intelligence Officer is away so he writes the report himself.  Serious pieces of important information all interspersed with comic criticisms, remarks and gibes of all sorts.  It takes me all my time to sort out what to send to Division and what merely to laugh at.  It is well worth it because it gives us all a real good laugh and makes depression absolutely impossible.  We are to have some Bde sports here presently I believe which are to be a very great event with bands and everything complete.  There will probably be one or two jumping competitions and a steeple chase, and then the rest of the afternoon will be devoted to tugs-of –war, flat races, three-legged efforts and other things of that sort.  There is going to be an Officer’s Musical Chairs on mules–bare-back which may be quite amusing.  When the band stops one has to stick a tin on a post – I shall certainly enter and equally certainly fall off.

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