31 August 1916

There are a few moments to spare before the usual deluge of paper overwhelms me for the rest of the afternoon. So I will write until I am stopped.  Please thank Andrew & Tom for their letters, and tell the latter that I was very struck with his picture of the Kaiser, though he was looking rather younger last time I saw him.   Will you also enquire what authority he has for stating that the Crown Prince’s name is Charlie.  Out here we had always imagined it was William.  Yesterday I got wet through and was in consequence most uncomfortable for some time. I strolled up in the morning without an overcoat and had just got about as far from home as I intended when it came onto pour and continued to do so until evening.  There was no view and nothing to see so I sploshed about among some new and exceedingly muddy shell holes looking for a piece or two, or a nose-cap whereby to identify them.  Finally having got thoroughly wet, bad tempered and no nose-caps I came home and changed.  In the evening I strolled in to talk to Ellwood and found that he had got a whole new selection of records for his gramophone.  His happy home, or rather his former happy home was bombarded not long ago, and all his records but two were destroyed – the two being Alexander’s R.T.B, and “Hark My Soul” a curious mixture.  Fortunately the gramophone itself escaped and is going strong.  The most popular of the new ones is called “Another little drink won’t do us any harm”.  It has a most catchy tune, and is totally and absolutely devoid of sense and meaning.  The chorus consists entirely of the above words repeated in full and in parts, seriatum and privatum.  This morning I arose early.  I believe I told you that a wretched, nosiy-footed valet wakes me at about 4.30AM to write a morning report.  He did so this morning and I got up in the hopes of getting a good view.  After riding at a great pace on a thoroughly unreliable bicycle I reached my nook and found that I got no view, only very hungry.  However Shields in whose trenches I was wandering nobly came to my rescue, and we had a delightful al fresco breakfast sitting in a beautiful spot all among the wild flowers and blue bottles.  Ham and eggs tasted delightful; I was so hungry as not to mind eating an ant or two with the earwig butter – it all went down very well.  Finally after getting back about 11.30 AM I dressed and bathed and shaved and now feel more or less respectable.  After tea I shall wander up there again, & hope for better luck.  The weather at the moment is first rate but I don’t think we have seen the last of the rain yet.

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