25 September 1916

Still glorious weather and quite a good day for the “Corps” Race meeting.  There were five races in all and some very good riding in all of them, well worth going to see in fact.  One race was only open to troops of Divisions, “Corp Troops” were excluded: in this our Brigade shewed its superiority.  Moody one of our Machine Gunners won it, with Goodsal second and Moore of “ours” third.  It was a real good race, 2 miles with about a dozen fences.  We did not do so badly in other races either as Burnett came in second in the first steeple chase, Godsal fourth in a short flat race, and Moody third in the last, an open steeplechase.  Of course in these things the “Corps” troops stand the best chance because they include a squadron or two of Cavalry and as a rule a goodly number of excellent mounted Staff Officers.  In this case the Corps Commander’s A.D.C. was riding a “Grand National” winner in the last race so that it was not surprising that he won it with comparative ease.  There were one or two spills but only one that was at all serious.  One wretched man managed to break his collar bone.  However this was nothing very terrible and he may find himself in England with it so I daresay he won’t grumble.  The best part of these shows is that one meets all sorts of people that in the ordinary way one scarcely ever gets a chance to see, Gunners and all manner of specialists, they all come to these gatherings.   Strictly between you and me and the gate post it was not half as well managed an affair as our show on the same ground a fortnight ago.  To start with there were no programmes and to end with there were no refreshments, whereas we supplied unlimited drinks, and tea to all.  Incidentally also there was no band this afternoon.  We are all of us very bucked to hear of the downfall of two Zeppelins, I only wish there had been fewer casualties in London.  Did they come anywhere near you, I gather that they might have done from the scanty information that one gets from the Daily Mail.  At all events I hope your sleep was not disturbed by any unseemly noises or rude shakings.  We have just finished the plum jam which was as excellent as the strawberry and equally much appreciated.  The General devoured great dollops of it almost neat with equally large dollops of cream.  You seem to be real experts in the art of jam making to judge by the two specimens sent out to us.  Today is the Anniversary of the great push of last year – not an extraordinarily pleasant day for us as a matter of fact.  We commemorated the anniversary with a special menu tonight.  Most of the items refer to topical events of which you know nothing, so I will not send it you “in toto”.  However a “Hooge” Sirloin with “Loos” vegetables and “Somme” melon are items that anyone could understand, even though they were not with us in Flanders at the time.  Unfortunately just at present the General is not very well; so was unable to appreciate the jest as well as he might have done, had he been fit.  He has been a bit “wrong” for several days and in consequence his temper has been anything but mild.  I think old Walcott’s famous remark of “Liver, that’s what it is” about applies in this case.  I have at last managed to win the affection of Kitty in her stable.  As I believe I told you, outside and on the road she is a firm friend, but in the stable her one desire has always been first to bite, and failing that, to kick me.  However I have now found that she has a weakness for apples, and as there are thousands in the neighbourhood I always go in well supplied.  In her eagerness to get the fruit she forgets to be vicious and is gradually becoming moderately affectionate.    I wonder how the censor liked my description of the various types of mosquitoes that haunt my cloister, also why he opened the letter at all.  I expect it was the usual appearance of the word Steorra to anyone who was not a scholar of Hindoo or Anglo-Saxon or whatever it is.  I have only once made the acquaintance of one of the Base Censors and he was an idiot absolutely devoid of any sense of humour.  Tomorrow afternoon I am to go and listen to a lecture on the Balkans by some well known individual.  Viccars is still away so that neither Godsal nor the General would go, and I have been sent to hear the Professor.  If as I expect he is well worth hearing, I am rather lucky – most of the audience will be exalted Staff people.  It is some way from here and Division are providing a car to take us over.  If we get a fine day this ought not to be at all bad as the country is looking exceptionally well just at present.  All the harvest is ready for carrying and most of it has been carried.  Just for a few weeks we are enjoying unlimited gallops over the stubble – soon it will be all under plough again.  There are no ditches and wire fences between the fields here and one can go for miles and miles straight across country without meeting any really serious obstacles.

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