After various journeyings we arrived here yesterday, & here we hope to rest for a short time. The two words “here” & “rest” both need explanation. “Here” is a farm chateau with an excellent large messroom & some equally excellent bedrooms: I for one have a room to myself & real sheets on the bed. The Brigadier had until this morning a most magnificent chamber, but was so disturbed during the night by the numerous fowl occupants of the spacious farmyard under his window, that he has changed over with Godsal into a room at the back of the house. Officers are very conveniently close in an empty house just across the road, where I also have a warm dry stable for “la petite”. On the whole we are very comfortable & I hope our stay is not too short
Now for “Rest”. Physical drill, company training, route marches, night operation, schemes, appreciations of situations, bombing, bayonet fighting, shooting during almost all the hours of daylight is of course for the regimental officers. Fortunately I am not so placed & do not yet know what task will be allotted to me. Today Cannon & I rode over the training area & had a good look all round. For hours we rode across country & hardly ever touched a road, except to cross it. The weather was perfect, the animals went splendidly, & we had one or two delightful canters, much enjoyed by Kitty, who was in her element. I came home with about the finest appetite I have ever had for lunch. The 5th are at a neighbouring village & have, I hear, managed to find room for a battalion mess. I must try to find time to get over to see then some day soon. They have a new Padre attached to them named Buck, who turns out to be an O.M.T. – he has come to the right Btn. He is of course an oldish “old boy” having left somewhere about 1899 – a time when he was Capt. of the 15. Talking of rugger recalls the fact that I have just heard that the School beat Dulwich fairly heavily this day last week, which is excellent news.
The country round here is exceedingly fine & about the only part of La France which we have yet discovered, really to merit the adjective Belle. There are plenty of hills & little woods & plantations to break the monotony – quite unlike the dead levels of the abominable Flanders. The roads are all chalk & very hard, but one can generally get off them onto meadow land of which there is plenty. Game of all sorts abounds, but most unfortunately we are not allowed to shoot. Today we put up several snipe, curlew & wood pigeon, not to mention plenty of good large hares. Our chateau owns ducks, geese & turkeys, all of which they sell for a most humble price. 6 shillings for a fine fat goose, 7 for 2 ducks, & only 10/- for an enormous turkey: they do not sell by weight, but by the look of the bird. I expect we shall be having a great night or two presently. Now that the evenings are so much longer I get plenty of time for reading & have finished off Whitechurch’s Cannon In Residence – Farnol’s Amateur Gentleman & one or two others in the last few days. Farnol’s book is very good. Viccars’ place has been taken during his absence by Grindling who came at one time to study Staff work with us & then went to be attached to one of the other Brigades. He knows all about us, & we know him well, so all is as it should be. We have heard from Viccars, he seems to be having quite a good time, at the staff school. I expect Uncle Rob will get transferred to Oakley all right – & am very glad to hear he has no wish to come out here again. I thought he would find it a pretty severe game in the tanks, though of course, I gather from what small trickles of information have flowed this way, that the work he did here was by no means the type of thing in which one indulges daily. For instance as a general rule one avoids most determinedly carrying bombs across the open & all unpleasant things of that sort. It has just started to rain for all it is worth, simply coming down in buckets. That of course is what we always have to expect after a fine day. It will mean that the roads will all be churned up into mud again, the country will be so sodden as to make riding anything but a pleasure. Col. Jones has composed a relay clever Limerick, concerning a portion of the line which we occupied for some time—
D’you know ours —— n au Bois
So charming, & je ne sais quios-
We’ve been there so long
And found it so bon
We’ll go back there any old fois
I have left out the name of the place, but given you the metre, which as you see is the same as Bromley: – au bois is a termination stuck on to the names of half the villages in France
Transcriber’s note – see the original text for markings above the work Bromley a dash — over the letter “o” and a u over the letter “e” – see image below.