11 October 1917

Just a line or two while I am waiting for the Brigade despatches to come along.  The weather has become distinctly Autumnal, and though the worst of the rain seems to be over for the moment, it is by no means warm even in the sun.  This morning started very brightly but it has clouded over now and I should not be surprised if we had a shower or two before night.  We are down once more to the old familiar game of paddling about wet ditches, and clambering along the side of a trench with a six-foot pole thrust into the other side to prevent one slipping into the young river that runs along the floor.  My own particular pole is a very light but strong bamboo with a spike – a most handy weapon both for walking and rat-sticking.  The first appearance of these long sticks always produces much humour and mirth from the onlooking soldiers.  “While Shepherds watched their flocks by night” I had shouted at me the other day, while I was going up to trenches with the C.O.   Old John Burnett has come back from leave and is now second in Command while James Griffiths is in Aldershot on his 3 month course.   John is looking wonderfully fit, he is a marvellous fellow.   We are a merry party at H.Q. – the only somewhat wet blanket being the Doctor, who takes himself and his work much too seriously.  He seems to imagine it his duty to find out that the whole Battalion has scabies.  The Colonel pulls his leg always, and the poor man can’t always see the point.  Everybody seems to expect the war to end in a day or two.  Personally I cannot see why it should, but it is a good thing to be an optimist.  The funny old gentleman who lives in the ditches over the way gets a pretty poor time of it one way and another.  He must be getting very tired of being knocked about.  No time for more.  Here comes the morning consignment of written verbosity form the folks in the armchairs.

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