Somewhere in France
29th, Saturday, June, 1918
Letter No. 59
My dearest mother,
The parcel you sent off on Tuesday Eve reached me this afternoon, isn't it quick? The contents of it are really "spanking". A lovely home made cake, two packets of chocolates, coffee, a tin of breath salts, a Venus pencil, a cake of soap and a box of 50 cigs! How I laughed when I saw this last; really, you have taken me too seriously for once; why 50 cigarettes would last me ages -so as a chap in my billet was very hard up for some, I sold him 40 and kept 10 for myself to use occasionally. But there are literally tons of cigarettes out here which can be bought free of duty so that there was really no need for you to have sent them, however it shows how very thoughtful you are and as such I appreciate them. By the way, there is an official issue of 40 cigs and some tobacco every week so I am well off for smokes in any case. I have not been able to buy any chocolate since being out of the line so that the two fine packets you have sent will be very welcome. I had kept the other tin Grandma sent as an "iron ration" should I ever be shipped before any more arrived. I have written to Aunty Florrie thanking her for the chocolate and giving her the latest news. I have now 2 cakes of soap so am well off for that and as for fruit salts I have now enough to dose the platoon!. No, I did not find a Venus pencil in the parcel you refer to in your note; the parcel was rather badly torn. I have not received the writing pad either; is the last parcel containing a tin of fruit (which was also torn open) there was rather a large space as if someone had taken something out, altho' the contents agreed with what your letter said it should contain; perhaps the pad was in this parcel. As a matter of fact I am rather hard up for paper but I expect I can manage until another arrives. I also received the nice letter you wrote on Sunday Eve and dad's letter of Monday's date; thank you ever so much for them. I have been out here eight weeks today; it seems a long time and yet some of the chaps have not had leave for considerably over a year; I ought not to be so unlucky as that.
Sentry duty is a posh job in the line - "umpteen" times better than working parties, but I have forgotten all about the trenches, they don't exist to me at present because I am out for a change and am making the very best of it. I am in such a pretty secluded little spot now - under the shade of an apple tree with tall wheat and poppies growing behind me and to the right is a small meadow surrounded by trees in which a horse and pony are feeding.
I have had another good day today - not too much ceremonial red tape by way of parades. Reveille was at 7.30 and I welcomed the extra hour or so in bed; as a matter of fact none of us woke up until breakfast time an hour later. Parade was at 10.30 and then we had a short demonstration with the Lewis gun. A towncrier came round the village this morning with his old drum and read a notice warning people not to go near the fields where the machine gun demonstration was to take place. At 12 o'clock I had to tie up all my clothes (with the exception of boots and great coat) for disinfection. So from then until 3.30pm I was pottering about the billet clad only in great coat and boots - what a lark! I had tea - eggs, potatoes, bread and coffee - at the little village I described last Sunday. I tried to get a p.c. of it but they were "Napoo fini" unfortunately. Since tea I have been writing letters and it is now time to be walking back.
I expect you are playing tennis in the park now and having a good time - I sincerely hope so at least - should like to be with you, but may have a chance before very long.
I hope you have got rid of your cold and feeling in all other respects quite well. I have sent Isa a bit of a bombshell of a letter yesterday she will laugh at some of my remarks - I felt quite saucy last night, just in the mood to have a fight with Cookey or a scramble with you! - I wrote Uncle Walter an epistle today so have been doing well in the correspondence line lately.
My thoughts will be with you especially tomorrow as you follow the usual customs for Sundays and also my prayers which go out constantly for your continued welfare and happiness.
Now I must say au-revoir for today,
Heaps of love and xxxx
from your affectionate