My dear Gertrude,
It is actually 3 minutes to to-morrow, but I will begin this, in order to put the day at the head of the hope & to hope before today is past that it has not gone too badly with you. You must have been somewhat homesick, however kindly you are being received. It will of course be your first Christmas away from home, & I am only too sorry we were not able to be with each other for it. I have one consolation in any thoughts I have that I ought to have postponed my leave after all, in that even if I had you would not have qualified residentially in time for us to have spent Christmas together & have been married on the same leave.
This letter will not be delayed as I can finish it before the mail leaves in the morning. We have only an inspection parade tomorrow, no drills, so only the orderly officer will be on it - & all the rest of us free for the day.
Considering conditions here Christmas Day has not gone so badly. Three of us got up in time to go to communion at 8 oclock. Held in the "Mairie" that is the Town Hall - the room evidently a police court in normal days.
At ten we went to a Brigade Morning Service, held in another Battery's quarters.
At 12.30 we had a light lunch in mess & then went along to the mens billets. They were to dine at 1.30 It was a bright frosty - quite Christmas like day. Although late this evening it has turned to rain.
So much for tonight
The men had quite a good dinner, roast pork the main dish, & plum pudding after. fruits, cigarettes etc.
In the afternoon three of us went in the car to Tournai about a 40 minutes ride the air quite sharp. The Cathedral there so very fine, & we went in for twenty minutes. There happened to be a service on a very fine organ & an elaborate service with a Bishop & other high clerics taking part. We returned almost at once in time for tea, & at 6 went to the men's concert. A very well got up & enjoyable affair. One of the men is a syn painter & he had painted some good scenery. The party included the usual lady & the gunner who took the part made up very well as a girl - unfortunately he had a very deep voice & so could not do anything apart from joining in the choruses. We had our own dinner at 8.30 & it was 11.30 before we were finished. Our turkey was very good & the Christmas pudding, issued in rations - really good.
So much for Christmas Day. For both of us it will have been a less Christmas-like time than last year. let no hope that next year we will be able to keep it more as we would wish.
Are you receiving Canadian mail yet. I suppose my belated letter will be turning up.
Hope all goes well
With all my love