Dec 28th 1915
Well its all over for another year. And I am glad of it. You know I rather dreaded Xmas over here, not exactly dreaded but didn't prefer it. But I was so busy right up 'till Xmas day that didn't realize that it was here. Then on Xmas day I took a real holiday. Did not go near the office all day. First day I have not worked since I came over here, well over three months ago.
Yes, I was particularly lazy that day. Did not get out up 'till 10:30 a.m. Gledhill suggested bringing my breakfast to bed for me and offered no resistance whatsoever. So I spent the whole morning until one o'clock in the room. Then I went over to lunch. We had a fine meal, chicken pie & all kinds of good things.
After dinner a couple of the boys came over and we played [sic] opened up parcels and played a quiet game of cards. (which, by the way, is not considered bad form over here) and ate nuts, fruit & etc. Then we had some nice cocoa (Mother's) and went out for a walk.
At 6:30 we had dinner. Fine dinner. Never expected to see so many good things again. Chicken, turkey, cake, pudding, everything. Everything but cranberry sauce which I did miss sorely. You will have to have an extra stock on hand next Xmas.
We were fortunate to get our turkey early. One of the battalion (27th Winnipeg) decided to feed the men with turkeys. So the colonel sent two officers out with instructions to get the goods. The scoured the country with a motor but birds were scarce & they had about 800 men to feed. Well they found some and started to buy at 2 francs a pound (40 cents). Soon the people got wise and up went the price. Finally they paid $1.25 a pound & the last few birds which were 12 pounders cost $15.00 apiece. The natives never lose a chance to stick it into us. Do you blame us for getting sore once in awhile with the brutes? However the Col is a good sport & didn't bat an eye-lash. And the men had a real dinner Xmas day.
A great wave of economy has swept over the Government. They are cutting down pay right and left. They have cut me down by $3.00 a day, and I expect I will soon be owing them money for privilege of eating but I should worry about that. I always laugh when I think of Sewell camp. They gave us $2.50 a day and then charged us $3.00 for our mess. Great game isn't it? But we are certainly not over here for what we can make, and I am getting all I need & then some, and have no kick coming.
Garfat is not well yet. He works a little in the forenoons & then rides, walks or rests in afternoon. Col ordered him to stay out of office in afternoons. This afternoon I was alone at office and had a very big parade. I worked last two men in darkness practically. As a result I am very tired tonight but fine otherwise. I don't mind working hard when I am doing some good, and feeling so fit myself.
I may take my leave & go to London in about a month or 6 weeks. I don't really need it but I think the change will help break up the winter. I expect to get a week when I do get it. Later on in the spring If I get another leave I think I shall go over to Ireland. I have some friends in Dublin who have written me inviting me to go several times. I mean written several times inviting me to go "once".
Now one big thank you to all for the lovely big parcel and all the good things. You are all too good. I have rec'd so many nice things from so many nice people. My English friends certainly have not forgotten me either. I hope we don't have to move until we get some of it used up. There is scarcely room on the mantle piece for all our Xmas cards & they still continue to come.
Aunt Jean sent from London office a huge hamper of eats. It came in three different parcels as it was too big to come in one. Everything from 'Quaker Oats' to after dinner mints. Chicken, turkey, lobster, cheese, sausages, biscuits, fruits, nuts, candies, cake, plum pudding, everything you could think of. She is the limit & Uncle Bert sent cigars, dandies. Ruth & Alfred sent a Xmas cake from home with "From Ruth & Alfred" written across the top in icing. Mother's shroud is a beauty and I appreciate every stitch of it. Marge's socks look good to me & that makes 12 pairs so far. Firenza Gilroy knit[ted] me a pair of 'Jaeger' woolen socks and sent me a huge parcel of eats as well. Gibson Gilroy has enlisted and may be in England now.
I will write Marjory Lockhart very soon, as soon as I get my wind again, as it were. I sent her a Xmas card, one of my last edition, the special English Edition, you know. I had to send 52 cards this year but I didn't send much else.
I will tell Mother what her present is to be, at least I hope it will come out alright. The little girls at the convent are making a nice little "centre table throw" but they are so busy that it may be some time yet before it is finished. But Mother must live in hopes.
It is 11:15 p.m. now so I will close and hit the blankets. I tried to get a cable off but it is very difficult as things were badly tied up last week. However, you may get it some day. Anyway it still holds good. Lots of love for you all and I'm feeling fine still.
P. S. Please send this on to Alf as it is for all.