30 Cdn Air Survey Liaison Sec, RCE
Canadian Army England. 1 Aug 44
Here it is, first of August. Almost a year ago I hurried up to London to begin my flight home. It was a grand break that, even if the two weeks with you seemed only a moment, when I left, I said two years more, well one of those has practically gone, but I hope the second one will not have a chance to run completely through. Current opinion seems to expect Germany to crack up pretty soon, what a mess they are making of their own country, and all the others they can reach. The schedule in Normandy seems a bit behind schedule but considering the devlish weather they have had practically ever since D day, we cant complain. Today was the first really fine day we've had since before that, and the haze was pretty thick at that. Air operations which are so important, haven't had half a chance with the weather plugged up like it has been. Its also given the flying bomb offensive every advantage.
The package of soap came and it is my old favorite, it was thoughtful of you to remember that. It will be a luxury. Took a cake over to Morris's on Sunday, just to give them a taste of something nice. Went over there before lunch intending to finish the pagoda like wood shelter I started to build, and did finish it but not till supper time. Had intended to come back here for supper, but couldn't resist their call. Bert Hammond was there again too, and had a wonderful meal, including onions. Mrs. Morris' renowned onion & tomato salada. She says she sent you the recipe, for both the salad and the sauce, hope you get it. If not let me know, and I'll get it again. Am quite pleased with the wood shelter. It is supported by two trees, a big pine at one end, and a beech at the other. Made the supports and framework entirely of dry split pine poles which I cut from the adjoining wood. Had thought of making a completely rustic job of it but to put a straw roof on would have taken too much time, so used tar paper, fluted over the supporting rafters, and held down on the outside by sapling stripe. It still looks quite rustic, and is quite rainproof. The two trees are the only supports, so there are no corner posts to bump into. Think it will shelter just about all the wood, so the old place will be available for coal, and kindling. What a mistake it is to build a house without a basement. It means a whole cluster of out-buildings of assorted sizes and degrees of beauty or ugliness, mostly the latter.
Your letter of 23 July arrived today, Ecila will be thrilled with the dress goods. Mrs. Hayward is shortish, plump and muscular but not fat, she is fair with a good complexion. Think she is about 10 years younger than Bert. She has been very good to Bill and me.
I think it is an excellent idea to let Mary go to kindergarten. It should be a good one, and I agree with you that she should not go for more than the half day. It will provide something for her to bite into, and keep her faculties occupied with new things. Perhaps most important she will have more company her own age, learn a little social discipline and fair play. St Margarets would be alright if you can arrange for her getting there. There used to be a primary school at the lower end of Blanchard St, near Dallas Road. Poor child, if she is shy, and can make formal little thank you speech why I shouldn't worry about it. She will grow out of it, but it will help her if she is encouraged to do that sort of thing, but in a very gentle and indirect way. A subtle kind of courage is required of parents to shield their children from their own pride in them in front of friends, or strangers.
Glad to note that you are able to do a little reading again. China is a country that has always fascinated me too. I do hope I will be given a decent trip out of all this work. I often wonder about the old job in the Forest Branch. It would be wonderful if Mulholland got into a position of importance, then I would feel sure of scope for my talents in the country I know best and love best. Kipling said in his fine poem "Sussex by the Sea", something to the effect that God, because his heart is Great gave men all Earth to love, but because his heart is small, "man loves one spot in it best of all. Wish I could get a professorship in a good Engineering college, in my stuff, with enough free time to carry on active consultant work, and perhaps be a sleeping (but wide awake) partner in an Air Survey firm. My aunt Irene used to talk about me getting on the staff at the West China University, at Chengtu. I suppose the salaries at that sort of a place are pretty slim tho. Maybe I had better write her, and get her to whisper in Kai Szeck or whatshisname's ear. Poor little Irene will be slipping away soon she was very frail, and must be getting on in years.
Had a most interesting visit week ago Sat from Ray Bourne, my old Oxford professor. He took us to inspect some forestry work he was managing in this district. Saw some lovely flowers in the horticultural gardens, may be you can get them for ours: Erigeron machranthus. May be off tomorrow for a short two day trip with my American friends sounds interesting, if it materialized.
LOVE to you BOTH....