c/o Chief Postal Censor,
21 July 1940.
The past week has been such a busy one that I got up this morning thinking it was Saturday and wondered by the batman was so late in polishing up my boots, and why no one was down to breakfast at the usual hour - Hector, the faithful steward looked at me rather blankly and finally suggested that it was Sunday.
We moved our company during the week to an entirely different part of England, and are now getting established in a lovely old country home. It seems most luxurious & spacious after the somewhat crowded quarters in town. The main part of the house is over 200 years old, more recent additions have enlarged it, and it has been modernized & made very comfortable in recent times - The officers' quarters are fine - large bedrooms are shared by 2 officers - and each has a real modern bathroom - The dining room is a beautifully paneled - and the common room is large & well furnished with floor-up windows on two sides - The owner has been kind enough to leave a generous distribution of lovely big carpets - The grounds are also lovely with fine old trees, including some enormous yew trees - which I think are particularly grand. The surrounding country is rolling - farming country - and no big cities only quaint little villages - it is quite a pleasant change I keep imagining if Jean could only be here to enjoy it - we could go for some lovely walks. Yes I certainly hope that you will be able to come over here when the war is over and see all these things. I think the real beauty of England is in the country side - and ancient little villages - The big towns are too crowded and stuffy.
I went down to Aldershot for some stuff the other day and it was a lovely trip - through Oxford, Henley - Don't think I should care to be stationed at Aldershot - although it was an interesting place to see. I spent some time in Oxford when I was over here 7 years ago - and it was agreeable to see familiar landmarks again. I found my way to the Forestry college, but all my acquaintances were away and Professor Tromp died last fall.
One of our neighboring towns is Stratford-on-Avon - so I may have a chance to brush up on Shakespeare.
I took my first lesson on a motor cycle yesterday and did not too badly - the most serious hazard was a herd of cows - which by good luck was successfully negotiated without damage to them or me. Hope to get some more practice this week and with reasonable increase in skill & confidence should be able to navigate o.k. It is quite exhilarating.
Your letter of 22 June arrived early in the week just before we moved, I am glad you are getting better settled in your job - and sorry your pay is so meager, but I expected it would be about that. Am glad you have made the acquaintance of Kay Robinson - she is a good sort. Have made a note of Ken McConnel's sisters address, and if I get down to London again I will look them up. Had a good letter from Jack Benton too, and am delighted to learn that he is making a good showing on the flying - and that there seems to be a good bit of work for the Air Survey Section this year, in spite of the curtailment of some of the votes. Give Clarke my heartiest congratulations - I can just imagine Clarke walking around on air - he will be a proud daddy - I guess Marc will be the next - I seem to be missing out on a lot of important events back on the home front.
So far the cigarettes and tobacco have not turned up - but the boys here tell me that parcels take much longer than letters - so they should begin to arrive soon. Don't send more than 300 cigarettes and 1 pound of Dixie plug per month - that will keep me going nicely.
I caught a cold in Southampton, but have it conquered nicely - the first one I've had. My health has been first class - and I am getting all I want to eat, in fact my weight still has a tendency to creep up unless I watch carefully. You don't mention having received any of the credits I have had transferred to our Bank in Victoria I hope they are coming through regularly. The last one was not very big - but I can resume the Â£18 again at the end of this month. My transfer to the Canadian Army has not gone through yet, but I still have hopes that it will come through eventually. My O.C. here is supporting the transfer and that will help. Like most things in the army, it takes time.
Am gradually getting to know the men of this unit better - and there are some first class fellows among them. The Company Sargent-Major is a seasoned old lad - and was stationed at Work Point Barracks for some years. There is a Corporal Andrews on the strength - but I haven't had a chance to make his acquaintance. Several are French-Canadians - and they are good workers.
I suppose Mac and Anne will be moving into their new house soon. Wish I could be there for the house-warming - I suppose Hugh & Heggie are well settled in their home on Gonzales -
Had a letter from Uncle Ashton at Medicine Hat - he doesn't think he will be able to visit the west this summer but if he does, he is going to look up his new niece and grandniece.
Best love to you & Mary-
As ever -