Major GS Andrews, 30 Cdn Air Svy Liaison Sec
First Cdn Army Overseas.
24 May 44
Here it is Wednesday, and your letter isn't off yet. Have had some busy nights, cant be helped I guess. And today yours of the 14th arrived, so can answer it right off. Sometimes they come so fast, and then some seem to biter on the way. It averages very well though.
You seem to be operating a chicken pox clinic, or sanatorium, anyway, it is good of you to take Joan under your wing, and no doubt grand fun for the two kids. Mary's letter arrived last Sat, and a very impressive one, boating evidently the main theme, but other items covering a wide range of interests, even a church, which possibly has something to do with the Sunday school. We shall certainly have to see about a boat. The parcel of cookies also arrived in good condition, and so nicely done up, with each one individually wrapped. Think I like the crisp cookies best, but the shortbread and the little cakes are very good too.
At last we are messing independently now, for almost a year we have had to attach our small unit to a larger one for food, however it never was satisfactory, and when the most recent one moved away, we decided to cook for ourselves. One of my draughtsmen has proven to be an experienced cook, and he pitched in and filled the gap, which I thought was a very worthy effort, however, I cant spare him for very long on the technical work, so managed to scrounge a so-called cook, not a very inspiring specimen, but we are making out by giving him a bit of supervision. Another thing too, we get all our rations, and know what happens to them. The effect on the morale has been good too, we are like one family now quite self contained, and independent. If I could only get a cook like the old boys we used to get for our survey parties out in BC it would be ideal. I realize since being in the army, what wonderful men those old survey cooks were. The army still doesn't recognize that a cook is just about as important as the CO of a unit. In the old survey days, we used to pay the cook next highest to the chief of party. The army does quite the opposite. Cooks get the lowest category of trade pay.
Glad the doings around the house are completed at last, and that you are pleased with the results. The furniture is OK with me, there's nothing too good for the "Irish" as they say, and I like good stuff too. Am looking forward to seeing the changes. So you found the old notebook, the things you mentioned are like old friends, and I remember them well, the one about the "bandy legs, and dandy legs" is one I got from my old Grandmother when I was studying at Toronto University. She was the wife of two Methodist preachers, the second being my grandfather, she was 86 when I knew her, and over 90 when she died. Remember being quite amused at the old soul cutting out a verse like that. I keep a little note-book now, but put very few things in it, and those are not too interesting, am afraid that we are all to preoccupied with the war just now. Anyway, our letters seem to be taking the place of a diary, have kept all yours, and a carbon of most of mine, put them away in storage every once in a while. Sent one batch of them to you, and seem to remember you saying you had them when I was home.
Have been out all day, its quite a change, as the work has kept me very much at home during the past few months. Had lunch at the Williamson Factory, where they make the air cameras. They often ask my opinion of camera design, and the practical aspects of it. The balance of the trip took me into London, and after getting my business finished, took three hours in the Turkish baths, there is quite a good one near Trafalgar Sq, where Bert Hayward took me first, last winter. Have tried to get in about once a month since, and think I am healthier for it.
Think I told you we got a workshop to make us a portable horizontal bar, and I have used it to take my daily dozen on, with beneficial results. It is about the finest type of exercise, and has a wholesome feature in that it is no doubt a hark back to the very primitive stage of our evolution when we did quite a lot of hanging from branches by our tails, arms, legs etc. Mary would love it, and when I get home will probably fix one up and can teach her the different stunts, which being young and lithe, she will no doubt excel by far the best her teacher could do.
Took 24 hours off over Sat night, at Morris's. Bert Hammond and I both descended on them, and it was so nice not to have to bike all the way home after the evening, but just to be able to retire to nice twin beds, with clean white sheets. Bert and I don't see each other so much now, everybody being busy, so it makes a nice visit for him and me, as well as with the Morris's. We usually talk about all kinds of mutual interests after getting into bed. As usual, Ecila killed the fatted calf. They are very fond of Bert, and so when we are both there together, the "lids off". I was able to take down a little dab of sugar, marge and tea, which seems to help out a lot with the rations. A special item on the menu was a lovely lemon pie, made with your powder, and eggs from their six old hens. We did a few chores and had a grand time. They have no maid now, so we all pitch in with the dishwashing laying fires etc. Mrs M is pretty bright, but sometimes I think she looks very frail. She often remarks on how well she seems to know you, and has a very deep affection for you.
HEAPS OF LOVE