Friday Aug 23 1918
I am off duty this evening without the girls so it is a good time to get some letters written. When we are all off together we generally go out or else waste our time talking.
To-morrow we arranged to have our half day together and we are going up to Town. First time since we have come & it is just 3 wks tonight since we landed in Reading.
There is a train up which will get us there a little after 3. It leaves here at 2.12 and the one we come back (word crossed out, “back”) by leaves London at 9.15 & we get in here shortly after 10 so get up to Park House before 10.30 which is the latest you are allowed to stay out. We will be able to have tea and dinner, but won’t have time to go to a theatre however it will be a nice change.
Now I must tell you all about my birthday. It was Tuesday as you know. Mary & Marion gave me a dear little rose vase with ½ roses in it: then they bought a cake which Daphne & Eva made boiled frosting for. & brought up here in the afternoon so the 3 of us had quite a party that night. Eva is initialing a pair of guest towels for me. Daphne gave me two sweet handkerchiefs one mauve and the other yellow, but the best of all was Canadian mail arriving that day too with a letter from you written Aug 3rd from Sheffield two remailed from Stan, one from Kip & the 4th from Sister Robinson in Leeds. I also had a letter from Stanley with a check for 1£ in it. Wasn’t it thoughtful of him. I sent your letter on to Atwood as I know he will like getting letters while in hospital. I haven’t heard from him for a week not but I am sure he must be getting on all right.
I had a letter from Semi yesterday and they are quiet for s time. I guess they have had a pretty stiff time of it. Although they feel they have done pretty well. A grand many officers in the 26th Batt. were wounded but Ray was all right as he didn’t have to go over the top that day. Isn’t it sad about Jim Holly. His family will feel so badly. I am going to try & find out to-morrow what hospital Wallace Alward is in & whether he is badly wounded or not.
The weather has been unbearably hot for the last week & it was pretty hard to sleep at nights. To-day it is cooler though & we were all thankful for the change as it is hard to work in the heat.
Another Canadian girl from Vancouver arrived here this week. She has never been in hospital before so finds things rather strange. They expect you to be able to do anything and everything here. I never heard tell of a hospital where the V.A.D.’s are allowed to do so much. You might think we were qualified nurses, but I must say so much responsibility is a little too much at times. I am sure in France you could hardly get more experience – why even Mary who has only been in a military hospital 3 wks. is allowed to do as much as we did in Leeds after our 8 months. Afternoon after afternoon I am in full charge of 3 wards with a total of 42 patients & nobody else on except an orderly to help me. The place is frightfully understaffed.
We don’t have to go on duty here till 7.30 so we arise at 6.30 breakfast at 7. We come off at 8 at night. The food is better than at Leeds but the hospital is so small in comparison & set right down in the hottest part of the city without any glass & very few trees.
Park house is a nice old place with a lovely garden & if the sisters & matron didn’t live here too it wouldn’t be half bad. I think I told you that I have a 5 minute walk to my hospital. Where Marion & Mary are is farther away. I have never yet even seen the building where Mary helps out, but No.1 where Crocket is we pass on our way to catch a car into town. They go back & forth to work in a motor ambulance. There is a Miss Thompson a V.A.D from Halifax rather elderly & she says she used to visit the Roberts in Fredericton at the Rectory. Thinks I look like Uncle Hedley. There is another Canadian V.A.D. who has been her 3 yrs. (was in Malta too). Her name is Craig & she hails from London Ont.
Semi expects to get leave in December or January, I will be able to get leave then too. Our 6 months contract here ends in January. Eva & Daphne think Mary & I are foolish not to get married then & then we 4 girls could live some place together, but don’t tell anybody we are even thinking of it because we might after all.
Here I have written quite a long letter. I do hope you and father are well. Wonder if Hazel & Freddie are still with you. Intended sending Hazel a card in time for her birthday but one has very little time to think ahead here.
Lots of love to you all.