April 6, 1940
Received your letter of the twenty-fourth, so of course was glad to hear from you. I am also glad to hear that Dad is ready to come home and I am sure he will have the time of his life, when he is able to be around again, what with helping Alan plan his Spring work and you with the garden. I sent the seeds several weeks ago, and they should have reached you days ago. I hope they arrive in time and are of suitable varieties and that they will prove as much superior as you expect. I am very glad to know that the Company is bearing the expense of the operation, as it will save you and Dad a lot of worry. I answered your last letter on Saturday, so news is a little scarce, but will do my best to keep from boring you. It seems funny to hear you speaking of crows, as we see them all the time here. We are enjoying wonderful weather at present, the temperature being around seventy and with a bright sun shining. I played a game of baseball yesterday and I helped to defeat a team from the Eleventh Field battery by a score of fourteen to six, so perhaps I will get more sport than I expected. I am sure you must be very tired of entertaining young Tom, who though willing enough, is often very aggravating. Tell Alan to buy a large funnel to act as an ear trumpet and present it to Tom or give his orders in writing.
I got a nice letter from Liulf yesterday, which I answered promptly. He seems quite cheerful in spite of all and says he is looking forward to seeing me again. I sometimes wonder if we will ever see the front and whether we will be sent on garrison duty. I do hope that I will see a little excitement before returning, as I will feel cheated if I don’t. Things have been very dull this past week, with hour after hour of lectures and no driving. I think I will stick to driving until we get over to France – if ever – and then get back to the guns at the first chance, depending what my duties as a driver are.
Having been a farmer doesn’t help much in the army, as tradesmen get the nod every time, but I hope to prove my worth when we are subjected to fire, which I think many of these punks hope never happens.
I had a couple of photos taken, which I will enclose. Please give my love to all the kids and tell them that I think of them often, even if I don’t write to them separately. We see lots of good-looking English kids and make an English girl mad by asking her what becomes of them when they grow up, as I hadn’t seen many of them around. This girl I speak of is a member of the A.T.S. and looks very charming in her natty uniform. She is well educated and I have a lot of fun kidding her about some of the little things the English do that seem slightly foolish to us.
I call the train the “rattler” or “stinker,” which makes her fume and then go on to tell her how much superior ours are. They are all very interested in pictures of the West and if you can get me some of general scenes I would like very much to have them.
The people are for the most part kind and today we were told that four of each section will be given a three-day leave to go to Birmingham as guests of the city. The trip will cost about thirteen shillings and as the date is shortly after pay day, and shouldn’t prove too expensive. A list of the lucky ones was to be published by noon today, but so far hasn’t appeared. If I am lucky enough to get this trip, I will write again on my return and tell you all about it.
Well, I suppose you are just biting your finger nails and waiting for the snow to go so that you can start your gardening again. There are several kinds of birds over here quite like our own, such as the black bird, robin (in song) and the wren, but I miss the cheery song of the meadow lark and song sparrow. I have been attending lectures all week on maintenance of vehicles and have learned several little things which might prove interesting to Alan, e.g. 1. Do not fill the crankcase too full as it causes excessive carboning and waste of oil. 2. Be sure to use feeler gauge to set spark plugs, as loss of power is the result if the gaps are not exact. I don’t think he will have any difficulty with the tractor as it should be in very good shape.
I had a picture taken the other day at a studio in Borden and I think it is lousy but will send one if it will fit in an envelope. I am going to try and get pictures of the camp and surrounding country for you and, if so, will send them promptly. It was with amusement that I read of your new parson and can’t help but wonder why there should be such d---- fools. At least it will give the ladies a good topic for conversation and keep them busy for a while. If you see the Wallis’s, give them my regards and tell his reverence that I attend church every Sunday (at the Major’s request) which should startle him. Well, space is short, so must necessarily close now. Love to you all.