Saturday 11 August 1917
Shady & cool
8am Saturday – under the blanket bivvie – won’t be for long
Seeing that I may hear from you in a few days I’m scratching this – it’s over your turn but I dunno where you are. ‘The Gunyah’ at any of the 2 or 3 post offices you mentioned might find you but I’d sooner know which is the one before I send to you at your new consolation (?) desolation!
Mail – a week delayed – came in last night about bed time – good good good goody good! So while I have the chance I’m writing to tell you about it. But now for an hour or two I must get out of here – saddle up & get to work at filling water carts down at the wadi – so hooroo.
Sunday – 1.30pm
My 2 hours job was over & when I got back to camp I found that the troop had had orders to go out – & I had to hickory a bit of tucker into me & go too. It was a bucksheesh sort of day, pretty quiet but temperature hot enough till the breeze came up in the afternoon: we were able to boil the ‘quarts’ tho so did orright. Late in the aftee 3 or 4 chaps who had been on an outpost a mile or so away came back & brought with them a quantity of figs, almonds & prickly pears! So we who had just been eating our tea – bread & marmalade – had a top up of fresh fruit! The secrets of this country take finding out don’t they?
The prickly pears are common & not bad – now – tho once I’d have said ‘ugh’ to them: some fellows eat them – like – like – like – the figs were a bit green but real good – fancy eating figs out here! Not too bad sometimes eh?
We were pretty late getting home last night so it was a good job we did have the fruit to keep us going. Our appetites are still good as ever – I reck. I’m hungry now – cos in 2 hours we are off again for 24 or 30 hours. Going a long way too this try so far as I can find out – not towards the little place called Lookah (?) but the one with 9 letters in the name & part of which spells a very favourite but scarce tonic, especially among old sojers [Beersheba]. I don’t know if it’s where the beautiful queen [of Sheba] once lived – the one who went to see Solomon y’know – but one of these fine days we are going up to have a screw it at & to stay you bet – unless accidents happen.
But I’ve no time to tell you now of my proposed future explorations. Just now – before dinner I had my West Aust mail – another 4 letters – also a paper ‘Fauldings Journal’ [from 1906 to 1919, a monthly magazine Faulding’s Journal was published covering a similar range of topics to today’s New Scientist] – dunno who sent the latter but the postmark is Kilkenny. My letters were from all of you – ’cept you – & the ‘Hockey one’ photo which is bonny.
Also the photos of the Elf came safely to light – good. That must have been rather aggranoying about the parcel – ‘blinkin’ ass’ Mack – are you? Well I dunno – perhaps you are also in love! Might be worse. Ray’s letter came too – bad luck about eating all Ruth’s chocs that night at Hartley’s wasn’t it? Never never worry. Also Benny – Hurt, Coz Frank, Donie, Aunt Flo & today 2 from Miss Ashton with an appendix to one by Marion Halliday. Jean & her mother got home but had a good shaking while crossing the Bight – & Jean Gilmour & Mr Harry. So that was a good mail wasn’t it – but you’ve no idea how good till you come out here & try it – it’s just about worthwhile coming to the war for the letters! But you’d be interested too Ruth, in letters, if you stay a few weeks at your ‘hermitage’ – how about giving you a race home.
The Gyppo mail today says that Turkey is about moulting & flapping to her fall. I hope it’s true & then we will be sent to help the English Cavalry to chase the Deutsches back to their German fraues. That would be the day! I had a letter from Wilf Rowe again last week – he is all right – at Moascar again for a week or so but expects to come out again to join the Regt shortly. Bob Sunman poked his head in here this morning – by accident – looking for somebody else – so we exchanged news. His mother & people are all OK – he is as fat as most soldiers – fatter than the average – he is in Camel Corps.
Another Laura boy in the troop – Wally Semmens – just back from hospital: used to be out east of our place, but moved over to Beetaloo side some years ago. I remembered the name and asked him – & he remembered the name Kentish but neither of us remember the other – only we know lots of people in common.
I gave a cable to Eric Cox to send for me from Cairo a few days ago – so you may have heard by now: ‘old 8 alright going strong’ – you may think that ‘Jaick’ is back – but he is not – but I worded it [illegible] … if you met any of the others’ families. Cos I know Jack is all right & it’s certain we other 7 are. I see most of Herb & Lance & Arch cos they are in A Squadron, but Phil & Les are not far off, & we often see Frank Jones – camped quite near just at present. Think I’ll have to get ready now for the stunt so hooroo & good luck at the Gunyah – will write soon.
Your letters dated June 28th
Good for the Horsehoe holiday Dork!