3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Sunday 2 December 1917 – buying bread & fruit, Jewish Sabbath

Received parcel from home with new water bag ~ people selling bread, cake, oranges, jam, tobacco at high prices ~ Jewish Sabbath ~ large winery near camp, acres of vines

 

Sunday 2 December 1917

Dear Ruth

S’pose by the time this gets to you it will be 1918 – & you’ll be getting ready again for the North after Xmas holidays. I hope you have received my letter in answer to your long one from the Gunyah & the cake & chocs etc. Lucky you did send that parcel a bit early cos it seems doubtful when any later ones may reach us. However I had mine all right the other day with the water bags etc inside – as I told Mack in a green envelope letter [posted 3 or 4 days ago. I have mine in use already & it is holding well.

Lance Neville took the other one. I could have easily disposed of a dozen I think. Not much these days that I can write about – but if I see you any time I’ll pitch a good tale you bet.

letter19171202

I’m sending along a few short notes like this while the opportunity lasts – our GPO may close for business any day with no warning whatsoever. So if I get 2 or 3 letters going you ought to get one at least – & you’ll know we are doing A1 on rations & bought brown bread & oranges etc.

Have had time the last few days to fake up a few fancy dinners & eat ‘em too. Goodo. Also have had a bit of sleep & a wash or two & had our boots off – quite a change. Did I mention in my other letters that I had seen Fred Hollis? He is in the Motor Despatch Riders Corps & is attached to the 4th Brigade – the one Ken Gilmour is in. Fred was camped near us one night & he rode over & dug up Herb Groves & me & one or two others & stayed a little while. He looks well & apparently is doing alright.

We had the experience yesterday of seeing the Sabbath – in dinkum Jewland. I don’t know how they carry on in the town – or about church or that sort of caper but we noticed it particularly in the absence of the people from our camp all day. Usually as soon as it is light in the mornings we are swarmed with boys & girls & men & women with baskets of bread & cake & bags of oranges & tins of jam sometimes – or tobacco & stuff for sale! Dickin they can’t charge for it either! I think they never heard of any price lower than a shilling. Any how bread is 1/- a loaf & we bought a fair bit. The trouble is to get change for our Gyppo notes. But we manage by working it in 2 or 3 sections together & taking turns to buy 10 loaves of bread. Well – yesterday being Saturday – was the Sabbath & so none of our visitors were round with their goods.

We saw some during the aftie walking round in what probably was their best ‘clobber’. At any rate some of the girls’ dresses were most fanciful if not altogether artistic. They dress something after our fashion but shawls (not scarves Mack) & funny old sandals & often no socks are common. And lots of the women in some places wear the dinkum harem skirts. The men’s dress is also something similar to our ‘civvie’ fashion. Saw some of the boys yesterday afternoon playing footer – soccer I think. I don’t know whether their religious day finishes at noon?

So this morning when the crowd came again with their ‘brod’ – ‘Fresh brod’ or ‘Brett’ as they call it – we told them it was Sunday & we didn’t buy things on Sunday! They wouldn’t have that at all & naturally – after the break yesterday our bread stocks were a bit low so they eventually sold a bit. I’m on the lookout now for a few loaves for our section – we didn’t get any & issue today was a bit short.

There is a big winery in the town near here: said to be the 3rd biggest in the world: up to date there had not been much wine in the camp but some of the chaps have sampled it. There are a good many acres of grape vines pretty close – all bare now of course.

Well – finish for this trip – see you ’nother day.

Love to ye all

Spence

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