Sunday 27 January 1918
‘Shufti’ [have a look at] the pen & ink & guess where I am now! Not Cairo or Jeroos or Alex – so now you know [Port Said] – got my leave & started from home (?) last Sunday & have lived on the ‘grease’ of the land since about Monday midday. Don’t know what I’ve done much except ‘carry on’ & see round the town etc & play tennis mostly. There are two courts for common dirty low down soldiers as we have been making good use of them: can’t play much of course – but we are beginning to pick up form now a bit & have some jolly good games.
The most exciting thing that has come our way up to date was t’other day when we went to the hospital – & met & talked to a Lady! Fair the dink – it was the first white lady I had seen to speak to for nearly 12 months: she was Sister Veit – in pre-was days she was Matron of Blyth Hospital – did her training at same time as Annie Walter & Nurse Howie. Also knows Smiths from Laura & others up there – & lots round Unley & Mitcham where she ‘growed up’. She knows ‘Hoolie’ & the Williams & Princes & Prouds & Coz Charlie Kentish’s family a bit – said she knew Edgar well. So we had a very (for me) enjoyable yarn for nearly half an hour. She has been on the job from the start & put on over 3 years between Egypt & East Africa – so like some others – won’t be sorry when they ring down the curtain.
Perhaps you’ll get this as soon as my last written to Mother (& one before that to Dorc) both of which were posted out beyond. Guess I told you of the mail having come in & of my letters coming safe & sure – but on Saturday night – the night before we left – I got Ruth’s 2nd parcel – with cake, socks etc in it – goodO the nug! We made cocoa that night & had some supper! The cake was quiessketir [quaiss kitir – very good]! otherwise bonz! So are the socks Ruth – I wanted a soft sort of pair – cos I gave away two pairs of good old ones – & my others were nearly all of thick wool – a bit tight in my new boots but the new greys are k’right.
I brought my late letters down with me in the hope of answering some – but finish! Can’t seem to settle down at all: its worse by far than out there for the restless feeling. But we are quite willing to get a reminder of homesickness almost – for a change.
It’s interesting in account of the change – but there’s not much to do or see in Port Said. We have been twice to the pictures & had two fair concerts at the Y Emma near the rest camp (our sleeping place) – other nights we have walked the streets or read books – or done anything or nothing. Some chaps could write – I thought about it several times – but all I’ve accomplished so far is this scrawl. We always finish up about 9 o’clock by supper. Also have buns & tea both for morning & afternoon lunches. We eat up at camp for Brek but have other meals anywhere round town – like directly we will have tea here – a soldiers and sailors institute.
Finish paper – more later.