12 February 1918
B’lieve I’ve not written home since the 1st – bad luck – here’s a short note to catch the first mail that goes if it’s lucky, I wrote to Mother last Friday week on my way back from leave & posted it at a station down the line.
Still here if that is definite news for you & keeping pretty quiet. The weather is bonz & sunny now – but we have just recovered from a four days rain & it was wet enough too. Luckily we were not shifting about – & more over our section is at present living in a tent – so we kept our stuff dry & ourselves too mostly. The country has improved in looks during the last month: grass is coming up everywhere & crops are growing quite a lot, so there is a springy fresh green tinge all over the ground. Also the summer fruit trees are just coming into blossom – & almonds are getting white in the numerous gardens: so when the oranges are done there should soon be more fruit & grapes to take their place.
Of course I reckon we’ll have time & opportunity for picking these fruits when ripe. ‘It’s better further up’ so says our padre – in a lecture given at the Y Emma last Sunday night. I’ll tell you about that when I’ve been there to see.
We had A Squadron sports the other day – bare back wrestling, best turned out man – drill order mounted: high jump, long jump, 100 yards & 220 yards races & a relay race. I had a go at the long jump – & the 100 yards but there were a good many better than I. I was in our troop team (4 men) in the relay race & we got second place. The wrestling on horseback was good fun: a team of eight men from each troop. Our chaps were pulled off by their opponents. The ‘best turned out man’ was the cause of a shiny parade of 10 competitors & the Colonel had a hard job to pick the winner, but at last gave it to one of our troop men, There were some horse jumping events this morning which were pretty good & section fours etc this afternoon. I didn’t enter Brownie as I don’t know whether she can jump.
I saw Frank Jones last night & he told me that our cable arrived home just before Xmas – so that’s good. Several of you were hoping in my last letters that you might hear – that was on the 18th – & Father has had a letter dated 23rd by which time the cable had been received.
You were telling me about the picnic at Long Gully & Ruth coming home to surprise you that night. Not bad fun. I wonder where she is now – & also if Ray & Joy are still with you, helping you to keep in form at tennis. You must be shooting up – sure if you are 5 feet 4½ inches don’t you mean 4 ft 4½ ? You’ll soon be as tall as Mother – a chap won’t know his ickle sister when he gets home. Probably the holidays are over now & you are back at WHS [Woodville High School] starting to stew for the old Junior. Good Luck – I hope you’ll find it pretty comfortable & easy. You’ve got to get in the hockey team this year don’t forget, & the team must go top & to Melbourne eh?
I’m looking now for another mail – to tell me about your Xmas & New Year & perhaps something from Ruth & Dorc in Sydney.
Guess I didn’t tell you that I found another bunch of letters awaiting me on return from leave. Ruth’s big one of 18th December was among them – also heard from Wit, Stow, Hal, Mrs Harry, Miss Ashton, Nelly (Gilmour) Thompson & ‘Ickle Jan’. And the parcel I had heard about from home was there too – so we had supper on cocoa & cake & raisins etc on the night after I came back – like we did the night before I went away. The cake was goodO. I haven’t had one yet that hasn’t been – so anyway that’s superfluous but no doubt you like to hear how it arrives & so on. The tin this time had had a good bump – looked as if it had been in a footer match & I was wondering whether the cake might be broken but – finish – it was as good as new – both in looks & taste.
Here’s a chance to post – so