On the track
Sunday 10 March 1918
We are up amongst the rocks & hills again – good O! & just out a bit the ‘bug fellas’ are talking getting further away too, which goes to prove my argument that we are winning.
We us & co are waiting – dunno what for – maybe for a bit of flat country & a chase! You’ve never seen such hills as these for stones stones stones, in fact they are of strata of rock with just a pinch of dirt chucked over them & it dribbles down the sides & settles here & there. And a little bit of grass & flowers have the cheek to grow – in some places quite a lot.
We are not on the same track as last time – three weeks ago – But I guess we may finish up somewhere near the same place eventually, when a bit of the ground ahead has been cleared (not of scrub – you know). The ‘oly city is just down south of us a few miles, we had several glimpses of it as we passed by on the heights of the hills the other day – its spires & minarets stick up pretty distinctly for it is on a hill like all the towns & villages here. Evidently the people of Palestine have heard of the chap that tried sand for a foundation. I always think of the verse ‘A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid’ – & lots more rubbish stuff is always kicking at my brain box. Wish you could see us – where we are.
I mentioned that it was Sunday – now about 11am so you’ll just about all be at Fins (Finsbury Park Baptist Church – now Woodville Park] at this minute at evening church parade. S’pose it’s starting to get a little cooler occasionally your way: it’s getting the other way here in the day time tho a fella can do with plenty of ‘nap’ these nights they are both dewy & cold. Apparently the rain has just about imsheed [gone].
I’ve meant several times to mention this – please send another couple of water bags same as last time if you have not already sent one going. Looks as if we may need them yet – & if we don’t – well I’ll be quite satisfied to lose the quid if the war ends. But – fair dinkum we’re not having a bad time. We must earn our coldfooted title – or at least keep it now we have it – so just tell everyone we are out on a huge picnic – don’t know how long the delightful time will last – we have lovely horses to ride & our food is always given us ‘backsheesh’ [free] & if it’s a bit short now & again – well on a picnic you know – no-one would complain. We have fresh scenery every day – & a new camp every night – & the band in front plays ‘ tiddle de um tum tum’ – what more do we want.
Some of our Jacko friends were over this morning having a screw at us & the country they had just left but one of our birds flew up & said ‘Good Day’ with his ‘typewriter’ & while one Jacko turned tail & went while his luck was in, the other took a header &, twisting & turning, sank out of our view behind the hills – but I guess he hit the ground pretty hard! It’s great to watch an air fight – especially like this one when our chaps knock one of the others. I’ve never seen a plane fall as this one did.
They say the stone that Jacob went to sleep on is round these parts! Well that’s nothing – cos as far as I can see he couldn’t very well help it. You should hear some of the chaps as we ride along: Oh ‘here’s the Garden of Eden’ or ‘Here’s the Mount of Olives’ – ‘I say WasEye get out the Good Book & see what it says about this place’. And another breaks in – ‘Won’t we pitch them a tale – about the holy land – the place where the crows fly backwards: what ho? The milk & the honey!’ One chap points to the Dead Sea & says ‘There’s the Dead Sea, see it? It’s quite dead!’ All of which is utter rot maybe but when heard in the original is very funny sometimes.
I saw in the ‘Reg’ [The Register] that Mother sent by last mail that Miss Jackson was ill – hope she is better for the Uni students’ sakes: also that Rev Heath was back home for a short time. I wonder if you’ll see him: anyway his news would be very stale – he took the address of Port Road, Beverley.
Hope you’ll see Harry Hancock though: he can tell you more how we carry on – dinkum. Here’s your last letter – I must see if there is anything to answer: you are telling of your holiday trips to Mount Lofty & Henley & tennis & all the nips staying with you to make up for the big ones – good. I have not heard yet from Ruth & Dorc: think I told Ruth in my last letter that Les Williams had heard from his sister & knew of the Company’s arrival at Mittagong.
Did I tell you I have a letter from ‘Ickle Jan’? I also got the Chronicle & Baptist. Don’t get a chance to answer letters these days – always on the move – but they told us letters could be posted today.
Good luck for getting Wooder again! Where is Molly Campbell now?