Even the flowers in our vases freeze solid……..

D Higgins 1915 IWMMy Dearest Mother                                                            24.1.17

All we can think or talk about is the cold. We have 8 degrees of frost in our barracks (of course Tim and I are warm and cosy thanks to the stove we bought with your Christmas present) and everything is frozen as hard as board. Even the flowers in our vases freeze solid. Little currents of ice cold air seem to pour through the cracks in the boards and the only really hot place is bed!! We are on a very strict ration of coal too as it is almost impossible to get hold of in France. The frost and cold have increased steadily during the last ten days and we have allsorts of frozen water-taps and things. All the rheostats for the electrical treatment are liquid and we spent ages this morning thawing them before we could start work, and the damptowels too which were just like blocks of wood.

Personally I am not suffering much from the cold except for the beastly chillblains on my feet and chapped hands. The former don’t break, thank the lord, but I have cracks all over my hands, it is the inevitable dabbling in salt water and Iodide of Potassium solution all day. I’m bound to use them in my work. However I’m full of beans and my tail is well up, thank heaven. I gather from Father that he is going to convert my war loan stock into 5% stock. I am going to send you £12 home to add to it. I suppose I can realise all these odd sums I have in war certificates and make another £50 cant I. I don’t know how much I have in odd sums but t must be a fair amount. If I can’t well I can’t, but it seems to me it would be practical to do that and have it all concentrated. However you can tell me next time you write.

I have signed the green paper and I am enclosing it in this letter. Father says something about his shin being better thanks to your careful dressing: a detailed scrutiny of his previous letters fails to extract and mention of damage to the said tibia: what has he been doing? Bumping into something on a dark night I expect!!

There are lots of things I would like to tell you about but they would probably lead to the destruction of the letter so I wont.


Thanks awfully for the stores list: it is interesting to compare prices. What do you think people are paying for coal here in Rouen Frs 180 (between £6 & £7) for a French ton which is not quite as much as an English ton. And it is very difficult to get even at that price!

I do hope you are better. I will write again soon.

With very best love to you both.

Your loving Dorothy.

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Mrs T

Beyond the day job, and the garden, I love to delve into local and family history. While pursuing one project other snippets frequently distract me, resulting in the eclectic mix of tales from the past found here.

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