My dearest Mother
Many happy returns of the day and let’s hope that next year I may spend it with you in peace. I feel so ashamed that I haven’t remembered to write a birthday letter in time: please forgive me. I have got a present of sorts for you: I hope you will like it. I shall bring it with me. I’m afraid I’m bound to come on the 6th or 7th April: I must take my turn anyway I daren’t leave my two new inexperienced colleagues to wrestle with the end of month and the beginning of the next together, as they would make a horrid mess of it. Also I have got the chance of coming home with Isabel which is so much better than travelling alone. I shan’t make much difference in the house and will be very useful as an under nursemaid and housemaid.
There is small-pox in Rouen and we are all being vaccinated to-morrow which is a horrible strafe. However it is all in the days work. We are more or less gated: that is we may go out but are on parole not to go down to Rouen or ride in trams or such-like. I hope no one gets it here. We had an awfully good concert on Saturday: a party of people from Havre came, 3 soldiers, one civilian and a woman. They were a pianist, violinist and ellist, a bass and a mezzo. They were much above the average and played old and new classical music. They played some nice old Italian stuff, Scarlatti and such like old blokes. The woman sang charmingly and the bass had a fine voice but one was of the most hideous men I have ever seen.
Did I tell you that we had a troupe of Aussies up from the bakeries the other day: they sang to the men and were quite good, but all in English of course, occasional French remarks were dropped by one of the comics but it was of the na poo variety!
They came to supper with us afterwards and then sang some more to us. They enjoyed themselves hugely I think, one of them- the pianist accompanist-, who was quite good, saw my uniform badges and asked if I really came from Lincolnshire. I said yes and asked him if he knew it. Oh yes he’d been pianist to Clement’s Pierrots at Skegness !
20/3/1918 I Couldn’t get this finished last night: it got late and I was very cold and sleepy.
I have been vaccinated today: three places on my thigh. I don’t have a fearful amount of running about to do in the electricity and would rather have my arms free. Isabel has been done in the arm so she will have to run errands for me if I have a “bad leg” and I shall be able to dress her if she has a bad arm. The hospital is being vaccinated by degrees: the poor doctors have to work like niggers and they’ve all been done themselves, and some of them are feeling a bit chippy already, although it doesn’t generally take under about 5 days.
On Suday Isabel and I went off on our bikes to the Foret Verte to pick daffodils. It was about 14 miles away I suppose. The wild daffodils were a sight, masses and masses of them. We took our tea and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We brought piles back in buckets hung around us and they are awfully bright in the wards.
I can’t think why you’ve had so few letters from me lately: I’ve been writing rather frequently as a matter of fact. Did Father get a letter acknowledging funds and have you had a letter from me since the one I wrote to M ? I expect she has the undies by now: please thank her immensely for the designs which are top-hole. Of course as sson as I wrote saying the newspapers weren’t coming they proceeded to pour in so that’s all right.
I had a letter from Tim, she hopes to come back in May, if all goes well so that will be “a bit of good”. How awfully good of Charlie to stand treat to you again, he is getting a nut these days isn’t he.
What a pity I can’t bring you home a soldier as Batman, the Flemings are awfully good clean steady workers:I’m sure that we shall have to get Flemish girls as servants after the war: English ones seem so hopeless. It makes me tickle to hear about the cook!!
I must dry up and go to bed.
I’m bringing some Maggi soup squares: I have got peas and peas and bacon: can you remember any other kinds that were good? I get a sugar card on landing so the last girl who went on leave told me but she got her meat card locally: a special kind of mixed affair for meat and margarine issued to people on leave. Do ask Joe Bickerton again if he cant supply that. I hope you’ve applied for my leave papers.
Best love to you all your loving D