January 6th, Thursday
I had to go and do Shirts for Mrs P today and gaily started off to bicycle. I had not got far before I realized that I couldn’t use the road at all, I’ve never seen anything like the condition, enormous crater-like holes filled with water and a foot of slimy mud all over them, so I just rode on the footpath. On my way back Win overtook me and so I got a lift up, bicycle and all. The driver then told me that next week as a raid is expected all headlights are to be forbidden and only two small oil lamps will be allowed so no cars will come into the country at all, what is to be done I don’t know. How to carry on about my Hut work. I can’t walk home all alone and bicycling on these roads is out of the question. I do hope I shall not have to give it up but it looks precious like it for the present.
I had a letter from William Gilham today, from what he says I gather the boy must be in Serbia, he describes the bitter cold and the huge mountains. He begins his letter by saying “Just a line to tell you I am in the best of the pink and not popped over yet” ! I also heard from Pte. Blowey yesterday who I think is there too, but his letter was written on his way out and dated Nov. 28th so it took its time about coming. (Gilham had been the garden and stable boy for Wynne. Blowey I have no record of. There are many more references to William G – simplest link in to go to Editor’s Picks, where you will see a photo in the strip, and follow links from that entry).
Two letters from my Dearest today, their Relief comes off on Sat., how pleased they all will be to get away from that desolate and dreadful spot, the Ypres Salient, with its frightful mud and constant “delivery of coals”.
Torrents of rain as usual but thank goodness we got a taxi to take and fetch us from the Hut. Next week most stringent lighting restrictions are coming out and all the taxis say they will not run. What I am to do when the weather is too bad for cycling I don’t know. A very full Hut, over 4000 tickets sold during the afternoon and evening.
Though the roads were and have been for sometime impossible I rode to the Hut today using the footpath the whole way. I met a Red Cap who sympathized with me and said he didn’t blame me! A very busy afternoon, no cessation to the steady stream of men. I got home about 6.0 and played games with the children. Mr Burgess came to supper and played most beautifully.
After two days blank I got 3 letters from H this morning telling me the delightful news that he is coming home on leave on Tuesday, he will have been away for 6 whole months. I am to go up and meet him and the whole prospect has filled me with the greatest joy. I simply can’t collect my thoughts and feel perfectly mad!
January 10th, Monday
Have just got back from the Hut where Stella came too, doing Mrs Perceval’s job for her as the Gen. has been home too. I’m sorry I didn’t see him this time. All lights in Aldershot were very subdued tonight, all barrack windows with blinds and no flares. We came back by bus and hardly any taxis were running, it seemed quite strange.