Neil – Mother: 4 Feb 1918

No 5 Conv Depôt
Dear Mother
It is nine days since I wrote last. Since then I have received three parcels, two papers and one letter – the letter from Vic. Vic says he has had letters from you dated 24-11-17 and that you are all well so I’ll have to be satisfied with news from him at second hand until the bundle of letters that must be wandering round France in search of me comes along. He also mentions that so far (up to 22-1-18) he had not got any letters from Norman, nor have I received any replies to mine yet. Possibly Norman’s ‘outward letters’ have been bungled the same as my ‘inward’ letters have been. Or, more probably, Norman’s ‘outward’ letters may be crossing the Mediterranian to us. He also mentions Mac has arrived in England. It looks as if Mac will see the Front before his young brother-in-law. The two newspapers I received were from Gorrie. They were three ‘Stars’ 3-11-17 and 17-11-17. They were much appreciated and read by about ten others as well. The first parcel was from Mrs Barton of Fielding the lady with whom Trot and I were billeted when we went that route march for a week end. It contained chocolate and sweets and bootlaces and a handkerchief and a tin of sweetened cocoa. Unfortunately hot water was not easily procurable for the latter so we ate it raw. It went alright. “We” above means Thomas of Pukekohe, a Royal Irish Fusiliers chap, and myself who have a whole tent to ourselves. Three days after came two more parcels, one from Gorrie, a cake made by you and up to your usual standard of perfection in perfect condition without even a crumb broken off the icing (probably due to Dad’s soldering) and the second from Mrs Barton again, containing shortbread with an oatmealy taste which increased many times the satisfaction of eating it. I made a little alteration there to remove the ambiguity which suggests that it repeated on us. His alteration.

I think that is about all this time. I don’t feel a great deal about writing. I have a cold and a cough. My tonsils are beginning to be a bit swollen and inflamed. It would be funny if I had to have them out after my having seen a dozen or so lose theirs in Blighty. Removing tonsils I think was about the xxx and messiest of all the operations I saw. By the way I entered for a billiard and chess tournament last week gaining a prize in each. I was first in chess not losing or drawing any game. The resultant swelling of my head is rather aggravating the cold. Bon soir


I am getting quite a lot of opportunities for talking French. I’ll talk Leslie and Eric with their M.A. Honours off their legs when I get back.