Neil – Mother: 7 Feb 1918

No 5 Conv Depot
Dear Mother,
I have received twenty four letters in one bunch including four from you, four from Gorrie, and one from dad. I thought Dad would take some keeping to that arrangement. He is too fond of Bernard Shaw’s precepts to be a voluminous correspondent. Your first letter is dated 14-10-17. Roy doesn’t know when he is well off – neither did I, but thats a mere item now. 2nd letter 28-10-17. I have received neither Grammar’s nor Ponsonby’s Xmas parcel yet, but I daresay they will come along in good time. I got 5/- worth of coupons from Beres. St They couldn’t have come at a handier time. I saw Alfie Belsham at the Base. I knew him at once though he did not recognise me till I reminded him that he had waited (after turning five years old) till July fifth 1901 so that I should be five too and could go with him to Mrs McLeod’s infant school by the backway through Conway’s. I suppose you had forgotten that, it is a fair while ago now. Point Rodney has had very hard luck. I did not know that Cyrus had died till I got your letter. Yes I have plenty of warm clothes. Give the devil his due, they try to keep us warm. But this camp is a splendid place. For the three weeks I have been here the winter has been very little worse than in New Zealand. And by the time I leave here the winter will be almost over. I certainly cannot claim that my luck has been out this last few years. (except on 6-1-17). Your next letter is dated 11-11-17. I have not heard from Charlie for for some time as the letter of his I had, containing his address up there, went west when I went into hospital, so that my letters to him have gone to England first to have the address completed. It is a pity you did not enclose Ben’s scores for the season so far. I am sure they would have made interesting reading. I suppose I shall be getting leave again in Blighty just about the time he gets over so I’ll beat him for his boat pay at snooker in London next time I see him. I was going to write him a letter telling him some of the yarns and events that are rather too highly pickled for home consumption, but I remembered in time that he might not be able to prevent Daphne reading it. Doesn’t that make him wish he were single? Love to Alma and Vera before I forget, and to Daphne. Your last letter is dated 25-11-17. I have received three (1st, 2nd, and 4th) out of the four cakes you mentioned (I expect the third will come along when those long delayed Xmas parcels arrive. I have not received the tin of biscuits yet but the tin of chocolates, the equal of which it would probably be difficult to find in Europe, arrived today. Biscuits here are sold a lot at 5d per 1/4 lb packet. It is often impossible to get any thing else solid, and they are not what you would call very good biscuits either – so little sugar and no white flour obtainable. I must not forget love for Douglas having slipped in some for the other grandchildren.

Fritz never comes over here, but I saw a raid when I was in hospital. It was nearly a dozen miles away, but near enough to that sort of a one. The Froggies get an awful shake up. You have to be here to realise how lucky New Zealand is. Oh well, we’ll be back all of us before long sharing its luck apres la guerve. Thanks to Clyde and Gertie for their share in the coupons. They came enclosed in a letter from Alf Con, to which I’ll reply. You and Mrs Musker ought to look at the war more from a Bairnsfather point of view.