Neil – Mother: 22 Aug 1918

(Neil added this note at the top of page one)
Many happy returns to Alma 6-10-18
“Pore Neil” has wished a good few
times that he’d never “gone away
in a twain.” Does she remember
being sympathetic?

Dear Mother
Its a boiling stew of a day today. I am now in the Khaki again and have as little on as possible in a camp where there are several hundred VADs etc, but it does not seem to make any difference. I change my shirt (the only thing I wear bar khaki) once a day and have a hot bath to try to draw some of the sweat out but it does not make any difference. I can feel (hear) the part under my arm squelch now as I move my hand to write. My position here seems fairly steady at present, though it doesn’t feel decidedly heroic.

There is a big drome near here. I am getting a letter of introduction to one of the Flight Commanders and am going to loop the loop, and roll, and vertical bank, and do all sorts of things with him one day next week. It is hard to image that it really is cold just such a little way up there, and I want to see for myself. It is funny to see the poor beggars of pilots going up putting on fur lined jackets buttoning round their foreheads, ears and chins when the sweat is simply streaming down their necks before they put them on. If I had one pair of eyes instead of two I’d give it a go for a commission in the air force. But as it is, it is no good. Never mind this may be less romantic here, but it is likely to last longer. A live swinger is better than a dead flyer, I suppose. But I want to learn to fly, because I reckon Charlie and I ought to be able to pick up one of these little scout machines cheap after the war. They’ll be far commoner than bicycles in NZ in five years time, and you can take off or land in them from a space the size of an ordinary back yard. We could tread down Vic’s garden and knock up a bit of a shed there to keep it in. It’d amuse the kids too.

I am still on English, but shall switch on to arith. about next Wednesday. I go to London Saturday with a full fare railway warrant, to get some arithmetic books. (Which will take me from 9 a.m to midnight according to my pass)

I am going again on Sunday with my ordinary half fare warrant which I am entitled to once a week. The full fare to the Smoke is 2/6, and I have a pass allowing me to go to London every night between 4 p.m and midnight. Some life this is.

I have never paid Trot that money I owed him, – he didn’t want it so it seemed a pity just to give it to him to take out of the country when the financial position according to Bonar Law is so strained. So please transfer £5-10-0 from my account to his. Don’t take any notice of him if he tries to make out that it is less. You know what he is. It is as a matter of fact more. Let me know when you write how my account stands. Have I any money in the Auck Savings Bank? I had an idea I had a quid interest or something.

In the event of my being confirmed a Sergeant, which is likely in a month or so the allotment will be increased. [Don’t address me as Serg in case I come a gutzer].

Trot will arrive home about with this,- he leaves Sat. day after tomorrow. He takes it all as calmly as if he had a perfect right to it.

There is an NZ mail in, but I’m writing this now to catch Trot’s boat. I’ll write another when the mail is delivered.

My ingrowing toe nails have been giving me trouble and may have to be taken off. I am beginning to think it is about time I had another little rest in hospital.

Ever yours