Neil – Mother: 23 Sep 1918

Dear Mother,
I spent 12/- this morning in cabling for £15. I decided to do it quite suddenly. I suppose you think I am dreadfully extravagant, but when everything is considered, things hardly look so awful. It is five months since I had the £20 and I have been sort of half on leave ever since. And living is very expensive in Blighty in the ordinary way. One spends about 1/6 per day in extra tucker, supper, coffee etc, which means about £11 in five months.

Then comfortable boots, strides, putties etc., cost me the best part of £5. And tobacco and cigarettes at 6d a day amount to £3-15-0 in five months. That leaves only about £9, out of the £20 + 5 months’ pay, to be accounted for. Items like watch repairs (7/6), previously unsettled bet about date of leaving for Blighty (5/-), photo (forgotten, about 12/6), pipe (7/6) much reduce the balance (also haircut, shaves, razor-setting, new strop, cleaning gear etc, etc) – the balance which must be accredited to theatres and such like riotous living.

Anyway, I shall always be able to work and earn more when I go back, (there is very little fear of my being wounded now and having to depend on Bill Massey for a pension), so it doesn’t matter if I keep fairly close to my credit. And I don’t suppose I shall ever have another trip to Blighty from N.Z. so I may as well have as comfortable a time as possible. And with the Sergeant’s pay in view and my allotment increasing to 3/6 it wont take long for the N.Z. end of my finance to grow healthy again.

I decided to cable and not write for the money, because we are expecting the educational scheme to close down for a week or a fortnight in three weeks time, and having only £5 odd credit in my book, I’d have to cut things rather fine.

A solution of the whole difficulty would be for them to make me a colonel on £1000 a year, but I have not got them to realise that yet.

The chocs and boiled lollies you sent seem to have gone west on the way. Trot got his over a fortnight ago, but mine have not yet turned up.

They say there is another N.Z. mail in. Shall write again as soon as it is delivered.

Yours prodigally