Search The Archive

Search form

Collection Search
Date: December 23rd 1917


Sunday 23/12/1917.

dear Gertrude,

Sunday afternoon & my time rushing by as it will. Almost half of it already. The cold weather & the snow continue with us- tobogganing busy on our road still - but it is quite sunny today & thawing - at present still no Canadian mail in.

I wrote you on Friday morning after which Gordon & I walked downtown, had my hair cut & performed an errand or two. In the afternoon he & I went along to Aunt Fannie's to pay our respects. Found her looking quite well - she enquired after you. Then I kept my appointment with Mr. Warte - the dentist. He says he could not treat my tooth in less than 6 weekly visits - but he put another temporary dressing in. I will have to decide if I will go to the army dentist again or not. Gordon had meanwhile gone to visit Kathleen & Muriel at Parkinson's Cafe & I followed him down in time to join them at a cup of tea (his treat this time). Had another evening - more or less quiet round the fire - & got to bed a little earlier than the night before.

Yesterday he & I walked down to the station in the early forenoon - as he wanted to get a ticket early & find out if he could get [?] carriage to Cambridge where he has [?] for the weekend. We had dinner at 12.30 so that he might catch his train - Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding - my first since last April - very good altho made of an egg substitute of some kind. We caught the one oclock train [?] - the one Poppy came home buy - The [?] very crowded - soldiers & munition [?] travelling. After seeing him off - I kept my appointment with a photographer & had two poses taken - the man who took Muriel [?] - he seems quite good - incidentally I learned that he works 6 hours a night as a [?] in the Post Office - most people have double occupations these days. I had on head and shoulders, & the other ¾ length - both hatless. [?] one is fairly decent. They will not be ready for 3 weeks - so hardly a New Year's present.

I bought a few Picture Post Cards to send of Christmas greetings & found an interesting one of the river here, which is new. I enclose a copy. I had arranged to meet the girls at three & I went with them to see about your ring - I wanted Poppie's advice in selection. Found first of all that size 5 ¼ conveyed no information to them - the sizes are lettered here - I have chosen one that fits Poppy - but you will be able to have it altered if it does not fit you. Then I found that there was a very limited selection - they say its almost impossible to get any goldware these days. However I found a plain signet ring of not bad lines & proportion and am having my signature engraved on it. I wonder if it will get to you by Jan 16th, not if mails are taking anywhere like the time to go West as to come East. It is to be ready to-morrow morning.

The girls brought down news that Mother & Miss Cook were going out to tea & for the evening so we decided to have a cup of tea- go to the pictures & then home for high tea at 6.30. The pictures were very good - a "Mutt & Jeff" humerous reel - in drawings not at all bad - the main picture a racing story - taken on Lord Roseberis estate at Epson - some very pretty backgrounds & some very interesting scenes with race horses as their main feature. At nine in the evening Poppy, Kathleen & I decided to drop down & see Mr. Stiles - to save us turning out this afternoon. Muriel stayed in to write letters & wait for Mother. We found Edgar's Uncle "the Colonel" just arrived with his recent bride, they had come unexpectedly - as to the day - & so the housekeeper was in a great bustle - such comings are very awkward these days of scarce rations & she had been unable to get any meet from her butcher - & only one's own tradesmen will give one anything these days. She however - although she should not have done - gave us Coffee & a mince pie. The latter is very scarce this year - currents almost unattainable. We have a little but two Christmas puddings they had to make currentless fortunately there is one with currents in saved from last year. We got home by 10.30 - Mother was already home - but it was after 12.30 before we pulled ourselves away from the fire to go to bed. Mother had retired soon after 11.

Breakfast this morning at nine - I as usual late & last but only by a minute or two.

Church this morning - a good service but a thin congregation & cold church. A curate with a very deep voice & a melancholy manner - a master at the Grammar School - just a weekend Curate. The vicar, very earnest, but an impossible preacher.

Such is about the chronicle of three days of valuable leave. There is a lot of mirth around the fire at present over some old photos of us as children - including one of myself a year old - younger I think - at least I know - than the one you have.

The food question is getting a very urgent one these days - one does not see it of course - in camp & especially buried in the country as we are - so it comes as a shock to run in to it suddenly. It is not that there is not sufficient of most things to give everyone a reasonable ration- as that voluntary distribution is quite adequate. The government on the other hand has a good excuse for not putting us on forced rations as it would entail a tremendous amount of organisation & need a high additions to our already enormous army of officials. The question too if not equally urgent everywhere - at its worst here with large highly paid mining communities all round us - able to come in & buy up supplies. I think I told you of potatoes queues at Woolwich last spring. Potatoes are plentiful now but [?] are innumerable. On Friday morning Lipton's local shop had a line 2 deep extending the whole length of Baxter Gate & for a hundred yards along High Street - women & children mainly. Four policemen & a sergeant controlling it outside - one policeman & two officials inside - one of the latter a local lawyer & that only one of several lines - margarine - sugar - & meat are the main items. The Vicar of Doncaster was in one of the queues last week. Muriel happened to find a short one early in the week at the Maypole Dany Co - so she joined it - but after a 20 minutes wait they announced "all sold." Milk is difficult to get - on Thursday with 4 extra people in the house - Muriel had great difficulty in inducing our girl to give us 1 pint instead of ½ pint of milk. Things like Babies foods etc are also very difficult to obtain - in fact there are few things not difficult. If you buy ½ pound of chocolates or sweets - they refuse to give you more than 20 g or possibly ¼ lb.

Here - at home - they have had no difficulty about bread so far - that is up to the ration amount. Sugar - which is one of the compulsory ration thing's. Tea is very scarce - but they get enough. All the butchers are to reduce their weekly sales by 25% after January 1st so there will be bigger meat difficulties.

In spite of all this - which comes very hard on people with no time or no one to send out - we ourselves have nothing to grumble at - in fact I have fed better since coming home than in camp.

I must not go to another sheet.

Hope you are very well - With very best love


Original Scans

Original Scans