Astheim, M. Cologne
Dear Mother & Dad.
Well we are settled down at last, I believe, so can start in my regular run of letters again.
We are being treated fine here, they give us every after-noon off and we can always get passes to go to Cologne which is a few miles from here. It doesn't anything to go there on the electric car, either, they started in to try and charge us, but they soon gave it up as a bad job.
The Vimy Ridge College is starting courses on different subjects, I am taking up Arithemetic, book keeping and a business course. We are to spend 1 Â½ hrs. a day on it, Â¾ of an hour in both morning and afternoon. It's a good scheme and a good way to spend some of our spare time.
I met Reece Hugh today, he joined up with McLean, if you remember, he had brought an officer down in the auto, and while waiting from him he took me for a long ride.
I also met Claude Pottinger, (his brother married [?] [?]) Two of the boys joined up with the same battery as Doug, and me was [?] last October.
Claude was telling me that his mother was not notified till Nov 13th. It was an awful shock to her, as the armistice had been signed and she naturally thought that the boys were out of danger at last. That's what I call pretty hard luck.
I have received 23 letters the last few days. So am going to be busy answering them all. 5 of them were from you dated, Sept 9th, Oct 16th, Oct 21st, Nov 2, & Nov 11th. Also received one from Dorothy Page in Redlands and one from Philip and Louise Broughton. Also a parcel from Gert and Edna Rendill and a box of chocolates from Miss Gribble she says you send parcels just as if you had been doing it for years. Mrs Norris also wrote me, she says you are keeping fine, glad to hear it from outside the family.
I believe me are going to have some big feed on Xmas from all reports. Guess we will have a good time alright.
Cologne is quite a city I've only been there twice so far. Did I tell you I had been in the big cathedral? It sure is a grand building, the dome is 160 meters high (about 500 ft) and the work on the whole building is wonderful. There are 3 fine bridges over the Rhine, Cologne is on both sides, there is also a big swimming bath that I must visit soon.
The people here treat us fine, couldn't wish for better treatment, we are welcome to anything they have to eat, and I might say that they is no chance of them starving, though of course there are lots of food they can't buy and everything is very expensive. The kids here get on my nerves, the are the most miserable bunch of dirty nose inquisitive skunks I've ever seen, and everyone that sees you begs for chocolate.
The place we stayed at before this, we had out horses billeted in a stable belonging to an old woman and three grown up up daughters and a boy. They were just like an English family and they sure treated us good, fed us up on boiled potatoes bread & butter and jam, porridge and coffee 3 times a day, 8 of us too. Don't think I like the Germans though because U don't but all the same there are some good ones.
Well I guess Xmas and New Year will be over and forgotten by the time this reaches you, I can only hope you enjoyed yourselves thoroughly, [This?] should be a very happy New Year for us and a lot of others.
Well, I must close now, I don't want to give you all the news in one letter, I'll tell me more about the trip later. Your [?] son