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Date: May 18th 1916
Jack Beck

Forncett St. Peter
Thursday. May 18, 1916

My dear Gertrude.

A lovely evening (I am beginning this a 7 oclock in "prep") after a very hot day. Played cricket this afternoon for the first time for a good many years.

No further letter from you since the two on Saturday so will probably get two together tomorrow or Saturday. Yesterday I had quite a long letter from one of my old class. Victor Childs, the artist member who illustrated our programme last year.

I kept surprising rabbets all the time on these cross roads- & a good many big birds. Hempsall the principal village en route was very pretty -, a group of house & 2 old inns forming a triangle with a fine church deeply bedded in trees, & the inevitable stream with ford & foot bridge. Quite a few women were at work in the fields as I passed and in one a girl of about 13 in a very clean pinafore, was driving a machine hoe, perched on top & controlling two heavy horses. Her father (evidently) was at work in the field.

After about ten miles on the quiet lanes, I got on to the main Norwich to Lowestoft road. A perfect road - but a lot of dust at times from passing motors. Five miles more took me to Bungay and I was once more at home - Some six miles from Beccles - on the same river (the Waverey) with a very pretty & quite hilly road between. I have been many and evening ride. There in the old days & all kinds of old memories & long forgotten incidents & names came back to me as I rode along.

I arrived at Beccles about 4.30, went to Mr. Peachey's & enquired when he would be in. found it would be 5.45. I did not make myself know as I did not want asking for tea - but when I rode on into the town - found it was early closing day - (Wednesday seems to be the usual closing day round here) & English towns really do close - even Tea Shops. However I found a Temperance Hotel where I got some tea. Then I walked & road about the town till 6.30. a most enjoyable time - an exceedingly pretty place - built on a crest right over the Wavery river. A quant town with a fine Church & a very pretty new residential quarter with a fine modern Roman Catholic Church. Like all places swarming with troops, a Welsh Infantry Brigade - Shropshire Artillery & a Co of R.A.M.C. from Folfar in Scotland.

At 6.30 Mr. Peacy had not come in, so I rode along to meet him. Found him talking to a soldier & nodded a "Good - afternoon" as I slowly went past. He gave me a genial answer, but did not recognise me - so I rode on, intending to return when his talk was over.

He has been in hospital with rheumatic fever & so is unable to enlist. Although he is acting chief of the boy scouts at the Church.

I had a great day yesterday. It was ideal weather, very hot but a strong South East wind made it very pleasant. It was my day off, so I decided at last to make my long promised trip to Beccles. Between twelve & one I pegged out the Boy's Tennis Court in the front lawn & commenced whiting it but left it to the gardener to finish. An almost perfect grass court even the than the Phillip's private court.

I started off on my ride at 2.18 & found that by taking by-roads across country, I could reduce the whole ride to 21 miles. I had a strong wind dead ahead but it was pleasant to have it so, on such a warm day.

I got into trouble near the beginning - ran into a ford. had forgotten about them again & the footpath & bridge over this (the River Tas by the way) was concealed by a big thick hedge. I saw the water ahead & thought it was only water lying on the road - until I found it getting deep - when it was too late to turn my bike round. However it had not go very deep & I only got a little water into one boot.

He realized who I was just after I passed & followed me & so I turned back. I had not brought any bike lamps as I intended to come home by train but wished I had as the evening was so fine & I would have had the wind at my back.

I had an hour with Mr. Peachy & caught the last train at 7.50.

I don't think I ever did enjoy an afternoon's outing alone more in my life. I always liked Beccles, I am more in love with it ever.

I had two sets of tennis on Monday evening - on the Bentley's court at St. Peter's. Not a very good one, but more than good enough for my playing ability.

I am finishing this in my room. Walked over from St. Peter's at 9.30 the twilight being quite light then & is yet 5 weeks from the longest day.

With the extra hour we will get after Sunday from the new Bill, we will have very long evenings.

Mr. Phillips had to go to Lowestoft today. The police sent for him as the main Building at the School has been broken into. They have still of lot of furniture, chests, books etc that have never been bought here. Since the bombardment, the windows have only been boarded up & they have presumably been broken through.

I sent my application for temporary exemption in on Monday - but have, of course, had no word yet of it. I will almost have to go to Harleston before the Tribunal. Must close. Afraid this letter is a little longer than usual without having much in it.

Hope everything is well with you.

With best love.


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