Wed. 7 Nov. 1917
Dearest Mother -
I wonder how everyone at home is getting along. I have received no more mail since I wrote a week ago but then could hardly expect any as the last letter I had from you came thru in rather good time. How is Gladys getting along with her teaching? I hope she likes it and is getting along fine. I will be interested to know if my last letter to you got thru OK. It certainly should. You know now that what you thought is not true - wish it were - much worse but likely soon a change for the better. It has not been so very cold nor has it rained as much as one might have expected but dull and plenty of mud.
There are lots of racks for hops around here - tall poles wired together at top. Hop growing seems to be quite an industry. It is used I suppose in the making of beers and yeasts. Hardly any corn but lots of mangels for the cattle and acres & acres of sugar beets. I have seen some of those huge old fashioned Dutch windmills. Flemish is a queer language - more like our own, I guess, than it is like French. I have been in some of the farm houses around where they speak fairly good English having picked it up in the last three years from the soldiers and where they speak both French & Flemish. These good people sometimes do quite a business selling coffee, bread and eggs to the soldiers and it was nice after a long day's march to go into one of these places and toast oneself before the fire.
I am keeping in real good health and have managed real well so far. Things seem to be running along alright - no cause to worry. By the way, did I ever tell you about our leave list. Only two or three go every two weeks or so, and so one's turn comes very slowly. Just now there is only one list - that for Blighty (England) as leave for Paris is cancelled just now. I hope it is resumed again as I think I would rather go there. It will be a long time yet before I get leave as there are about sixty yet who haven't had leave since our section came in March. Then what is left of that section will get their leave in turn. The N.C.O.'s will of course go first. You see, we all landed in France on same day and so some order had to be arranged. If they had taken the fellows alphabetically, I would have been near the first or if they had taken them in order of length of service, I would have been near the first, but they decided to put the names in a hat and draw. This was at the waggon lines. I was at the guns at the time and heard the result afterwards. Mind you, my name was the first drawn, and a fellow I know and get along with pretty well was second. Of course, it will be a long time before the sixty odd ahead of us get their leave.
A week from today is Cecil's birthday, is it not? Birthday greetings for him and lots of love for you and the rest.