Capt G.S. Andrews, R.C.E.
H.Q. Cdn Corps
England, 29 Dec 41.
This is Monday - and I'm using pencil in order to make a better carbon. I never seem able to get into the shops to buy thin paper or anything else for that matter - and so your letters for the time are being written on bits of map paper - which I scrounge. Let me see, where shall I begin.
First of all, you will want to hear how we celebrated Xmas. Well, we waited up for Santa on Xmas eve - playing billiards in the mess - and licking up some very good whiskey which was specially saved for the occasion - Most of the whiskey we get now is quite off standard, and its not much temptation to lure one from the straight and narrow. Then we had a feed of toast and some jellied chicken that some one exhumed from hiding - and then to bed - feeling very pleasant.
Next morning I got up for breakfast - and felt fine - We had an egg for breakfast too which was quite an occasion. At noon we went into the men's mess to see them have their Xmas dinner - and our dinner came at night - and just a cold buffet lunch - which was a good idea. Bert Hammond came down for dinner. Major Meuser, my chief, was away all Xmas day - so I stayed in the mess - and had a good [?] tho' in the afternoon after tea.
Saturday noon, Bert Hammond picked me up in his car and took me home to Dorking for the week-end. We had a lovely cold duck lunch. Then went to a friend of his for the evening - Sunday morning I had 2 lovely boiled eggs - for breakfast - and they were a treat. Haywards keep a few chickens. Then we had a big turkey dinner at noon - and after a buffet supper I took the train house - got to our nearest station at 10 p.m. and walked 5 miles to our H.Q. getting in soon after 11 - it was a lovely evening - clear & frosty with a bright moon - it was beautiful walking along the winding country lanes - past farms, trees, and old country houses - and thinking about my wife and baby - and our little home. One thing, the black-out certainly makes us appreciate the moon, and the stars too. They were all out brightly last night - and I speculated the big dipper - and which way up it would appear to you - but of course you wouldn't see it just then, for it would be only about 2 pm in Victoria at 11pm here.
The Haywards wanted me to stop the night and take an early train this morning, but I'm glad I didn't - because the walk made me sleepy - and I went right to bed slept like a tip and got up this am feeling very much refreshed after a pleasant week-end and the exercise. They are a very fine family - Mrs. H. is a wonderful house-keeper and cook - the girls are good kids - natural and unsophisticated. Mr. Hayward is very intelligent - well read, and a thinker - with a very sound and kind outlook on life - I always enjoy talking with him about the war and politics and business -
Santa Claus was very good to me. Both your huge parcels arrived safely - and in good shape - one or two of the lemons were a bit soft - but the rest OK. The sox are just what I wanted - and I hope I can keep them from getting exchanged in the laundry - a favorite trick now - The laundries are very unsatisfactory - I'm seriously thinking of washing the sox myself - so they won't shrink too. The ties too are very acceptable - I was down to the one and only - and it was getting a bit in need of laundering.
Haven't started the book - but it looks like a reel one - The cakes I am saving till the other fellows' cakes get a bit scarcer. I [?] a taste of Mrs. Morris - and will take her up the rest of hers when I can get a weekend off. The Nestles coffee and the milk are very welcome too - The mess coffee is usually terrible - and its easy to get hot water to brew a cup in the evening - and with the Klim it tastes much nicer too - milk is scarce too - so the nestle and Klim make an excellent combination.
Other gifts from Santa - a parcel from 564 DcMen[?] Rd - cake etc - which I am not going to open for a while - 5 plugs of Dixie from Hugh Hodgins - Thank them for me. Morris's sent me a little package - 2 nice hankies from Mrs. M. and 2 tins of anchovies from Ecila - I don't know how she got them - but she knows how I love anchovies - it was thoughtful of them.
I hope you get my cable. Have just learned the details of the new Gov't in B.C. I am sorry to see Pattulo go - I always thought he would like to have been a statesman if his party would have let him - I notice that old Wells Grey is retained as Minister of Lands - not so good - Patullo would have been a better one. And Luscombe is in his cabinet - also not so good - he is an old Skinflint. However John Hart is a pretty good man I guess.
I hope you have had enough money to pay the Insurance Premium. I may be able to send you some in a month or two - It doesn't accumulate here so fast now.
I just learned that Alec Gordon has been made a Captain - I'm glad - he deserves it.
Well dear - More next time - Shall be glad to hear how you spent the