Lieut. GS Andrews, RCE,
H.Q. Cdn Corps, Canadian Army O/S.
England, 29 June 41.
Your No 61 of 8 June arrived this morning, and a previous one earlier last week, which I have mislaid for the moment, think it was written just before you moved. Nevertheless, both were read with the usual interest and joy. I have all your letters, and as I think I said before, they make a wonderful biography of our little Mary, no doubt better than we should have ever made, had we been living ordinarily. It doesn't compensate for us being separated, but here is that one indirect benefit anyway. Some day I should like to put all your news about her together, in the form of a diary. At present there is not the time, but it is all there in your letters. You never say much about yourself, but I am glad of your latest report from Dr. Nash, in your last letter. I wasn't really worried, but I love you so much, Dear, that the uncertainty was more than I could bear. Now everything seems to be under control, and I feel happy about you once more. You, and Mary, and our home, and I feel happy about you once more. You, and Mary, and our home, which you have done so much to establish, and maintain, are the most important things in my life, and occupy my really free mind and thoughts more than anything else. True, I have a lot of things to think about, and worry about, and occasionally be pleased about here, in making my small contribution to the war, but You and Mary, keep my perspective oriented in the right direction, and give a purpose and a meaning to it all, and makes me do a better job here.
Am sorry your Â£30 which I sent in early April has not arrived yet. I have had the usual official notices of its going forward from the army pay people here. If it has not arrived by the time you get this, writ ethe Dept. National Defence, Ottawa, probably the same office that sends you your regular allowances. Give them full details about me. The second remittance of Â£30 was initiated about the 14 June, and I have had the official receipts and notices of its departure too, so normally that should arrive about the end of July in Victoria. Also they increased your assigned pay to $100. From my May pay, so that should be through to you by this time. There is no use keeping any more money here than I need. My expenses are a little higher at H.Q. than they used to be at the unit, because I have to do quite a bit more travelling around, and meet more people which always means spending a little more. A week's leave usually costs me about Â£10, which seems quite a lot, but it is about half what most officers spend. Things are very expensive in this country, I entertained Mr and Mrs Hayward and Bert Hammond the other night for dinner at a local inn, and it cost me $7.50 for just an ordinary 4 course dinner with coffee and sherry. I was gald to be able to do this, though as the Haywards have been very very good to me, and are such grand people. Hammond liked them very much too. I must go to lunch now, to continue later.
Hammond simply loves Vancouver Island, and the fact that Mr Hayward owns property at Mill Bay made an immediate bond between them. Mr Hayward spoke of his homesteading days on the Pend'Oreille R in the Kootenays, and he said some very fine things about Mr Hall. I am glad to note in todays letter that Mr Hall is better, and that he is to have a visit from Ernest and his family this summer. Hope you will meet them, the Halls are all of the same quality.
It must have been quite a job rounding up all our goods and chattels from the various depositories, and too, it will be great to be with our own little household gods about you, rather than those of somebody else, no matter how nice, they are never the same as our own. Your party at Careys made me homesick, pleasantly so, Dave certainly seems to be founding a dynasty...just like the old Irishman, surrounding hmselfwith offspring, in copious numbers, I can picture him a tyrannical old patriarch laying down the law as lord of the manor. However, I think Dorothy will be able to handle him.
I certainly hope Ruth's marriage will bring her all the happiness she could desire. I guess all husbands have their shortcomings, perhaps that is what makes them desirable.
Ecila has been away for a holiday, she hurt her arm and had to stay in bed for quite a while, so went down to see friends for a change and recuperation. I borrowed her bike for our leave, and took it back yesterday, after having it overhalled, cleaned, and all fixed up. Mrs M was quite excited because a letter from you had just arrived for Ecila, and she would have to wait for her return. She is due back tomorrow. Old Mrs M gave us some very interesting history about the Sydenham family, and the Notley family, (the farmer we stayed with on leave. She is like my old Grandmother Andrews, a wonderful knowledge of interesting people of two or three generations past. The old lady is much better now, but as she sayd, she has to be good. Very strict uninteresting diet, early to bed, and all that.
Glad Eric has found some pleasure in the pastels, and it is interesting that he seems to have found a hidden talent. I shall be interested to see what he has done hwen I get back. My artistic propensities have had to take a back seat over here, more important things to think about, and hard to get into the right frame of mind, and art for me, is largely a frame of mind. Too, although there is much beauty here, as I have so often said, it is not the type of that compels me to try to interpret it graphically. I'm afraid it is the rugged grandeurs of BC that gets under my skin in that way.
It must have been quite an experience for Mary to change her home and surroundings. I hope her boy friend will come to see her often, they must be a great pair, and so fine for each other. Am fascinated by your details about the house, it all sounds wonderful. I will be glad when we can get it all paid for, so that it will be our own, and nobody can take it away from us.
I am surprised that you have Lorne's records and not his radio because it was Lorne's intention for you to be custodian for both the records and the machine. His only stipulation was that only cactus needles be used. Do you know where the gramophone got to? I hope you can get it, because it will be nice for you, and good music is good company, and good for Mary too, to get used to the best in music while she is growing up.
There are some lovely flowers here now, and whenever I see some especially nice rose buds, I think of you. A 2-lb tin of Dixie arrived yesterday, so now I am well stocked, as there are still 3 or 4 plugs left from the previous parcel. The weather has become warm, and it is nice to be able to change shirts oftener. If you should see a good khaki shirt, attached collar, size 15 Â½ or 16 collar, and short sleeves, with little shoulder straps, and breast pockets, of good quality, you might get a couple for me. There is no hurry, but I could do with them later on. I have two sleeveless sweaters, one that Lorne gave me, and one that Mrs Morris knitted for me, so am well stocked in that line. I can still get good boots here, and of course uniforms. A half dozen prs of "Jockey" under shorts, size 32 waist, you know the kind I wear, would be very acceptable too. I hope you note the waist line is not increasing, in spite of the fact that I have been eating more in the army than I used to at home.
I have recently been moved to a new office, but it doesn't make any difference to my address, or my appointment, pay etc in the Intelligence branch. I have a small office of my own, at the Corps Survey Directorate, where there is less interruption, and where can keep in closer contact with the survey people, as all the work I have done since coming to Corps HQ has been on Air survey. It is a better mess too, I have a nice little room to myself, with h & c wash basin in both my office and bedroom. I know quite a few of the officers at the new mess too, so it looks like a good set up.
This coming week I am hoping to get away for a couple of days to go and visit Mr Arthur Hinks, Secy of the Royal Geog. Soc. at his country home near Cambridge. He wants to talk over air survey with me, being an authority of long standing in it himself. He is a fine old man, a keen mind, and a charm of an English gentlemen of the real kind.
Well dear, it is about time to ring off. Your last letter was the first typewritten, I like your hand written ones best, but the typewriter seems to be the most practicable till the Battle of the Atlantic is won.
All my love to you both - As ever
A bunny for Mary -