Witley, June 26/18
Mrs J. B. Davis
Stoney Creek, Ont. C.
Dear Mother and folks:
Came out of hospital after a rest of 36 hours the result of a slight attack of influenza, of which many men beside myself have been victims. It has been very contagious, so much so, that one battalion was quarantined for a week, I’m alright now and have two days to do as I like, before going to work again. Still it came at the wrong time, for I was trying my final exams. in signalling and had competed all but on paper. Considering I had a fever of 103.6 ̊ think I managed very well to make good marks on everything but buzzer. Do not know whether I shall try over again or not.
Now for a little description of my six day leave. Travelled through to Glasgow with only about an hour in London and arrived in the former city about 10 o’clock Friday morning. Visited kelvingrove Park, Glasgow University, art. gallery and museum but as I had taken a book along in which I thought the information about Grandmother’s home was, and which turned out to be the wrong one, I could not find out anything about the place.
At 4 o’clock I left from Buchanan St. Station for Callander, a town in Perth, which I had chosen as my destination from the map. I passed through Bannockburn, Stirling and other places of less historic interest reaching Callander at 5.30 o’clock. It was a town about the size of Grimsby and you may think that was a funny place to go but as it is located in the lovely loch district of Scotland I was quite content to spend three day there.
Stayed at the “Shaftesbury Hotel”, which was more like a private boarding house, for I had a dinning room all of my own and Mr. Mrs. and Miss McKellar, the proprietor and family were most kind to me. Sure it cost me money but little did I care, for I had lots of it and as a matter of fact, still have.
The finest evening, walked to Seny falls which is on a stream or rather the river Dieth which flows through a valley between Ben Sedi (2875 feet high) and another hill, almost a high. The falls was very pretty and again my heart began to beat with love for Bonnie Scotland stronger even than I had been born there.
Saturday morning at 11.30 I climbed up a ladder on to one of those high coaches built for sightseeing which carry about twenty people and driven by a Scotchman wearing a silk plug hat and who spoke so broad, that I could scarcely understand him. On the seat beside me were a lady and a gentleman just back from Africa, they were very nice to me and I talked most of the way, as the horses trotted along the road to the Frossachs and Loch Katrine. Past Samson’s Putting Stone, along Loch Vennacher, over ‘Brig O’ Turk, on the shore of loch achray and on to the Frossachs Hotel and Loch Katrine. (If you would just put down questions in a little book to ask me about all these things, I will tell you when I come back) On a gate were the words “steek the yet”. (Gallic) which on inquiry I found to mean “shut the gate” and the “Brig O’ Turk” is the bridge near where the last wild boar (gallic, “turk”) was shot.
After getting off the coach I went for a little walk and then went on board the “Sir Walter Scott” a pretty steamer which runs to the Stronachlacher end of Loch Katrine. The Captian has his two daughters as assistants on the boat and one steers the craft. Yes, it is true I was smiling at the girls for they looked very neat in their oil-silk coats.
“Ellen’s Isle” was just a little disappointing although of course it is just a pictured, a wild and strong island. The sail down was grand and as I was the only soldier except for an officer of naval air service, everyone talked and were most kind to me. It was on the boat that I met the two ladies Miss Macentyre and Mrs. MacKinley of which I told you in a letter a few weeks ago. We just stayed about half an hour at the other end of Loch Katrine and returned and hence back to Callander again. There are so many wonderful things that I have only told you part of them.
The same evening I walked to Bracklinn falls and over the Crags which rise high above the village. (Am sending pictures of these places.) Saw a wild deer on the top of this hill.
Sunday I went to church and to lunch with those kind ladies of which I told you in the last letter. In afternoon took another route to Bracklinn falls.
In the evening after an early tea I set out for a walk which was about thirteen miles long and led me over the crags and along a road to Lake of Monteith, the only lake in Scotland, (the rest are lochs) and past Loch Ruskie. On my return trip I saw a herd of about twelve wild deer up on the crags which are not fences for miles and miles. It was a surprise to me to find a place very similar to the Can. northwest, excepting for the hills for the houses are often miles apart and I believe I walked five miles without meeting anyone. Of course this is just the entrance to the Highlands.
Monday after sending a few cards and parcels and writing in the visitor’s book, which is rather an honor when requested to do so, I left for Stirling about noon and visited the historic castle and was told so much by the guide that I remember little. Could see the field of Bannockburn from the castle and the place where the battle of Stirling Bridge took place, hundreds of thing of interest were pointed out to me but the most interesting of all was a little w.a.a.c. with whom I walk down town and had a merry chat.
Arrived in Edinburgh Monday evening and judging from the number of smiling girls I knew I would have a good time and so I did. Well I met a Miss F’arquhar with whom I was greatly attracted and after that you will not be interested, for it was a case of not being able to see anything but her pretty brown eyes. ha! ha! Tuesday we spent all after noon and evening together and she was at the station to bid me good-bye when I left Wednesday morning. It was altogether a happy and innocent friendship, she is a very nice girl indeed and I will be very glad to visit Edinburg again as soon as possible. Yes mother, it is true that I am very flighty and every new girl is a queen to me but never-the-less I have a glorious time and am absolutely charmed with Scotland and the people.
It took all day Wed. to travel to camp again and hence my second trip to Scotland was ended and the realization of a childhood desire which was made possible by the war.
Received a parcel from the Oakville high school teacher, Miss Cordingley which contained a beautiful pair of white socks as well as many good things to eat. Never mind sending me the other pair of socks at present for you see all I have to do is think I want something and then I receive socks from you, the lady in Scotland and Miss Cordingley, so you see how my wishes are supplied.
Mother I will find something to send you to make up for having omitted a souvenir of my trip. I was going so much that time did not permit me to find anything which I could mail. Hope May’s pictures arrive alright and also the little parcel for the children which contains souvenirs of Stirling and the Castle. Of course the book is rather a deep story for John but he will appreciate the story when he grows up to be a lover of the Scotch like his uncle.
Must go for tea at once.
Best of love to all
Your loving son