Your letter of Jan. 24th rec’d, also Willie's of Jan. 16th and mother's of Jan. 20th with two of yours (one to Ina dated Jan. 8th and another to Mother dated Jan. l8th) enclosed.
Am very glad to hear that all in Ottawa are well and enjoying life, and was rather surprised to learn that Grampa Tully was going on the road again as travelling salesman, altho’ I cannot see why a man could not sell things if he is able to get around from place to place. Our cold spell is over and the weather now is mild and rainy and very misty. The trenches, I am told, are very muddy, but I have not been up for eight days, and will not have to go any more as long as I am with this company. On my last return to billets I was given a new job. Am to look after the loading of materials on the cars of the little railway (drawn by mules) which runs to the trenches. The loading point is about seven miles from here and usually motor lorries, of which this company has five, take the materials up, or draw it from, other points near the loading point.
I went on the lorry until yesterday a road regulation prohibited lorries from running, unless under very exceptional circumstances (as the frost was coming out of the ground and the roads were apt to be springy), and they had to take a G.S. (General Service waggon, so I went on a motor bike. I had never ridden one before but had taken a lessen from the M.O. Medical Officer) on the day previous. I was very successful and did not have any trouble either in the thing refusing to work or in taking any tumbles, notwithstanding the road was pretty muddy and rough. My only ill effects were sore arms and wrists from holding the handles as it bumped over the rough roads, and mud from ear to toe. We have been hearing very favourable news along our front, and the general news appears to be quite encouraging for our side. No doubt you see all the news in the papers. The weather of course now is very bad for any sort of movement, and no doubt things may be quiet for some time, but of course we know nothing of the plans.
Willie tells that he finds it dull or quiet in the winter. I can imagine what it is like this winter with so much snow on the ground. The farmers here work at something all the time it seems. They have the slowest and most antiquated methods (it seems to me at least), in doing their work and their habits are the dirtiest. For example in this village where the population in peace times would probably be five to seven hundred, they have what we at home would call sort of surface pools built around with brick walls, in which they actually water the cows. There are two wells in the village (there are no running streams near), one about 250 ft. deep, and in these the people get their washing, drinking, and water for all domestic purposes. The water is drawn by a windlass with two cranks, one at each end, and at any hour of the day you can see people waiting to draw water. The water from the roads, muddy rain water, drains into these other indescribably dirty pools, and they water the cows and horses there. I was speaking to our M.O. the other day, and asked him how it was that the Government or local authorities would not stop such a thing, and he said they seemed to be absolutely ignorant about any sanitation arrangements whatever.
Well it seems there is so little to write about. I have written about local conditions at greater length than I intended.
Tell Tina I got her parcel, but I think I acknowledged it in an earlier letter.
While I think of it, do not put anything on the address but 38th battalion, no division, brigade or anything. I told you when I came first that I would be in the - - - but this should not be put on the address.
I hope Margt. will find her health improve with the Western air, but it will be so cold there for some time I should think that she would find it hard to become acclimatized very quickly, but no doubt after she has, she will benefit by the change.
I do not need any socks at the present time, but when I do will let you know, and will be glad to receive some. Regarding things to eat I can buy all I need or wish for.
Will write soon again, but as the hour in late will not write further.
With love to all.