Sunday, 14th October (1917)

A fine sunny day and all busy spreading our things to dry and a more cheerful atmosphere prevails.  If the people responsible for the messing arrangements in N.Z. would adopt the methods used here, the saving in food and improvement in comfort would be revolutionary.  It makes one angry to think of the disgusting waste in the N.Z. camps and the bad cooking and general spoliation of so much good food that goes on there – or did.  The French beer isn’t the best and certainly not over-proof.  We are still in the throes of learning French coinage and I have a thing in my pocket which looks like a 1/- but is only worth about 2 ½ d.  I did make a girl understand that I wanted ‘deux pommes’ on Friday but when I said ‘comment vous portez vous’ to a boy he didn’t appear to grasp it in its entirety.  Saw French peasants going off to work in the fields early this morning and it was like looking at a moving Millet.  I little thought a year ago that I should be over in his country, or Corot’s, Hugo’s, Flambert’s, Rabelais’ and all the rest of them.  A man soon gets used to sleeping with most of his clothes on and giving up his few remaining little luxuries.  W. and I towards dusk had a stroll through the main street, narrow ones lined with old white and tray patchy-looking shops and cafes and estaminets.  Also had a look at the water-front, a tidal river or inlet, mostly mud-flat when we saw it, on whose banks were reposing all sorts of fishing craft.

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