20th December (1917)

Severe frost, accompanied by fog which has crystallised on everything in a snow-white rime; every twig on the shrubs and hedges looks as if it had been dipped in the hot springs of old N.Z. the legs and ears of our devoted donks are affected likewise and the ice on the shell-holes easily bear one’s weight.  If you leave a little moisture in your mess-tin it soon freezes up.  We go about with glistening pearl-like appendages to our nasal protuberances.  Our fire is merrily consuming purloined wood and what with the exterior warmth and the interior glow induced by some hot rum and sugar we are quite comfortable.  The brawny young Scot has today astounded us with his gastric feats – at lunch he ate (inter alia) a mixture of jam and pickles and roasted cheese – this evening, dissatisfied with the official menu he made a huge hash of buffy and pickles cooked in his mess tin on our brazier, washing it down with over a pint of tea.

Payday again and the 5 franc Xmas Dinner Fund was duly collected at our door – catch ‘em on the hop.

My effort in French (wrote a letter in French today in reply to one from my father) is as you will see deplorable.  Before starting I had all sorts of high sounding idioms floating in my noodle, but when I tried to work ‘em into the composition they refused to go (like some of our mules).

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