27th December (1917)

One of my donks is of brownish colour and is quite well mannered, but its mate, a brunette (if that word can be used of a male, though in its propensities this donk is quite distinctly female) is a very flighty beast and so touchy about the head that I can never put on its bridle or nosebag in the usual way, but have to untie one side, first slip the leather round its neck, and then tighten up.  At first I thought this was no end of a nuisance, but now do it mechanically.  He also dives under the rope and stands on the wrong side of it and every now and then gets scared and, like the Prisoner of Chillon, breaks his chain with one bound.  All these bad qualities are balanced by the fact that he can pull like a son of a gun – you never get a donk without some deficiencies.

W’s on the other hand, are large clumsy specimens with clumpy feet and they were sliding about all over the road, with in places was like glass with the effect of traffic over the snow – in fact I saw a Tommy skating on it quite gracefully in his boots.  One of our drivers was up with a waggon yesterday and got wounded in the foot; he is now the envy of all.  Of a few casualties that have occurred in other batteries in this place, two are men I knew fairly well; both killed.

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