Friday 25th (January 1918)

Thought my shift at picquet last night was never going to end.  There’s a fine little poem by Bret Harte about a picquet and a falling star which I can now appreciate.  Out exercising where there were broad flat ploughed fields with an old Flemish peasant trudging about them like a Millet.

At sundown the colouring was delicately distributed, the sun looking like a red ball, more like our full moon in smokey weather.  Again saw one of our balloons broken adrift and ascending to a great height, dropping its two parachutists and pursued by shells from anti-aircraft guns.  The parachutes are pure white and glide gracefully down at what seems to be a very slow pace, but in reality is quick enough to give a nasty jar on alighting.  They look like jelly-fish sinking in sunny waters; contrasting with the bright light-brown balloons, which, to carry on the simile, might be the hulls of floating fisher boats.

The canteen is infested with gambling fiends who run Crown and Anchor boards, yelping out a continuous stream of patter.  Rather fascinating, watching the throw of the dice and the money going this way and that.

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