Sunday, 3rd February (1918)

Yesterday rabbit appeared in the table d’hote, and today we had a dry hash for dinner and roley-poley pudding and sauce for tea.  We have recently been given the standard war-bread and old hands say it is the first time, white bread having always been given to our troops in France.

Our animals had been re-arranged and one of mine was the last in a section of the stables, roped off with a wire rope.  Putting on his cover and tying up its two straps round the body, I was making off serenely, till recalled by derisive shouts, when I found I had thrown both straps over the wire rope and strapped him to it securely so that he would have passed the night without being able to lie down, move about, or get at the hay nets.  One of W’s. is fond of sweets and tries to get its nose into his pockets – the other day it bit and broke the iodine bottle in his field dressing.

Friday, 1st February (1918)

On the manure cart again today with one Perrin (sergeant likes to call out “Lee and Perrin” for fatigue).  Excitement when a couple of tommies dopey with cold and dolce far niente,* stood in our way until we were right on them and one of them got such a shock that he fell beneath my sacred and plunging mules.  Managed to hold them back on their haunches whilst he scrambled off on his hands and knees in the mire. My donks, still indignant over their dipping are amusing in their preference for walking on two legs.  They appear to blame one another for the whole affair, for ever since our return yesterday they have been standing a long way apart and intermittently kicking one another in the ribs or nipping at one another’s noses.  Varium et mutabile semper Mulier.  If the ground doesn’t freeze tonight I’m going to pull out a handful of Jack Frost’s whiskers – you might do a drawing of that.  These cold nights the air in the Nissen Hut with some 30 sleepers and every aperture tight shut, gets very putrid.  On waking I light a fag and suck a “Negroid”** before stepping gingerly out on to the ice-slide caused by midnight urinating from the doorstep.

* pleasant idleness

** a brand of candy