22nd April (1918)

Heavy bombardment by our guns commenced in the small hours – an inferno of sound continued till daylight.  Grazing is now confined to roadsides, as the Froggies make such a to do over using their fields; in fact it is a common sight to see irate old women in full chase after trespassers.  One still occasionally meets with refugee families on the highways, or loading some vehicle with their most treasured belongings.

6.30. p.m.  The gamblers are again hard at it – “Come on me lucky punters.  If you don’t speculate you can never hope to accumulate.  I bar no bet in the way of fair play.  You pick and I’ll play.  Die, Hook, Heart and Spade.  The old man spits blood.  Paid here.  Paid there.  And away to war we go again.”  That is extracted from the Crown and Anchor King – the lingo of the Two-uppers is too mystic for my comprehension – “I bet a frank ‘e micks ‘em”.

A bird sang before dawn, his note the purest crystalline tinkling; a peal of about four notes, rapidly repeated.  A well-informed European would be able to tell me the name of all these birds, trees and flowers.  And they are all, no doubt, as familiar by name and repute as the denizens of the ‘Bush’.

The fields are thick with game, such as partridges, and hares, and, as one chap suggested, this abundance is doubtless attributable to the fact that for the past three years the French have had something more exciting than game-shooting to attend to.

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