Sunday, 19th May (1918)

My 34th birthday.  A cool breeze playing over the land.  Scatty had the effrontery to shy at a donkey led by the oldest and most crumpled-up man I’ve ever seen, not recognising her own half-brother.  Water is a problem in these districts.  It is quite a sight, the pairs lining the road for kilometres, waiting their turn.  Today you can smell the sea in the wind, the hawthorn is in the height of blossom, poppies are showing up amidst the corn and the meadows are sprinkled with butter cups and millions of misguided human beings are occupied with the problem of mutual murder.  In the hazy light-blue sky, aeroplanes are singing like hornets.  Set off to a village about 4 miles away where a stream has been damned for bathing.  Rangatira makes a fine little hack and I should like to acquire him apres la guerre.  How would I look trotting up Queen St. on a mule?  At the pond were a number of Yankees and it was interesting to hear their conversation and study their types, mostly big men.

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