3rd May (1918)

Last night Jock, Bombardier Dawson and I carried on rather abstract discussion to a pretty late hour, to the obvious boredom of the two cow-spankers: “get to bed you bastards” they said “and to hell with your Hart and your littertoor”.

Large undulating fields are relieved with patches of brown earth, varying tones of young crops and occasional splashes of light yellow flowers – mustard I think.

A distant picturesque old windmill, peeping over the brow of the hill, swings his big arms slowly against the sky; church spires peep up from among the wooded villages and one begins to soak in somewhat the spirit of an ancient and famous country.

2nd May (1918)

Riding to water this morning, whiz, plunk, plunk! nose-caps from anti-aircraft shells smacked into the ground a few yards away.  Merriment in the horse-lines when one of the sergeants came crashing through the hedges leading a wild-looking horse drawing an enormous roller, used by the peasants for agricultural purposes, and with it rolled the now doughey mud into a state approaching consistency.  Supper last night a superlative mixture of rolled oats and custard concocted by Jock almost at the expense of his eyesight over a fire of bituminous painted boards.

Have been for a stroll with Jock, talking of pleasant things – of designing houses and building them and other pleasantries of the world we have left but not forgotten.  He, too, is married.

May Day (1 May 1918)

Cold, damp, and raw.  This morning entertained by an escaped charger; a large black horse, which in spasms of elephantine friskiness insisted upon accompanying us, punctuating his gallops with harried munching of young oats, whilst his distantly blaspheming driver brought up the rear.  He, the horse, would be pausing to crop the oats and apparently an easy prey, but out of the corner of his eye he had been noting his would-be captor, and just when the latter’s hopes were rising up, up went his heels and down went his head and “Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum”.  Witnessed some rite of which I am ignorant.  An old priest, accompanied by a woman and young girl carrying a large box with a cloth covering, walking down the middle of the street monitoring all comers aside in an authoritative manner.  Perhaps something to do with May Day?