19th – 23rd June (1918)

Light-golden cloud-piles towering into an almost turquoise-blue sky.  Large droves of our planes flying at a great height and resembling in appearance and orderly formation flights of wild-swan.  Cornflowers and patches of red clover, picturesque groups of peasant women and old women bending over their work as they, in the words of Stephen Phillips, “curiously inspect their lasting home”.  The women often dress in blue prints and always wear aprons.  They are longer limbed and more graceful than the typical English countrywoman.

Amusing to watch the gambolings of some of our animals.  On finding themselves free and unfettered, they commenced prancing, “gallumphing”, kicking up heels, tossing crests, bumping into one another, snorting in one another’s faces and other outrageous ebullitions.

War journalism is often misleading twaddle.  They have to have something to say – get no information from the military authorities.  When they tell you we “enjoy the prospect of battle” don’t believe them.  The only thing we would enjoy, if we got it is leisure.  We want to loaf when not fighting, but discipline says “no, clean your harness and groom your mules, shave, polish your boots and buttons, tidy your bivvies, stack your clothes and gear according to diagram and if you’re good we’ll let you off from noon till 3.30.p.m. next Sunday, to write home”.

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