6th September (1918)

Grazing our animals; the Hunter in his element, able to make his meal entirely off rubbish – bark, weeds and leaves alive and dead.  I don’t believe he is a real mule – he’s a cross between a giraffe, a camel and that old horse Browning’s Childe Roland came across in the desert.  Friend Fowler and I are watching a gap in an old trench thro’ which the neddies* make desperate attempts to break out, whereat we arise in wrath, and whack them over their noses with lumps of wood – loud snorts and a precipitate retreat.

Poet has a sore back, so shall have to ride the Hunter for a few days – it will be like a Katzenjammer Castle**.  A change is to be made in the arrangement of our teams and tomorrow I shall be a horseman – muleteer no more – my colossi will belong to another, and the Poet will no longer groan beneath the bulk of a poetaster.  A field (or dor) mouse has just paid me a call; he had his bright eyes and clean light brown fur – ran right up to me in the grass, took one terrified glance, and bolted.  He saw the Poet – the smallest of beasts confronted by one of the greatest.

During the day there have been grand cloud effects.  One mighty group of castellated clouds reached out from the horizon like the great white hand of God preparing to seize the mad world and fling it into the abyss.

* Neddy, a child’s word for a donkey (British usage), or a horse, especially a racehorse (Australian).  Plural is neddies.

** Katzenjammer Castle was a type of fun-house commonly seen in amusement parks from the 1890s through to the 1910s.

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