Tuesday, 10th September

I wonder if, when the war ends, the French will rebuild all these villages after the old fashioned style or whether they will adopt the more modern?  If the latter, there will be a curious belt of modernism across the country.

“Brigham” is with us again and the air is full of strange oaths.  The only habitable buildings now are the tin sheds, shacks and bivvies, erected by us, used by the Hun, now re-used by us and well peppered by both.  When you take possession you feel that they are too impossibly filthy, but after a rough scrape out and the addition of some of your own dirt, you begin to feel quite at home.

The camp was in habited when we arrived – by two young kittens – and near one of the huts is a large effigy of the Madonna and Child, of painted wood.

An occasional big shell whines overhead thru’ the wind and the rain and explodes with a dull thud in the distance – an eerie sound!  Yes, an eerie sound followed the first a shell, rather closer than one cares about, then the drone of Hun air-planes, which commenced to lay their over-fertilized eggs around the district.

There was a terrific argument in the hut this morning – the subject was – how many fish shops Sanford has at Karangahape Road!  (There goes the trumpet).

I have read my letters with a joy only overcast by the sad case of my neighbour – whose only letter was a back-edged one telling of the sudden death of his only sister.  He is a great rough chap and read it with round oaths – and streaming eyes.

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