23 December (1918)

Sitting most of the day on horseback with the water streaming out of our boots and down our necks – a pretty picnic!  More pine forest; the high land being planted with sombre green drooping pine.  The method of afforestation is methodical.  Rough or marshy land is chosen as being unsuitable for other cultivation; one area is heavy grown timber, another packed with saplings which are thinned out for the uses which they serve; a third will be just felled and replanted with tiny seedlings.  Here and there amid the woods are dwellings and inns, often of quaint and curious design: one side of a house will be brown or red stone cemented together in irregular shapes, another red brick, a third perhaps painted wood or plaster, distempered and inset with beams picked out in dark colour.  This sounds motley, but is often very handsome.  (However these are probably holiday cottages.)

Our host is an older whiskered man whose conversation we have been trying to follow.  He says the Kaiser has gone mad in Holland – what one would expect!