Passed some distance away a warship convoying another vessel. The infantry now have to wear boots to get their feet used to them again. A few sea-birds are re-turning, but not regular followers like those we had in the South. The warm regions of the earth seem to have no attraction for the sea-birds. The whistle blew like thunder 3 times one morning, but none of us know why. We get war news by wireless daily. Have seen in the distance a school of whales spouting and splashing. It is quite evident that they do not spout water but that the plume is simply their hot breath condensing in the cooler air. Bullen points out that in the Cachalot. (I am trying to rewrite this page as the original has just been blown overboard). At about 3.30 p.m. the long expected destroyers swooped down upon us like a flight of birds. They whizzed up alongside and after some signalling our ships took up a new alignment and proceeded under their escort. Even in a calm sea they roll about in a surprising manner and one realises what they must be during the long winters in the cruel North Sea.
Rumoured that one of the ships saw a mine yesterday – the cruiser certainly went back and reconnoitred. We saw a swallow flying about the ship. It is light at 4.30 a.m. and up to 7.30 p.m. so we must be getting well up North. Warwick took a snapshot of me prior to the sacrifice of my penwipe moustache. I am kissable once more.
The vessels of the convoy are now zigzagging almost the whole time. Another fatality has occurred. One of the infantry died suddenly of heart failure after skylarking with his mates. Why do Doctors prescribe a long sea journey as a means of recovering health? It strikes me as having the opposite effect; but then, we weren’t invalids when we started.
The boats of the convoy have been varying their formations during the day – apparently with a view to thwarting possible submarine attack. We now have to carry our lifebelts about with us all day – an unmitigated bore.
Passed a ship that did not respond to the cruiser’s signal, but was jolly soon rounded up by a shot across the bow. It is rather galling to think that at the end of a voyage of something about 2/3rds of the World’s circumference we shall have seen practically nothing of the World.
A full rigged ship hove into view early this morning carrying every inch of canvass. The cruiser buzzed round her a couple of times to take stock of her.
We don’t get marmalade for breakfast now as some idiots complained and said they preferred STEW! You have no idea what asses some men are. And they are filled with a kind of cunning distrust. If you volunteer information on any subject of which they are ignorant they remain unconvinced and advance some asinine theory of their own in rebuttal. I heard an exposition of astronomy the other night which I would give something to be able to repeat verbatim.
Had a criminal hair-cut with a machine. My head feels quite bald and I am for the first time able to contemplate the peculiar implantation of my hair. The crescent (or nascent) “Mo” sprouts out in contrasted luxuriance. I doubt if you would recognise me. Just off to breakfast, prospect of which blighted by vision of old enemy, stew, being carried down the passage. Mild excitement just occasioned by escape of monkey and subsequent capture by one Casey. The port is now receding in the distance. Before we left, an English battle-cruiser swung into port to coal. She was worth looking at. When we pass a man-o-war or troopship we all stand to attention. Very amusing aquatic sports this afternoon. The Maoris were particularly funny. The monkey created a diversion by getting loose and climbing to the top of the mast, where he stayed for an hour doing gymnastics on the rigging.