Nov 27th 1916
My dear Father
Your letter of Oct 12th from Folkestone got delayed one mail and reached me nearly a week ago. I have more recent news from Mela, but none at present from home, though with luck a mail should arrive very soon; I hope tomorrow, Tuesday being a usual day. Should it be late this week we are likely to have to wait some time for it, as we are making preparation to go on a long march for several days. We are not sure of our destination, but if it is where we expect I shall find myself in fresh ground, but not so very far from where I have been before. The weather is excellent for marching, and I am in hopes that once we have settled down to it, it will be quite an interesting sort of experience. It will be my first experience of travelling any considerable distance by marching.
As we have been gradually working things with the expectation of getting orders of the kind there should be less trouble in getting moved than is often the case. We are occupying little tentage and are not lumbered with much heavy baggage. At present I have all my kit here with me, and can accordingly select what I require. The nights are rapidly getting very cold, but the sun retains a lot of power so that it is nice and warm by eight o’clock and at midday quite hot. Generally the weather by day resembles the sort of perfect summer day one gets at home about the end of May or the beginning of June. The cold nights make everything fresh. To all intents we may say we have had no rain, though actually there was a drop one morning for about five minutes; judging from reports there is every likelihood that none will fall till after Christmas, or perhaps into the new year. Last year it started in January, but that is unusually late I believe. Once it rained until May which is very exceptional apparently. I have no doubt January and February will be pretty beastly. It will be specially nasty if we have much moving or fighting to do during those months.
Yesterday night was the anniversary of the Suvla flood of evil memory. I hope nothing up here will ever quite equal that; I hardly think it is likely.
I heard from Mela that her mother was paying you a short visit at Badsey. I am very glad indeed, for Mela’s sake especially, that she has at last realised that I am genuine, and is changing her attitude. I think the rebellion of three years ago was necessary to make her alter her point of view, and I am glad to be able to think of it as a storm that has cleared the air. In your next letters I shall hear how the visit went off. The news you give concerning the fruit crops is very satisfactory indeed after last year’s enormous crop. Prices were bound to be good I suppose as all prices are apparently very much up, and it only remained that there should be a moderate crop of fruit to bring in decent profits. I am glad Mela was able to help you so much with the picking.
It seems bad luck that she always seems to get put on either theatre work or night duty when in hospital; four months of the latter is a very heavy spell too. A good many of her fellows on the nursing staff seem to be pretty third rate sort of people, not pleasant to work with and worse to work under; she gets pretty sick with their ways occasionally.
I doubt whether I shall have a lot of opportunity for writing letters for a little time but I hope I may get off a short note or post card at least next mail, to report progress.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden