July 9th 1917
My dearest Mela
The end of a very busy week indeed brought me to Sunday, and near the outgoing mail (which is tonight, being Monday) with no attempt made to get any letters written. For one thing the first of our fortnightly mails, now quite due, has not yet turned up, and there is therefore nothing to reply to, and I naturally waited in hopes of getting it. But in any case I really have been so busy most of the week that I had no space of time fit to sit down in to start correspondence. The details of my much business I have recounted in the letter I wrote yesterday to Betty, so if you should be at Badsey when you get this you will presumably hear them. They are chiefly comprised in a combination of the maximum amount of training with the running of an extensive grocery department which has just been supplied with a much larger stock than ever before.
Day after day I was very busy with accounts etc right through the heat of the day when the rest of the camp was chiefly sleeping. Yesterday was the first day I have had at all free, and I was out all last night digging and only returned at 8.45 this morning. We had five miles to go, and were supposed to put in five hours digging, but I didn’t as I think it was a bit too much at that distance, so cut it down slightly. I had my horse to carry me there and back, but was glad enough to see camp again all the same.
It has been a record hot day, reaching 118°, and the wind has been strong, blowing dust thickly, and being perfectly scorching. The conditions made letter writing – or almost any other form of activity out of the question all day, so I fear your letter had been unfortunate. Things were not assisted by the general sleepiness that followed upon last night’s activity.
I seem to make a bad selection of days for writing to you, as last week I remember grousing a great deal about the dust. That first day was a bad specimen, I am thankful to say, but it is pretty dusty at the best of times. One cannot shut oneself up from the dust because without some breeze it is simply swelteringly hot.
I have been very pleased to read news of Russian activity again at last, apparently pretty extensive and successful from first reports. If only they will keep on with them but I think we can get on with the war properly again.
It is most difficult writing. This period shortly before dinner generally finds me handing out bottles of drink to messes, and so every three lines I have to stop and book down an issue. Now in the middle of this very sentence my orderly sergeant comes for orders. Altogether my brain is just like a very dry sponge, so I will give it up. I shall just have time to add a paragraph tomorrow morning.
A dreadful prospect is ahead of us. The next mail after the one now due having been submarined there will be no mails for a month which will be perfectly dreary. Moreover you will probably get fairly dull letters for a month in return, so the evil effect will be reflected back upon you.
Forgive a poor letter this week. I hope not to be quite so busy in future, and if I get my mail in soon there will be something to talk about.
Best love, dear, from
Your own most affectionate
Cyril E Sladden