No mail in yet, not had one since the 28th November, & we shan’t get one for another 5 or 6 days I hear, & then we get 2 or 3 together. Besides I suppose they are extra heavy just now with Christmas mails an’ all.
Since I last wrote we have had a good hard frost each night, 7 degrees generally & water in our basins frozen solid. And all day this bitter wind goes on & cuts through you like a knife, & we have’nt got any thick khaki yet, only the drill stuff. Fortunately I have the shetland, & a great coat but it’s still cold for all that. And of course by the time you get this it will be warming up again or at anyrate not so cold as it is now.
One hears such a lot abut the hot weather out here, but not a soul ever told me of this really bitter winter. Consequently we all made preparations for the summer & none for the winter. After all you can do with very few clothes in the summer, but you want a whole heap & lots of blankets too in the winter, especially as the contrast is so great. One hears that the weather is exceptional & nothing like it occurred last year, but we are rather far up north & may expect really cold weather for some time yet.
I suppose we shall have snow too if there is a frost about. However I personally am keeping very fit on it & so are we all I think, but we all find the cold keeps us awake at night, in tents you see, & the only possible time to have a bath is midday, when there is a tiny bit of heat in the feeble sun.
Day before yesterday we had to go out on a 15 miles reconnaissance, stay out one night, & we came back yesterday. Two Turkish deserters gave themselves up to us, they were rather miserable specimens, & seemed absolutely fed up, & complained of ill-treatment, scanty food & clothes, & no pay, so let’s hope this represents the general condition of their army out here. We had to bivouac the one night we spent out, no tents, so you can imagine how cold it was, & there were 7 degrees of frost that night too! But I suppose one is fairly hard nowadays & can stand a good deal.
Col Hogg rolled up last Tuesday & so I am no longer in command, but am an acting Major & 2nd in command now. Lyell has gone back to India on a month’s leave. Hogg was very interested to hear I know some of his sisters, & that his people knew you, but I’ve told him this often before when I met him in India, but he’s a casual sort of person & does’nt take the trouble to remember people much I think. He is an awfully nice man of course, but likes his creature comforts & we are certainly not indulging in any luxuries up here just at present!
We ate your plum pudding the other day, as we are getting so many for Christmas, & as yours had arrived I thought we had better get through it now. It was voted excellent, & so it was, & I did’nt get the sixpence though I had a good old try!
I have just been round the battlefield of Ramadi with Col Hogg, & he was very interested an’ all. My hands get frightfully cold, hence my bad writing! I have no gloves, & it’s awful, Nell tells me she has sent a pair & I’m longing for them to arrive. Hogg knows Mr Kirwan well of course, & we discussed him last night. He is a widower, & has 3 sons, one has just gone to Rugby this term.
So if anyone is coming out here my advice is- never mind about the hot weather, you want no clothes for that: but mind the cold, take every warm thing you’ve got, or have warm things sent by post to arrive about November-
No more news – Best love to all
Yr loving son