A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 11 May 1917
May 11th 1917
After a year and a month in the line we are out for a so called rest. In reality – at least for me – it is not much of a rest. I get up for early morning stables at 6 a.m. & what with watering and feed takes an hour & a half. Exercise at 9. lasts until midday stables & so on throughout the day. But still it is a relief to get away. It has taken us three days to get clear and arrive here and we are billeted in a farm on the outskirts of a delightful forest. You can imagine what it is like now with the trees coming out and full of spring flowers. There are lots of tracks through it so we have plenty of places for exercising the horses. The weather is glorious and very hot. I suppose you have the same. Judging from your letter you must be having a very good time indeed. The lovely long one of the 7th has just arrived. Thank you so much for it. What a lot of things you manage to do; and last Monday seemed to be nothing else than accidents. I am very glad they did not happen to you.
We arrived here quite safely without a great deal of trouble. I came with the wagons, horses and staff. One G.S. wagon deposited most of our kit on the road – it was so overloaded. One telephonist who had not been on a horse for about 9 months managed to slip off his horse which escaped for a short time – and one horse cast a shoe – otherwise we arrived safely but very hot and tired about 7.30 p.m. I was alone. The Doctor turned up later and the Adjutant still later. The Colonel has gone away on leave – so we are having a good time.
My mare is at the moment tied up in a pond, all the horses are looking wonderfully well. I am very sorry to hear about Patsey.
It was just about this time last year that we went up into the line for the Somme show – do you remember? Even then we had 3 weeks out of the line that time. I don’t expect we shall get anything like so long this time.
I am so glad that matters are so much better at home now. You know what I mean. I felt very guilty being more or less the cause of it. But I am glad it is better now for your sake. Why do girls sit in the sun and get horribly burnt? It is not pretty you know now, is it? And as for a brown V it is perfectly disgusting! Don’t forget to lose it before I come home on leave again – next winter!
Thank you for the very amusing verse by the old lady, and also your letter which enclosed it. I am getting very behind hand with my correspondence again, alas! If things get worse I shall have to take to the useful Field Service Post Card – but that is only when ‘in extremis’. Give my love to Mrs Cross. I am glad she is having such a good time. Please give my kindest regards to Mr Cross.
This letter is, I am afraid, very disjointed. There is very little news I can tell you and all I really want to say is the same thing every time. I was just going to write it – but I can’t; it looks so cold written – but you know what I mean.
Are you storing up kisses for my return. I hope so.
I must close now darling,
With all my love & kisses