A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 1 August 1917
August 1st 1917.
Thank you so much for forgiving me for being slack in writing, with two delightful letters. As it is doubtful whether you will be going north I am sending this to Benchfield. Your description of farm life and hay making reminds me of many happy days in the country, which I hope to have again someday and this time with you. You will know all about it then and you will be able to teach me – a most ignorant individual in such matters. I hope you will not catch the bad tempers and worse language of the Black Country women. There is great danger of my doing so from my neighbours here especially in these circumstances and there must be some reforming elements between us.
I think you are right in your guess as to where we are now. it is not so bad when it is fine. The sand is causing trouble with the horses’ feet – very often the shoes come off; but just at present our surroundings are delightful. It has rained consistently and hard for the last 30 hours without stopping and it is still going on! The camp is under water and when I came back after twelve hours in hardly a dry condition I found about a foot of water in my tent. I am now sitting on a throne of ammunition boxes in the tent writing a few notes. The poor horses are having a rotten time and the men as bad. I tried to get a shed or a house for the men to get dry but I was quite unsuccessful. They will have to be wet until the gods turn the tap off. It always pours just as we start a push. The papers will have told you what is going on. Up to the present I have only heard of 3000 prisoners being taken and some of their front system to the south of us. Now the weather has again called a halt. Poor old British Army – always getting done down either by the staff, the weather or the Boche. But this is grousing too much isn’t it? I must not forget what the papers say about the British soldier that when everything goes wrong he is ever so cheerful. I wonder where they get their information from.
I do hope Mr & Mrs Cross have been able to get away to have a holiday with you. It is most annoying to have your plans upset at the last moment.
Perhaps now though you are enjoying a well earned rest with them in Wales.
Thank you very much for your post card from Worcester. I am glad you enjoyed your visit there.
You are keeping fit I hope – and Maude too when you left her. Give my love to Mrs Cross. ‘Hay-up’ has just gone, so I must go.
With all my love & kisses, dearest,