A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 12 August 1917
B.E.F. August 12th 1917
Time has never flown so fast. It is awful isn’t it? Life will be over before we can properly enjoy it. I have the capacity I think for thoroughly enjoying the ‘Good Things’ of life – although you might not think so – camp life, noise, mud, rain and the other concomitants of war are all very well but they get a bit wearisome and boring at times – although I must be fair and say that I have never been so well and more eager to enjoy things than I am at present.
Are you still enjoying the excellent society of Mrs Lowe and the air of Bagston Hill? Or have you wandered north in the company of your parents? No post has come for me for the last three days – they have a spite against me in the Postal Service I think.
We have been sending a lot of our men away on leave – those who have had none since they came out – poor fellows – so I am up every morning to see they go away properly dressed with no dangerous souvenirs and other ‘lively’ things – oh! you don’t know the precautions & trouble taken to see that the dear people in England don’t come to any harm. I sent a short note to you by one of the men. I hope you got it alright.
I have just paid the battery 3000 francs, and now it is tea time. After tea I am off up the line – it is delightful there now – you can’t see for smoke or hear for the noise. I shall be back at midnight – I hope it does not rain – but I know I shall lose my temper. I always do moving along the road with wagons – everything gets choked up and it is a great relief to let drive at some of these thick headed creatures – poor fellows I am usually sorry afterwards. I have not had the heart to damn them for not cleaning the harness and vehicles lately – but there will have to be a day of reckoning – the harness is filthy and red with rust – there are four sheds full of it and we are very short handed. I am expecting a visit from the General soon and he is a brute who expects everything to be like a parade in peace time – however I don’t suppose he will get nearer than our gate which has at least 2 foot of mud and he will certainly get his boots dirty if he comes in.
How are you keeping dearest? I hope well – you certainly seem to be having a very good time. I am enjoying myself with the horses. I have found a broken down cottage and in it I have my 2 horses (one the famous bay mare known throughout the Brigade as the hottest little devil of all) – the major’s two horses – one of which won the Aldershot jumping – 2 belonging to a sub who came from the R.H.A. One a very good jumper – and another belonging to another sub. All these I ride in turn – as many as four a day sometimes and now they are all fit. Their coats are looking fine and not a blemish on them. So you see I have a good time in spite of all. It is comical to see these horses tied up in the kitchen and best parlour of the cottage, but they look all the better for being under cover and free from the mud.
With all much love dearest and lots of kisses