C Sqdn, 9th Battn R.T.R.
Jessie Mine: Once again I have to thank you for sending me a parcel:- (ciggy’s and papers). I could hug you almost to death for your kindness in thinking of me in this manner… but – you must not think me ungrateful when I say that I could scold you too. I could scold you, my love… but I won’t: I will only ask you to believe that I haven’t yet been really short of cigarettes. I admit that our issue is far from adequate for we – er – moderate smokers, but I have been helped out by Les Challinor. He is one of the very few blokes over here who steadfastly refuse to trade cigarettes, and being a pipe-smoker himself, he is able to help us out. As he refuses to accept payment for ciggys, I always give him my chocolate ration, and this arrangemnt seems to satisfy him, even though he loses by it.
The reason I feel particularly guilty about smoking your ciggys is because of the shortage at home. I do hope you are not depriving yourself of smokes for my benefit. Your need is equally as great as mine, my dear: you must not deny yourself for a greedy husband. All the same – I thank you again… and you are a darling.
Your letter brought me the good news of Barry’s ‘immunisation’. I am so glad you have ‘taken the plunge’ in this direction, Jess. It must have beeen something of an ordeal for you to submit the little chap once again to the tender mercies of a doctor… but I think you were correctly advised about the first injection being painless. And next time, I imagine the worst he will suffer will be a slight stiffness of his arm: (I presume his arm is used for the injection.) I think his fear must have been caused by the nurse. He hasn’t forgotten his previous experience at Stepping Hill. It was so nice to hear those cheerful little stories about our wee pest. And how easy it is for me to visualise his activities, both at the Welfare centre, and at Hilda’s. That eager concentration… and the urgency about all the jobs you do-! And his complete absorption in his own little discoveries… Ah Jess! It’s a grand little fellow we have: he’s a perfect treat. We kinda like him – don’t we? – Yes? I haven’t ever heard him say “eyho darning” – and I hope I am home in time to hear this little expression. You may remember that he was just saying ‘eyho mammy’ or ‘eyho daddy’ when I left home. I can almost hear his little voice right now.
Speaking of our Popett’s voice reminds me of music – I wonder why!.. and a lovely musical item on the radio this evening. It was Grieg’s piano concerto, played by Eileen Joyce with the B.B.C. Scottish Orchestra. It was really lovely… so much so, that three or four other fellows in the mess here actually sat back and listened – obviously pleased. And I’m almost positive that two of them wrote and told their wives what they had been listening to. And that reminds me of a little chuckle I had today. I had no idea that I have ever been the subject of comment in other fellows’ letters, but I have-!! The wives of both Les Challinor and Tom Hamnett have asked whether I am now better-! Crikey… they had been informed earlier of my “pain”… and wondered whether there was anything seriously wrong. The things some fellows write home about!
Speaking of Tom Hamnett… I told him, just after my leave, about the visit of Jess and Jimmy (Aldcroft) – and he rather surprised me by saying “of course, my wife doesn’t really like Jess, you know:- she’s one of those people who make a habit of calling on people at meal times and scrounging a meal. She’s often done this on my wife, and never so much as given a cup of tea in return”. For cryin’ out loud! I mumble something in reply – very non-committal. Now I know that Mrs H is… well… what a tale! I simply can’t believe this of Jess – no more than I could of my Jess. The things some wives write about!!
God! It’s late darling – very late…
Must go to bed.
Good night, my sweetheart