Letter 10 - Badly need socks and pyjamas

A note from the Editors:

Oliver is now at the Officers Pool Mess, waiting to be posted to a Squadron.

Franked 5 AUG 17
Mrs Chas. E. Pearson,

No1AD Officers Pool Mess
Frid Aug 3

Dear Mother,
I am writing because at the moment I do not have anything better to do and I am in a comfortable office. I am Relieving Orderly Officer which means I have to sit here & wait for a telephone bell to ring while the real Orderly Officer has his lunch. I hope to get mine but am uncertain. I haven't been posted yet as the weather being so vile there is no flying & therefore no one is killed or injured. The above weather is phenominal.

It started with a most peculiar wind storm. From a flat calm & clear sky suddenly within 5 minutes arose a violent wind with racing black clouds & thunder & lightning of great violence which all lasted about half an hour & then passed off as it started leaving all serene & calm with no wind to speak of. But since then it has rained almost incessantly & for the last 72 hours without a break at all just a steady downpour all the time. It’s lucky we are in huts again & not under canvas as at the A.F.S.

I have now been twice into the town near here but am not struck with it. The main portion of the place isn’t bad & it has two fine squares & a beautiful old cathedral but get away from those & you get narrow streets filled with garbage & smelling like nothing else on earth. The program is to walk in (about 1 ½ miles) & arrange with Madame to have dinner. Then we walk around & buy things we want then have dinner and after talk with other officers & yarn around & walk back. The dinner is not so good one quite expected & you feel somewhat disappointed when the piece de resistance is only something made of egg of which you only took a very little thinking something else was to follow.

Everybody who is not making money out of the soldiers & who can have moved farther south away from the war so the place is really pretty empty & it look so dilapidated only the Cathedral looks really solid & I want t go round it as soon as I can. My Glibness at French is rapidly improving as I am remembering my vocabulary that I had forgotten & learning more. I do as much talking as I can to learn as much as possible before I come away. Here very few can talk more than a word or two of English but nearer the Line I believe more can speak it.

I badly want some more socks & pyjamas. Has dad got a spare flask that he can lend me. Such a one I mean that carries Brandy in. Everyone here carries one & say they wouldn’t be without it so I had better have one too & I cannot buy one here. One of my teeth has been giving me trouble & I am going to have it pulled free gratis & for nothing. Gambling is the chief game here & I am sick of hearing the Roulette wheel spinning round but you don’t catch me playing those silly games. One fellow is 52 francs to the good now but will possibly go down a 100 to-day. With much love from Oliver. Xxxx

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