Jan 9. Seagry[?]. Chippenham.
It was nice to get a letter from you but I felt a fool, exasperated for you that you had not been notified of the change of plans & so had to kick your heels about in the wilds of Ross-shire when you might have been enjoying yourself on leave. I really fell a muddled affair like this on top of the millions of superfluous clerks & office workers for which we are paying—should be brought forward in parliament & I have a mind to take a copy of that little description of yours and send it to our MP—not mentioning your name of course. I was amused to hear of your spending an extra night in London before going to the Freers, because you overslept! But how peaceful of mind to be able to sleep on undisturbed. I am sure you used to make up for all the lost rest you have had.
So glad Dorothy thought of taking you to see the houses of your Grandfathers—I hope the photographs you took turned out well. I suppose the young Flowerdew[?] Lowsons[?] live at Quarwood now. When I lived on that side of the country before I came here, the old father Flowerdew[?] Lowson[?] lived there, but has since died. The young one was particularly[?] nice[?] I thought—not married then—I suppose he is ?? ?? way now. The Cotswolds views are the most beautiful I know & a delightful hunting country—awfully cold though. I dont [sic] think I could live there now. No protection whatever & the winds do indeed blow cold. [An allusion to the folk rhyme “Stow-on-the-Wold/Where the wind blows cold”.] Poor Kitebrook—it is the same in every instance where private houses have been taken over—ruin & delapidation [sic]. However their owners will ????, have the money to keep them up, again—I suppose they will become schools or ????. I thought it was a charming house inside ?? ???? & I stayed there for the wedding in lovely summer rose scented weather. When you come again I must show you all the old photographs of Quar Wood days etc. I believe you ought to meet the Jock Gibsons—another 1st cousin of your Fathers. They are a large family all serving, with a house at Rustington Sussex. I mentioned your being over here when I wrote my Christmas letter to the ?????. We—Major ?C and I walked over—on the coldest possible day—to lunch with Mrs Hunt last Sunday. She said you never spoke a word to her in the taxi & did not even tell her friend whose taxi you shared—that you knew Mrs Hunt. When she came out she found a complete stranger in the car & you ???? explained. I said, well you had not been in England before & perhaps in Canada you did not enter into conversation with odd females!!!!!! Anyhow in spite of 14 children in the house, she Mrs Hunt cooked a very good luncheon only about ¾ of an hour late!! Very sorry to hear the Reggie Freer’s son is missing. They were devoted parents & so nice. I do hope he may be safe somewhere. So you had a tiresome journey up north, sitting up all night—glad you enjoyed the scenery & if it reminded you would feel an affection for it & sob in your throat. Parts of Scotland are very satisfying. I used to stay with friends at the foot of Ben Nevis—once I travelled there via Edinburgh & Crianlaroch[?] which I thought exquisite—one felt so well & refreshed after being a few weeks in Scotland. I recieved [sic] a parcel from Kathleen & Robin containing some home cured prunes & apricots & other delicacies—so sweet of them to think of sending private gifts to us in England apart from all they give as one country to another. I am finding it very difficult to cope with all my Christmas correspondence—still 19 letters to be written. I liked a letter from you far better than a card—we had masses between us. They are mounted from the chimney piece (dining room) to the ceiling & look very gay. The war has had some nasty set backs since you were here—the planners started off a bit too soon. Even Montgomery was wide of the mark in his prophecy of end before Christmas. All this distrust between the allies –fostered no doubt by the Germans, but not altogether—is disturbing. Major ?? & I have arranged to go London for 2 nights on the 16 for a wedding but I have been begged not to go by a friend who has fled down here from the V2s. She said last week was the worst of all—11 one night counted. She did not undress for 3 nights & looks a wreck. Except for 1st hand descriptions like this, one never hears much about them, & is unaware how bad they are becoming.
A very long letter about NOTHING Anthony dear, so can only write one little one now, before I start out to post. By the bye did you realise you let me have your ration card 1 or 2 weeks. I hope you managed all right at the Freers. Probably having their own farm they would have plenty of House produced stuff. For all that I felt you gave ?? ???? than I deserved.