Finding friends

It is Saturday morning and the mail closes tonight (if they don't change it like they did last week). I'm going out with Alf Osbourne this afternoon so I have not much time to write have I, and we will have a medical inspection in a few minutes. So I will get on with no more preliminaries but if I can get my letter through (per Alf) tomorrow I will write some more home. Now I have not time to write my diary out but as soon as I get the chance I will send it. I really forget the news I told you last week but if I tell you the same thing again, you will remember it better, won't you.

The agricultural portion of the natives are very primitive in their ways, they do their ploughing with clumsy old wooden ploughs drawn by slow old bullocks. I think I've seen the picture in the Art Bible and do their threshing with the aid of a very funny wooden contrivance drawn also by the poor old sleepy bulls, and then water is drawn up by means of wooden water wheels, also worked by the bullocks.

The poor little donkeys get a pretty hard time of it here they are very small animals and carry men whose feet nearly drag on the ground and they plod along as contentedly as you like. If are man and wife are travelling together very often the man rides along in front and the poor woman trots along behind. While coming along in the train from Alexandria I saw one gent mounted on his donkey while the poor old missus plodded along with a baby in her arms, at least he could have carried the nipper I thought.

I suppose you got a surprise when I spoke of Alf Osbourne, well Miss Ricketts is only a few minutes walk of our camp and we went for a bit of a stroll last Sunday evening and she suddenly said Would you like to see Alf ? Of course I looked at her in surprise but she had taken me quite close to his Camp and I went in and gave him a surprise as he was writing some letters. It is just the thing having two such friends so close just like old times, and Alf and I are going somewhere this afternoon if I get leave, but if I don't I got a sort of an idea that I'll be there just the same. Alf was telling me Percy Hammond is here too. I will probably see him this afternoon, they have been left behind at the base, but Percy Dyer is at the front.

We are having such a lot of weather here, last Wednesday was a fair treat our Captain said it was the hottest recorded for many years the thermometer registered 130 degrees in the tents, 120 in the recreation sheds and 110 in Shepherd's Hotel, the great resort of tourists and supposed to be the coolest spot in Cairo. I wasn't lucky enough to be in Shepherd's the chaps were dropping like flies and there was a number of serious cases and some deaths, one a Quarter Master who was accorded a military funeral at which we played. He was buried at Mena and the cemetery seemed to be half full of Australian Soldiers. It is a beautiful little cemetery just about a mile from the pyramids. We went in the electric train so I have had first ride in one, they are just the same as ours will be. It is a very up to date place, Cairo, containing some most magnificent buildings but cannot come up to Heliopolis which is only a few years old and is the prettiest little suburb imaginable, it is only a small town but most of the tourists I believe stop there. I will be sending views of the place shortly. I don't think much of the morals of Cairo, I saw enough of it during my short march through on my way to the cemetery to sicken anyone, and right in the heart of the city too. I didn't think I could be easily shocked but we were taught at school the Port Said was the dizzy limit, but if it can beat Cairo I'll go “he”. I don't know where we will be going this afternoon yet perhaps the Pyramids or Museum or Citadel, which Napoleon bombarded once, but we will have plenty of time to look around.

We got our first mail last week, and wasn't it good to hear your name called out. I got two on Wednesday and cards in the night and your letter the following morning, why they should be separated I don't know. I am so glad you wrote to Ernie Smart he was as happy as a king, it was the only one he got and my word didn't he appreciate it. I hope you will write again to him. I have been writing most of this while waiting for the Doctor. I am sitting down on the floor of the shed with the fellows all around me, and I have shifted four times to different places to get out of the crush and push. Although the mail is cleared from here every week I don't think it will be dispatched to Melbourne as regular but I hope it will.

Please send me an Age and Argus now and again. Saturdays for preference as it is just great to get a paper even a month old. I will now pull up as I have another letter to write and not much time left, hoping you are well and all the little Tucks.

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