Flies, dust and digging trenches in the night
It is now a whole week since I wrote my last note and although the days drag sometimes, yet the week seems to have been no time in passing. We are getting more used to the heat now, at first we used to drink all day long and loll about as if we were wet dish cloths, but we don't seem to take half as much notice of it now. The only things that worry us now are dust and flies, of the two I'd rather have the dust. The flies are the most cantankerous little beasts you ever saw, they play about your face and crawl into your ears while a chap is trying to get a rest during the day, and as soon as the dinner call goes off they buzz down to the mess sheds and they eat every bit as much as a chap does himself and while a chap is in the act of transferring a bit of bread and jam from the table to his mouth about thirty five will lob on, and nothing frightens them until they are right inside, and then they slowly make their way out. And every second day we have some lovely warm winds, and every now and again a little blast that sends the dust whirling into everything, but who's growling?
I'm sure I'm not, why should I? We get four meals a day, sometimes five when we go out for a midnight ramble like last night.
We get up at five am then we have a cup of tea, and a small loaf of bread issued to us, then at half past nine we have breakfast, cold meat, bread and jam then after the lectures at 1 o'clock, we have our favourite stew then if we having a night drill we have tea at 6 o'clock, generally bread and jam, sometimes tinned fish, and then after we come back at about twelve, we have tea and biscuits.
Last night we were out digging trenches in the dark (I've three lovely blisters on my right hand) and while having “Spell oh” I went to sleep and an officer had to stir me up.
It gets pretty cold out there at night too, but a fellow gets pretty tired after having a long day of it and the glare of the sun on the sand play up with our eyes a treat.
Another mail came in during the week and I was all excitement expecting three or four and I only pulled one. It was from Aunty Clara and if she had not written when she did I would gone letter less, and would have had to listen to what the other fellows said to get some news. I don't think it could have been the regular English Mail or else I think I should have got a couple. I suppose you get a mail regular here. I sent a card to all those friends who were kind enough to write for my mail bag during the week. I hope I have not missed any or else they may feel hurt.
I got quite a stock of cards for the mail this time, its a good thing not to stamp them or else the Piastres would run low.
Last Saturday we started on our sixteen mile march to the Pyramids, we started off fairly well but the Colonel made us “step out” for about two miles while passing through Cairo, and as we had already gone six it began to play up with some of the men. I think his idea was to get us through Cairo before dark but it spoilt the march as it completely broke the men up, where as if we had been able to keep up a steady stride the men would have finished the march in fine style.
The Band played for as long as they could but by the time we had passed through the City it took us all our time to march without playing, as so the Colonel put us on a tram and packed us on ahead, so as we would be fresh to play the regiment the last mile or so home, so we got a ride of about eight miles, had a sleep, and was able to make a fair noise when the fellows hove in sight at about eleven thirty. We were issued tea and biscuits and about twelve thirty we retired to the sand.
Harry Ivory and I scraped a big hole, took off our boots and crawled in together with only a waterproof sheet over us. I had expected to put in a very cold night of it but we fitted in closely to each other and when I woke at four thirty next morn I was warm as toast although there were fellows all over the place running about and jumping to get warm.
We had breakfast and then marched over to the Sphinx where we had Church, then we were dismissed to roam about at will, so Harry and I climbed to the top of Cheops and my word it took some hard work to get there.
The Pyramid is about 450 feet high and you have to climb up granite block three feet high, it was a very hot day and by the time I was “half way here” as the guide said we were just about done, but we stuck to it and eventually found ourselves at the top where there was an Egyptian selling hot tea and cool drinks.
The Pyramid has been knocked about a bit and now has a square platform on top about fifteen feet square so we had a spell, a couple of drinks, and came down and took a journey through its musty tunnels and passages and listened to all sorts of wild yarns that the guide spun us.
Then we had a donkey race to Mena House, where they had fixed up the big swimming bath, and spent a good deal of the time there.
I suffered for it afterwards though, and this morning I have been peeling the skin off from my shoulders.
We were brought back “a la tram” within about three miles of the camp, so we did not have a bad time after all.
Its a bit too hot to do some travelling around here, and Ernie can never get off and there is no one else to go with as the Sergeants are so often on duty. Ralph is not back from the school yet but I expect him back next week.
I hope you are still keeping well and not worrying and that everything is going on alright!
I've had a bit of a cold the last few days but its about right now. I've sent cards to all the youngsters Dad will have to go wax with you in this, but I will send him a card also. So I will now pull up with heaps of love to all and yourself.