Thursday 17 February 1916
A beautiful day, cold in the morning & evening but nicely warm during the day.
Early morning parade as usual, & there was plenty of doubling & movement to keep the men warm. Marching in at the head of the column from the forenoon parade I got a great shock to find Ollie [sister & wife of Rid] standing near our orderly room: Rid [brother-in-law]was inside enquiring where I was & as soon as parade was dismissed I joined them. Ol was looking fairly well but Rid had evidently not recovered altogether from his tonsillitis. At once went to the Adjutant & got leave for the afternoon.
At once changed & went out with them, getting a "garry" (carriage) close by in which we drove up to Heliopolis. The garry is really a low phaeton usually drawn by 2 horses, two natives generally sitting on a box seat. To a large extent it takes the place of the Ceylon rickshaw in that officers almost invariably ride in one instead of walking. The fare is set down as 3 piastres (2½.) per kilometre when reckoned by the distance & 5 P.T. (I think) 10p.c. per hour when taken by the time. Most of the horses are miserable weedy animals but the vehicle rides very smoothly.
To the town of Heliopolis the road took us through the camp on the outskirts of which were numerous canteens that seemed to be well patronised by our troops: some of the legends were rather amusing, e.g. "The Meeting Place of Brave Soldiers", "Where friends meet" & so on.
The camp gave place to the town of Heliopolis, said to be only about 10 yrs old, & rather a decent place. Streets in first class condition & buildings of stone or plastered material