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[Page 252]

I write the shelling is going on again – heavies too. I am not undressing. Ma tresch 1917!!

Jan 1st 1918: Time says the beginning of a new year, as you may expect it was heralded in for us by big guns – theirs and ours. All the Sisters but myself stayed up to welcome the year in (Matron being Scotch the Jocks had a great time). She said as all the other Nations were represented at a party, Australia should have been there, but I was tired and went to bed, got out some old letters and re-read them, and then couldn't sleep for the guns, at lease I couldn't though some get so used to them and take very little notice. Then I got those fatal blues when you cry a bit. Then I got those fatal blues when you cry a bit – not taking Mrs. Higgs' advice – sit on the lid and smile, so I predicted the omen was not a promising one

Jan 3rd: such a terrific noise from the Archies this morning that we were attracted outside to see what was happening, and what a sight it was. There were the enemy planes and ours having a great fight above us. They scattered and dodged and chased so swiftly after such white clouds, and always escaping those black and white balls of shrapnel – it was most exciting.

I am going on night duty, so before retiring take the opportunity of going for an hour's walk. To my surprise I discover we are by the side of a beautiful canal and the ruins of two large bridges that the Germans have blown up – or down. Lower down the canal I pass over a bridge to the other side and wander on – it's all sights of war up this way for miles and miles around us, being isolated entirely from civil life; indeed
Amiens – 50 miles away is our nearest place for shopping. Our laundry is one of our minor trials, but the Padre is awfully good for he takes on occasional trip in and I'm sure burdens himself with numerous commissions. I'm ahead again, but on a railway line 235 of those huge monsters of tanks pass by on trucks, it's the first time I have seen them, and then I keep my eye on two of our observation balloons that seem to repose so calmly and comfortably up in the sky. Then Fritz's Archies start peppering at one and evidently the Observers gate scared for they come down in parachutes, and it's so

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