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1941 January 8th
Let me have Earle's address & No. at once darlings - all my love & bless you - Doe.
14A Randolph Gardens
Maida Vale NW6
Time rushes away & I find I'm laps behind with everything, so do not get worried if you do not hear as often as you should - I'm just so busy in every way - & I'll send you a cable from time to time, then you needn't worry.
Well darlings Xmas has gone & oh it was just heaven having it with my dear brother - in England. You know he didn't expect to be here & they couldn't get leave, so I went up to Colchester to him - I'd been off duty for ten days with a septic foot - oh nothing serious - just a corn went wrong & instead of resting at the right moment I went tearing up to Windsor to a dance - anyway I made the foot last over Xmas & Muriel & I went up to the boys on the very early train on Dec 23rd. [sic - I think Dee meant 24th] We were both so excited - it began to snow on the way up but didn't last - just dirty wet slush & cold. We got to the boarding house & I dashed down to where the boys were billeted & left a note - just as we were having lunch Ces came in - with a beaming, cheery smile, in his giggle suit & tin hat - to welcome us - he had the afternoon off & we dashed around, shopped & saw the locals enjoy Xmas Eve - John Mills came over & had dinner with us that night - we didn't go out - just sat in front of a huge fire & Ces & John taught us how to play two-up - much to the amusement of the residents. Xmas morn Ces came in about 9,30am - we were still in bed & the dear kid had gone to early communion at the local church - I was sorry he hadn't called for me, but he said it was too wet & cold. Anyway he had my Xmas present - I just yelled for joy - he gave me the loveliest compact - perfectly plain & he has had the Australian badge beautifully engraved on it - it's really a beautiful thing & I'm so proud of it - I show it to everyone - it's a really lovely piece of work. I gave him a Parker pencil to match the pen I gave him for his birthday. He really is a darling - everyone likes him so much. He came to tell us we'd been invited to the Cocktail Party in the Officer's Mess, so at 11.30am Mue & I toddled along - we had a grand time & I had a long chat with Ces' C.O. & the Brigadier who is very sweet - they made a tremendous fuss over Mue & I - they were so thrilled to see 2 Australian females -we rushed back & had early lunch 'cause Mue had to leave at 2pm to get back to her patient. Ces & I saw her off & then we went to "Red Lion" for coffee - it was all very quiet & dull, so we went back to the boarding House - listened to the King's speech & I had the honour of cutting the Xmas cake at afternoon tea for all the residents - Ces was a pet - looked after all the old girls & every one was extremely nice to both of us - made us feel very welcome & at home. That night John Mills, Peter Taylor (Dr Taylor from Randwick's son) & Doug Fairfax came & had dinner with Ces & I & we went out down to the Kent's afterwards to a party - it was great - quiet, but it filled in time for a bunch of Australian a long way from home - Ned dear, will you ring Mrs Mills up & tell her how I loved having John & the other two nice kids with me for Xmas - I'll write her ordinary mail later. I wish you could have seen me with them, they cling to me & look after me so well, I loved them, the dears, I just hate to think they have gone - you can guess where - but wasn't it wonderful having Ces so long - now I hope he sees Earle & they were really thrilled to be going - especially now the weather was so grim - I left Colchester on Thursday & Ces left on the following Sunday - Johnny Winter rang me Monday to tell me, & he came down A.W.L. on Tuesday (New Year's Eve) to say goodbye to me, 'cause his unit didn't go until last Thursday. I've had letters from both of them from their port of embarkation & I'll send Ces' letters on to you ordinary mail & you can see for yourself then - it's no use being worried, they will be well convoyed, but thank heaven when they get to their destination - I feel the sea is even more dangerous than the battle-field these days - but they were so glad to be going & oh so proud - just when our lads are doing so well in Libya - England was thrilled with the story of Bardia & oh how proud we are - battle honours for the Australian lads - the first Dominion men to go into action - AND how they did it the darlings. I was so thankful to have Xmas with Ces - I got back on Thursday & he left on Sunday - I got your Xmas letter Mum dear on my return & Johnny took it up to Scotland to Ces, so he got it just before he sailed - then Ned's letter, ordinary mail, arrived with the snaps of Pete & Mum & Earle, I love them so I can't part with them, so do send some on the Ces - I simply must keep mine - they are lovely. Darlings the Xmas cakes didn't arrive, so I guess the mermaids are nibbling them, but one mustn't complain in wartime - tho I would have adored mine Mummy - never mind, I'll make up for it later. I had a lovely woolly shirt & pair of gloves from the Bridles & a pair for Ces, which I sent on to him - heaven knows if he'll even get them now - but Ned dear, do ring them & thank them. I'm writing - ordinary mail, theirs was the only Xmas parcel from home that I received! - they'll be thrilled.
Life is pretty good, we had a nice Xmas - besides my beautiful compact from Ces, I got a darling little bedside wireless from Ira Wilson Hamilton - a nice Canadian I know - he likes your daughter, but he drinks such lots it scares me - not now, but in years to come, so it's no use - but he's useful. We are very cosy in our basement flat, warm as toast & to date the weather hasn't been impossible.
I went back to night duty on Dec. 30th - nursing Sir Arthur Longmore's mother for 3 nights & was there when we had the awful fire blitz on the City when the Guildhall & etc. went - it was an awful night - the glow from the fires just made it like day & I was scared to death - the old lady's flat was right between Buckingham Palace & Victoria Station & I was quite certain we'd get a bomb - however I must admit I'd rather be up & on night duty such times as these, than trying to sleep in my bed - it's awful lying awake listening to bombs & AA batteries - but it's not nearly so bad in London as it was 2 months ago - when I was at Ascot.
Now darlings, I am with Mrs Neal Green again - she had a week in the Clinic & I've brought her down to Sunninghill - not far from the Berystede Hotel, Ascot, for a couple of weeks - it's so lovely & so peaceful I'm enjoying it - & she is such a dear. The hotel is small but very comfy & I'm writing this in front of a huge fire, in the lounge - & as I look out the window, masses of snow covered the lawns & trees - very lovely to look at, but I've no desire to hike! Ira Wilson Hamilton came over yesterday & had to stay the night, he couldn't get back to Farnborough, the roads were so bad in the black-out especially - but it breaks the monotony for Mrs Neal Green & I - we are going out for a drive soon, so I shall see all the familiar landmarks - it's a lovely part of the world - Windsor is so close we will go there quite often.
I had quite a gay New Year's Eve - Johnny Winter was down & didn't go back to Colchester until 10.30pm. Ira Wilson Hamilton was up - & I was on night duty with Mrs Neal Green at the Clinic - however, instead of going on duty at 8pm she arranged with Sister for me to stay out until 9pm, so the 2 boys & I had a lovely dinner at the Cumberland - it was quite gay & debonair & I was so proud of my Canadian & Australian - everyone looked our way & we lapped it up. The Cumberland was full - especially with the troops, Poles, Czechs, Norwegians, Dutch & etc. - I just loved the whole atmosphere - I hated going on duty, but I took the boys along & up to see Mrs Neal Green for 2 minutes & she was very thrilled - especially with Johnny & his big hat - everyone loves & is intrigued with the Australians & they have been very good boys, really.
Now darlings, I'm wondering how my Earle is where - I hope he is alright - do you think he was in this Bardia business - I'm a wee bit worried - I haven't his address or number so do send it to me this very second darlings, I want to write to him. I do hope Ces sees him & oh how my prayers are for them - I'll be thankful when Ces arrives & is off the ocean - they went off, very crowded - not so luxurious as their journey over!
Darlings, I must get this off - write to the old 14A Randolph Gardens address - I'm going to work like a black until the Spring - to save up - & pass the time away quickly - how I hate winter, but don't worry, I'm feeling fit & haven't noticed it badly at all yet.
All my love & a big hug to you all my darlings & write all of you - at once - I'm lonely now the boys have gone -