I am writing two days earlier this week as tomorrow we are going to march to the Pyramids and mail closes for us this afternoon at two thirty. We expect to march there, a distance of about sixteen miles, we are leaving here at about 4pm Saturday, sleep out all night and spend the day at the Pyramids. They are providing us with guides and have also arranged for some sports and we leave there at 5pm Sunday evening. I don't fancy the sixteen miles march and I'm hoping that they take us , at least some part of the way in the trams.
Whenever I think of the trams and the Sphinx I remember a little poem and picture in “A Children's Friend” that I used to possess many years ago. I expect you remember it too. It was a little poem expressing the surprise of the Sphinx at first seeing the trams running across the desert in front of him. I have not been to the Pyramids yet as I knew this trip was coming and Sunday is the only free day and I am generally busy on a Sunday writing letters and visiting and it is a terribly hot journey at this time of the year. This climate makes a chap too lazy to move during the day time but we have not had it so hot lately. The first week was a fair beauty but still it hasn't done any of us 'Clava boys any harm. Ernie is as fat as I am. Ralph is away at the Instructional School and just before he went he told me he never felt better in his life, and this chicken feels fit for anything except I caught a chill while out at one of our midnight drills and although I haven't been to the doc I think I have some swollen glands at the side of my face around the ear is sore and puffed up and I have a couple of funny little lumps just under the ear. If they get no worse I won't worry the Quack I don't know if I told you before but we have all been issued with knickerbockers and very light Khaki shirts and I suppose we must look a lot of kids getting around but they are very much cooler than the uniform. They are going to give us helmets also. We always drill with our sleeves up so we are piebald now, brown legs, arms and faces.
The Egyptian has just come back with our washing, he is two days behind time, and when we asked him where he had been he said he'd been feasting and told us that yesterday was the Mohammedans Christmas. I said to him that I suppose he'd soon become Christian now and he gave one a disdainful look and said, “______________Christians.” The Mohammedans hate the Christians like poison. The Australians are terrible swearers and they have taught the Egyptians pretty well all they know and the natives don't know what saying and they use some terrible language even to answer a small question. The Australians are behaving very badly at time in Cairo, and fairly run amok as soon as they get a couple of drinks inside them. Do you remember the great fuss they kicked up in Australia when someone said that the First and Second Contingent were a bit over the odds. Well the natives say they were are not as bad as they were but I could tell you some tales of the Thirds doings that what make your hands fly up in horror, you have no idea what Cairo is like. I thought I knew a bit but my eyes have been opened since I've been here and the chaps treat the natives like dogs sometimes. I'm not very proud of being an Australian here, there's only one chap in the band that I've made friends with and that is the other clarionet player, a chap named Stan Fletcher from Sandringham, a very quiet and decent fellow and Ernie, he, and I go out together sometimes and eat ice-cream. The rest of the band have gone clean to pot since we came to Cairo and spend their money mostly in beer. Some of the chaps aren't twenty yet and they are all broke within a couple of days after being paid. We were only paid last Wednesday night and one of the fellows came to me tonight and wanted a loan. The other day the same chap brought me a splendid pair of socks worth at least two shillings and begged me to buy them for two piastres which I promptly did as I don't wear out my good ones in this hot climate and soon afterwards he brought me a new writing pad worth one shilling and I gave him one piastre for it. I can make any amount of money if I liked by starting a money lending business and the fellows will give 25% interest. Alf Osborne tells me the same thing also.
I started this letter at about 12.30pm in the YMCA and then disturbed for dinner and wrote a bit more in my tent and got disturbed there a couple of time and then missed the mail and now I'm finishing it off after tea in one of the mess sheds and during the afternoon a mail arrived and I drew one. I expected half a dozen at least and my word it was welcome. It was from Amy. Although we are so close to the Dardanelles we scarcely get a scrap of news. The Egyptian Mail is a pretty poor specimen of a newspaper I don't think we will ever get to the Dardanelles as they have thousands of men there who are not in action.
There is really no news to tell you this week as things are going very quietly and I have not been out of camp this week. I guess you are having it cold over there now while we swelter and sweat from week to week. Its a pity we couldn't equalise things a trifle. I suppose by the time you get this the Collingwood affair will be a thing of the past and I hope the kiddies enjoyed it the same as previously. I think things will be all right Bill will see to that, he will be quite an eloquent speaker by the time I get back perhaps a local and quite an authority on children I'm sure. I reckon I brought him up fine, didn't I and he reflects great credit on my training and I'm sure he's fixing the other three four you in my absence (do desist with your jocularity).
I dreamt I was on my road home last night. I hardly think a night passes without a dream like that. Its about the only comfort a man's got now a days. Well I'll say goodnight now, with love.