When I got back to Camp I went for a preliminary run on it, as I had never driven that make before. The tyres were solid, all vestige of springs had long since departed from the seat and the roof was covered with tin that bent and rattled like stage thunder. The gears were in the middle and very worn, and the lever never lost an opportunity of slipping into first as you got out, and consequently the lorry tried to run over you when you cranked up! Altogether a charming car. You drove along like a travelling thunder-clap, and coming up the slope into Camp the earth fairly shook beneath you. I used to feel like the whole of Valhalla arriving in a Wagner Opera! It was also quite impossible to hear what anyone said sitting on the seat beside you.
The third day, as I got out, I felt all my bones over carefully. “When I come off this job,” I called to Johnson, “I shall certainly swallow a bottle of gum as a wise precaution.” He grinned appreciatively.
Lowson, who had had her turn before Eva, appropriately christened it “Little Willie,” and I can affirm that that car had a Hun soul.
You were up and dressed at 5 a.m. and waited about camp till the telephone bell rang to say the train had arrived. Schofield, the incinerator man who was usually in the camp at that hour, never failed to make a cup of tea—a most welcome thing, for one never got back to camp to have breakfast till 11 or 11.30 a.m. I used to spend the interval, after “Little Willie” was all prepared for the road, combing out Wuzzy’s silver curls. He always accompanied the lorry and was allowed to sit, or rather jolt, on the seat beside me, unrebuked. After breakfast there was the quay to clear up and all the many other details to attend to, getting back to camp about 3 to go off in an hour’s time to barges. When a Fontinettes ambulance train came down, the lorry driver was lucky if she got to bed this side of 2 a.m.
All social engagements in the way of rides, etc., had to be cancelled in consequence, but the Monday before I went into hospital the grey and Baby appeared up in camp about 5.30. I was hanging about waiting for the telephone to say the barge had arrived, but as there was a high wind blowing it was considered very unlikely it would come down the canal that evening. I ’phoned to a station several miles up to enquire if it was in sight, and the reply came back “Not a sign,” and I accordingly got permission to go out for half an hour. I was so afraid Captain D. might not consider it worth while and could have almost wept, but fortunately he agreed half an hour was better than nothing, and off we went up the sands, leaving the bob-tailed Wuzzy well in the rear. What a glorious gallop that was—my last ride! The sands appeared almost golden in the sun and the wind was whipping the deep blue waves into little crests of foam against the paler turquoise of the sky. Already the flowers on the dunes had burst into leaf, for it was the “merrie month