Invitation to Ypres

InvitationToYpres

(Irish Typepad [CC / Flickr])

They sent me an invitation to the party, but I didn’t want to go. It was bound to be a bore, and getting there was no fun at all. Hours in cattle trucks and full day’s stroll down Belgian roads that were built in the laissez-faire continental fashion. The navvies that laid them had no consideration for a man issued with boots that don’t fit properly.

I was ready for a snooze by the time we arrived but when we set eyes on the venue, I could see I’d struggle to find a chair comfy enough for a nap. The invitation had mentioned a trench so I didn’t expect a branch of Fortnum and Mason around the corner, but I did think a drainage ditch was a bit much. Any party held in there was sure to be as tedious as one of the sermons by that vicar who retired last year. At least I could slip out of the back of the church when enough people had dozed off. No chance of doing that if there was no chance of anyone getting any sleep.

I’ll say one thing for that trench; I stopped caring whether my boots fitted when I was over the puttees in damp Belgium. Mud is a great leveller of men. Squire or farmhand, major or private, Eton or Piddleditch Elementary, all men look the same after half an hour in here. You could be wearing the most perfectly cobbled boots in the world and you’d be as miserable as a man wearing his boots on the wrong feet.

I’ll admit I was reluctant to accept the invitation when I first received it, but I wouldn’t want to let the side down. Now I’m here, I daresay I’ll see it through. The invitation said the party would start at first light tomorrow, so I hope the artillery will lay on a decent aperitif. The again, you can trust a gunner to know which way to pass the decanter, so I hope someone’s given them the right instructions about where to serve their drinks.

At least we’ll have an excuse to get out of this beastly hole.

If the party is any fun at all, I’ll write as soon as I can touch pen to paper and let you know about it. If it’s as deadly boring as I fear it might be, we may not see each other for a while.

I love you.

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle
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