Sunday 21st January
I am pleased to tell you that I have now been transferred to the new supply store, also that they have increased my screw to £20 per month. I am now working for the Imperial Government & hope it will lead to something better in the future. Although one cannot tell but what we might have to clear out when communication is restored. This is the 14th week of the siege & from what one hears we are likely to have another month of it. The De Beers company fixed the new gun last Friday & Mrs Pickering fired the first shot. It is a large gun (cannon) & fires a shell 25 pounds in weight. This will give the Boers a surprise as they know we have nothing larger than what you have seen fired on Queen's birthday in the Gardens. Yesterday we had news that the British have had fine victories at Ladysmith Natal but you will see more reliable news than we do. We get very little news & the paper is not worth buying it is only half the size it used to be. The new gun has been christened "Long Cecil". It is fixed on the debris heap over Capt. Garred's house.
Horse flesh is still being served out so that what I heard last week was only a rumour. I have not had any more & of course when we can't get Beef we have to go without, unless one will eat horse. The meat ration for each adult is ¼ lb per day & is sold in proportion of ¼ Beef & ¾ horseflesh. This is according to Military Regulations & you are only allowed to buy every other day so you can imagine what quantity of meat a man has to live on, if he cannot eat horseflesh, out of ½ a pound for 2 days proportioned as above. Capt Tyson of the Kbly Club with the help of Mr Rhodes has started a soup kitchen & they guarantee that it is made entirely of Beef (not horse) with vegetables supplied from Kenilworth. It is cooked at the Club & taken down to the market hall every day in small quantities & served out at 3d per pint. It is called "Siege Soup" & can only be had by producing a Soup Ticket stating the quantity. You would be surprised at the people who get it. I don't only mean the quantity of people but the quality. We have it very often at the Creamery. It is very good. I drink it & as you know I am not partial to soup but some days it is either that or nothing for dinner in the shape of, or taste of, or smell of meat. We get pudding when fat or oil is to be got but the meat is minus fat.
|14th January 1900|