Sunday 17th December
Fighting has been going on during the week near the River but with what results we do not know. This is the 9th week we have been cut off & when the line will be opened it is hard to tell. The engineers with the Relief Column are building a new line from the River, I believe 10 miles further round. The old line has been completely taken up by the Boers & they are afraid that the Boers have laid dynamite mines along the old route. A rumour is afloat that the Military Authorities are going to send away (making it compulsory) all women & children & non-combatants from Kimberley to any place in the Colony they like to go to free of charge as soon as the line is open & safe to travel, it will be guarded by the troops all the way down & will only travel by daytime. It is also stated that anyone wanting to go to England can do so for a few pounds. The Military are taking this step on a/c of the foodstuffs getting scarce. Al foodstuffs are now being rationed out to everybody. Everyone has to make application for what they require (no liberties) & a ticket is given them to go to certain stores, & you only get what is on the ticket. Condensed milk can only be had by producing a Doctor's certificate that it is required for a baby. The Boers having looted all the cows round about. The fresh milk can only be got in limited quantities. we get a little (1 to 1½ bottles) at the Creamery for our porridge, but that is all. Butter I have not tasted for a month. Ham and Bacon are all finished. Beef has no fat on it and cannot get dripping so we have jam on our bread. Eggs are 5/6 to the dozen. Fowls 7/6 to 10/- each & these will soon be finished. The Central Hotel has given up having boarders they all have to go to the Queens. The Grand Hotel is only opening as a Restaurant. I hear the Standard Red is going to close shortly. Everything in the drink line is about finished. Lemonade cannot be made & only a limited supply of sodas and Hop Beers & the weather the last few weeks has been awful. It is 90 degrees in my room with windows and door open an no sun on it.
|11th December 1899|