A HOT-WEATHER PARCEL FOR A SOLDIER BOY.
WITH the warmer weather the packing of our parcels for our dear ones in different parts of the world becomes a little more difficult. One longs to send something that will be cool and refreshing, and there are many such articles that will keep in good condition for quite a fortnight, or even more. But everything depends on their condition when bought, and how they are packed.
APPLES WITH THICK SKINS.
ALL fruit should be rather under-ripe than over-ripe, and soft fruit should never be attempted. Thick-skinned apples, known as russets, are always safe to send; and if tomatoes are packed in either bran or sawdust, in small cardboard boxes, they will ripen nicely on the way.
They may also be packed in cotton-wool, or very soft tissue-paper if more convenient.
A cucumber, if home-grown or from some source where you can rely on its freshness, may be risked if packed in this way. Cut it early in the day, and after removing a tiny piece of the skin, place it in water until 'wanted. It will then be primed with moisture. Then tie a small piece of wet sponge or a piece of damp cotton-wool round the stem, and wrap it in its own leaves, and pack on the top of everything else.
Lemons are always acceptable whatever the weather, and they tuck so easily into odd corners. Lemonade-powder and sparkling lemonade tablets also take up little room.
YOU may think your boy can always get such things as boracic powder, health saline, citrate of magnesia, etc., from the medical stores; but he may be miles away from such things, and, oh! so grateful for some kind of soothing powder for his poor, tired feet.
I have given joy to a young sub by sending him out several tins of his special boot-polish. It was unheard of where he happened to be.
THE RIGHT KIND OF SWEETS.
IF you send sweets, let them be acid, lime, or other refreshing fruit tablets. General Joffre is a great believer in placing a sweet of this sort into the mouth when hot and thirsty, instead- of drinking so much water; and no doubt he is quite right. The more you drink the greater your thirst, especially when marching.
Can you imagine anything more refreshing than a small bottle of solidified eau-de-Cologne on a very hot day in the trenches? A little of this rubbed on the forehead, wrists and behind the ears, has a wonderfully cooling effect. Khaki is always so stuffy in the hot weather. Anything which helps to keep one cool must be such a boon.
When he is out of the line nothing is a greater luxury than a refreshing bath. Pack a towel and a cake of toilet soap in the next parcel you send out.
I have known a man ask for a few strips of old linen rag to be sent out to him. A soldier thinks nothing of the small, everyday hurts, but he would appreciate a piece of nice, clean linen rag to bind them up with sometimes.
One of the chief discomfitures the hot weather brings to our boys in the trenches are the bites from winged insects that abound there as soon as the sun becomes strong. A little woman, who has herself travelled in hot countries, is sending out to her man in France yards of butter muslin. Some of this she has cut into yard squares, and run a draw-string in a circle round them. “He can slip his head into one of these and draw the string round his neck when he gets a chance for a good sleep,” she told me. “I call them my miniature mosquito nets,” she added: " and I am sprinkling them with oil of lavender to keep these pests away.”
A piece of rock ammonia to moisten and dab on the bites to allay the irritation is a welcome addition to any parcel for the front.
If you are lucky enough to be able to secure films for your camera, make a point of taking some special snapshots to send to the front. A corner of your garden will make a happy background.
Soldiers in hospital are always glad of a bundle of Japanese serviettes; and do not think a little fan will be despised as unmanly. Many a poor, pain-racked fellow was only too glad of one in the heat of last summer I noticed.
A flat little bag filled with lavender or some other sweet-smelling things, such as lemon thyme, rosemary, lad's love, and balm, is always welcome. Dried rose-leaves, carnation petals, and any other dried flowers that keep their scent may be added. The writer knows these bags are greatly appreciated, or one man would not say to another: “Let's have a sniff of your bag when you've done.” This is exactly what she did hear in a certain hospital last summer, when there were not enough of these little bags to go round.
[Some of the medical supplies are a bit baffling, but I surmise that 'Japanese serviettes' are paper ones.]