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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to A. W. Lawrence

13 Birmingham St


I'm rather alarmed at your expansive plans, as shown in a letter to Mrs. Knowles. She has a key, and will light fire and lay in stores: but that is as far as she can go. There is nowhere to cook, in the cottage, and no pots or pans or crockery. She has her children in her place - and besides I have made it a condition of the lease that nothing is lent from cottage to cottage. So please do not borrow off her or ask her to do more than essential preparations. She is exceedingly helpful, but I do not wish her imposed on: and I lend the cottage to all sorts of people, whence the necessity for a hard and fast rule.  

As regards bedding, there are the two sleeping bags (of 3 and 2 blankets, respectively) and about four loose blankets, one eiderdown and, I think, two sheets. No third pillow. Two or three face towels and a roller towel. No dish cloths - but then, no dishes. 

We have had a misfortune in the spring, which is slowly dwindling. This year's deficiency of rain is at last hitting it. So we have shut off the ram, which pumped water to the cottage, and gone back to buckets, carried. All the neighbourhood is watering from our spring! It still gives about 300 gallons daily, enough for the families, but not enough for the ram, which takes 700. 

You will find rough lists of the books and records on the upstairs mantleshelf, in a notebook. Plenty of needles, and a cutter for them. The upstairs fire burns the best, as yet. I have a stainless steel hood-front coming for the book-room fire which smokes in some winds. 

There is wood in the woodshed (rhododendron best: the oak is rather green) but the garage is still rather a mess with cement and building stores. Owing to the frost Pat Knowles has not been able to finish the storage-tank. No W.C. now. 

I'd suggest your feeding your part at the Black Bear in Wool, or the Ship: or the Red Lion of Winfrith. The heath roads to Wareham and Dorchester are now made up and good. There is Bere Regis too! With wheels food becomes easy.  

The cottage has now only two chairs. One for the book-room is being made here, but will not be ready for a week. 

I was there over Christmas, with Chambers, who was at Farnborough R.A.F. with me. The place was lovely; quiet, warm, and full of things to do. I look forward to settling there in a year's time, for good. 

I hope you can stow your party somewhere and find local food for them! I go generally to one of the two or three soldiers' eating-shops in Bovington. 

Tell me what you think of the alterations, done or half-done. I'm very sorry about the empty cistern: but I dared not parch all the neighbours. Clouds Hill is the only water between Bovington and Bere Regis today. Pray for rain.


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Source: DG 786-7
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 19 July 2008


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