There were many ways in which the bored Tommy could pass away the hours whilst not on duty. Athletic competitions were popular with running, wrestling, boxing among the favourites. Cricket and football matches between the regiments created much rivalry with, in the early days of the siege, bottles of beer given to the winners.
On the 17th November 1899 the Gordon Highlanders played a combined team of the Natal Volunteers made up from the Carbineers & Natal Mounted Rifles at football, beating them 2-1. During the game a shell fell onto the pitch and under cover of the explosion the Gordons scored the winning goal. The colonials objected but the Scots were unmoved. The colonials sent a message to the Football association in England for a decision but their reply is not recorded.
Two days later on the 19th November there was a cricket match between the Royal Field Artillery and the newspaper Correspondents.
The Natal Witness carried the comment that a cricket match between the Ladysmith cricket club and the 1st Battalion Welch regiment was won by the Welsh.
Those lucky enough to know the right people spent hours playing tennis and having tea with the ladies of the town. For the more intellectual, on the 29th January 1900, Colonel Stoneman commenced his weekly Shakespeare evenings.
A certain Mr Lotter, probably the gaoler, opened a select class for instruction in Dutch.