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19370131 Heather to Betty


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                             31st January 1937.                                    INDIA.

Dearest Duckie,

I've been meaning to write to you for simply ages   -   ever
since we got on board ship in fact.      But you know what happens on
board ship.     At the beginning there was nothing much to do, except
type a few odd things for Dad, and to sit in the lounge with all
the old ladies and feel rather shy and think how terrible everyone
is.     And then, after Marseilles and by time we got to the Suez
Canal, we had got into a sort of "set" of people, and from then on
we were plunged into Deck Sports, loafing on deck,  swimming for at
least 3 hours every day, dancing and Boat Deck at night! And
then one day quite suddenly at lunch time, India came in sight.
And somehow I never got a letter written to you.

If you won't be bored I might recount to you a bit of what
kind of a journey it was.

Well, at the beginning it was absolutely terrible Rosalind
and I thought.      We could only see about two young girls and one
young male altogether.    The rest were all over 90.     We felt very
shy and sad.   Also it was cold, so we spent most of the first few
days in bed like Mum does.     Mum and Dad had a very nice suite
forward on the promenade deck and nice and quiet and miles away
from the dancing and noise.   Rosalind and I were a deck down and
about midships.     There was a terrible old trout called Lady Hackett Pain[1] in the cabin opposite ours, but luckly she got off at
Port Said so our steward (whose name was Hayward but his friends
down the corridor or rather passage used to shout 'Iward)  said we
could use her cabin too.    Which we did, we made it the office and
the clothes hanging up to dry room.   We did quite a lot of washing
on board because there was a lovely big place to do it in just near
our cabin, and lots of lovely Ironing boards.     We took Haywards’
gramophone in there too and played some lovely Swedish records which
a young Swedish cove lent us.

As you know, we have travelling with us this time as "O.P."
instead of the Waltons the Impeys.     He is Scout H.Q. Commissioner
for scouts, like Gran is for Rovers.     His name is Lawrence, and
Mrs Impey, like Joan, is Joan, and wears Cubbers' uniform. They
are great friends of the Waltons too, but younger.     Joan is 29
and Lawrence is 36 and they are great fun, and come in to meals
just as late as we do, and join in the dancing and get in a knot
with all the young people and say the most shocking things in front
of Mum and Dad, and they really are most amusing,

We landed once more at Gibraltar, and there we had a most
heavenly day, going right up to the very tip top of the Hock in a
Ford V.8.    It was a gorgeous sunny day and the most heavenly view
you can imagine.     Looking one way across the Straits to Africa
and the Atlas Mountains, and the other way across to Algeciras, and
we could see as forty miles inland into Spain.     We   couldn't see
any sign of the war going on, although they were actually bombing
Malaga the day we were there. One rather amusing thing we saw

was a tiny little cheeky Spanish trawler sitting outside Gib.
harbour, and in the harbour were cowering two Spanish Government

merchant ships.    The shins did not dare come out of harbour as they

 

 

 

 

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his Regiment which is at a place called Wana, miles from anywhere, 300 miles beyond Peshawar, right up in the mountains I believe. It was funny seeing him, after having "been talking with John King-Martin about him.     He is Austrilian with a vengeance!

Now we shall be at Delhi for the next week.     At least Mum and Rosalind will be here for a week before they begin their tour to Madras, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Bangalore, Nagpur, Calcutta, Patna, Lucknow and Lahore.     I think Dad and I will stay on for a couple of days longer probably, before we go on up to Risalpur to stay with the Kennedys.      Dad and I haven’t made out our programme much yet, as we still are waiting to hear when is the Kadir Cup, and the Polo.     I believe the Horse Show will be on while we are at Delhi, which will be lovely, if we ever get the chance to go.

It's now beginning to get dark, and I can't be bothered to turn on the light yet as it's not dark enough for that.    So I'll type till I'm too blind to go on.

This train is the most disgustingfehtiing  (disgusting thing I was trying to say) I've ever been in.      The very letters of the typer are covered in dust and my hands are pitch black. We are going along through flat brown coloured country with tall grass and trees scattered about, and dried up water holes.  We have not seen any wild animals yet, only camels, water buffs, and scraggy horses.     Also lots of wild birds, millions of peacocks, cranes, adjutant birds, and ibis and vultures.     .Ye have just passed through a place called Bharatnur, which means The Fort of India (Bharat means India, but I don't know in what language!)    The names of the railway stations are written up in several differnet languages, all Arabic looking, but usually Irdu, or Hindie.     The train does not have a corridor, but when it stops at a station everybody with one accord gets out and confab on the Platform.     We are quite a crowd, all in unfirom, what with 3 B-P’s,  one Rosalind, two Impeys, Hogg and Ivor.     At lunch time stop we all went along to the dining car and after we'd finished we jolly well had to sit there till the trail came to its next stop.       They blow, I mean they ring a bell before the train is going on, and just when it is about to move they blow a whistle.     Just now at Bharatpur the bloke rang and whistled at the same time and the train moved off, leaving half of us standing woe-fully on the platform.      So Mr Hogg did some marvellous arm waving & yelling, and the train stopped again further on to wait while we hastily scrambled in!

I'm afraid I can't be bothered to write any more now. I'm afraid this is not a very good letter, but I'm somewhat sleepy as Rosalind and I did not get very much sleep on the ship, or at Bom- bay with Huge dinner parties there both nights, or last night on this rough train. <

I washoping to see Steve Dori (do you remember, friend of Y's on the Calgaric cruise who worked in a dress shop in London)    She is married and was living in Bombay up till last month, and now they have been transferred to Calcutta, so I shan't see her after all.

Miles of love, and I hope your poor Husband is quite fit again now.       HEATHER.

 

 

[1] Probably Annie Michell nee Courage, born March 1871, so 68 at this time http://www.thepeerage.com/p44355.htm#i443548



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