Topic: 22 January 1938: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley
In which John writes Hazel on the day of her wedding to Eric Robert Anderson (1909-1967). He tells her of the snow falling in London, the rush of life there, a trip to Liverpool, the Mersey Tunnel, London's tubes and the dogs of London.
C/- N.Z. House
415 The Strand
22 January 1938
With my rush to leave N.Z. many things entered my mind – many passed on their way and some remained and amongst those remaining the above date seems to have some importance and although my sense of accuracy is anything but definite I have a feeling I am correct – I hope so. I have just finished my usual days work, but for you I guess the day is anything but usual – actually of course, as I write, you are well into the next day, although for me the calendar reads only to 22nd. Anyway I hope everything went as it should and that George didn’t disgrace himself.
Naturally of course I haven’t the faintest where you’re living as I know you had hopes of going to the South Island but that such a move was dependent upon Boots.
According to reports you people are enjoying an exceptional summer and I for one could do with a spot of it right now – snow has been falling all day and to say its as cold as Hell is naturally a contradiction, but I’m at a loss to find the word which correctly describes it – all I know is that it... well, its cold.
Life in this part of the world is as big a rush as one could even wish not not to experience. Up in the morning, off to work, home again, cook some tea, &... it's ten o’clock, if not later. Really it’s terrible but nothing can be done about it. One insignificant N.Zer can’t make much impression - and believe me the reputed figure of 30,000 makes little more – that is rather interesting to write, I mean the fact that there are supposed to be 30,000 N.Zers in London. Actually I’ve not been able to verify the statement and until I do I shall merely treat it as interesting.
I’ve sent Muv and Quita each a map of the tubes, or buses, I forget which, so that Muv will have some reminders of her God of cities and Quita will reel in bewilderment of the range of routes. It is with cynical amusement that I listen to some colonials’ remarks that they “know London” -know London – why its an impossibility and I agree that if one lived two lifetimes and London stood still it might be possible – but no ones lives two lifetimes... and London never stands still.
I had a real wizard of a Xmas up North. The weather was more kind for one thing and needless to say the company was excellent. Het is just like Muv, and her husband a real pal and he took me over to Liverpool and through every entrance of the Mersey Tunnel which really is an amazing piece of work. Not that I think it can be compared with London’s hundreds of miles of tubes, which incidentally cost £1,000,000 per mile to build and run, but when one thinks of casually driving for 3 or 4 miles under a river – well one just shouldn’t be casual about it.
I found London to be just what I expected and think I’ll find England answering to its traditional descriptions. One thing which did amuse me, being me and my interest in dogs, and that was to find them hiding in trains, tubes and buses. Honestly you can’t imagine how funny it is to be quietly reading in a train and to suddenly find a couple of the hairy fellows having a yarn in the passage way. I think a person’s fare has to be paid for one. I must say though that it is a dying shame to all, a dogs’ life in London. Not one blade in a hundred has as much as a square inch of ground to it – as to where all the poor barkers hang out is a mystery to me.
I’ve had a couple of letters from Quita – quite good they were too except that she ruined them by apologising about them not being up to scratch. I’ve dropped her a short note but so far nothing to the Auntie and Unc – I must soon but heavens, time whizz’s past and I get nothing done – just nothing. I suppose you two are finding life very busy, but I guess a very much more satisfying and worthwhile type of busyness compared with Banking Chambers. Muv didn’t tell me where you were to live, but maybe it is somewhere where you will find opportunity of getting out into the sunshine and a garden during the day as it is much needed by you now after being inside. Health certainly is the most important thing and you did allow yourself to be without your share of ultra violet – or don’t they come direct from the sun I forget. Anyway I guess Andy needs plenty of dirt to satisfy his passion for distributing the worms. Give him my regards and I hope he is enjoying – or should I say surviving at the mercies of your kitchen craft. I’ll bet you give the poor chap Hell now you’ve got all day to concentrate on the job. Sorry, I’m cruel. Anyway I hope your both finding life answering to all that is asked of married life. The Lord only knows when I’ll be home again to visit the house of Anderson and see how you’re both getting along. I almost gave you both an apology for not having written sooner, but you’ve just to live here to see how time goes, and the first month was too damn cold to get up before midday – struth I’ve never experienced anything like it. Do you know it’s getting into the fifth month since I left and it seems yesterday. Had an air mail from Merv the other day and he tells me he is stepping off into thin air in a few weeks – poor old Merv – he’s thrilled to bits with it all – I must write him.
OK, well I started to say cheerio last page but I’m still going and now I’m going to bed, so cheerio to you both and best of luck and will see you someday I hope.
Yours, John [handwritten letter].