Topic: 25 June 1938: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley
In which John writes Hazel about a little car he bought and is doing up, a Whitsun holiday to Salisbury, Exeter, Bristol and Bath which resulted in sunburn, a lodge meeting, how full of wonders London is, how Lever Brother's has over 4,000 employees in the building where Joan works as well as it's own park and sports teams plus a controlling interest in West Africa, and hopes of a holiday in Scotland.
C/o N.Z. House
415 The Strand
25 June 1938
Please excuse pencil but I can spare a few moments at work and I don’t seize the opportunity you’ll never get a reply to yours of some time go. Naturally I haven’t got the letter here so can’t reply to any questions.
Things are still going apace and yet nothing being done as usual. Evenings are gone as its usually 9 to 9.30 when tea is finished and now I’m working at nights on a little crate I bought for £8. Did over 400 miles at Whitsun (that is a bank holiday on a Monday 6 weeks after Easter), leaving on the Saturday morning going South to Salisbury and its old Cathedral and on to Exeter in Devon before going North East to Bristol and then to Bath, Windsor and home. The scenery was perfect, the weather hot and fine and not a great deal of wind. The result was a sun-burning with much pain. The crate went very well – we had the hood down and food and rugs chucked in the back – the cost was 12/4 for gas and oil. I’m doing it up now and she’ll be really hot in about 9 weeks. It saves me considerably going to work too – I can do the journey in ½ an hour also, and I save about 5/- a week with it. It gets a bit Hellish though at times driving about 10 miles twice daily through London traffic.
Tell Andy I completed Lodge last month and have been to only one meeting since. We meet only 4 times a year. Weather is much improved of late so as soon as the crate is on the road again I intend doing a spot of camping. There are simply thousands of available places without necessarily having to go where the numbers are.
I would have liked to have seen the Aldershot Tattoo last week but of course with the crate down it meant bus and 12/- out of pocket. Also I’d like to go to Lords (very close to our place) and see the second test against Australia but I can’t afford the time away from the baby, otherwise summer will be over before its going again. The tennis champs are on at Wimbledon which is not far from where I work but that must have a miss too. I can manage theatres, being at night, which are very cheap so naturally take advantage of them.
Am glad you’ve got such a suitable place in Brooklyn and probably will see it in the course of some months, say 18 – that’s only approximate, as I have nothing thought out so far ahead. I’m at least beginning to know my way around this joint, but only the Western place and where I live and work – I know nothing of the city itself and don’t imagine I’ll ever learn unless I work out that way sometime.
Had a letter from Auntie the other day and she tells me Cyril Hoskins is home and hated London and its people. Well it is understandable to hate London. It’s a peculiar place and in some ways I hate it – as a matter of fact I anything but love it and never imagined I would, but believe me, to the blind it is obvious as the centre of the world. It is full of wonders and full of everything. For instance you probably imagine I’m silly missing the tennis champs, but stiffen the excuses, you’ve got Tennis Champs, Test Cricket, Tattoos, and pageants, Changing of Guards, Trooping of Columns, Olympia, Yehudi Menuhin, Gracie Fields, Paul Robeson and God knows what – think of the famous actors and actresses you can see in the flesh. All these are on every day and night – or else there is the equivalent.
If one doesn’t like the place, and believe me at times I hate, one must give credit for the things happening. Here is a comparison: Lord Galway arrives in N.Z. from a trip away – he gets a curie welcome and the papers are full of it – everyone is discussing it. He arrives in London and his name is mentioned among the list of passengers. On that list of passengers mentioned is only of Lords, Ladies, Ministers, Viscounts – I’m not insinuating that in London Galway is not important, he is, but there are so many thousands of men equally important that he is just one of the crowd.
We colonials are some of the multitude – it is still frequently imagined that N.Z. is part of Australia. Well that should be enough to give you a line on these colonials who return with imaginitis, and who were unable to view London in its correct perspective.
One final point, where Joan works there are over 4,000 in the one building and that is only one of the firm’s buildings. The firm owns its own park, has a permanent staff controlling its own sports bodies and social functions and in fact as one of its sidelines is so strong in Western Africa that it actually helps rule the country.
Well that is that and as far as I got at work with this – and now I’m tearing to get a bit more written. Am not seeing many shows just now on account of overhauling the crate which is taking all my time. I see there is some good racing at Brooklands too which I’d like to see but can’t.
Am supposed to get a week’s holidays shortly and have hopes of going to Scotland. Will take a look at the Empire Exhibition too while there.
Well this is not much but it’s something so cheerio. Love to you and Rae and regards to Andy and I hope he is still enjoying Lodge. If you want a transfer to England – forget it.
Cheerio, John [handwritten].
PS: Duffy went to America 2 months ago.