Topic: 11 May 1939: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley

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In which John writes Hazel about an International Friends League meeting, a visit to Newcastle, Scotland, Middlesbrough, Alnwick and Sunderland, tells her that business isn't going well, how pretty England is staring to look, how he misses Katikati, a visit to the Coliseum, and seeing Elsie and Doris Waters.

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N.Z. House

415 The Strand


11 May 1939

Dear Haze,

Hell your letter is overdue again so here goes – I’ve started one several times when having lunch in a park or riding in the tube but something always interrupts me. Last night we went to an International Friends League (which we may later join) to hear a lecture – the idea is a good one – all nationalities are present of course and lectures on the different countries are given by the appropriate representatives. Time is the only factor against our joining.

We went up to Newcastle at Easter in another crate which I picked up – we did over 1,000 miles all told going into Scotland again at Berwick and taking a look at the I.C.I works at Middlesbrough and a general look at Alnwick, Sunderland and a few other places near by.

I have just written Muv telling her that business here at present just isn’t. That means I may be back yet – still don’t know when but the end of next year most likely. I’m anxious to know whether you people have taken your ship yet or not – it does seem rather an expensive time to buy, but at the same time if one waits for a time when prices are down, well it usually follows that general conditions are that way too, so really its as broad as it is long provided a purchase is not made just prior to a fall. I will be very surprised if there is not a slump in a year or two. I have not been following ship arrivals of late and can’t say if the Port Hunter is in yet but I’ll certainly ask that chap up here if he gets in touch with me.

I hope too that by now Jimmy Adcock has contacted you and told you some of the news. Auntie Lizzie mentioned she thought you might like a photo so here is one and for Rae. By the way you might tell Auntie I’d like to know where the boys’ graves, or grave, are or is. She’s given me the Plot No and Row etc, but Hell, I must know the town otherwise I’ll be looking all over France and Belgium – I too hope I can manage to get across alright.

Rae has never said anything more about her Chch [Christchurch] transfer – is she still hoping. Irene Billington comes round occasionally – he’s trying for Fleet St but for journalism it’s the toughest proposition in the world. Also saw Ron Gibbons recently – he’s in a little business of his own which seems prosperous enough in normal times.

Once again England is beginning to look very pretty – we’ve had some fairly warm weather and the trees are showing their appreciation. On Sunday we went out to Windsor, Burnham Beaches, and Stoke Poges (where Gray wrote his elegy). It was beautiful to be in peace and quietness for a while – the bloody rush and bustle of this place gets me down unless breaks are available occasionally. Sometimes I long for K.K. [Katikati] – a few trees a bit of a laugh and to Hell with the turmoil of commercial life.

You should receive some Picture Posts in the future – I’ve asked Mrs Harvey to send them on once she has read them, after having received them from Quita, after Muv having had them, after us.

This is about all for now but it’ll keep the pot boiling and love to you all for now. Tell Andy I had a night (1½ hours actually) drinking brandy last Saturday – didn’t cost me a bean – Joan and this other cove where on neat whisky and we were all sober – went to the Coliseum then saw Elsie and Doris Waters.

Cheerio John [handwritten].

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11 May 1939: To Hazel from John Glen McCauley