Thursday, January 26, 2012

Letter - to David's Mother Mary - London - 20.5.1970

117 Farnham Road,
Guildford, Surrey.
20th May 1970

Dear Mum,

     Thanks a lot for your letter - very meaty and newsy, why to 5 Hall Dene Close though?  We've left there long ago.  From now on, all the time until July 12 when we arrive in the USA our address will be c/o Keith at P.O. Box 1556 Carmel (I suppose they have a house too?),  please write to Bank of N.S.W. - they will forward all.  We've been surprisingly, so busy back here in the U.K. - after getting Tabitha all back in shape after her European ordeals we've been to see some of our friends, to London to get our tickets for U.K. East Berlin and Japan - U.S.A. - Sydney:  The Polish and USSR ones are not quite ready, and we can't have the Visas until our bookings are confirmed.*  Went to Ford's factory at Dagenham on Tuesday, very exciting hive of planned bedlam.   Took that ancient British institution, the coach excursion, with a group organized by Mrs. Waugh to Hever Castle in Kent yesterday.  Ann Boleyn was born there and she met Henry VIII there, then William Waldorf Astor bought it filled it with Italian sculpture and some very fine portaits, Titian, Cranach, Gheeraerts etc.  And quite a pleasant trip there, through countryside all green with Spring growth and the blossom.

     Glad you've met the Gallaghers** - they've been wonderful to us, are absolutely fascinating people to be with - they both do so much and talk about such interesting things - Pen is also very fond of Mr. - he has such a soothing accent, hasn't he.

     Sounds like you've been having a real ball lately - openings with the Queen, etc.  - good going!  Who or what is the lessee of Cooma Cottage*** - is somebody going to rent it, live there, keep it up, once restored, etc?

     I hope you get more postcards that you seem to have so far - we sent one from each country at least, two from some.

     We really had a super trip, I think the cards probably convey impressions we gained, but we certainly had a super time for 7 weeks on £100, all included, food, fuel etc., and we have ourselves a rather good copy of a Masterpiece in the Munich Art Gallery (from our dear old lady friend in in Budapest)  it's called "Ruhendes Madchess" (Relaxing or serene, maiden) by Francois Boucher.

     Had a drink with Peter de Wit, ex Controls Company Works Manager (they've closed down in U.K. - I just left at the right time!)  he's Dutch, and filled us in with background detail on lots of things we saw in Holland.

     We leave U.K. Wednesday week, May 27th, for the last time.  So sad, but we're looking forward hugely to our trip.

     Guess what - I have a job for one week, to plug the drain on our finances all these weeks of holiday have created.  I'm a coach driver, for a small family firm in Cranleigh a nearby village. So I'm leaving as I arrived, although on a slightly higher plane.  Much love David

P.S.  Yes please send Roo Belt to Carmel.

We had to make a couple of trips to London to visit the USSR Embassy, we were trying to get our Visa's, they wouldn't give us a Visa until we had our Accommodation booked.  So off we'd go to the Russian Intourist to book our Accommodation but they wouldn't book any until we had our Visa from the Embassy.  This went on a couple of times then eventually one of they gave in (I can't remember which)  our Accommodation was booked and we had our Visa's.

**  Mrs G was one of Mary's school friends, they had been very good to us on our visits to Warwickshire and had now moved to Australia.

*** Cooma Cottage was the home of Hamilton Hume, the first Australian born Explorer. Mary bought his home in a derelict state and needed someone to live there to look after it while she negotiated with the National Trust about giving it to them to do up.  They wouldn't take it on, so she replaced the roof for $200,000 then they accepted the Donation and finished doing it up.  It was officially opened to the public in our bicentenary year, 1988.

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