On “Port Auckland”
April 10th, ‘63.
... so sorry that we missed seeing you again before we left the north to get down to this ship. A worse place to join the vessel, it is true, would have been the Bluff, but we were spared that. One thing about joining it here was that we saw a number of my relatives and friends at the Christchurch airport where we spent an hour before getting the last stage by air to Dunedin.
Isabel and Robin sent some lovely flowers to the ship and Lucy is getting off a letter to them from here to thank them.
Next time we come, (before Dec. I hope), we shall stay longer and we will probably uproot from Rotherfield altogether, and be prepared to stay in N.Z. for an indefinite period. These breaks from a place where one has lived many years are hard to bear, and I suppose the only way to maintain the link is to let a house on longish lease. But that means a lot of bother in England unless one is living in that country also to keep an eye on things. Just as big a break or wrench is to cut off the contact with friends over there. So at present, or at least soon, we shall be faced with a period of relative isolation and be sorry for ourselves! The only way to avoid that will be to come out here. In any case it’s the best thing in so many ways especially as regards health. Anyone over 60 finds the winters perfectly bloody, what with the fog, smog, and cold. We have revelled in the lovely weather this time and we are both convinced that we will not be cut off from it anymore. So we’ll be seeing you!
I have missed very much not seeing you this time. A brief glimpse at Mary’s by no means sufficed. But I look forward to the next meeting. Do “old men forget?”, as Duff Cooper suggested in his memoirs – the chap who married Lady Diana Manners. They do in the case of more recent events, but the memory for things remote is remarkably good as a rule. And my memory of the things and associations of pre-First World War are indeed precious to me and the mental images extraordinarily clear of them. Your touching on fishing in your recent holiday brought back rapidly the times when you used to come to Ocean Bay – “seasick point”, for example, and many other things which were experienced in Eltham and elsewhere.
Well, I must stop. The above is not merely sentimental stuff. They are things that I treasure and I could not possibly forget those. So for now goodbye and I look forward to seeing you soon, my dear – look after yourself.