P.S. I've enclosed Clothing Book & Sweetie Coupons
19th October, 1947.
Dear Mother & Dad
Well, here I am aboard the "Aquitania" and have managed to get settled in all right. I sort of dozed off in the train after I left you at Waterloo, but about two o'clock, a steward came round with ice-cream and pineapples so I felt more awake after I'd had some. They were also serving lunches on the train but,of course, I didn't need that.
We arrived at the ship about 3 p.m. and I had no trouble at all. I didn't even need to carry my suitcase. Was I thankful! The Customs man just asked me if my baggage was all personal effects, and how much money I was carrying. I answered yes to the first question and told him exactly how much I had to the second. He just said "O.K." and put a red cross on my baggage, and then I was walking up the gangplank. The wardrobe trunk went down into the hold, and my suitcase automatically appeared in the Dormitory about six o'clock.
I met a girl in the train who is also travelling out alone so we've sort of "palled" up for the voyage. She and I are in the same Dormitory and we managed to arrange with the purser to sit at the same table in the Dining Saloon. We've got the second sitting, which means breakfast at 9a.m., lunch at 1p.m. and dinner at 7p.m. The second sitting is really the best, as it's not nearly so crowded as the first, and most of the babies & children are in bed. There are crowds of children on board, & hosts of little babies, much younger than Patricia. They have special cots right alongside their mother's berths and their food is made up in a little galley reserved especially for them.
There are about 40 brinks in each Dormitory but,luckily, I've got one right next a porthole, although (not so luckily) it's an upper.
After we got aboard, we had to see the purser about our meal tickets and then just wander around the ship getting our bearings.
The dinner was marvelous to-night and I was certainly ready for it. We started with Cream Soup, then Fillet of Sole with lemon, followed by Roast Beef, Lima Beans & Baked Potatoes. The dessert was a steamed sponge with custard, and to finish, marvellous coffee with biscuits and cheese. Our table steward is terribly nice - a very handsome type. He was telling me that we'll be sailing at three o'clock on Monday afternoon so advised me to have a good breakfast and lunch, as, after that, I'd have "had"it! Let's hope not. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
After dinner, Louie (that's the girl I've chummed up with) and I were wandering around looking for a quiet lounge to sit and write out letters and I went barging in one door, tripped over the brass step, and fell flat on my face headlong into the bar! I'd have felt my honour was intact if I had fallen coming out but to fall going in shakes one's pride a bit. My knees feel a bit skinned but my nylons are O.K. so that's all I'm worrying about. Trust me to make an exhibition of myself!!
Louie is going to Ottawa to stay with a married sister so I'll probably have her company as far as Montreal anyway . She comes from Glasgow too - Parkhead district.By the way, mother, I didn't hand over my Clothing Coupon Book or Sweetie Coupons at the Customs and they didn't ask for them. If they don't relieve me of them at Halifax, I'll send them back to you if you think it will be safe enough to send them in a letter. If the Customs are as easy-going at the other side as they are here, it'll be fine. "Nae bother"!
In my scouting around so far, I've discovered the Ladies Hairdresser, the Baths Attendant and some of the Shops. To-morrow we'll be able to buy chocolates, cigarettes, stockings, underwear or sweaters coupon-free, if we want them. There' also a couple of cinemas on board.
At the moment, the strains of piano music are floating up from the bar and, from time to time, somebody bursts into song. At the moment Louie and I have this lounge all to ourselves - everybody else is taking advantage of the limitless variety of drink. We may go down later for a Shandy but, at the moment, it's a bit too noisy and crowded for my liking.
Like you said, there are some very some very peculiar looking types on board, quite a lot of foreigners and Service personell too. Mostly the foreigners are Grade C though, so goodness knows what their accommodation will be like. The Grade C passengers only get high tea at night instead of dinner.
Well, I guess five pages for the first day isn't too bad and I think I've just about covered everything so far. All the staff on board are very helpful and nice so that makes a difference. Will continue to-morrow with my list of Monday's activities. I think I'll sleep without rocking to-night.
I've just had breakfast and, as the ship isn't due to sail until 3 o'clock this afternoon I'll be able to post this letter on this side. I slept like a log last night although most of the passengers were complaining that they couldn't sleep at all. I was awake at 6a.m. as all the mothers were up attending to their kiddies; however I didn't rise until 8 o'clock as my breakfast wasn't until 9a.m.
Breakfast consisted of prunes, cornflakes or rolled oats, followed by either fish and egg, or bacon & egg. There are the most marvellous rolls served at every meal. They're rather like a Vienna roll, only much bigger; crisp on the outside and the inside is just like white snowflakes. I should love to be able to parcel one up and send it home. Of course, butter is supplied in unlimited quantities, and this morning there was both marmalade and strawberry jam. After breakfast, I bought some postcards, and a morning paper, and then Louie and I went for a stroll around the deck.
There seems to be any number of people going all the way to Vancouver. The girl in the bunk underneath me is going there, and two fellows at our table are also bound for the West Coast. Louie and I are the only two girls at our table. There are eight of us altogether so its not too crowded.
Well, I'll close now, but will write a bit every day until I reach Halifax and then will post another letter there.
In the meantime, Lots of Love