It has been said that the joys of a world tour are threefold – anticipation, realisation and meditation. In our case the anticipation has been long and although there has been a certain amount of joy, there has been a great deal of hard preparatory work to do during the past twelve months. Several times previously arrangements had been made tentatively, but it was not until nine months ago that the berths were booked and since that time life has been one long bustle to do my ordinary day’s work and also arrange all the many details for the trip.
The two main problems were the business and the home. Foresight in the business made the final arrangements comparatively easy. For over twelve months Phil had been in charge of the office and knew that side of the business thoroughly. He had already relieved me of a lot of routine work and was quite capable of handling all financial affairs. Thus worry No. 1 was over.
Mr Brain, our Dunedin manager, was quite capable of carrying on my work as Agency Manager, but the question was, “How was he to be relieved?” It seemed easier to get someone to take my place than to find a man for Dunedin. Mr Gledhill came to my assistance with a splendid suggestion – send Geoff over from Sydney! That was a good idea and it was done, but the arrangements had to be made several months ahead.
What about the home? Were the boys to board and have the house closed, or let, or could it be carried on? No one liked the idea of boarding, so twelve months before we tried to find a suitable person to take charge and were successful. Long before it was time for us to leave Miss Evans had proved her value and the boys and the home will be cared for by her. As Mr Brain could not bring his family to Wellington it was arranged for him to be a member of our family for the time being, so he and the two boys with Miss Evans will carry on the home and the bach during our absence.
Then came the question of outfit, and during the last few months the necessary trunks, clothes and many etceteras have been accumulated. The packing in itself was a big job.
When Lois was training at the Alexandra Hospital she met Miss E. Spring, a sister from Victoria who was exceedingly kind to her and they became friends. Several times she had expressed her desire to join the party on the trip to see the world and nurse with Lois at the same time. When she returned to Victoria the idea was continued by correspondence and when she eventually decided to come there was no berth left on the Orcades. Almost at the last minute it was found possible to include her by Lois giving her single cabin to another person and sharing a cabin on a deck below with Miss Spring. Lo was overjoyed at having this companion and so Elizabeth, as we will call her, will join the party in Melbourne.
As the time for departure drew nearer the work of preparation seemed to increase. The farewell parties started early and continued to the last day. My Wellington staff met at a luncheon at Kirks and I was presented with a beautiful set of field glasses. There were morning tea parties, luncheon parties, afternoon tea parties and dinner parties. One step further and the only farewell meal available would have been breakfast. I was both surprised and pleased to receive so many parting gifts. The day before I sailed I received a beautiful rug from my friends at the Auckland Electric Power Board, which was greatly appreciated.
At last the 17th of March arrived and the luggage was at last ready to be sent to the boat, which was due to sail at 8 p.m. At seven o’clock we arrived at the Wanganella or “Wonky Nella” as she is generally called, to say farewell to those of our friends who could get down. At 7.30 we could scarcely get into our cabin for flowers which had been so kindly brought and sent by those who were interested in us. It was a gorgeous sight and gave us all a wonderful thrill. Seeing the last of those on the wharf brings a pang of pain as well as joy. When the last streamer and Burroughs roll was eventually broken we realised that our last connection with New Zealand for at least six months was gone and so the first chapter of our trip closed.