Part 1: Pre Leaving.
(Photos are clickable with captions)
Friday 15 March 1974:
Ticket arrived today. Jackie phoned me at work to let me know; it is cabin 136 on the upper deck with 3 berths, toilet, shower and wash basin, no windows though (pity). Dawn is not particularly worried about the tickets. Only 24 days to go now.
Sunday 17 March:
Chris, David and Mark came for the last time today. They took out chest of draws for Mum; another hole in the home, first the tele then the organ. We took our pictures down and repacked the trunk in the evening. David seems to agree with our going, probably wants to get rid of us. Mark can be naughty and does not seem to possess the divinity attributed to him by Mum.
Monday 18 March:
I was late to work as the clocks went back. Only 10 more working days left. I started the process of handing over the office to Rodger, who says he will come and see us off. Chandris say sailing time will be between 8 and 9 (pm).
Wednesday 20 March:
I only had half a day at work. In the afternoon I listed all the records and did the books in the evening. Less than 3 weeks to go now but it still done not seem possible. To see the house you would not suspect tit was to be vacated in 10 days. All is very much as normal except for a few small gaps. Dawn seems irritable, probably excitement. Money seems to be running short!
Friday 22 March:
I had today and yesterday off to use up my leave. We almost finished packing the trunk and had to fill it up with books. We went out to buy stuff for dinner with the Sheldrakes tomorrow. Jackie went out this evening to do her dresses so I listened to the 9th for the last time in this country and strained my wrist conducting the finale. My jacket is packed in the trunk now, what will i wear? Not long to go now.
Saturday 23 March:
Dawn and I went exploring in Chatham to solve the mystery of the obelisk on the hill. After traversing the hazardous streets of Chatham we came to open ground that rose steeply in front of us. Upon reaching the summit we spied the famed obelisk; what mysteries did it hold? What strange creatures constructed it? When we approached closer it revealed its secret, it was a war memorial.
In the evening we had our parting dinner with the Sheldrakes Bob was ill and I ate too much but it was very nice. There were many silences and we talked about illness and Glen?
Sunday 24 March:
I dismantled Dawns wardrobe with minor interruptions but it all went well. Dawn seemed to think it was a splendid idea. Kerrie was asleep but looked rather astonished at the destruction I had wrought on her small world in such a short space of time. We also cleared out both kids toys that was met with mixed feelings.
In the evening we stuck labels all over the suitcases and the trunk, looks more realistic now.
We went to the dentist in the morning; Dawn had a filling and seemed to enjoy it. I only had my teeth cleaned. We also had to go to the solicitor about some fence nonsense. I spent the rest of the day finally sorting our stuff out. I had to dismantle the Hi Fi shrine, a very sad, solemn occasion. ted came round to disconnect the washing machine in the evening (10 ish) We had a job packing the drum but finally solved the problem. The cat, Cleo seems a little put out by all this change. She will be put out permanently on Saturday - she is going two doors away.
Well there now stands downstairs the sum total of what we are taking to Australia, it does not seem very much; I just hope it arrives ok. It all seems rather unsettling but I suppose that is how it should be. Our home is disintegrating and we will soon be homeless NFA as they say.
Tuesday 26 March (B day):
B is for baggage. It was today that Faron came to collect our stuff. We had it all prepared so we just had to wait and wait and wait. they arrived at 1:45 just as I had comfortably seated myself on the toilet.
They were two young jokers who threatened to steal all that was of any value and break anything that wasn't. I cringed as they removed my speakers. It was worse than having a tooth removed. The chest of draws was rather heavy and I had serious doubts as to whether it would take the strain.
By 4:30 it was all gone, after a return as one chap lost £2 . We will just have to pray that it arrives in the antipodes safely. the room downstairs looks dismayingly bleak. Rather upsetting. When will we see it all again? In the evening I managed to burn the coffee, it smelled foul. Well it's back to work tomorrow, not many work days left (8).
Friday 29 March:
I had to book my tools in which seemed sort of final. I had the usual trouble with stores, they wanted a multitude of forms. It was the last day of travel to and from Cannon St. As we go to Mum’s on Monday. I’ve got a nasty cold and felt terrible in the evening and was sick later. A lot missed the toilet, was rather nasty, had a very disturbed night. Don’t feel like a long boat trip at the moment.
Saturday 30 March 1774:
Most of the rest of our furniture went today. First the Pattenden bloke came to take some rubbish, then he took the dining room suite. Next the Balls came for the fridge and the bedroom suite but he didn’t have room for the wardrobe, it will have to be left with Ted. The Scalescame in the afternoon for the coffee table and a single bed and Ted took the 3 piece suite in the evening.
It’s looking very bare now but surprisingly not much worse than Tuesday. We will be glad to get out now. Dawn keeps saying she will have more space to play as each item goes from the organ to the complete nothingness of Sunday morning.
Sunday 31 March:
It has been another hectic day. We had to be up early as people were coming for our beds at 0830. We then had to move all our stuff to the Sheldrakes’ as we are staying here for the night as they are away. There seemed a mountain of stuff but when we sorted it out in the evening there seemed plenty of space in the cases. I took the wardrobe to bits with Phills’ screwdriver and Ted and I took it over in the afternoon. Jackie cleaned our house and eventually all seemed done.
We had a takeaway Chinese in the evening but neither of us could finish it. Tummies turned topsy with tension. Saw a programme on Australia “The Green Centre” It does not seem possible that we will soon be there. The cat has been a bit of a problem, she won’t stop following us from house to house. Kerrie has cried most of the evening and is stirring now. Dawn is being quite good and seems thrilled to sleep in Martin’s bed. I feel better today with just a slight sickness. Jackie seems to be taking the strain better than expected.
Monday 1 April:
This was completion day at last. I had the final look around the house. Seems rather sad to leave it. I collected the cheque from the solicitor £4349.90. I also paid off the cooker but as the meter man never turned up we were told to forget that bill.
I caught the 1 o’clock train to take the cheque to the bank. It was a bit dicey as they would not let me take the letter round but I took a copy and they accepted that. I also had a spot of bother about the travelling cheques but it seems ok now with special clearance on the cheque. I ordered Dawns birth certificate.
Apparently Dad had trouble with our luggage and he is ill. Anyway it all turned out well in the end and we are all here at Mum’s. Kerrie seems better tonight.
Friday 5 April:
After an uneventful few days at Mum’s we got into the routine ok.
At lunch time I was given a silver plate from the blokes at work, which I thought was very nice as I have not been there that long.
Last Wednesday evening Jackie and I went for a Chinese in Croydon our last in this country.
Saturday 6 April:
We went down to say goodbye to Jackie’s Mum; it was a long journey. Went for drink before dinner and did some shopping after dinner.
Auntie Marjorie came in the evening.
Monday 8 April 1974:
My last day at work but I didn’t do any. I had to buy drinks at dinner time and then I collected my references, for what it was worth and left. I stopped of in Croydon on my way home to do some shopping. I was paid in the morning £112.
In the evening we packed some of the stuff then Dad and I bought some drink and we all got a bit merry, especially Jackie.