"(mailed from Cardiff)
222 Northfield Rd.
King's Norton, Birmingham
Mon. Sept. 2nd/40
Here I am seated outside of the Immigration office, held up because "Jerry" has taken it into his head to pay us another visit. When the sirens sound (and it sounds exactly as the noise the whistle makes on New Years eve in Toronto) everybody drops everything, office help takes shelter in air raid shelters, shops close their doors, traffic stops and one might just as well sit down wherever he is so here I am. The worst of it is the period of alarm may last for hours. One can see or hear no sign of the raiders and it strikes one as being rather over precautious to halt all activity such as this.
I had rather an interesting day yesterday. I left the ship to go to Cardiff about 2:30 p.m., right after dinner. I took the bus to Cardiff (fare 1 s. 3 d.) and visited the central park. The municipal buildings in Cardiff are really magnificent as you will see from the picture post cards I am sending under separate cover. Early in the twentieth century, 1904 to be exact, the city council purchased a large area of land and erected a new city hall, a university, law building, museum, memorial tower, Peace Hall, and one or two other office buildings bordering on a beautiful area reserved for park. The buildings are not large but are built of limestone and very decorative in sculpture and really architecturally grand. I strolled about these buildings (none were open) and admired the gardens in the park. I saw beautiful Dahlias, cosmos, snapdragon, gallardia, phlox, red hot poker (at least I think it was), and many other varieties such as we have in our garden. The only strange flower I saw is like the sample enclosed. It has a white blossom on the same head as this predominant blue. I asked a staff colonel and his wife, seated nearby, if they knew the name of it. The lady said she thought it was a fre...(illegible), the old Col. pretended a latent knowledge, which is always to be accepted as plain ignorance, so I let it go at that. If the colors have not faded you will gather some idea as to what the flowers looks like. It grows about as high as phlox and is very similar in arrangement. After satisfying myself in the park I visited the main business street and found a small tobacco and news store open. Here I got the picture post cards. I then sought the location of the beautiful old cathedral. I had to take a tram (street car) which cost 3 d. and journeyed for ten minutes. I was a bit late for service but arrived well in advance of the sermon. I looked at the ancient murals and brass memorial placs which adorned the interior walls, and after service signed the registry (visitors) book. This cathedral was visited by Cromwell and his horsemen, the marks of his horses' hoofs are still to be seen on the floor. Outside the cathedral one sees very dark and weather worn t...(illegible) stories and raised vaults, some dating back to 1831. I am surprised that some were not even older, but I didn't examine all by any means and probably there are older ones.
Hurrah there goes the 'all clear'. The raid is over and as far as I am concerned there was absolutely no reason for such interference and disturbance of business or work. But regulations must be carried out.
3:30 p.mm.--Here I am sitting on the railway station platform waiting for a train to London. A train leaves every fifteen or twenty minutes for Cardiff and from there I book for London. You would smile to see me with your handbag on my knee for a desk. Beautiful fine day and all's well except that you are not here. Honey I would be so happy if you could just pop out of this valise. Gee I'd smother you with kisses no matter who might be amused. Well I said good-bye to the ship's crew and I rather hated to do so. They all took my address and gave me theirs so I have many new friends. (And he would never hear from one of them.) Capt. Anderson told the Shipping Master that he hated to sign me off but here I am. They helped me get a passengers registration card and now I am as good as a subject of these islands. I can go anywhere without fear of being detained. Also since I carry a seaman's certificate I have the privilege of half fare on the railway to London. It will just cost me 11 s. & 6 d. to London, 1/2 single fare. I do get the breaks. If only my luck holds good for the air force. I see the puffing engine coming. Now here I am all by my lonesome on the train compartment all to myself. Why are you not hear to tease me? Gosh it's just like old times. (He's referring to his time there during WWI) The compartments seat 8 passengers the width of the train--ways 2 rows of 4 facing each other, doors each end of the seats.
The scenery is magnificent Sweetheart. I see the shoreline of Bristol Channel to the south of me and almost continuous slate roofed brick houses with prominent chimney pots all around. It is practically continuous residential property from Barry to Cardiff.
I shall continue this account of yesterday's experiences. Right after service at the cathedral an air raid alarm sounded. There I was stranded 14 miles from ship. I walked 2 miles back to Cardiff and it was so black all one could see was here and there a white band on a tree or h...(illegible) and black farms passing. I had to wait at the bus terminal from 9:30 until 4 a.m. and it was quite cool. Women and girls as well as men sat down on shop door steps huddled together in their several groups trying to keep warm. Finally at 4:10 a.m. the 'all clear' sounded and buses began their scheduled runs again. I arrived aboard ship at 4:45 a.m. It didn't matter because I could have stayed out all night as we are privileged to do when actually tied up at dock.
Well Sweetheart. I see Cardiff in the distance.
Heaps of love and hugs and kisses. I do wish you would bit my ear off and tease me.