Barry, South Wales
Sunday, Aug. 25th/40
Just a note before going up to the village of Barry.
The Bo's'n and I went up to the village last night and saw about everything of interest in this South Wales coaling station. The Bo's'n related description of this seaport as he remembered it years ago. It must have been a wild place. But at present it is just the usual seaport--stores out to get the pay envelopes of the sailors, the odd theatre, reasonably sanitary streets and quaint English architecture characterizing the public buildings. Of course, as England is a free country you find beer & liquors for sale at the world famous English 'pub'. (Short for public house or hotel as we call such places in Canada.) The usual bar counter, tables and sawdusted floors. The bar maid, tough and beer soaked. The Bo's'n took me into form (?) such places as they are historical to him and I wanted to see the conditions prevailing. In these places we saw a medley of characters. Sailors (both mercantile & navy), soldiers, civilians (mostly of the sea-faring kind), old men, young boys, some drunk, some singing, others pugnacious, noisy, insulting, still others like ourselves, visitors by the urge of curiosity just looking on taking in what they see and no doubt (as in my own case) many were trying to reconcile what they saw with the higher moral standards we all try to uphold and defend. So much for that. Needless to say, I indulged in a glass of ginger beer and a glass of limeade and to please the Bo's'n, a small glass of sherry.
The main street was somewhat crowded. It is very narrow and resembles a section of Ottawa Street, Hamilton, only the stores are not quite as modern. In the group you see a Woolworth store, and a specialty shop representing the various lines of goods.
One novelty is a stamp vending machine, you drop in a penny or ha' penny and out comes a corresponding stamp--somewhat convenient. I understand these vending machines are all over England. You find one or two in such a village as Barry.
I shall likely continue working on the ship until she is about to sail. The Bo's'n told me last night that he thought I could do so if I wished to. This will give me more money to carry me over until I get established.
I shall write a note to Mrs. Bannister and ask her to forward my mail to me until I know definitely when I shall go to London. I understand the Captain is paying us all up to date Tuesday and I shall cable you all I can immediately he does so.
Well Sweetheart, I must get away. I am going to church this evening and shall write you again tomorrow.
Heaps of love and for my sake take good care of yourself.
If you were here we could find many interesting things to do.
"Barry, South Wales
Just a lull before the mate comes along with some job to be done. The stevedores are busy at unloading the cargo and the crew have little to do until the top cargo is removed. We are filling in time and how else could I spend it than to chat with you.
The carpenter, Owen Williams (one of our sailors) and I attended service at a Welsh national church last evening. The preacher addressed the congregation in native Welsh tongue. William, a real north of Wales Welshman where the Welsh tongue is spoken entirely, enjoy it immensely. Every now and then the preacher would utter a sentence of English to give the English listeners the clue of his subject. He is a rank socialist and preached a very able sermon on the need of social reform. Such phrases and utterances as "unemployment and forced idleness are hand in hand with deterioration of races." "In present-day economy, privilege must be granted to none." "Competition must by by the board." "We don't tolerate it in the home, why permit it in economic life." "Cooperation is the only safe and enduring principle for all phases of life." "The day of individualism is gone forever," etc. [Seems this was more political than scriptural.]
I sent a short letter to Mrs. Banister, and one to Miss Slade. [Watch for them to appear shortly.] By the way Dearie will you please send me the addresses of Rev. Williams, Chris Martin, and any other English people we have in our address book. [These were individuals he got to know during WWI while in England.]
After service the three of us walked about three miles over to a place called Barry Island (sort of a miniature Sunnyside, without water in sight, simply a flyer, a merry-go-round and one or two other Sunnyside things like water chute, scooters etc. We simply looked on until everything closed down (9 p.m.) and then set out for the ship. We indulged in a banana split and cup of tea. I wish I could give you an account of air raid precautions but we must reserve that until you come (optimistic hey what). I want you here too. Selfish do I hear you say. Well you should be here and I mean it. There must be some way to make it possible. I see a lot of V.A.D.'s running around, surely there must be some official capacity for you if you would care to come over. As far as danger is concerned, either I'm blind, dumb or dippy--there is mighty little. Of course when a raid is on anything might happen which might be said of the possibilities of accident even when one shakes apples from a tree to his chums below.
It is too soon to expect mail from Birmingham today, but tomorrow will be a joyful day for me. Just think over five weeks since I received the last line from you....illegible............ and mighty hard to endure.
From all accounts it looks like payoff tomorrow (i.e. paid up to date). Whether I shall be able to stay on for another week or so I don't know yet.
I have priced clothes, shoes etc. I can get a real good suit for the equivalent of $15.00-$17.00 and good English shoes for $3.00-$4.00. This is most satisfying. Apart from a suit and pair of shoes there is little else I shall require until I know what success I have in London.
I have forgotten Bill Anthony's address. [Bill was his great uncle.] I shall send a letter to London Canadian Hdqtrs and ask to have it forwarded; it may reach him.
I shall take a hike tonight Sweetheart to Swansea, Cardiff or to some small typically Welsh village. The temperature here by the way, is just about the same as August weather at home.
Heaps of love and oodles of kisses with a hug thrown in.
Heaps of love and oodles of kisses with a hug thrown in.
Stay tuned folks, there's about to be a glitch!