Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12, 1920

We were up at four o’clock, ready for breakfast and to embark. The Channel was rough and with the excitement of getting off, we slept but little. It is raining and a strong wind. We are nearing Southampton and we stood on deck and watched the pilot come out to lead us into the harbor filled with many kinds of sea craft - it seems there must be all kinds.

The Isle of Wight and our first glimpse of England was enjoyed. We stood in line waiting to be allowed to land. Being Aliens, we went ashore last and got our first glimpse of an English Custom House. We felt quite like Ellis Islanders.

After inspection and satisfying the officials that we carried nothing contraband (liquor, tobacco, sugar or perfumery) we were loaded into big auto busses and driven to the Southwestern hotel for lunch. The hotel was much like the modern American hotel - waiters in full evening dress etc. The courses were - soup, fish, steak, vegetables and English pudding. We were all hungry and did full justice. Women were smoking in the dining room.

A rest of half an hour and we are on board the toy train for Salisbury and Bristol. The funny little trains are a joke and quite in contrast to the throbbing, rushing ribbons of steel in America. The whistle sounds just like a Merry-Go-Round in America. A compartment seats about ten people and when you get in they lock the door. They stop every place almost, to drink tea. Funny little tea wagons are on the street and on the platforms of stations and even men quit their work to drink tea. We are rather glad not to be hurried. Everything is strange and we all want to see.

The country round about is beautiful. Apple trees and wild mustard in full bloom and the gardens growing beautifully. There are hedge fences everywhere and the quaint houses have thatched roofs. The gardens are laid out very artistically, with borders, and no weeds anywhere. The fields look like green velvet, and we see many new varieties of shrubs. Inquiring the name of one, we were told it was an American Currant but we never saw a currant in America that looked like it.

It is quite a contrast to step from our cold Atlantic coast into the full beauties of English Spring time. We understand now what Browning meant when he wrote about April in England. We have passed through Salisbury and Bath and are at Bristol for the night, stopping at the Royal Hotel. The first thing we notice, is the lack of heat. We discover there are no furnaces in the houses here. An immense drawing room, heated with an open grate containing a mere handful of fire, is all that is offered. Now we are thankful for our winter woolens and the hot water bottle that we brought with us. The air is so damp and cold and it is evident we will have to go to bed to get warm.

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying your grandmother's diary immensely! What a wonderful idea you had to post her journal entries this way! She was an excellent writer and gives such wonderful descriptions of her travels. I look forward to reading the upcoming entries as it feels like I am on this journey with her. Thank you so much for sharing her journal with us all!