The Queen Elizabeth, Friday morning (16 Oct 1964)
Mum and Dad and Nigel,
Well here we are, well on the way now and the ship is pitching quite a lot. The ship has stabilisers which stop the rolling but it pitches from end to end. A few people are seasick but generally everyone seems quite ok.
After finishing the letter at Cherbourg we went up onto the sports deck, which is right up high and between the funnels, and watched France fade away and then had a game of deck shuffleboard with the girls and then a game of table tennis.
Our steward brought us tea and cakes on the deck. We then sat nattering and made a few more friends and then went down to get ready for dinner. I decided to have a bath and rang for the steward who said he would prepare it for me – it’s fabulous, he does everything for us, cleans our shoes, runs errands, the lot.
I am getting quite used to the idea now and when I’d had my bath I stepped out of the dirty water and said, ‘thanks steward, clean this mess up please!’ At first I was doing everything myself and he got quite upset, but now he does the lot.
At dinner last night we dressed up and went to meet our table companions for the trip. Our table is 50/50 English and American. The fellow opposite me introduced himself as Lindburg Caldicot and the woman next to Colin is Welsh, about 70, the spitting image of Mam, comes from Pontypridd and has lived in California for 40 years.
She is going back after a trip home. We have met loads of people who are ex-English and have been home for the umpteenth holiday. We have realised of course that they pay the same price as us but they earn three times our wages so to them it is comparatively cheap.
After a great dinner we went to the get together dance and got together with a few more passengers. Actually it’s a bit disappointing as there aren’t a great deal of young people on board, most middle-aged and elderly people but the thing is that everyone has something interesting to talk about. Everyone is either going somewhere on some great adventure, or just returning from some exciting trip.
As I write this, Colin is chatting to a woman of about 60 who is doing a world trip and heading home to New Zealand, and Pat one of our girls is chatting to someone about her trip to Mexico. There is a great spirit of adventure on board. During the dance we befriended a fellow who looked very lonely, who had a fantastic story to tell (which is much too complicated to explain) he was a Czech and an artist.
Absolutely immaculate and very rich, only 27, and due to his problems had been drunk for six weeks. He suggested we tried the first class dance. We were a bit dubious but decided to have a crack, we all looked very smart and brazenly waltzed in and no one said a word. Donald Campbell and his wife were there dancing and it was all very deluxe.
There were no young people there either, so we went back and found that our peasant class dance had livened up and we had a good time dancing until two. It’s very strange, dancing on a moving floor but jolly good fun. I am now going up on the sports deck for some fresh air as I am beginning to feel a bit queasy.
More news tomorrow, Tone
Note: Until I can digitally scan my own photos (currently on slides) I am using images from Wikimedia Commons. This shows the RSM Queen Elizabeth in Cherbourg in 1966.