Advice came to Charlie and Eleanor who were leaving Ireland, and this, all the way from Rio de Janeiro in July 1947. Any questions Arthur could answer to help the travellers make important decisions were welcome.
Letter from Rio de Janeiro:
“Your letter was certainly a surprise packet and I must ask that you accept my apologies for the long delay in answering. I was waiting for the mother of a friend of ours to arrive from South Africa, and get some news of conditions there; her information is scanty and not too precise. Her opinion is that accommodation is expensive and you should get the company to throw in a small flat or rooms with the deal. You could pay up to £5 a week for a flat or rooms.”“As for travelling, Ruby’s advise is short and sweet: ‘Take everything you possibly can!’ Knives, forks, pots, pans…. it is doubtful if you will be able to wear anything from Eire, because the clothes here are so light…………. information on weather, I can say according to the newsreels of the King’s tour in South Africa, it seems to be pretty warm there in the summer.”),
“we are perishing here in a winter blast of 59 degrees—this represents a good Spring day at home!”
Dear Art and Ruby,
“On Saturday 10th January, I got my first lesson in Afrikaans on the ship(Winchester Castle)
but like everything I take up like that, I dropped it after bit. The baby had to be put in the ships hospital as the doctor said she had German measles. (Such a quack, we don’t think she had it at all)”
“We arrived in Table Bay on 20th Jan, Pat’s birthday. But were only allowed ashore the following day.”
“When the post came on board the following morning, there was a letter from the company to say we were no longer to go to Potchefstroom, but to Port Elizabeth, where there was a vacancy. We would be met by a man, named Mr Fowler who would give us a cheque for the rest of our journey. This journey was two nights and day by train.
We arrived in Port Elizabeth exactly 20 days from when we had we left Waterford.”
“Port Elizabeth is just a large city, like anywhere else, when walking in the streets it is hard to realize, we are in South Africa. Good bus and train service, but there is one thing however, that those in Waterford will never see; the wonderful parks, the beauty of the flowers and the trees must be seen to be believed.
And no one ever dreams of touching the flowers and there are swings for the children, as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts, a bowling green and tea rooms.”
“In Woolworths here you can buy anything accept furniture or a motor car!”
“The firm seem a very decent crowd and taking things all round, I am not in the least sorry to have left that old stinker, Nichols and his snob nose; even the blooming boys in the mill are thought more of here than Nichols thinks of his men. They are earning £3.10 a week, and sure there are Irishmen in Ireland worse off.”
Dear Art and Ruby,
“It’s a year since I wrote, time goes so fast however we are glad to say that we so far have no regrets. We are better off financially and in fact are thinking of purchasing a car.”
“We had a hot Christmas, 70 degrees in the shade, but we spent some time splashing in the sea. South Africans don’t keep Christmas like us, no big feeds; in fact they do things on Christmas day we would never dream of doing back home even on a Sunday. Nevertheless we had our turkey and plum pudding and enjoyed it ; only still a bit lonely.”
“I often wonder now, if we will ever meet up again…..”
Dear Arthur and Ruby,
“Your letter arrived today and was eagerly read by both of us; it has put a longing on us both to go back to see the old world again, but that will be far ahead of us yet. However glad you are enjoying yourselves there, your company treats you well.”
“Violet and Bob are still planning to come out; the file concerning them was lost in Pretoria Immigration dept. office, hence the delay. They are still in Waterford by the way in Burfoots old flat so if you have time when there, I’m sure they would like to see you. (Dimond is the name least you have forgotten.)
“We are still living in the same place, but you better write c/o the company. We are all well and wish you God speed on your return trip to Brazil.”