Thu 15-Nov-56: 2nd wedding anniversary, received cake from Dorothy. Had a look at Lincoln’s Inn. Tried on a suit & walked around shops in afternoon. Went dinner with Rex Reinits Chelsea
Fri 16-Nov-56: Went shopping, failed to get coat for Dorothy. Went to Museum in afternoon for hour.
Debenham Court [Possibly now the Radisson Blue Edwardian Sussex Hotel]
Granville St [Granville Place]
15 Nov 56
Dear sweet two-year-old wife,
Am sorry to report a fairly unrewarding day in so far as finding a suit for myself is concerned. I’ve been to Simpsons, whose stock is shockingly meager in 2 piece suits (mostly 3 piece) and that applies to all the shops-but I’m hanged if I’m going to buy a waistcoat two. Most of the suits a single breasters-and pretty well all the fabrics in different-or to light-or too loud. I only tried one suit on at Simpsons. A nice dark, but a bit loud on the stripe. Also the collar was cut down to low. God knows my neck’s long enough without isolating it. Austin Reeds had nothing I could see. Aquascutum’s apparently had the stuff but nothing under 27 to 33 gns which is on 33 to 40 gns. I reckon I could get a first-class job made for that in Sydney-and not be buying just because I have only a little time left. I find it difficult to make any decision. Go back to Simpsons early next week. I have had dinner out with the Rex Reinits and thoroughly enjoyed it. They have a flat in Chelsea and they have been married (I take it) only a little over 12 months. Although both of them have lived over here in different spots for quite some years. She [Thea] is Australian too. I think he must have married her last time he was back home, also I gather this is about his third effort. Anyway they made me happy about my 2nd anniversary and wished me the best. We played all the Romanian records and there are some really fine pieces amongst the collection. One we gave full marks to was a “doina” sung by a woman on the fact that when her love is far away she has to find comfort in other things (not men) she has to sublimate her love. At least that is the theory, or the text, of the song-so Stefania told me. It was a very beautiful and haunting melody. Lovely, and I didn’t mind the last they made when I said the love had to find comfort in other things. I will regard it as our anniversary piece. It was the first time I had heard the records at all. The fast violin pieces so recall to me that different little groups of players I had heard and the Romanian orchestra I had told you of. It was a fine clear night so I walked home a quite considerable distance, through Chelsea, and up by Hyde Park, along the ritzy hotel area. Past the Hyde Park Hotel, the Dorchester, etc. Park Lane as the street is called is I am told the great stamping ground for the girls who work at night. Even when I came after 1 o’clock there were quite a few about. But I guess I look to married and purposefully going somewhere, which I was. Surprisingly,-you’d never pick some of them to be what they are-not at least in the street lights. Some very young and quickly it’s quite attractive. God knows how many times they had been to the cost and up again, by the time I saw them. Chatting away together, comparing shoes and what not. Just like dames waiting for the bus.
I’m off to bed now, this little break with you has soothed me off into an approximate sleep. So I may as well take advantage of my stricken mood to rest myself in recuperative slumber. Good night-my dearest wife-and thank you again for the cable and the thought of getting me a dressing gown. I really couldn’t carry it back I’m as heavy as hell as it is.
8 p.m. Friday [16 November 1956]. Am back in my room after a frustrating day. Fortunately there is a radiator here-and by magic shilling in the electricity meter slot makes it work. So at least I can be warm. I saw a Rodex coat I liked for you yesterday and went back early this morning to buy it. Unfortunately it was the wrong size, and, as it is just about the end of the selling season (everybody wears a coat now) I couldn’t get one to fit. All sorts of other patterns and colours but the bloody one I wanted. Spent all morning walking all over London trying to get one without success. The flaming goons makes so many slightly different styles for the individual shop buyer’s tastes that no two shops seem to carry the same thing. I had them ring Rodex but they couldn’t help. It has now become a dammed fixation with me. I’ll have to get them to make one now and post it out. I’m very disappointed I couldn’t bring it back as a surprise-but there it is. I had to mention it-so don’t go buying yourself one in the meantime. I’m sure you’ll like it. It is quite plain and won’t date anyway. Heavens knows you’ll need it to the winter. I like going around looking for things for you-but I’m afraid I have to give it up now. Bought myself a pair of grey corduroy slacks at Selfridges-very good and only 49/6. Selfridges here is like David Jones or Myers.
Had pork chops and chips for tea. Went down to the museum again for a while this afternoon and sort of reassessed my verdict on Indian sculpture. It is better than I first thought-must have been very tired when I went before. In any case I’ve had walking around and wished to hell I was home with you both. Not looking forward to this extra week and a half, one tiny bit. I need some coupling, bad. I think I’ll go to bed and read-lots and lots of love and kisses for you my darling. Your Willie loves you very much. XXXXXXX SAOH.
Saturday morning 8:30 a.m. [17 Nov 1956]. Dear sweet beautiful lady, and wife, and mistress. Your lover is strong and gay after a good rest and an early arising. Breakfast of bacon and egg and grapefruit juice, which is brought up to my room (everyone’s room) has been satisfactorily stowed away. The day is getting lighter-albeit the fainthearted English effort of brightness-and nothing yet has happened to throw me into the very pits of despair. I’m in a great bum-slapping mood-and I would have you know it. Today I shall relax for the pleasures seeing. Am going to the Portobello market with the Reinits this morning for an hour to observe the costers at work. Later I shall either look at the Victoria and Albert Museum or take a bus ride out to Hampstead Heath which everybody has heard of and which I like to see what’s like. There’s a professor character-Jock Marshall lives out that way too. I may try and renew an old acquaintance. I’m very loving and cheerful. Have been thinking this trip to Zürich over and have decided to go by train-hoping to see something thereby Holland, Germany and Switzerland. It will cost me only £5 more than if I catch the plane here. I think I told you for £4 I can get on at London. It would cost me another £2 to stay here for accommodation so that £6 from £11 the other way (with a night at pub in Zürich) would cost = £5 which I am sure is a cheap tourist trip through three countries.
I give you the big kiss-I am upmost lark like in my mood. Funny odds and ends one sees here in London. Blokes having a cheese roll with a cheese all smothered in mustard washed down with their awful black flat draught beer. Another character, having ½ beer ½ cider in his glass-ugh! Pubs at lunchtime are more like cafes-tablecloths, hot meals, men and women, a glass or two each and a gossip for the lunch hour. Fires in the lounges and plenty of Cockney and bally high class accent coming from all quarters of the compass.
I’m going out now to get a few things done early so will get this off. Please forgive the dreadful dreary nurse of the early part of this letter. I couldn’t bring myself to rewrite it. A fine, firm, squeeze for you-and my love to the old super mechanic Graham and his working hound Nortey Trellie. If he could teach her to talk she could do the messages while he sat around on his great fat ass. Poor Tommy [O’Dea]-that radio must have him horrified. Why don’t you send grain with it up in the bus to Ferries at Lane Cove. Opposite the post office. Another, even firmer hug for you, in private.
Love, love, love, from your own particular man