My dream is accomplished & I am staying in Dilnot’s home. May & I arrived on 22nd & we have had a very kind welcome. Bessie looks fragile but Dil not older than 3 yrs ago. Arthur came on board the Maheno & found us at breakfast & Dil & Frank were on the quay when we landed. The elements were not kind for it blew & rained - Wellington weather. Dil went back to Petone with us & Bessie & the girls came to the gate to greet us. Dil’s house is very comfortable & the spare room is nice & sunny. Arthur is a particularly nice fellow. Frank is very thin. Bob is broad shouldered & merry. Hubert is quieter & very busy & happy in his engagement. Mabel is the housekeeper & takes things more seriously than the other two. Birdie is still keeping Mrs Riddiford’s house or rather looking after the children, she strikes one as being naturally a nice disposition & Dolly is very bright, they are all pleasant girls of a nice family.
Dec 4th We have had some nice drives & the weather is lovely. Dil likes to drive on Saturday & Sunday afternoons. Saturday they had to go to a wedding so May & I went into Wellington & took the tram to Island Bay. Miss Reeves was staying there & we found the house & she walked down to the Bay with us & afterwards her sister-in-law gave us some tea. we returned by an overcrowded tram to W but gradually people thinned out. One day Dolly took us a walk up to a rock a pretty winding walk & as we ascended we got a finer & better view of Wellington Harbour & the Heads. It was rather windy so I left the girls to climb quite to the top & I found a sheltered nook where I could sit . There are many plants & creepers grow upon trunks & bare branches of the Ghighi for instance, the spelling is probably incorrect. Yesterday we drove under hills & we saw quantities of small ferns along the banks & also tree ferns. The wind was northerly, the hills in the distance were a lovely blue. The crimson rambler over the summer house is coming out fast I hope no southerly will blacken it as last year. Bob is very fond of his little conservatory he shewed me some kidney ferns, & he has a fine white cactus in bloom.
6th I & May & the two girls to see “Quality Street” & Frank went with us it was strange that in Dec /02 when Dil was on the eve of returning to N.Z. that we tried to get tickets for 2nd but were unable to, we went to see “If I were King”. Today is the Election & Bessie & the girls voted this morning. Dil will be home shortly but I fear it is too chilly to drive if so Bessie & I will make some calls.
7th Bessie & I went up the hill after tea yesterday towards the rock; there were a lot of people standing about near the voting booth. It was too cold for a drive & the girls could not go a picnic in the afternoon but after tea the girls & Miss Ross went to the Hectors, Mabel taking a frock that she is making for baby Dilnot.
9th Yesterday we & the girls went into Wellington after lunch & after doing some shopping we took a tram & went up an incline & had tea at the Kiosk which commands a splendid view of Wellington & the Harbour, Mabel pointed out the W College a red building with a background of dark trees. After enjoying our tea we walked thro’ the Botanical Gardens, we saw the Manuka a native shrub which has a small white flower in full bloom & after wandering thro’ the bush part we came to the more cultivated. There were rose trees blooming freely, fuschias as were all shrubs, the Amaryllis lily red with white strips upon inside of petal, tree ferns, double nasturtiums & we must go again when the carnations are out, I am getting accustomed to Aram Lilies growing wild. We left the gardens by another way & took the tram to Stations having enjoyed the sunny afternoon very much. Today is lovely & it being Saturday lunch is til 2 o’clock & afterwards Dil will take some of us for a drive
11th Went to morning & evening yesterday, wet early & not pleasant enough for a drive after dinner. Frank took the girls to the theatre Saturday night.
12th Dil came home early yesterday & we had a lovely drive in the afternoon to Trentham. It was the workmens’ picnic, they numbered with women & children 1,000 & they went by special train & close by the Station where they got out is an ideal place for a picnic there is some bush where you can get shade & a large open space where races can be run. The people start about 9.30 the train picking up passengers as it goes along at different stations. We drove along the Hutt Valley a distance of 13 miles & Grizel was taken out upon our arrival & tied up. We saw some races run & afterwards Mrs More gave us some tea; Mr & Miss Foster & a cousin were there, Mr F is a Director of the Meat Export Comp they drove back from the Hutt. We left about 5 o’clock & the train 5.30 we saw it cross the railway bridge & it looked very pretty winding along under the hills altogether it was a perfect day for the outing. Dolly went with us. Arthur is living at home now for his Bank is under repair.
15th Heard yesterday of Anna Robinson’s engagement to a Mr Gillio an Australian she met during her voyage in the spring. Bessie made home calls yesterday afternoon with Mabel & we all went together & called upon Mrs Jones the vicar’s wife at the Hutt, a very pleasant woman, a widowed sister lives with her.
Dil has taken us several drives after dinner. Last night there was no cribbage for Dil had a River Board meeting; Frank took him up & he returned by train. May & Dolly played tennis last evening poor Bob has got his solicitor’s exam. Arthur has had the opportunity of an appointment out in the Indian Woods & Forests but after much consideration he preferred to stick to medicine & I hope he has chosen wisely.
18th Too windy on Saturday to go for a drive but yesterday Sunday afternoon we had a lovely expedition driving as far as Ngahuranga & turning off at the Station towards the hills & going a winding & good road made out of the rock thro’ Ngahuranga Creek Gorge. We were shut in by hills & we followed the creek which to us sometimes upon one side & sometimes upon the other side always upon the ascent until we reached Johnsonville where there is another railway not belonging to Government, the Manatu Line. Johnsonville is a settlement, many people living there. From J we went by rather a rough road first up hill & then down getting a splendid view of the Harbour & of …..hills & also having c sight of the road we had ascended by. We kept near the railway until we reached Khundalla which is dotted about with houses with the bush for background. The Fosters lived there at one time & Dil had some thought of taking their house but there were not sufficient trains for the convenience of children going into Wellington to school. K looked lovely in the sunshine but Dil says it is cold in the winter. We met a drove of contented looking cows going to be milked. We passed thro’ Crofton & came home by Kaiwarra which is the Station nearer Wellington than Nagahuranga. We were driving 3 hrs for it was a hilly expedition & Grizel had a load Dolly being with us but I should have regretted had we hurried thro’ such fine scenery. We were at the morning & evening, Mr Ward’s last Sunday he preaches well; the Russells are due on 26th …...
20th Night of 17th there was a slight shock of earthquake; Dil & Bessie & Dolly felt it but we did not. Rained heavily Sunday evening as we left Ch, Hubert was at the door with umbrellas. Dil took us on Monday evening to see the new Reservoir the Comp is making. Mabel, Dolly & May were in Wellington yesterday shopping, After dinner we had a short drive but today it will be too windy I think.
22nd The Russells have returned & yesterday morning there was Holy Communion at 1 o’clock & Mrs R came in for eleveners. They have both enjoyed the trip to Eng. They & I explored the Gully near the Hectors yesterday afternoon & climbed the hill also, the tree ferns & other ferns are luxuriant. Too windy last evening for a drive. Had our rubber of cribbage & had a good game but lost the rub.
23rd Cold & wet, Dil came home to 2 o’clock dinner being Saturday but could not drive this afternoon. Dil very pleased with the easy chair which arrived yesterday, my Xmas present. Yesterday May & I walked to the Hutt Station took bus from there to the Gordon’s, while chatting to Mrs G. there was a sharp shower but it cleared & feeling refreshed with … we walked back for we were glad to avoid another crowded bus & it was cool, a southerly wind. Bessie & Dollie went to the Social last evening got up to give the Russells a welcome. Dolly was in town this morning with Ann. Mabel has made lots of jam & jelly & marmalade.
25th This morning May & I went to 8 o’clock service & when we returned there were so many parcels awaiting us upon the breakfast table. A silver pig with bristles upon its back, a pen wiper from Frank & Arthur, a cushion cover worked by Ann, a tray cloth worked by Mabel , a glove & handkerchief cases worked & made up by May & Dolly & a book from Hubert & Bob. So kind of the boys & girls. We have been to 11 o’clock service & spoke to several as we came out; Mrs Ward’s Xmas dinner which was in a safe outside was stolen last night. Bessie has very kindly sent in a joint of lamb. Dil drove up for Ann & she went to Ch with us. Mr Ward is taking charge at Napier for a short time, his addresses are excellent. We had a lovely yesterday afternoon Grizle took May, Dil & myself 35 miles we rode in the tub for 1st time. We drove under the hills as far as Haywards Station & then turned & went up a hill overlooking a gully with beautiful tree ferns but before we turned to go over the hill we saw in the far distance snow upon the hills it was very cold on 23rd blue tinted hills with snow upon the summit. We all walked up the hill to ease Grizel & Dil drove slowly for the mare has …. & is too fat. We passed Pabautunui[?] where there are 2 churches and in the graveyard of the Old Church lie the remains of those who fought in a Maori War. We passed some hedges & lanes that remind us of Eng & after some miles we drove along an inlet of the sea; we refreshed ourselves en route with bananas & biscuits, we left home at 2.15 were driving until 8 o’clock & didn’t I sleep last night tho’ I heard a little carol singing. Well we passed Paramatta Station also a big asylum at Porina & eventually we reached Johnsonville & home by Ngahuranga. A little green & flowers in the windows of the Church this morning Dil was asked about 7 this morning for some green from the garden I saw no holly that grows very slowly out here. Mrs Kirk has the care of the flowers up on the altar. There is no pulpit in the Ch, Mr Russell stands at the entrance of the Chancel & gives the address.
There is a very pretty shrub with a red flower in this garden called Kowhei.
27th We had a drive in the tub with Dil yesterday to the reservoir & the day was perfect the bluish of the skies. The reservoir is about 12 miles we walked up a long hill to ease Grizle. We had our lunch at the reservoir where we could admire bush & tree ferns. As we drove towards the reservoir the banks were luxuriant with small ferns. Grizle was taken out & tied up under some trees & we wandered about & explored going over a bridge & coming across holiday folk picnicking & boiling the billy. After spending an hour & a half there we went on to the Graces & saw the place where the ….. was & made the others turn back. Mrs Willoughby lives with 2 brothers, a Miss Richardson was staying there who is 1st cousin to Lily Day. The Graces live in a funny old farm house, Mrs W gave us some tea & afterwards she took us into a lot of bush which belongs to them. We got home about 7 o’clock & started about 9.30. It was wet this morning so we were lucky yesterday.
28th Last evening was so cold that a fire was lighted after dinner & we all enjoyed it. The other evening we were out when the lamp lighter who goes his rounds on horseback & stands up on his his steed to light the lamps was lighting up. The geraniums grow into bushes & climb over & around the verandah. We were going to call upon Mrs Perry but a southerly has been raging & now it is raining that I doubt if we get as far. The weather has not been fit for drives since 26th or 27th I should have been too tired for even a short drive.
30th Dil drove me in the tub to the Bags yesterday, we went alone & Grizel went famously. I had not been further than Lowry Bay but we went as far as Thwistlin[?] passing Day’s Bay - boats cross daily between Wellington & Day’s Bay. It is a favourite summer resort.
31st This morning Dil drove Arthur into Wellington before breakfast to catch an early train.
January 2nd /06 Yesterday was a dull day but the girls & Frank & Bob & Mr & Mrs Gordon & Mrs G’s 2 sisters all took lunch & walked to the Reservoir the one that supplies Petone with water. Dil was going to drive Bessie & myself to the Gardens (the Bellcone) where we should have had tea but there was a good deal of wind & Bessie & I went a sheltered walk instead. I was at the 10 o’clock service in the morning when there was Holy Communion. This morning it was raining heavily & now the wind has gone round to the southerly. The picnickers enjoyed their day & had no rain & they were not home until after 6.30. Ann came down on horseback in the dusk to shew us her new habit.
4th On the afternoon of 2nd we walked to the Bellevue Gardens & saw some gay borders & beautiful trees & the Rata just coming out in bloom a very effective bloom (red). Upon our return we found Dil had come out early & would have taken us a drive had we been at home however he took us after dinner to see Miss Caw who is staying at the Rose’s & we had a lovely drive home by moonlight. We have been into Wellington today doing some shopping & calling upon Mrs Ewart who however was ill & unable to see us. We lunched in town & spent long spare time in the Gardens. We saw a bed of African daisies (red) & some fine fuschia plants & we sat down & read Guide Books.
6th Such a nice budget of letters per Frisco I had not realised how much pleasure they would give me. Heavy rain last night such as we do not get in England it comes down in sheets but since the work done by the River Board floods have been averted. Quite glad of a fire today & of warmer clothing. Chinamen are market gardeners here, we often meet them returning from Wellington & their horses are so well cared for. Had the weather been more genial Dil was going to drive us to Featherstone today over the Raimutaka range 35 miles & we should have returned tomorrow, we hope to go another time.
8th It was dear Mother’s birthday she would have been 91. We went yesterday afternoon up the Nagahuranga Gorge Mrs Johnsonville up the Mahara hill thro’ Karori & home by Wellington a distance of 35 miles. The hills looked pretty in the sunlight en route we passed a big gorge. Grizle went well & Dil enjoys these trips. The day might have ended sadly, for after a high tea we started at 2.15 & did not get back until 7-45 Frank & I were sitting upon the verandah I had a cloak on for it was cold & the moon was lovely Dil came out & after talking a little while he turned & stepped off the verandah & in some way missed the step & fell on the path & hurt his elbow however no bones were broken fortunately, but he felt faint for a time, however the boys helped him up. All in the dining room heard the noise & came running out to see what was the matter. Dil had a hot bath last night & this morning be complained of a slight stiffness.
10th Yesterday we had a drive after Church & in the afternoon, Mabel drove the girls to the Fosters for tennis. Ann has gone with the children to Oramgoranga to …..of Mr Riddiford’s they will ride. Mr R has lent Ann “Wanderer” & I expect they will all enjoy themselves, Eric R live there.
12th Yesterday afternoon Mrs Gordon came down & brought her work & stayed to tea. After dinner Dil took us a drive & as Bessie came we had the dogcart. We saw timber upon Hubert’s section in readiness for building his house. It was glorious evening & there was a grand sunset. One can see upon the hills spare trunks of trees which have been left after a fire & which eventually will be brought down by winch. Bessie & I had such a nice walk on 10th after Mrs Rose & Miss Caw had been we went up the narrow winding path towards the rock & when we had nearly reached the rock we sat down on some grass & watched sundry workmen & women with children returning home. The long tendrils or branches which hang from the trees, Supple Jack or Lawyers so called, as we came up are peculiar & upon which children swing also the ferns & native creepers which grow upon & cover the trunks of trees one would think the ferns could walk they soon cover a log of wood or they up upon growing trees. Well we walked slowly & were horrified to find it was 6.30 upon our return & that the pudding was coming in I must carry a watch another time. The girls have gone over the hills to Krandalla this afternoon to see a friend of Mabel’s & Bessie & I are going to call upon the Forsters.
15th Dil took May & myself in the tub over the Rimutakas on Saturday 13th inst. It was a rough road, disused now since the line has been opened to Featherstone & we had to walk a good deal it would be a distance of 35 miles so we stayed the night at F & came back yesterday. We had some wind & dust at starting we drove right along the Hutt Valley past the Maori Bend where [?] live & past the turning to Arthur’s where we picnicked by the road side in a hollow & Dil took Grizle’s harness off & tied her to a tree & after she had grazed a bit she was taken down to the river for a drink. Going up a hill before reaching the Rim [?] we saw a number of trees with a red bloom which Dil called a native Veronica but we did not see much [?]. Dil telegraphed Mr F to know if much wind that side for we could not have faced the high wind. The answer was no wind so that decided Dil. The hills are bare as a mule or covered with dead trunks of trees which the fire has left. Now & again there were pretty Gully & as we ascended, we looked down below into the valley with a Creek running [?] & here & there a farm house. Such sharp turnings with none too much room at places. We started at 11.45 & did not reach Featherstone until about 7 o’clock. After some dinner which being after the normal time offended the cook somewhat Dil went to look up George & he came in for a chat. We retired early each having a separate room & slept soundly. George breakfasted with us & we started by 10 o’clock. George told us of a farm house en route where we could get luncheon. The sun was very powerful & Dil had left his wide brimmed hat at home, we walked under a broiling sun & until we got some way up the hill there wasn’t a breath of air however after a bit we could by turning round get a gentle breeze, Dil took his coat off but the perspiration stood upon his face. Going down the hill the sun went in & it was not so trying. May walked over 2 hrs right up to the top & led Grizel part of the way which was a relief to Dil for G walks rather fast for him. We saw a few cyclists. We were trying to give Grizel some drink at a tiny creek across the road I had hold of her bridle & she suddenly swerved & the next instant I was upon my back & Grizel’s foot a very heavy one upon my toes I called out & Dil backed her & I was soon up again & walked on to shew I was not much hurt but today my big toe is very tender & I am resting it & putting a cold compress. It is unlucky for I am not sure that I can travel tomorrow & we want to go certain days to catch the coach to …….. We had a good lunch about 2 or 2.30 at the farm house & Dil had Grizel …… but taking her harness off, delicious milk & honey & butter & some meat refreshed us greatly & we started again after a rest & reached home at 7 o’clock just when people were going to …. Had it been somewhat earlier they would have gone into a service, I felt too tired, I should not care for a Sunday excursion as a rule but Dil is at leisure on a Sunday & upon a Saturday afternoon. He came but earlier on Saturday but he could not do that as a rule in the busy season. We found Arthur at home after his visit to Bernard. The toi toi grass is so pretty upon the hills it is similar to pampas grass. The native trees & bushes are quite different to ours one sees many Thacrecarpe Willows & Birches. All Eng trees have been imported. Many oak trees have been raised by planting acorns. We stayed at the Empire Hotel at Featherstone.
March 2nd We returned to Petone on 27th Feb after a long enjoyable trip of 6 weeks. Mrs Secretan’s step daughters arrived in time for lunch so we are a large party. We left Dolly in Nelson with the Costers. Ann was down to dinner yesterday so say goodbye, she & the children start for Sydney tomorrow, they will have 10 days at S before the vessel Mrs R is expected will be due. It will be a delightful trip for them all. Yesterday May & I went into Wellington lunching in town & doing some shopping & in the afternoon we went to see Mrs Ewart. She shewed us over the Hospital & the new ward [?] home & afterwards we had afternoon tea.
Ash Wednesday was 28th Feb I went in & May but there was only the Sacrament administered. Last year it was not until 8th March within 3 weeks of my darling’s death .
5th On 3rd Dil drove May & myself to Dag’s Bay where we had tea. Yesterday the two Secretans & May went with Dil in the afternoon as far as the Silver Stream along the Hutt Valley. I was glad of quiet afternoon & went to Church the evening. After lunch today we went to Ngahauranga & Dil took us over The Works we went into many departments saw the washing of wool & carcases of sheep & bullocks the former in freezing rooms 1,000 in each room the beef in a cooling chamber before being frozen. We saw the new gas engines which will be not using in coal. also bags being printed for packing the meat & the tins being made for tinning. Dil shewed us some powder which is blood & is used as a fertiliser bones are reduced to powder& we saw big tallow casks & bales of wool.
6th Today Maidie has driven the Secretans & May to Arthur’s whare where they expect to get a quantity of blackberries, it is a lovely day.
9th Mrs Secretan came upon the afternoon of 6th & had tea with Bessie & myself I had seen her in London years ago when she was Mrs Foster, she went back to town before the girls returned as her luggage was upon her mind. They came back from the blackberrying expedition in high spirits bringing about 50lbs fruit & Maidie gave many blackberries to neighbours May helping to carry some. The two Secretans went into town after dinner with Frank & Bob who saw them all off by boat to Lyttelton.
Dolly came home yesterday in the evening & May & I went into Wellington & did some shopping & called at the Union Comp to see about the departure of the Orient vessels & we gleaned at Cook’s some information about Ceylon. I failed to get any photos of the West coast. After lunch we went into the Gardens & found many fuschias, like little shrubs, in full bloom, the flowers were very bright we wandered first into the Bush part; 8th was 40th anniversary of Dil’s wedding day B & D were very pleased with a case of fruit & knives & forks I gave them. Lita & her mother are expected tomorrow they will stay in town.
It was quite winter on 7th I got out thicker clothes but it is warmer again. Bessie with her 2 girls has gone into Wellington this morning a southerly is threatening & I’m afraid they will have wind or rain, Bessie felt the cold very much the other day.
12th We came home yesterday from Packahariki where we stayed the night 25 miles drive from Petone. Dil took us in the dog cart Maidie coming also we started soon after 2 on Saturday. As we drove along towards Hayward’s Station the distant hills looked pretty with the blueish tint. Beyond Hayward’s we walked up a winding hill looking down upon a gully & seeing plenty of tree ferns. We had been the same road upon a previous occasion as far as Packahariki returning home by Johnsonville. We drove thro’ rather a pretty gorge & just before doing down a long steep hill into Packahariki we had a splendid view of Cook’s Straits. We heard the Shorepork as we went down the hill into Packahariki which is a sheltered little spot by the sea.