Jan 16th /06
My dear Father
I must get your letter written this afternoon as we are starting for the south by the boat at 8 p.m. today. Auntie Lottie’s foot is better so we think it is quite safe to start (you will see from the diary what she did to it) especially as she will rest it all night on the boat & can rest it all tomorrow in the train. If we catch the first express from Christchurch tomorrow morning we ought to get to Dunedin about 5 p.m. if not it will be 9 o’clock. Anyway we are to have two nights there, we shall like to see something of the place. On Friday we take train to Lumsden, that doesn’t catch the coach to the Lakes so we have to stay there Friday night, & coach either to Lake Manapouri or Te Anau on Saturday. It is a lovely day & we are very glad we haven’t to postpone our start. Maidie & I are looking forward to a very good time. Auntie has given us each £20 of her money to carry so we have been joking her & saying we can go off by ourselves now on the spree!
I enjoyed last Saturday & Sunday’s trip very much. Uncle felt quite proud of having driven us over the Riumitakes & back again a thing which he says very few people do now unless they have to. The road used to be the coach road. Before the railway was made 30 years ago, since then it has not been kept in repair & is most used for driving cattle over & as a bridle track – George knows it well as he often drives cattle over. After we got home Uncle said he thought to himself as he was toiling up the hill in the hot sun “What does an old man like me want with toiling up this hill when I might be sitting at home in my easy chair”! However he really enjoyed it & said it did him good. I was very glad to get your long letter written from Pandy, thank you for your New Year wishes – Uncle received a new Epsom College Register by last mail and found it interesting. I was sorry to hear Mother had had rheumatism, & hope that it quite a thing of the past by now. I suppose George's exam will take place soon he will have my best wishes for his success. I wonder how Boo got on in Pinafore, perhaps some one will send me an account of the play if you had a newspaper account.
I saw by yesterdays paper that the first election results are all in favour of the Liberals – it is rather terrible Mr Balfour being defeated. I hope Col Lang will keep his seat – I expect you are very busy just now with heaps of meetings. I am sure you would think Auntie Lottie looking much better & fatter now, I think the fact that she was not overtired by two consecutive long days last Saturday & Sunday show how much better she is than when she arrived here at first she used to look very tired after a half day drive – Arthur got back from his trip to see Bernard on Saturday, he seems to have had a nice time. Bernard hopes to be able to get to Rotorua to see us if we are there in March. There will be lots of news for you next mail I expect. I shall keep my diary carefully written up while we are away. I half hoped we might have got an Italy mail today but it did not come so will have to be forwarded to us. With very much love to you all from
Your loving daughter
May E Sladden
I suppose my diary sheets are being kept. I shall like to read them up some day.