Neil – Mother: 29 May 1919

Dear Mother,
Received your letter dated 6-4-19 yesterday. With reference to the time I shall stay at Cambridge, I think it is likely I shall be home about September 1922. Charlie wrote rather disappointedly about it and suggested that he might be a married man with two children by the time I returned.

Your way of sending the stuff was decidedly the best. (I did not think it would weigh only 44 lb). It will come right here to me and save me going to London for it. As for the clothes, I hardly think they will be wearable, because they are pretty flash at these universities even down to socks, singlets, underpants and pyjamas, and the new army stuff will not be much use to me. I do not know whether it will really pay to send any clothes back,- I don’t think we can send parcels to you as cheaply as you can send them to us, but I shall see. The idea of Ben’s paying for the coat & vest is out of the question. It would have been absolutely of no use to me, and if it was of any use to him, he was welcome to it. Similarly any other stuff that any one may have made use of.

Thanks for all the trouble you have taken. All this fixing up and one thing and another that you have been doing for me must have meant a good many hours work. Do you think it was worth it just to have a son who could write BA Hons (Cantab) after his name? It is not the honour of writing that so much though, as the comfort of drawing a decent salary, that I am after.

Leslie is not staying over. He has just wangled leave to Paris, Florence & Rome, – then he is going home.

C.F.Arnold, a chap I came over with left here yesterday for leave, report to Torquay, & home. He was a very decent chap and left a lovely feeling behind him. Trot Norman knows him well too. He asked me for Trot’s Norman’s address thinking he might look Norman up if he went up to Auck. for his 28 days leave, so I gave it to him. Tell Norman. (Interesting to know why Neil crossed out ‘Trot’ and wrote his given name instead. Maybe Neil only uses to the nickname when talking about family matters)

Life has been one dam thing after another lately. I somehow lost my pay book when I was on leave which means that the undrawn money in it, about £15 will not be payable till they get my sheets finally adjusted, which has to be done in W’gton, I think. I have not succeeded in saving much. Only about £30 odd. Leave is very expensive at Oxford the only bed I could get cost me 10/- each night (without breakfast) and it was nothing very flash either, just an ordinary second-class hotel room. It is a very expensive life over here. The army gear is very poor quality and it is necessary to buy a fair amount for oneself.

Of course, though I have spent so much money, I have had two good leaves and bought quite a fair amount of gear that I shall need in civvies. I also have about enough cigarettes and tobacco in stock to last me till October anyway. I got in early and got a supply on the quite while I could get it duty free.

Does not Roy like Brown Betty? It is appreciated over here. A tin very seldom lasts the day out. Thanks in anticipation also for the birthday cake. How does Roy like his job? I think I still hold the record. I started there when I was six months younger than he was when he started. It seems funny to think he has almost reached years of discretion. What work is he doing,- What forms and what subjects? (Auckland Grammar School?)

Don’t bother drafting the rest of the money yet. My allotment will go on till the end of August which will make up about another £15 and you can draft it all over then. I am afraid I shall need it all. It cast Harry £60 for his civvy outfit.

I have been given to understand that I shall be discharged at the end of August for 28 days leave at 7/- a day. My instructorship will cease then. Harry Reynolds and Bert Taylor and West Platts, three chaps who were in the same form as I was at Grammar and are now at Oxford, are renting a house in Cornwall near the sea side for the greater part of the long vacation [June – Oct.] and I shall probably join them for the month of August and perhaps part of September. It will be much cheaper and probably more enjoyable than moving round the country.

I don’t think I shall be going to Glasgow.

Many thanks again for your trouble.


(An additional page)
R.G.Ridling, [Ngaruawahia, his wife nee Miss Cormack, did a week or two after they were married, you remember] is here acting as Education Officer. Just lately come from Brocton. He is a captain and is showing a disposition to amke me his private secretary. It is a compliment to my ability which I hardly appreciate however, because I was doing practically nothing before he came. I may possibly get him to send me to the Imperial Refresher School for Instructors at Newmarket instead. If I have got to do some work, I’d prefer it not to be pen pushing.

Ridling has a scholarship and will be going to Queens College, Cambridge, to study theory of Agriculture etc, with view to taking up departmental work in N.Z. afterwards.

I have not yet arranged for my rooms at college. My tutor there, Mr Cameron has been ill. [Your tutor does not teach you. He acts as a sort of guardian during your Varsity life]