inquisitive and intelligent little lady and made friends with several grownups returning from their overseas trip. One was a farmer’s wife, (Helen Baird, who farmed in Ngatarawa Road, Hastings, and it was she who introduced me to the *BWOC) who was returning from a trip ‘home’ to Scotland to visit relatives. She had a very broad Scottish accent and was a darling friend to all the family. She was delighted that 5 years later we added to the people count by adding another Carding son.
Entertainment on board consisted of the usual board and card games; dominoes, chess, 500, whist, etc. Church services on Sunday were taken by the Captain and most denominations had their special time. On several occasions we went to the races and had mini betting shops. There was appropriate entertainment for the children. I can’t remember what was used for horses but there were prizes for the most elegantly turned-out people. We designed our own jockey colours and named our horses according to our fancy. Some innovative names evolved but people for whom this wasn’t their first trip came prepared for this and for the fancy dress parade and had the advantage of us novices but it was all great fun. We entertained Neptune and his helpers as we crossed the date line and we were each given a certificate to say we had done so. Several sailors were dumped overboard for perceived inappropriate behaviour (all swam round the boat and were suitably rewarded by some liquid refreshment for being such good sports). Michael learned to walk on the ship and when we docked in Auckland, he walked with a roll – until he got his land legs. He caused much amusement. He played up to his audience like a pro and just when we thought he was over it, he stood stock still, bent down, and grinned at us through between his legs. He had beautiful golden curls and looked like Shirley Temple. He didn’t like his hair washed, especially when we had to use sea water which didn’t lather. One couple on board alerted the Captain that a child was being abused in the toilet block and our hair washing session was rudely interrupted by the appearance of three men at arms, who marched in to break up this very serious occurrence, to find me on my knees and Michael in the shower box having his hair washed……….
We were not many days out to sea when the crew put up covers round the ships rails so that little ones could not fall through the gaps and there were trained kindy teachers to keep them amused, and doctors to make sure they were well. The ship’s doctor was quite a character, my friend from the cabin opposite, herself a trained nurse, travelling alone with her 3 small girls to join their father in New Plymouth attended his clinic with one of the children who had a little fall. This was all very satisfactory until the next day when she said “good morning” to him in the corridor and she was sent a bill…..the end to a perfect friendship. However, he redeemed himself as there was an urgent message for help from another ship who had a case of appendicitis on board and so our ship was turned around to rendezvous. The doctor was put overboard in a very tiny boat, with a couple of sailors, performed the surgery successfully and was returned a few hours later to the sound of three cheers and grateful thanks.
Carding and Sons – established 1919 Motor Accessory Factors opened a new business, Carding & Co NZ Ltd in 1959 and rented buildings in Karamu Road North just along from Nelson Park. It was hard work establishing a new business in a new country. We had been used to being able to order goods from the wholesalers and they would arrive within a few days, or by return. Not so in New Zealand as import licences had to be applied for even if successful, took at least 6 weeks to arrive.
Also paying rent for business premises didn’t suit and so the search for another building resulted in the purchase of an old house on the corner of St. Aubyn Street East and Karamu Road. This was a large house and very sound. We were told later that it had been a nursing home originally and several people mentioned this landmark building. It had servants’ quarters to the rear and was mostly kauri. It also came with a very large section. Hulena Bros built a large shed for the business and the back of the house was made into a lovely flat while one of the large front rooms was made into a shop with office to the rear. The woodwork was all taken back to its original and the kauri floor glowed and was magnificent. We lived with our little family on the premises while father-in-law purchased a house for himself on Heretaunga Street West. Things began to improve