One day I told my parents that I had seen some pictures of England and that I'd like to go there some day. I was sure they'd say, "That's nice, Dear. Save your pennies and some day you can go." But no. Instead, I came home from school one day only to find the house was for sale and my dad had found a small suite for himself. My mother bought a set of luggage and we had tickets to sail on the Queen Mary. My dad was enthusiastic, because I'd get to meet his mother and some members of his family. He, however, was not coming with us.
Mum and I crossed Canada by train, leaving Vancouver on November 14th, stopping for a few weeks in Winnipeg to visit my aunt, then we carried on to New York. It was Christmas Eve when we set sail. There was a big tree on the main deck, and all the children were invited to go (with parents) to the First Class Ball Room where the captain was playing Santa Claus and we all got armloads of excellent presents. It was a great beginning for a fantastic adventure. Too bad I was seasick for the rest of the five-day crossing of the North Atlantic.
When we arrived at my uncle's house in London on December 30th, Christmas was a memory, and my English relatives did not celebrate New Year. I had always been allowed to stay up for midnight to bring in the new year, but not this year. I slept right through it, and my mother told me that when the clock struck midnight, she was in the copper bath tub in the kitchen, being scolded by my aunt for having the light on so late at night.