We landed on Christmas Day, and, to the delight of many of us, the boat train was met at Waterloo by Percy Niehaus, a UCT friend immaculately turned out with bowler and rolled umbrella.
Dad, Mother and I stayed with Uncle Duff and Aunt Lizzie in Harnpstead. On Boxing Day we wakened to snow and the view from my attic bedroom window was superb. I found adjusting to such early darkness a bit difficult - when we�d had a substantial afternoon tea I felt it was time to go to bed, but of course we had to wait a few hours before we had dinner - and the evening was still young!
Dad took Jean and me to Twickenham where, in a crowd of 72,000, we watched South Africa beat England in a Rugby Test Match. I think Stanley Osler was in the team - I knew him best of the Oslers, as his cousins T.G. and Duxie were quite a bit older - 6th and 5th year medicals when I was a fresher. Getting back to Hampstead from Twickenham was a slow business, and we walked a long way, among milling crowds, till we reached an Underground station which wasn�t overcrowded.
Britain came off the Gold Standard, but South Africa didn�t, and Dad was much exercised in his mind about the effect on his finances, but I can�t remember whether it helped or not. In South Africa we still used gold sovereigns as normal currency, although they were becoming rarer. A friend of mine tendered a sovereign in a London shop, and the shop assistant was not sure if it could be accepted, and the manager had to be sent for!
Friends took me out. Eric collected me for a performance of �Pirates of Penzance� - he was a great Gilbert and Sullivan fan and used always to sing extracts from the operas while we were sailing on Table Bay. Billy took me to lunch and then, finding that I hadn�t yet been on an escalator, took me to the nearest Underground for a quick initiation, in spite of the fact that he was then working in the City and our expedition made him late back in his office.
One morning I received a totally unexpected letter. It was from a man who had been on board with us, and in the letter he said how much he admired me and wanted to see more of me before he returned to Rhodesia where he farmed. He gave his address care of his mother whom he�d come to visit in England. Mystified, I showed the letter to the parents, and Dad said this chap had asked his permission to pay his addresses to me and to write to me. Dad had told him that of course he could write to me, and that my parents left choice of further acquaintance to me. I found that writing a tactful letter back wasn�t very easy (I had hardly even noticed the man) but I managed something and said that I�d be leaving very soon for three months in France. And that was the end of that little �romance�. I never had another word from him.