I am glad to say that Frank recovered completely and returned to his station homestead at Tautane with his propeller. I believe that his life had been saved by the fact that he always carried a silver cigarette case in his outside breast pocket. I think that the first blade, cutting down, had struck this cigarette case a glancing blow, and halted Frank, otherwise the next stroke would have cut down on his shoulder instead of hitting his forearm.
SHEILA AND THE WAR
It was autumn when we arrived, and I went down to Devon to visit my family. My father had retired, and was living in South Devon. Then I went to see my cousins in North Devon, and had a happy time at Instow and Westward Ho. I was much intrigued by the talk about the impending visit of a girl called Sheila Craven. She was due to visit North Devon after a dance in Wiltshire, and instead of motoring down, she put her car on a train, an unusual move which interested me. I asked her why she had done this, and she said that she thought she would be tired after the dance, but wanted to arrive as fresh as possible so as to enjoy her Devonshire visit.
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She liked comfort, and appeared rather languid. I felt that she should have a black boy following her with cushions, a rug and a parasol over her head. Time seemed to have little importance for her. But she was always interesting to listen to, and often had original views. I was surprised when I discovered that this languid personality had just returned from a voyage alone to India and Abyssinia. I could better understand that having embarked on this voyage she should have become a guest of the Viceroy in India, and of the British Minister in Addis Ababa. She said that she had always wanted to go exploring. I thought that this was just an airy bit of verbal thistledown; if it had been revealed to me then that she would one day sail across the Atlantic with me, just the two of us, and a second time sail across it with our son as crew, just the three of us, I would have laughed at the joke. Anyway, the upshot was that I fell in love with her, we married, and went out to New Zealand by steamer. Sheila says that I boarded her London train at the next station and said, ‘I have £100 in money, £14,000 overdraft and some trees, will you marry me?’
That New Zealand visit in 1937 was not a success. I could only afford a suburban villa, and there were various little things