Tuesday 5th October 1954
We had to get packed and out of our rooms by 10:30. It was most frightfully
hot, and the mere effort of packing nearly laid me out. I met Janet in town
later in the morning, and in the afternoon she, Diana and I went to tea with Mr
and Miss Cole.
and Miss Cole have a charming villa beyond the Miramar, with a most
glorious view from the balcony.
Miss Cole’s maternal uncle, Mr Martolini, lives
with them. He has spent most of his life in Egypt, and when he mentioned Port
Said, I said, by way of making conversation, “Did you know anyone of the name of
Broatch there?” The old gentleman absolutely gasped and replied ”Cyril Broatch
was my boss,” where upon he and I fell into each other’s arms and could talk of
nothing else the whole of tea time. (Cyril Broatch is the husband of Doc’s
sister.) I really thought he would have a heart attack with excitement. It
certainly was the most curious coincidence that we should have met under such
utterly fortuitous circumstances. Mr Martolini had been in Cyril’s firm since
1904, and of course knew Gen and their children well.
We sat on the balcony as dusk fell, and watched the moon rise over the banana
groves just below, and the sea beyond, while the myriad lights sprang up over
the mountain slopes. It was utterly lovely, and I hated to feel we should be
leaving so soon.
We had to get back to dinner at 19:00 and the cars came at 20:30 to take us to
the quay. Numbers of friends that were staying longer came to see us off,
including Janet. Once on board Mr Deeks, Diana and I hung over the bulwarks
watching all the launches bringing everyone from the other hotels. The “dizzy
blondes,” who were staying on, came to bid fond farewells to their devoted
escorts. They were both in extremely décolleté evening dresses, and posed with
much elegance in the most effective positions under the light. They tried to
look heartbroken as Jimmie and Charlie came on board, but didn’t succeed very
well. I should think they must have been thankful to see the back of them, as
they both drank like fish. We heard afterwards that Jimmie was a dipsomaniac and
had had several haemorrhages while at the Savoy.
the boats with diving boys and things for sale, came alongside. It was
really a wonderful picture, the lights along the water front and glittering
all up the huge black sides of the mountains behind Funchal, and under our
sides the little boats each carrying a flare. The boys dived for the coins
by the light of the flares, and the reflections on the dark water and on
their gleaming brown bodies were an unforgettable sight. The shouting,
yelling, and clapping went on non-stop until we drew out at midnight.
We stayed on deck for sometime afterwards until the lights of Funchal
were blotted out by a great black headland.
I shared a cabin with Mrs Powell, my cabin companion on the outbound voyage. The
cabin was next to the one we had before, and the airlessness and vibration were
as bad as ever, but this time I was forewarned and got some dope from the nurse
directly I began to feel bad; so managed better.
The home bound voyage was just the same as the outbound, but in reverse. I
missed Janet, but was quite happy with the companionship of Diana and Mr Deeks.
It was most amusing to see how the cliques had crystallised out, and to watch
the numberless mushroom romances which had developed. Most of the passengers
were the same, though there were a good many others taking the place of those
who were staying longer on Madeira.