Dear Mum, Mike Tither has just received the news this morning that he is now an Irish citizen ˗ which means, as far as I know, that he ceases to be a New Zealand citizen, in the meantime, anyway. This have been the only way he could legally stay on in Britain, that he was able to discover, that didn’t involve some kind of fraud. He received a ‘paper’ in the post that morning written in Gaelic (!) and had to ring the Irish Embassy (or whatever it is) to find out if it said ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Remember that Unity service I went to? I meant to mention also that the minister who gave the sermon had the most curious speech coloration I’ve ever heard. By some defect his final ‘s’es were left behind the word so that they followed at a second or two’s delay: alway...s, curiou...s, servi...ce!!
I went up to the Crowls’ on Sunday for dinner (couldn’t stay the weekend as Margaret has bought a new bed and the old one is cluttering up my usual small room, and Nina hasn’t yet moved. She will on Wednesday.) And then I went onto Doris Berry’s place. Have I spoken much about her before? She’s the lady who did the Carmen rehearsals with me back home [in Dunedin], and who has now returned to her home in London. She had invited four of us up for tea: three Christchurch people and self. These were Neal and Jan something (he’s about twenty-eight/nine, I suppose, she’s perhaps somewhat younger) and Margaret Williams, a teacher of about twenty-four/five, I guess (or perhaps younger). The married couple are working here just now and intend just touring and seeing things all over the world for the next few years apparently. Margaret (like most New Zealanders) speaks at a tremendous rate with no stops for breath: her sentences will often either die for lack of breath or lack of anywhere to go. This is a funny thing lots of us do; we forget to take a breath when we ought in the natural break of this sentence, and wonder why we’re going blue in the face before we’re through. Doris has the same tendency in a different form ˗ she knows where she’s going and is in such a hurry to get there that not only her tongue talks, everything else about her head does too, and it’s like a little kettle about to boil over. She’s very sweet and kind and nice to know, and though we all had to endure some slides of Margaret’s European Tour (we were much more appreciative of Doris’ NZ ones ˗ what parochialists!) the evening was very pleasant generally. But it had been a day of conversation ˗ Reg and I had got ourselves tied up in knots about theology (!) before dinner and having to make conversation with unknown people is a very tiring task. I generally just ask pertinent questions, and let them go on! [Reg and Mavis had been enthusiastic Methodists when younger, but had ceased having anything to do with the church when I met them. However, some time after I left England in 1974 ˗ by which time Mavis had died ˗ Reg went back to a local Methodist church which had had something of a revival, and became just as enthusiastic again. He eventually met his second wife-to-be there.]
I was going to continue this, but I’ll start another one later. Love, Mike.