Destinations Near and Far is another chapter to enjoy, with 'Southampton to South Africa with the Lavender Hull Mob' being very dear to my heart. Wearing my new Union-Castle Line Purserette uniform and little tricorne hat for the first time, I sailed on the Transvaal Castle in November 1965. As one of five female officers on board, part of my job was the Bureau paperwork including checking tickets and typing passenger lists of all who boarded the ship at every port. This job had priority, whatever the numbers and whatever the hour of day, as we left Southampton for Las Palmas, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban, before heading back. The ship was my home, as it was for all on board.
Passengers embarking into local boats from the landing stage, St HelenaPassengers embarking into local boats from the landing stage, St Helena (P94728)
One of the Exhibition pictures is of a ship's tender coming ashore at St. Helena with passengers and luggage, as the swell makes it impossible to come alongside, and I remember doing that too. On the Capetown Castle Mailship line voyage to Cape Town, I was fortunate enough to call at the South Atlantic islands of St. Helena and Ascension. I was able to have a little time ashore to visit Napoleon's house and grave, and see the famous tortoises in the grounds of Plantation House. I first saw Jonathan tortoise in 1966 when he was about 117 years old, and was amazed to see him again in December 1999 when he was thought to be 151. He is still alive!
After the Union-Castle cruise ship Reina del Mar returned from South America in 1966 I had to work on her for one trip around the Mediterranean. My memories of that include talking with happy passengers, frequent ports, changing money, selling stamps for postcards, and handing out cabin keys. One of the destinations was Lisbon, as shown in another of the Waterline pictures. I felt very fortunate to have an extremely busy but fascinating job that included interesting destinations.