Saturday, 20 April 2013

Tuesday, 19th July 1836

Been so busy for the past few days I haven't had a chance to scratch myself let alone write in my diary.

Mrs Hindmarsh insists on packing, repacking, unpacking, packing again and then changing her mind and starting over with the result that we are no further advanced than what we were at the start. If she asks once more if I have packed enough handkerchiefs and clean underclothes I may leave her home. I'm beginning to understand why Cook made three long voyages.

My children are no better. John and Jane are at least showing some sense (it is generally agreed they take after my side of the family), but Susan and Mary are as bad as their mother. Mary has been in tears because she has been told she can't take her ponies. Susan is busy choosing which of her 400 romantic novels she'll pack and take with her.

Also coming with us on the voyage is my sister Anne.

Poor dear. Forty nine years old and never married or even been looked at to any great extent by a man. She is not, perhaps, the most attractive of women, but she is not entirely repellent and in a new colony such as South Australia single men are sure to be plentiful. I believe it is the case in Sydney that the number of single men far outweighs that of single women. And where numbers are high, standards are low, so we may yet get the old girl off our hands.

Mary-Anne Murray has turned out to be a superlative choice as housemaid. She knows exactly how to cook my breakfast. The eggs she cooks are firm, with a little bit of wobble but still runny in the centre. Her toast is golden brown all over so that when I cut it into soldiers to dip into my googy each soldier is exactly as crisp as it should be. She makes breakfast a joy each morning. I am considering putting a little something extra in her pay to ensure she doesn't leave.

I hear my wife calling and must avoid her.

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