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17 December 1902
Wednesday night

   Left Glasgow for Liverpool had a jolly send off.  I was glad to leave Glasgow + get on my journey.  When you start away you don't like to be waiting halfway.  Reached Liverpool at 5:15 on Thursday morning, had to stay in the waiting room till 9 o'clock.  Got on board the Tender at 10 + steamed out to the Suevic.  We are not leaving till tomorrow as the weather is rough outside.  The Suevic is a fine ship, just like a floating town.  There are about 500 passengers on board a great lot of women + children.

Friday 19th  
Day 1

Left Liverpool today, my berth mates are a very nice lot I think.  One is an Aberdonian going to Cape Town...
one going to Australia + one a Cape Colonial, he was with Lord Methuen when he was captured, he was wounded + captured also.  The passengers are all a good class.  We are just beginning to settle down for the voyage now after getting our luggage put right.

Saturday 20th  
Day 2

A dull windy day, ship rolling a bit, good many passengers sick.  I have not felt the least bit sick yet.  We are off the coast of France now, will be in the Bay of Biscay tomorrow.  The weather is very cold, I wish we were into some milder weather.  Nothing of interest to tell you today.

Sunday 21st  
Day 3

In the Bay of Biscay.  The sea is very calm - not like the Bay of Biscay you read about.  We had service this morning by an English
minister.  A lady played the hymns on the piano.  Sunday on board ships is different from at home you see a thing or two, some playing cards, some singing songs others at games.  We passed a steamer today, the first since we left the Mersey.  The passengers are very agreeable + the waiters are very nice + attentive.  There is a girl from Inverness in the next berth from us, she has a terrible tongue worse than Sarah.  She keeps us in fits of laughter half the night + then in the morning.  Today her + a little English girl brought us tea + cake.  The English girl's mother had a brother who travelled with Dr. Livingston in Central Africa the name is Gamble[?].

Monday 22nd  
Day 4

A lovely morning off the coast of Spain.  The weather is now something like our summer.  You know the difference every day.
We are having a splendid voyage so far, sea as calm as glass.
Passed a full rigged ship to day becalmed.  Now I had afternoon tea with [some] ladies, they mostly all carry tea, teapots + the cake with them + make afternoon tea.  We are going to have a good time at xmas I understand.  Balls, concerts + sports.  We get very good food on board, some people grumble, people who were not acquaint with as good at home.

Tuesday 23rd  
Day 5

Another good day, getting milder every day.  Suevic off Straits of Gibraltar.  Last night I had a tune at the pipes almost as soon as I started a boy in kilts came along + started dancing the highland fling.  After that I got to know nearly all the Scotsmen on board.  I have seen nothing of interest today, nothing but sea all round.  We are going to have sports, concerts and a ball at Xmas.

Wednesday 24th  
Day 6

Madira today a fine day, a good breeze blowing ship making about 310 miles every day.  I have not seen land since I left Liverpool.  We will not have any port of call till we reach C.Town.  The ship is decorated with holly + mistletoe, for xmas we are getting a lecture on the Seige of Mafeking by an old Gentleman who was there at the time.

Thursday 25th  
Day 7

Christmas Day

Nothing special going on today we had a big dinner, + a concert at night, I played the pipes we also had a service at 11 o'clock, they sang the xmas hymns.

Friday 26th  
Day 8

Boxing Day

Sports on board today + dancing at night.

Saturday 27th  
Day 9

Today we are having a cricket match + a concert at night on deck.  Us Scotch fellows on board are going to celebrate new years day, our chairman is a Dr. Mann from the north of Scotland, a fine fellow.  I often wonder if he is a friend of Marie who was cook at Kilberry, he has a brother, a minister somewhere, + I think she had a brother a minister also.  I met another fellow from Inverness, MacBean, he knew the MacEcherns well.  Saw lots of flying fish today.

Sunday 28th  
Day 10

A very hot day.  Getting near the line now.  We had two sermons today, one Church of England + one Presbyterian.

Monday 29th  
Day 11

Within a days sailing of the line now, a lot of us fellows slept on deck last night, we took up our beds + slept on the hatches.  We had a good game of cricket today + a concert at night.

Tuesday 30th  
Day 12

Crossed the line today, a very cool day, I thought the heat would have been greater in the tropics.  It is very hot sleeping in the cabins.  I slept on deck last night also.  We have concerts every night now.

Wednesday 31st  
Day 13

Had a quiet day today.  At night us Scotchmen had a little gathering of our own.  Some scotch songs + toasts.  I played the pipes.  Passed the Runic on the home journey.

Thursday 1st January 1903  
Day 14

A guid new year ta ye a' + many may you see.
Had a quiet day today, In afternoon had sports.  Won 2nd prize for putting the stone, a sand bag mind you.  There are some big strong fellows on board I would have got 1st but my last throw struck the awning above + stopped the force of the throw.

Friday 2nd  
Day 15

A good day.  Much cooler now, more sports today.  I got another prize.  We are having a fancy dress ball tomorrow night, I lent my kilt + sporran to an Australian girl who took a fancy to wear it at the ball.  I wish you heard her play the piano and sing, you might listen to her all night.  She was not very good looking, so you need not be alarmed.  Something in appearance like Maggie Blue, but not of the same disposition.

I have hardly seen land or anything of importance since I left Liverpool.

Saturday 3rd  
Day 16

Nothing special going on today.  Just a cricket match + the fancy dress ball at night.  The ladies turned out in all sorts of dresses.  We expect to arrive in Table Bay on Thursday morning.  I don't mind how soon as I am tired doing nothing.

When I come home, it won't be by the W.Star Line, as they don't call anywhere during the whole journey.  You see nothing but water the whole time.

Sunday 4th  
Day 17

A very cool day.  Had two Services, morning + evening, a very quiet day.  We signalled the Mail Steamer going home.  It looked  nice to see them signalling at night.

Monday 5th  
Day 18

Another cold morning.  I did not expect to have such cool weather going to S.Africa.  We are having a record trip.  I am in good form.  Have not missed a meal since I came on board.  Very few of the passengers can say the same.  We had more sports today.  I did not join in them as I have hurt my arm a bit at the last ones.  Nothing serious, just fell and skinned it badly. 

I have made a good many acquaintances since I came on board.  People on board are a queer mixture.  Never let any of the girls come out here alone unless with some trustworthy person, especially such silly girls as Sarah + Susy.  Sarah will turn up her long nose when she sees this, but it is the truth.

Tuesday 6th  
Day 19

Another cold day.  Some of the people are getting into their home garments again, so you see it is not very warm.  Things are getting flat on board again.  Cape passengers are preparing for going ashore.

We had a distribution of prizes today.  All sports are finished till the Suevic leaves C.Town.  We expect to arrive on Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday 7th  
Day 20

A breezy day, ship rolling a bit.  Passed two steamers, everybody preparing for C.Town.  I have no doubts you are a bit anxious about me, but you need not.  Travelling is nothing when a person has his head screwed on the right way.  I have kept myself very reserved during the voyage, yet had a good time.  Some of the ladies on board thought I was a married man.

Our cabin is as good as a pantomime night.  I was very lucky getting in with such decent fellows.

Thursday 8th  
Day 21

Drawing near our journey's end.  Sighted land about 12 o'clock.  Arrived in Table Bay at 5pm.  We are going to stay on board all night+ I am very glad as we would be very late before we got our luggage ashore + through the customs.  It might be midnight.  Nearly all the Scotch fellows are going ashore here.

It is a magnificent sight going into Table Bay.  Table Mountain is a grand sight - a thick coat of white mist on the top.  Just like a tablecloth.

This finishes my trip on the Suevic.

Friday 9th  
Day 22

Left the Suevic this morning by tender, great excitement on board, we got a great send off from the Australians, every body singing Auld Lang Syne, cheering, + waving handkerchiefs.  Got my baggage through the customs all right.  Staying in C.T. tonight.  It was hotter in C.Town than any part of the voyage.

Saturday 10th  
Day 23

Going to leave by train for Salisbury (Now Harare) tonight at 8 o'clock.

Sunday 11th  
Day 24

Left Cape Town for Salisbury last night.  My fellow travellers were three Boers + a fellow who came out on the Suevic.  This is the worst part of the journey crossing the Karoo Desert.  Passed some of the Boer prisoners going home - they came from Ceylon. The trains stopped to water at the same place, they were glad to get back to S.Africa.

We also had a talk with some of the soldiers coming down to Cape Town, they were travelling in open trucks like cattle or sheep.  There are a lot of the Irish Fusiliers going up to De Aar in this train, they are good company.

Monday 12th  
Day 25

Today you will be celebrating the Old New Year.  I just picture I see the remnants of the pipe band marching to the field of battle & all the brave & fair marching after them.

This is a devil of a place for want of water.  As soon as the train stops at the Station we all make a rush to get our water bottles filled.  It is a luxury to get your face washed.  Passed General Wachope's grave today, I don't understand why they buried him in such a terrible wilderness.  Far better had they buried him at Modder River.

Passed Graspan, Methuen's first fight, then Belmont & Modder River.  Saw the graveyard of the soldiers who died there.  The whole line up is studded with Block houses & Graves beside every one.

Reached Kimberly this afternoon & changed trains for Bulawayo.  Travelled from here with a Scotchman & 3 Boers.  Reached Vryburgh at 10 o'clock tonight.

Tuesday 13th  
Day 26

At Mafeking  this morning.  This is the nicest place I have seen since I left C.T..  The country is nice & green.

Wednesday 14th  
Day 27

At Bulawayo 8 o'clock tonight, changed trains for Salisbury.

Thursday 15th  
Day 28

At Shangani River.  Left train and crossed stream by foot bridge, then joined another train that was waiting for us on the other side.  Reached Gwelo 12 o'clock.

Arrived in Salisbury at 1 o'clock on Friday morning.  Lachie & Dunkie at Station.  This finishes my Diary.