On the first leave in which I participated, we travelled to Australia and back, and the second was a return trip to England. The final journey was back to England again, where we settled permanently. I loved these ocean voyages; I have vivid memories of the stately, rolling progress of the ship, the salty tang in the air and the exciting sound of the sea rushing past the porthole at night.
The journeys took weeks, and at my young age they seemed to last forever. The high points of the trip were the exotic foreign ports that the ship called at. It was thrilling to see land appearing as a faint smudge on the distant horizon that slowly took on form until a wonderfully new, unfamiliar landscape crept into view. Noisy, optimistic locals would circle the ship calling out and laughing, peddling their wares or diving for coins. Going ashore was a huge adventure; disembarking from the ship to walk in another land seemed incredibly exciting, almost unreal.
I remember life on board ship as a kind of endless holiday.