June 30, 1908
Kelowna, B. C.
My dearest Kathleen,
I wish letters didn’t take so long to cover the distance between us. I have written sheets and sheets to you and can hardly believe that I let three weeks go past without writing at all, but it’s so long ago I cannot remember whether I wrote or not. Strangely enough I rather like writing to you and letters to you do not get put off till tomorrow, which is the common fate of duty ones; so I really think I did write then and am blaming the European Postal System, for letters between England and Canada seldom if ever misfire.
You are quite right, the house is going on apace and you will come here even if I have to smuggle you out in my cabin trunk. (I don’t suppose you would like to go in the hold.) It is rather interesting while the building is going on. I am not quite sure in my own mind what the outside will look like when it is finished. I am hoping I have got the inside of it fixed rather nicely. The rooms are all large and airy upstairs; and downstairs I have got everything fitted in except a pantry, which is absolutely necessary but there seems to be nowhere to put it. If only you were here we would climb about the beams and scaffolding and fit in rooms and cupboards and everything to our hearts’ content. I am putting in a good big open fireplace for you to toast yourself at (being careful of course not to keep the fire off me) and next year I will get a hammock for you to sit in and put a barbed wire fence round it, for otherwise being merely human I am sure if I found you lying in a hammock alone and unprotected (by a fence) and looking as only you know how to look, I should be sorely tempted to come and . . . disturb (?) you.
To return to more mundane matters, we are at present cooking in a disused woodshed which I have rolled up to the kitchen door and which is open back and front. A little windy at times but much cooler in the summer. I will send you a photograph of it when they are ready. I took some rather good ones. I think I will fix you up a summer kitchen. Lots of people use them round here. It consists of a verandah outside the kitchen door, open on three sides and netted in with mosquito netting to keep irritating insects away, and is a much cooler place to cook in than indoors. It must sound rather funny to you to think that you will be doing your own cooking one of these days. It isn’t so bad, really, as one doesn’t really do a tenth of the cooking that is thought necessary in England and even what is done doesn’t necessitate frying oneself over a roaring fire such as I expect you can see in your own kitchen any day.
I am sending you a photograph of the corner of my sitting room showing amongst other things the desk where the dust accumulates and where also I pour out my effusions to you; and if you look to the left of it just above the bookshelf you will notice a small square frame containing a photograph of my own particular girl, which is a constant source of joy to me. The white bracket and cups in the corner do not belong to me but are the possessions of the sister of the man from whom I bought this place four years ago. I expect her to take them away shortly, as she is going to be married and will want them for her own house. I wish she would, as I am afraid of breaking them, seeing that they are rather precious.
Many thanks for your birthday wishes. I had no idea that you knew my birthday was in June so consequently wasn’t expecting any. I have had a letter from you every Monday for some weeks now, so you may be perfectly certain that if I can’t get to town that day myself somebody else has to go and woe betide him if he leaves town before the mail is sorted at the Post Office.
Assuredly Mrs. Witts is crazy. I should have thought Fosse Cottage good enough. I wonder if Francie Waddingham of Guiting will envy Francie Witts of Stow. I rather think she would. [References in this paragraph are to Kathleen–June 7, 1908.]
I am looking forward to getting your letter with your impressions of the photographs I sent you. I don’t suppose I shall be able to send you photographs of the finished article till August or September, as it will take some time for it all to be finished and then will want painting and that is where I shall very likely come a cropper. Judging by the fearful examples of house painting one sees all round it must be rather hard to hit on the exact colours and even then you have to be careful that you choose colours that will weather nicely.
Don’t for a moment suppose that I hold Norah up to you as a pattern letter writer. I am sure Harry doesn’t feel half so elated about getting a letter as I do, and I am sure mine are the nicest, especially the one I got today. [References in this paragraph are to Kathleen–June 16, 1908.]
I start haying soon now and wish it was over. It is always rather trying before one starts any big job and haying is the big event of the year on this place. I ought to get plenty of men this year, which it has been rather hard to do in former years; but we shall likely have a rainy time of it which is the worst that can happen, as it has been so dry so far. Where we shall all sleep I haven’t the least idea, having only part of a house, and what my chinaman cook will say when he sees there is no kitchen to cook in I don’t know. After haying has properly started I rather like it, but it is always a bother starting.
I had rather a good strawberry crop this year and I grow a particularly good eating cherry, so we have been doing ourselves proud.
I must stop now and take this to be posted for I have kept you waiting long enough, but I will try very hard to do better in future.
Yours as always,