The Cyples Family
The Canadian Adventure Part 1
During the Summer of 1947 Fred was able to leave the pit and take up the plastering trade as instructed, by his uncle Leonard, in Canada. What financial arrangements had been made re this venture were unknown to me but I can remember that he seemed to take to the work and appeared to enjoy the new challenge. He brought home lots of textbooks about the art of plasterwork. I was allowed to look at these and I enjoyed looking at the wonderful examples of plaster relief depicted within these large volumes. When I look back on this, the work shown was a far cry from the type of work that was going to be needed in the "New World"!
Also at this time, bits and pieces were disposed of from the home in preparation for our departure. I remember the beautiful Crown Derby ware that resided on the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard and was only used on very special occasions, disappeared one day. The furniture gradually dwindled and all toys were given away.
By the beginning of December we were ready to leave. Everything had gone except the clothes that we stood up in and one suitcase containing enough clothes for the two week journey plus one grey army blanket (as per instruction).
The last night in England was spent at a neighbour's house. Early next morning we took the train from Stoke to Liverpool, where we boarded the Canadian Pacific liner The Empress of Canada. After a week or so crossing the Atlantic the Canadian shores were reached at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Then followed the second part of the journey, by train, which lasted again almost another week. To cut the cost of the travel down, only one meal a day was taken in the dining car. The rest of the meals took the form of "picnics" and snacks eaten in the travelling compartment. The food was purchased from the station stalls, when the train made a stop to pick up more passengers and to re-fuel. On one occasion there was quite a rumpus, when several immigrants got off the train as it passed through the state of Maine, as no visas for America had been obtained. These people were quickly chased back onto the train, F.W. included-------he had only stepped off to buy fresh bread!
The bread of the "New World" was very different from that of home. It was of a pure white soft texture, far from the darker more firm type that was the norm over in England, with its lovely golden crust. The meal taken in the dining -car seemed like real luxury, being able to choose, was wonderful. The beautiful crisp white tablecloths and the silverware added to the thrill of the occasion!
Another money saver was to sleep in the seats. It was good advice from Uncle Len to take a blanket on the journey. It got quite cool during the night and the blanket came in very handy. After all it was the middle of December and every where was covered in a few feet of snow. Oh, to be tucked up in one of the sleepers, but no such luck!