Wednesday 5 August, 1959

To Alec from his parents:

Written on the reverse of timetable 184: Aberystwyth, Welshpool, Oswestry and Whitchurch and 179: Wellington, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bewdley, Kidderminster, Stourbridge Junction, Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Thank you both very much for the two long and very interesting letters received this morning – glad to hear you are all keeping well in spite of weather – incidentally we have had very little rain here in fact almost another heatwave except for an odd shower now and again. Very pleased to hear all about Susan and Carol and glad Carol now on her feet. Susan is full of life and her energy must be expended somehow but it is nice for her to help Mummie. What a surprise and a bit of a shock I suspect to find Carol on the table. We are enclosing a couple of church magazines (very small owing to Printing dispute) and thought you would like to keep one and pass the other on to June’s Mum & Dad. Have another one if you should want it. Hope you have a nice evening out on Thursday. We have not been out over the holiday but hope to have a day out next week – possibly in one of WEMS coaches for a day trip – will be a change to driving car all day.

Shall be interested in copy of your first report on Paddington Station – pity the ‘boys’ are upset over their expenses bit its about time some of them toed the line. I feel very sorry for Mr Grey and family with all that trouble with outlet from toilet – must have been a job getting things straight again – no doubt the plumber was very pleased. Note the position in garden and how you are coping with slugs – haven’t seen any of the latter here for a long time – no don’t send any over please. How nice for Miss Baker* to come over from Ealing to see you I bet she was pleased to see the girls. Am glad that in the end the Elderberry wine was put to good use. I’ve still a drop left of the bottle we opened when you were here. Yesterday I racked off the blackcurrant and the cherry wines into bottles – seven full bottles of first names and seven and a half of second – looks fine but not too good to taste at the moment – will keep.

Most of the last week and this week have been assembling garden frames – ran into one or two snags but now sorted out and the lights (tops) were put on this morning. Anyhow they will served a very useful purpose in bringing on seedlings and plants etc. Have also put in four long iron stakes where the two buddleias formerly grew parallel with the drive and am hoping to interlace these with stout wire and then plant climbing roses to form a screen. Have put out one row of leeks and sown seed for spring cabbage also prepared ground for the sowing of onion seed. Have just harvested those sown last Autumn and have a really good crop.

(Mother just checking Premium Bond winners with Daily paper – what a hope.)

The beetroot are now the size of tennis balls and very nice eating. Plums beginning to redden and we have picked some of the green gages. A lot of people have looked over empty house (next door) but I do not think it has been bought yet. Have sent to Railway Supply Association for information re: Electric shavers and incidentally to Tarpen people for brochure of their hedge cutting motors (remember Bristol Zoo**) but do not know if shall get one of them or not.

Since writing previous sentence another lot of people have arrived and are now inspecting house next door. Had a line from Geoff this morning – says they were at Exeter over the weekend and found Uncle Joe had finished stone for grave and had erected it and put concrete floor and chippings in position. Geoff said it was a first class job and looks fine. We shall be going down to see it in the near future.

Now I must close – Mother will reply as well I expect and deal more fully with items I have only just mentioned or missed altogether.

All the best and lots of kisses for our two lovely little girls.


Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letters. Glad to hear Carol is walking at last all by herself. She must have got on to climb up on the table.

Hope you had a nice drive with Delph and Roy. We could have done it if Pauline had come over.

What are you doing for Xmas/ We should be pleased to have to here again if Alec can get a few days or do you think it is too much for the children if he only has say a couple days let us know. I suppose we shall have the usual Xmas present of two chickens can pretty much bank on it.

I have been busy picking greengages & have bottled 6 bottles & going to make some jam. Dad keeps eating them though.

We have both had streaming colds, Dad went to bed for a few hours on Monday but is practically alright again. Our tomatoes are ripening very gradually can only get 1lb every two days yet. One big plant gave way from the pot so we shall have to watch it, the trusses are very heavy.

We hope to go to Bournemouth next week, it being the best trip we think it gives up to 4 hours there & if it rains there is plenty to see in that time. They have four or five trips somewhere for every day of the week.

Have sampled the cherry wine it is very distinctive & has a nutty flavour but I hope it improves with keeping, the black currant isn’t bad but there again I hope it will improve. A proper mess it is cleaning the jars & bottles after straining & syphoning.

Marchants were broken into again last week the front window got it this time done with a huge stone, all for a pocket radio set.

Well you won’t be idle during the coming months that is certain with all that knitting you must do it when you go up to bed.

We have had some lovely colour gladioli & one lot has two colours whether it’s a freak or not I don’t know but I’ve never seen a two colour one. It is cream outside & orange inside.

Our galardias are in flower now & make a nice show.

Well I think this is all news now as I have to draw.***

Love from us both.


*Eda, June’s aunt.

**He may not remember Bristol Zoo, but I certainly do. It was the only time we went there and I have never been back since, despite living in Bristol for eighteen years. [It’s expensive and full of visitors.] We were looking at a cage full of monkeys and someone helpfully pointed out to me that they lived in families like people, and showed me a ‘Mummy Monkey’ and a ‘Daddy Monkey’. I spotted a tiny little baby in its mother’s arms and excitedly exclaimed that it was a ‘Carol Monkey’ and everyone collapsed laughing. That remark haunted me for decades – it was a constant source of teasing – and I would have been about three years and two months old at the time. Lesson learned, at least for a while; keep gob shut where possible.

***How to communicate with children too young to read and write; you send them picture letters. I don’t remember any, but I can imagine them – sweet little dogs, butterflies, wobbly yachts, trains, and grandad with a wheelbarrow out in the garden. Eva was a brilliant grandmother and one of my very favourite relatives – which is a pretty small pool!


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