Monday 21 September 1959

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you both for your letter duly received. We are still having trouble with your grandchildren. Since writing last we have not had a clear night’s sleep. To-night for variation June put them in the same room. Carol is in a single bed. This changed the tune. Since she has been in there she has been laughing and crowing and playing games with Susan. This lasted about half an hour and then she started climbing out of hers and into Susan’s bed. I looked in once to find her sitting on Susan’s head. We eventually put them back in their proper beds and put the light out. We had not been downstairs five minutes when Carol fell out of bed. Of course she bawled and that meant hot milk each. We put them back, Carol still bawling, and waited outside. Two seconds later Carol was seen sliding gratefully out of Susan’s bed on her head. Carol was taken back to her old room and the cot. That produced the greatest sounds yet. They both contributed to it. As I write June is up in the large back room and both the girls are in the single beds. How long the silence will last is anybody’s guess.

Your trip to Swanage and the surrounding area seems to have been a good one. Of course I have heard a lot about that country. We had dealings with a lot of the stations when I was in the Bristol Passenger Train Office. No news about the applications for jobs. I think that the announcements for the interviews for the D.O.S.O. job may come out soon. Pauline flew to Jersey yesterday for her holidays. A bit late I fear but it is still dry anyway. We still have had no rain. Yesterday two of June’s old friends came to tea and brought there 8 year old daughter. We had not seen them for two years and we all notice a difference in all three children. They had of course not seen Carol before. Over the weekend I cleared the remains of the wine you brought up. It is very clear now and free from sediment. I have also got a gallon of apple fermenting away in the shed. I made it from a recipe not in H.B.B.** The formula involves the use of Barley which is supposed to mature the wine quicker. Carol woke again a few minutes ago and has had a bawl. It is difficult to concentrate with that noise going on. Cleared some of the rubbish etc. from the front garden on Saturday but otherwise this week-end has been quiet from the gardening point of view. Hope you did not bother with the plays on T.V. on Sunday* they were both awful. The set is switched on now but no-one is looking in. I am afraid we have become quite disjointed over this bedtime lark. June has just come down now so that means they are both off at last. This I am afraid is only the first stage. We usually get about four sessions during the night and finish up by putting Carol in the big bed with June.

Sorry this letter will be a little late this week. Have not felt up to writing any more due to lack of sleep.Have resumed after a two-day interval. June took Carol to see the Doctor yesterday to see if he could suggest some way of getting over difficulty. He says she has got catarrah and is teething. We can expect her to wake up in the night. Last night we put her cot in with us and she was not too bad, only woke up about four times. June is up now trying to settle her off for to-night. I have just read Susan a couple of stories and she seems to have quietened down. Still no news of applications. The L.D.C.s have been given copies of the Old Oak Common Carriage Cleaning Report and are now reading it. A special saloon has been provided at 0.0.C. and they have been given two days off to read it. Budworth, and Welchman are there to answer any questions they may ask. Wilkinson told me today that he may want me to go down and help put the scheme in if they accept it. Of course Barnes will do his best to stop it. We had some rain here on Tuesday night. It was just about enough to lay the dust and the effects soon wore off. Had a look at my apple wine this morning only to find that about fifty small flies were flying about under the polythene. There must have been a hole in it. I had to dig out all the pulp (which was on the surface) and throw it away. I hope that the pulp has soaked for a long enough time to get all the goodness out. June tells me that there has been a lot of wasps round the pulp where I threw it on the garden. She had to get spade and bury it. Must be good stuff. Carol bawling again – sounds like Eddyson Bell Record. Well I hope you are both in good health as we are (except Carols Catarrah). Love from June, Susan, Carol and Alec

*The TV schedule for Sunday 20 September is online. The BBC play would have been Sartre’s Crime Passionel which sounds really good and has a stellar cast, but probably wasn’t the light entertainment Alec was hoping for. ATV had ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’, presented by Val Parnell, featuring Jane Russell and Jewell and Warriss***, and there was also a play called ‘After the Show’ which starred Hermione Baddeley. This, however, was on at the same time as the Sartre, and it would have been impossible to watch both. However, Alec lived in the London Weekend TV region and there’s no telling how the schedule may have varied where he was. Of course it’s quite possible he tried the Sartre, gave up on it, tried ‘After the Show’ and gave up on that, too.

**I’ve been unable to identify ‘the H.B.B.’ but I’d be willing to bet it was something along the lines of The Home Brewer’s Bulletin.

***Apropos of not very much, except that for the last several years I have been involved in LGBT publishing, Jimmy Jewell’s ‘This is Your Life’, aired on 30 January 1974, was the first time I ever saw two men kiss each other on the mouth.


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