Wednesday 7 October 1959

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Just a line from me to bring you up to date with the latest news. I am afraid I have not felt very much like writing lately with the children keeping us on tenterhooks. It has been difficult to settle to anything. The worst is over or appears to be now. I got a cold last week, one of my usuals, and of course passed it on to June, and later to Susan. Carol had been a little peeky so presume she had it as well. We are all a lot better now though and are beginning to get better nights. Carol is in with us in her cot and although she wakes up now then a word reassures her and, she goes off quickly. Susan has been quite good all through which is a blessing. Since the clock has gone back things have generally looked up. (Touch wood.) Talking about the clocks, for some time Susan has been aware we alter the clocks forward and backward in the proper season, and has shewn some interest in it. On Saturday afternoon we marched round the house altering all the clocks back to Winter time. Carol has learnt a lot more words now and is beginning to link them. She is quite concerned about the wasps and waves her hands at them, saying “away wasps”. I have got another handout from Horticultural Society, but as have not yet read it will send on with my next. Also copy of Amateur Winemaker which will do ditto. Thanks for your letters by the way. Very glad to hear progress being made on Kitchen. Please don’t forget me if there are any Elderberries going begging. Have made about gallon and half of apple which is now in second stage ferment. Note Dad making some Stone Age Wine. I should have been inclined to modernise the recipe before using. “Fruit Wine I and the Scientific Method” should have provided all the details you needed. Shall be glad to taste it however. My apple at two weeks tastes as good as any so far. You will soon have to transfer wine fermenting operations into Greenhouse for the winter especially if weather turns very cold. There is never a convenient place indoors to brew it. My best is in airing cupboard as you know. Nothing to report from the work front. Things more or leass at stalemate. Gross under utilisation of work study staff. No one doing the jobs for which they were appointed. All the power is in the hands of the three Assistants, and they deal direct with staff at all levels by-passing all the intervening grades. This has been going on for some time and we are all a little fed up with it. The new Divisional set ups came into being on Monday last insofar as Staff Sections are concerned. Of course everyone was told there would be a caretaker staff section to deal with residual O.O.O. staff. When we rang the usual number on Monday about passes, the individual that answered knew nothing about our affairs and suggested another number. In this way we rang half the numbers at Paddington trying to find our own staff section. It appears that they had moved-in with the caretaker staff section of the Motive Power Dept but no one bothered to advise us. Apparently all we have left on our side are Charlie Pinkham (Staff Clerk) and two other clerks. These working with men left over from Commercial and Motive Power Detps., are supposed to do all the work of the three. Quite a number of our staff have gone to Bristol, and some have out of category jobs. I have in my possession provisional dates for the winding up of all the O.O.O. sections but no date has been fixed for our-crowd. Of the 26 now in the Section there will be NIL under the new organisation. How we shall be dealt with Is anybodys guess. One of our class-ones has got himself a sideways transfer to Yardmaster Exeter. This did not please their lordships and they took him out to beer to get him to change his mind. He was even offered the strong possibility of a Special A as there would be a number advertised in the near future. This was not accepted on the principle of Bird in Hand etc. It is significant that, since its inception only one man has got promotion from this section despite the number of applications which must exceed 100. Have done nothing to garden lately, What can one do? Hope you are both keeping well and avoiding the colds that are around, There is quite a bit of flu this way. June wants me to knock down pantry this week end so looks as though I shall be busy. Wish it was over as could have used rubble for path. Love for now


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