Monday 12th October 1959

[On reverse of timetable paper table 179 Wellington, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bewdley, Kidderminster, Stourbridge Junction, Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon and Leamington Spa]

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for both your letters received last week but very sorry to hear you have all been feeling poorly. Hope by this time you have fully recovered although weather against everybody at the moment. The sudden change from the long summer to cold wind and rain is not altogether appreciated but the rain is badly wanted all over the country. Anyhow it looks as if the best summer for a couple of hundred years has finally left us and we must settle down for the winter. Have not lit a fire yet but we put the electric one on intermittently on Sunday – just to warm the air up a bit. Last Friday evening we had a grandstand view of a big fire on the hill – straight up from the end of the Avenue. I think it was the biggest in the locality since we have been here. Rather strange thought a previous fire at about 2.0 p.m. same day broke out in same spot.

Note Susan taking more interest in general things such as changing the clocks to winter time etc. and that Carol knows what a wasp is. You must tell her one day how you poked a stick in the entrance to the bee hive we had many years ago and what happened. Glad to hear you are getting some better nights now and hope they will continue. Shall be pleased to receive those two publications you mentioned in due course.

Am afraid elderberry wine is off this year – the middle of September is the time to gather the berries and I was too late. The sloe wine appears to be going on alright but I shall leave it as it is for several weeks yet. Note your apple wine good so far. As mum told you we have workmen here enlarging kitchen & so far so good but expect they will be with us for most of the present week. Already we can see it will be an excellent improvement. Are you doing away with your pantry to make more space room in kitchen? – you will have a deal of rubble for hard core. It was surprising what we had from the work going on here but I was able to place the lot in position for future paths. I have not done much on garden this week – have been too interested in the work going on here.

We are very sorry to hear about your Mum & Dad, June – it must be hard not to get a break at all and obviously there is not much chance as long as they remain in business. We both hope that what they have in mind will prove satisfactory and enable them to have a bit of peace and quiet. Can understand Peter getting filthy on a building job* having regard to the state the men here get in by the time they finish work nightly – and they have had good weather. It must be much worse when its wet.

Hope Pauline had a good holiday and spent an enjoyable weekend with you – the children we know would be delighted to see her again.

Not very satisfactory news from the office point of view Alec – cannot understand why Work Study Section being treated so in view of good reports on their activities up to date. What happened re: the Assts job at D.O.S.O.?

No more now – Mum will write later in week and enclose one for Susan.

All the best and once again lots of kisses for our two darling girls.

Mum & Dad

*Peter would have been 21 at the time and had bounced from job to job without ever really settling anywhere. I remember him turning up at our front door unexpectedly in various vans, to use the toilet or scrounge a cup of tea when he happened to be passing our way, but my main memories of him from this time would be from a year or two later when he was a mysterious presence which arrived down the ‘sideway’ of my grandparents’ house on a motorcycle and had a wash in the scullery before sauntering through to his bedroom to change his clothes. We would usually be sitting around the table at this time, tucking in to salami and beetroot or sild on toast. [I have only recently, sixty years later, got the beetroot stains out of my grandmother’s tablecloth.] Anyway, twenty minutes later Peter would saunter back, hair en brosse like a young Joe Brown, wearing his best bib and tucker, heading out on the booze for the evening. Peter didn’t sit and socialise; Peter came in and went out again; for him, home was nothing more than a place to store his clothes.


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