Thursday 17th March, 1960

Leonard to the family on the reverse of Table 31 – continued – WEST OF ENGLAND to SOUTH WALES VIA BRISTOL

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for letters received on Saturday & Tuesday. It was a shock to hear about Graham Adlem – he was so young for such a complaint. Thank you very much for including us on the card attached to sheaf of flowers – will settle when we meet. We wondered on the Saturday morning what to do but time was so short – your idea put things right in that respect. It must be a terrible blow to Iris & family. I think both his father and mother are dead – in fact I believe I understood many years ago that when in the Westbury Control he lived with his sister – query at Steeple Ashton near Trowbridge. Hope the Esso people look after them – he could not have had many years’ service to qualify for various funds of the firm.

Now to your second letter. Susan must have a pretty good memory to remember parts of the seafront and the Mobo toys – after all she was only just over three years of age when she was here in July last. I thought you would like the Clevedon Guide – a bit fanciful to people who know anything about the place but quite attractive to others.

We both had a good laugh over Susan’s ‘painfully’ experience – I expect you did also behind her back. They must be very interesting now-a-days in spite of all the work and worry they give you.

We went to Exeter on Monday but it was a poor day really. Rained most of the time and it was also much cooler. Got out to Heavitree about 11.30 a.m. and found everything in order.* Did not stop many minutes owing to the rain and took bus back to centre of City where we had lunch. A look round the shops then but weather still unpleasant so made our way back to station and home.

Saw Don at Durston going down in train seemed to be looking his normal self again but of course we only saw him for less than a minute. He and Joan are coming up to lunch on Sunday the 20th inst. – a date arranged when we went to Lyng in January.

Yet it was rather strange how I saw Snow at Gowan’s funeral. After we had found a seat in back row but one of the church the person in front of me turned round and it was Snow. It was the only time we met as when we got outside again there was no trace of him – in fact quite a lot disappeared in that short space of time including Charlie Rust. I thought Snow was beginning to look old – gone quite grey. George Grant was at one time the chief divisional inspector – he was predecessor to Willmott and Ashton followed Willmott. The Lovemore you mentioned was Yard Insp. at Temple Meads – responsible for working at Dr Day’s – Malago Vale** and the Midland [????]? Stacey now holds this job.

I did not study the Guillebaude report very closely and handed it on to Don on Monday as per Geoff’s wishes. Noticed he was trying to blind everybody with figures though. I see the ASLEF want increase to date from August 1956 – pity they could not go back to 1912 when I should get another picking.***

Bad luck for Ronnie Grey but hope he is getting on alright again now. Appendicitis is something they have to deal with very quickly or serious developments occur. I remember G. A. V. Philips was rushed off to Cottage Hospital many years ago here and operated on immediately for same trouble.

So you have bought a new hat and had a job to get a fit – why? The last I bought was the cap I use occasionally – got it in Exmouth about three years ago when we went there for the day.

Thank you very much for remembering 21st March and I shall look forward to receiving whatever it is when we are with you too – two years old, how time flies.****

Weather still generally unkind down here but am plodding on with garden – have now put out 84 lettuce plants and given them a dose of Sluggit mixture. So far so good. Ground still much too wet for seed sowing so I’ve put in a lot in three of the garden frames. Might as well bring them on in there and plant out later. Have taken a few more chrysanth cuttings and will bring up one or two rooted plants for you. Have cracked up all the bricks and stone alongside Heels fence – this was a tiring job and only accomplished in small sessions since Christmas. The shallots are all shooting out now and I have two nice long rows of them. Mum has been busy cleaning up some of the flower borders. You are ahead of me with dahlias. I’ve only just tipped mine out of winter quarters onto one of the concrete paths. Have far too many to try and bring them on in greenhouse and all the frames except one are in use. The one exception is the frame I’m keeping for a hot bed for cucumbers. Am wondering if Don will bring up a sack of dry poultry manure***** – as he did last time – to go in there. By the way rabbits are again plentiful on the hills and they destroy a lot of the flowers on graves in the churchyard & cemetery. Some men get after them with guns – not without result but I should not fancy any now-a-days. Hope they will leave garden alone this year.

Well I think this must be all once more. Lots of kisses for our two cherubs.

Dad & Mum

*’Everything’ was presumably the gravestone for Emily that Don and Geoff had arranged.

**Now a trading estate.

***I’m not sure what ‘another picking’ may be in this context, although 1912 was the year Leonard joined the GWR and presumably he had to decide (or be told) which sort of work he would be most suitable for. He may have thought, rather cynically, that driving a train would have been more lucrative than the traffic management work he ended up doing.

****This would be a reference to Carol, about to turn two in April.

*****Don and Joan kept chickens, of course, but I wasn’t previously aware of him trucking sacks of dry poultry manure around the country!


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