Sunday 1st May, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you both for your letters. Hope by now you have both got rid of the colds and are again in the pink. I do not know about Susan and Carol picking up your cold, they had bad catarrah for several days but they are both as fit as fleas now.

Carol has had quite a week-end of it. Yesterday she fell half way down the stairs on to her head and got jammed under the wooden gate. Her head was one side and her tail the other. It raised a bruise on her left temple and for a while she gave us several verses of the song the donkey died of*. It sobered her up for a bit but she shook off the effects fairly quickly and became her usual self again before evening. To-day she fell down three times, once off a chair and once in the garden which took some skin off her nose, I am afraid she has a tendency to cut the corners just like Susan.

We gave up the attempt of getting polio injection on that day as you know but I went down the following Friday evening. Had to wait three quarters of an hour before attention. No joke if you happen to feel off colour.

Have had two rounds of golf this year so far. The object of starting at 7-45 a.m. was to get round or at least get started before the crowd. It did not work however as on both occasions many were before us and on the last visit had to wait from 8-0 a.m. to 9-15 a.m. before could start. I wanted to get home by noon but as it takes three to three and half hours to go round that was doomed to failure. Almost as bad as waiting in the Doctors.

It could have been the Sloe Wine that upset me of course but I doubt it. It also could have been the exertion cleaning the car which is far more likely. Gave it another good clean yesterday and of course it rained during the night which just about put paid to it. I sponged off as much of the water as I could this morning but it had already done the damage. I saw to-night that a bird has left his card as well, so cleaning cars kept outdoors is a dead loss.

Have no news of Iris’s Father but the feeling is that it is nothing to get alarmed about.

I enclose one of the snaps promised. They did not print the good one of the group and they are arranging to do it specially this week. The others are well worth keeping as records, but as camera compositions they are none too special. Will try to remember to bring them when I come down.

The chrysanths you brought up have made terrific progress and I have already re­potted two to larger pots. Please advise re pinching out as I do not wish to lose the opportunity of getting good size blooms.

The children have put paid to the greengage tree that was in the middle of the lawn. I have since sawn off the stump to below ground level. Susan and Carol heard the cuckoo (in the clock at No. 17) some time ago so they beat you this year.

I take it you have no bananas from Avonmouth.

Have done quite a bit in the garden to-day. At least we have some variety now even if the layout leaves much to be desired. I expect you are now in full swing with yours. Well that’s all for now, see you soon. Love from June, Susan, Carol and Alec

*I’ve been unable to track down ‘the song the donkey died of’ although there seem to be a surprising number of songs about dead and/or dying donkeys. I suspect this may actually have been a line from a comedy routine, and as such could date back fifty years or more from the time Alec is writing. We only have to compare it to the Monty Python dead parrot sketch to realise how a few random words may be completely understood by one generation but mean nothing whatever to those who come after them.


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