Sunday 19th June, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Your letter arrived on schedule for which many thanks. We have told Susan that she will be expected to help with the washing up so look out for breakages*.

Gather that June’s spree was a bit of a dry job apart from wine with meal. Could have provided that to save expense.

Susan and Carol have been told of the proposed visit, in fact they have known for some long time. I doubt if they will get really excited until things actually start moving on Thursday morning. We went out this morning early (of which more later ) and Carol wanted to know if we were off to Grandma Atkins.

Glad the Mobo toys are still there. I still get requests to see the Mobo toys every time I go to the bureau although the book has long since been torn to shreds (by them). It is a pity as I rather wanted to keep that book.

Re weather, the last few days have really been hot and enervating. It seems that the weather has changed for the better and I hope it will last for us. Since writing to you I have had an opportunity of studying a map of the whole area from London to Taunton and I find that I am going somewhat out of my way to go to Cirencester. It would have been better had I arranged to meet you on the London side of Malmesbury as I can get from Wantage to Malmesbury without actually going into Swindon. Still in case you come to meet us as you say, I will go via Cirencester and look out for you where you said. Should you not be there, and if we are not due for a halt and things progressing well, I will continue as per your A.A. point to point route and keep a sharp look out for hand signals etc.

Note your endeavours in the field, I expect we shall all get bitten. The midges usually lie in wait for us Town Dwellers.

The Grays went off on Saturday for their tour of Devon and Cornwall. I think they said their first objective was Lyme Regis. They will go along the South Coast and return via the North Coast and join the main London Road at Taunton or thereabouts.

Put the car in for servicing some days ago but all he did was to change the engine oil. There is some story attached which I will tell you when I see you. Have spent a while this week-end on car oiling odd points and cleaning. Have also rigged up the fan part of the old heater I had and connected it to fuse box. It keeps the air moving in the car which will be just the job for a long journey.

On the spur of the moment we went to Pinner Memorial Park this morning and took our breakfast with us. Of course we did not have egg and bacon** but the flakes and bread and butter and marmalade plus tea from flask went down well. There was no one about until after we had our meal.

Well we are looking forward to the trip and shall be glad to get started. As June says please do not get meal ready for us. I doubt if we shall feel much like it after journey. Love from us all till Thursday.

June, Susan, Carol and Alec

*The amount of energy and preparation devoted to a four year old child ‘helping with the washing-up’ is excessive! There is a real performative element to this: ‘Look, we are raising our daughter to be useful and domesticated so that she can attract a decent husband!’ It’s absolutely vomit-inducing!

**Oh, no, le scandal! The very thought of having breakfast in a park without access to bacon and eggs is almost too much to contemplate! If the presence of bacon and eggs at breakfast time is so important to one, then stay at home and have bacon and eggs rather than going out and then complaining about their absence. Again, this was a trait that continued in the family until very late in life when June, on being taken to Mumbles Pier, complained that it wasn’t as good as Southend Pier. Maybe not, but they are 250 miles apart; Southend Pier was not on offer that day, Mumbles Pier was, and it made better sense to evaluate it for what it *was* rather than what it *wasn’t*. Neither June nor Alec ever really seemed to learn how to live in the moment and appreciate what they had, rather than what they didn’t have. It’s a very unattractive way of looking at the world, guaranteed to breed dissatisfaction and discontent and to sour relations with anyone who couldn’t share that perpetually disappointed outlook.

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