Thursday 14th July, 1960


Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter duly received on Tuesday with all the news and we note you are now settled in once more after your holiday. The weather has certainly been poor since your return although today has been quite nice again. We both think you had a really good journey home – the A4 of course is the quickest route but can be very busy and difficult at times. Glad the children got through satisfactorily – must have made it a bit easier for June.

Hope by this time all the chrysanths have recovered. Since you were here one of my best (and most brittle) the Beacon has been broken off about six inches from pot level and I suspect a bird tried to alight on it so causing the break. Fortunately I have another and must take greater care of it. The rain has improved the crops wonderfully and apart from runner beans and raspberries which are plentiful we are marketing beetroot & marrows and now have carrots & lettuce available.

Before I forget it we have not yet come across the tweezers you mentioned – can June say where she last saw them, Mum will have another search. I myself have put my hand down the backs of the arm chairs and settee in front room without result – it’s really surprising what does disappear in these particular places – pencils, hairgrips, coins and even scissors I’ve found there in times gone by.

We note you did not have a very enjoyable day at Kew – it was a pity the various ‘Houses’ were closed during the period you were there.

Geoff and family duly arrived on Sunday – train about half an hour late at Yatton and whilst I was waiting there a terrific thunderstorm broke over the place but strange to say it was dry overhead when they arrived and remained so with quite a few sunny periods until their departure at 5.0 p.m. We had a nice walk along the Front (nearly to Pier) after dinner & it was quite warm.

Yesterday afternoon we visited Mr & Mrs Newman at Bristol – they had recently returned from a holiday at Harefield (near you). He could tell me that Joe Dunsdon (one of Bristol TM Chief Insps when I was there) had recently died following a stroke. You remember him I expect.

Yes we miss you all very much but have got back to our normal routine. Anyhow we have something to think about especially the nice days at Burnham. I expect both Susan and Carol will remember various incidents of their visit – perhaps the Mobo toys in particular.

As you know we expect Uncle Joe & Aunt Lydia here on the 22nd inst. for a weekend. Then on Bank Holiday Sunday* we have an invitation to visit Griffiths’ (Chief Controller) home and on Bank Holiday itself Mr & Mrs Newman with their two nieces from Harefield are coming here to tea and on Thursday 4th August we go with them on a coach tour from Bristol to Symonds Yat – quite a round of visits etc.

Thank you June for your letter following on Alec’s – we note you have made the first move to recover insurance on your necklace and hope settlement will be satisfactory although we know what the loss meant to you apart from its monetary value.**

Carol has learnt the way to get quick attention alright by her ‘announcements’. How far is Wembley from Ruislip? I cannot remember although on one occasion when on holiday with you Mum & I found ourselves there but did not stop.

Note you have started movement to get rid of car. When I told Mr Payne (Binding & Payne)*** you had got home alright in it he said he was very glad to hear it as anything could happen with a car in that condition.

Mum and I have been talking it over and if you would like to have our car for half of its current value we should be very pleased for you to have it providing Mr Payne can fix us up with something suitable for ourselves. We have already spoken to him and he is on the lookout for us. Our car has been in for attention this past week and it has been given a thorough overhaul including the wireless set which is now A1 again. One small item still to be done but they have to get a spare fitting from Bristol. Actually the car is in excellent condition except that the battery has now gone over its guarantee period of two years and the front wheel tyre (Driver’s side) should be renewed at an early date as it is getting worn. We think its present value is about £200**** but if you would like it – would only ask you to find £100 altogether and this could be handed over in instalments spread over any period – years if you like. It may of course be a little time before we get fixed up ourselves but if you like the idea it seems that your immediate problem would be to get garage erected in readiness.

You must of course please yourselves entirely and if you feel you would rather make a deal locally we shall not mind in the least. In such circumstances we may decide to keep car for our own use. On the other hand if you would like it then we will get Payne to find us another as soon as he can – he is as I’ve already said looking out for us now.

That was a very bad trick by the gang to tear off wipers and aerials & most fortunate your car was absent. Presumably Police have all particulars of damage and taking necessary action. We understand from the Newmans something similar also happening in Bristol.

No more just now – hope you are all keeping fit & well – any news of the applications you sent in yet?

All our love to you and lots of kisses for our darling grand daughters.

Mum & Dad

P.S. Thanks for Horticultural pamphlets.

*Not sure what is going on here as of course there was no Bank Holiday in July; maybe Leonard is getting mixed up with either August or perhaps June (i.e. Whit) which is not at all like him; this out-of-sequence account is very untypical of his usual precision.

**Ah. [Insert sound effect of penny dropping with a very loud clang.] I should explain that I’m not systematically ‘reading ahead’ through these letters, especially the hand-written ones, so have been caught unawares by the revelation that the loss of June’s pearls occurred in 1960, not 1961. However this is what the law refers to as a ‘contemporaneous note’ and cannot possibly be gainsaid – even though it throws other evidence into confusion. It’s of such significance, therefore, that it deserves its own post – so for the time being I will only say that June’s pearls were lost while out for a walk one Sunday afternoon during the holiday in Clevedon, and that we’ll return to the subject shortly.

***Still in existence!

****Roughly £2350 in 2020 currency.


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