Alec to his parents:
Dear Mum and Dad
Many thanks for letter, punctual as usual. Glad you liked Susan’s effort. She is always writing or cutting up pictures now. To-day I had to set out the alphabet for her to copy but I do not think she got very far. They are both pretty well now but we are having regular disturbances from carol. She is very good with her potty during the day and fetches it when in garden rather than wet herself, and we think that this business in the night is the same cause but in this case she can not get out to get pot and anyway is too sleepy to realise it.
I told Susan about the visit you paid to the cafe with Uncle Joe and she remembered the little cat. I questioned Carol about events on her holiday but already she is quite vague about it. She remembers who she stayed with but has got most of the other details mixed up. Not surprising I suppose, she is still very young.*
Pity about the weather on the occasion of the visit. I expect Joe and Lydia were glad of the break and were able to see something of the district.
Yes I thought Geoff would be writing to tell you about Insall. I cannot say I was totally surprised as he told me some time ago how serious it was. Unfortunately I do not think many people believed him when he told them how serious it was. He had told so many in the past that it seemed like just another tale. I am very sorry it has happened as a few years ago I would have said he would outlast many.
You would not have known Norman Smith I think, one of my former colleagues from Staff Section of the D.O.S.O.. he died suddenly the previous week. No record of illness or pain.
You do not say if you like the New Cafe on the beach. We did not go into it when we were down.
Further alternations to garden and precincts have involved the complete removal of the old shed and extension. Car can now back straight in and stand on the concrete in clear of the new “five-barred” gate. The stage is now set for marking out the ground and setting up the shuttering. How I am going to keep the kids off it thought is another matter. Have also removed the unsightly barricade of wood and string at the foot of the left hand back lawn. To stop kids getting at the Chrysants and the veg I have fixed a low gate at the end of the concrete path hinged on the fence guarding the veg and a short fence from the gate to end wall. All three lawns were cut this week-end and do not look too bad after all the rain we have had. The clover has grown rapidly and gives a nice dark green colour. I have written to the council for permission to erect the garage and have received from them two forms to fill in and request for two plans. The accident to the beacon occurred some time ago and the plant has had time to grow three more shoots which now have the makings of buds at the extremes. Quite an armful of beans you managed to pick for Elford. So far I have picked seven beans off the dwarfs. My tomatoes are doing well and I have cut off the lower leaves and shortened the upper ones to enable the sun to get at the fruit. Pond seems as if it may be partially corrected. Have to wait and see.
I note Geoff’s theory about applications for vacancies but I cannot wholly subscribe to it. He may be right of course but I consider such a situation fantastic. There must be something seriously wrong with an organisation wherein routine matters can be dealt with only when the boss is in good health. Note the following carefully. I made out my application for the B.T.C. job (1095) on 26th July and placed it on Baynton-Hughes’s desk. He was away and did not return until Friday 29th so that application stayed there untouched. On 27th Mr Pattisson called me in for a chat. He said that the work of the Terminal Committee was now at a low ebb and Mr Barnes would be away for some time on other work. As Barnes had taken with him three members of his ( Mr Pattissons) Research Section he was in a difficult position for covering some of the outstanding work and asked how I would react to giving him a hand. I made the appropriate replies and retired. Later I was called again and in the presence of Cecil Moore was handed the papers of a job to do part time in addition to keeping the Terminal stuff going. This new job is a new method of Controlling Wagons by continuous record. It is hoped to get a tight and accurate check on all wagons eventually but for the time being the job is being developed experimentally by a Joint B.T.C. and W.R. Team who have already run two pilot tests at Tondu and now have to prepare a scheme for the whole of the Cardiff District and introduce it in January. In connection with this job I shall be working closely with reps from the B.T.C. and have already met and spoken informally with the head of the Operational Research Section of the B.T.C. He is aware that I have been assigned to the job, but what no one has of rumbled yet is the fact that my application of the 26th was for a post in his Section. The work will entail frequent visits to Cardiff and I may have to spend some time there. They have co-opted of the Cardiff men to assist us, none other than George Jenkyns – retired and back as a Class Four or Three Clerk. (Be kind to your office boy etc.)
We heard to-day that Uncle Will had a stroke about ten days ago. June’s Dad only heard to-day. Can not imagine why he was not told earlier. We do not now how bad it is but there is some evidence of a little mental confusion. We hope to hear more to-morrow when Mr and Mrs Baker are expected to tea.
Sorry to learn about Rebecca’s fracture. Must phone Geoff. Sorry I was 20 short on the car number. That makes us quits. Note you have found another source of jars. I believe that you can buy cider direct from the firms in those jars now. Have so far had no response to advert in shop windows for car. If nothing this week we shall have to put one in local press.
Well there it is for this week. Hope you are both feeling o.k.. Love from us all.
*27 months; probably not quite up to such a detailed interrogation.