Thursday 11th August, 1960

Leonard to the family [on the reverse of Table 164: NEWPORT, HEREFORD and SHREWSBURY – HEREFORD, WORCESTER and WOLVERHAMPTON; Mondays to Fridays, and Saturdays]:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for letter duly received on Tuesday morning – am writing this a bit early as we are going to Bristol again this evening calling at the Griffiths home then on to the rose gardens at Almondesbury [sic]. Mum had made out her list of trees required and I hope she has the money for them also. Actually we went through Almondesbury* last Thursday en route to Symonds Yat but obviously we were on the main road and did not pass the gardens.

Glad to gear Susan getting on with her alphabet – shows she is keen to learn and I expect Carol wants to know what’s going on. Yes I expect you will get plenty of help with the garage from both girls – you will have to keep them in a barbed wire enclosure.

Am afraid Mr Newman’s trouble is arthritis and no matter what he takes or does for it there is no improvement and my own opinion is that it is getting gradually worse. Otherwise he is quite well in himself. Their two nieces should have returned home last Sunday and the elder resumed work at Uxbridge on Monday.

Since writing the above our neighbour at bottom of field** has been over to ask for help with a wasps’ nest in the roof of his bungalow. Only had a ‘Flit’ to spray into small cavity but incoming wasps would not face it so I sealed hole up with some Polyfilla – hope it will do trick otherwise he must get some cyanide for them. Whilst there police turned up and asked who had phoned them about an object floating in the river – query unexploded bomb: it was the people in end house and the ‘bomb’ was a buoy used for the anchor line for small ships in the backwater. Some excitement!

Yes Symonds Yat is a very nice place and well worth a visit but it must be a fine day. Could be a most miserable spot in wet weather.

Note you have made a start with garage foundations – have heard nothing from Payne lately but I know he is looking out for us. Looks as if you are going to have difficulty disposing of your present car but we hope you get a fair price.

You may have mentioned previously about Cecil Moore but I am sorry it did not register. He was rather fortunate to follow through like that to the better job without moving. Note you had a trip to Dartford during the week but should think there would be nothing doing with Computor etc. concern at £50 per hour. Does this charge only cover actual working hours or the whole of the time the apparatus is away from the firm’s premises?***

I should remember George Jenkins but unfortunately do not – presumably he took Gedroych’s place. I knew him well also his predecessor Gibbons.

Note that June has accepted Insurance Co’s offer re: necklace – we can only say again how sorry we both are that it was lost and at Clevedon.

So you have no definite information of June’s Uncle Will’s illness – can only hope he will get over it in sufficient measure to get out and about again.

We have an idea that the home next door went for £1800**** but it must be remembered it was in very poor condition inside and out. The outside of Mrs Drewett’s is pretty rough but we have no idea what it’s like inside. Now we hear the one at bottom of field – where Miss Martin used to live – is for sale, advertised in last week’s Mercury for £5,250***** or near offer. What optimists!

Note your application for B.T.C. job has gone forward and shall await events with interest.

You mentioned a church at bottom of Queen’s Walk nearly finished; query at Whitby Road end close to shops?****** We have not been in the new St Peter’s yet but understand it is quite nice.

So you have both been busy on front garden. Am not surprised you had to use mattock. It looks terrible stuff to me and to break it down would need a lot of time over the winter. Am still very busy this end and Mum carries on with the flower borders. Have this week cleaned through the three rows of raspberry canes and made two more rows. Put in two rows of cabbage seed (for spring cutting) and dug out more potatoes – these are turning out well now. It is a new sort to me – Craig Royal. So far we have picked 98 lbs runner beans and at this moment could easily pick another ten. To date 17 [and a half] pounds tomatoes have been picked apart from the yellow ones which are also ripening and which we use ourselves. They are sweeter and more juicy than the reds. Elford has taken surplus Beans – Lettuce – Beetroot and Marrows – the tomatoes we sell direct to our own customers. The water in pond has not sunk any lower and remains at about 1″ deep in shallow portion. Shall continue to wait this season and see if any further loss occurs. Have had to start hedge cutting again but growth is not so tough this time.

Well I think this is about all once more. Hope you are all keeping in good health and that you are getting some better nights.

All our love to you and lots of kisses for Susan & Carol.

Mum & Dad

*Difficult to imagine why someone as familiar with the district as Leonard should suddenly start mis-spelling Almondsbury, but we all have our off days.

**Identifying these people is not as straightforward as it might be; in later years the field was sold off for housing, and so were Leonard’s orchard and half his garden. However a quick perusal of Google Earth suggests that the ‘end house’ referred to was probably in St Andrew’s Drive and there is certainly at least one bungalow close by. Residents of the last house in St Andrew’s Drive would have had a very clear view of the river and its contents.

***A little shy of £1200 in present-day currency. Interesting that Leonard seems to think the ‘computor’ would be brought to site for use rather than the data being taken to it; I wonder if this was what was intended?

****Roughly £42,250.

*****£124,000. This must have been next to ‘the end house’ as previously mentioned – and the average house price in St Andrew’s Road is currently £520,000.

******No, it was in the other direction – and not ‘at the bottom’ of Queen’s Walk so much as further down it. It was a brand new Methodist Church to which we would later be sent on Sunday mornings.


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