Sunday 21st August, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for very newsy letter duly received on the dot. Note the change of paper but do not get the point of saving postage, – have you had to pay more than 3d on them up till now? You certainly seem to be unlucky with your visit to Almondesbury but then any visit is a risk this Summer. Note you have bought nine trees to be delivered in season.  When is the probable date of delivery? I imagine you have gone in for Standards or half standard as you already have some very nice, climbers and/or ramblers. On reading your letter again I see that you have bought bush roses and I am wondering where you win find to put them, – in the front garden perhaps?

I wonder what can have happened to young Ian. It must have been a worry for his parents. It must have been something out of the ordinary but as he will be coming home shortly could not have been very serious.

I cannot see how I can put Clevedon on the Cardiff route except later on when I shall be spending several days there each week. It does not pay to go down for the day as cannot get much work done. If I go down for three days or so, I could possibly pop over for a night provided the trains are suitable. I believe the 6-30 a.m. Weston is useful for getting back.

You have picked and sold an amazing weight of beans also tomatoes. It is quite staggering to think of 1.5 C.W.T. of beans.

Have not heard anything about Uncle Will since last we wrote to you but then we are not on the direct news line. We get our news second hand from Yiewsley.

I should not be at all surprised if the house at the bottom does not go for something near the advertised price. On reflection, although the house itself is not worth the money, it is set in good surroundings and there are immense possibilities in the place for improvement.

Still have not heard anything about my applications, the 0.M. job on the L.M.R. has gone down the drain but it was never really on as a possibility. I understand from the grape vine ( sources external to the office, also sworn to secrecy, ) that the out of category jobs in Work Study will be interviewed very shortly, and that the panel has been selected to do this. Three senior Western Region Work Study Men ( Operating ) are reported to be the leading contenders apart from anything off other Regions. Nothing about the B.T. C. Job. Should have thought that I would have got an interview unless this move has been squashed from above. Geoff told me early this week that he had high expectations as a result of his recent interviews.  That can mean anything from certainty to wishful thinking.

Re slugs, don’t for one moment think that the Dahlias have been left alone. A large number of the shoots never reach maturity. There are slug bites on all the lower leaves and many off the higher ones, and even flower heads have been nibbled at. The only veg they seem to steer clear of are the tomatoes, and fortunately so far nothing has attacked them. We want some sun badly as there is no colour in them yet. As said before I think you should do something about dahlias another year. They are dead easy money. The tubers multiply rapidly, and each year you have at least four times as many available fox planting as the previous year. The flowers grow themselves and only require the effort to pick them. I believe they fetch a fairly good price round these parts but you would know your local price.

Only had a few minutes to talk to Matthews so can not say if he has had any promotion since he Joined the E.R. He said he liked it very much and that he had never been treated so well. I wonder if it has occurred to him that his treatment is as a result of his new higher standing. A bit different from being one of the clerks.

So the deisels have at last reached Clevedon, You say the sound of the horn can be heard on your estate – I take it the drivers name is John Peel.

The sloe wine is nearly all gone – only enough for two more glasses. I did not water it but Peter liked it so much that he has had most of it and I have kept it for his infrequent visits. Had some of your Cherry this week end it was very nice. I am glad the Cosmeas have been brought to the flowering stage. They are not a very special flower but grow quite large and provide many heads for cutting. They throw their seed like marigolds so if you do not want them in same place next year do not let them go to seed.

We are both glad you have managed to select a car you both like. I know the new Austin Cambridge but I am a little uncertain of recognising the 1957 model. I expect you are enjoying the change. It is fortunate that you have been able to garage your old car as it would only have deteriorated outside. We may be able to take it away earlier than at first thought – more about that later. With the same post as your letter I had the O.K. from the Council to erect the garage. Although I only wrote them on August 9th they managed to present the details at the Council Meeting of 14th Aug instead of my having to wait for their September 14th meeting. I can now order the garage to be delivered, and the three to four weeks delay in delivery will enable me to complete the base. I have put the shuttering up and secured it as best I can against the destructive efforts of the girls. Next Saturday I shall be getting three cubic yards of hard core then during the following week ( when we are on leave ) I shall have the ready mixed concrete delivered in L cubic yard lots*. ( I expect it will need three ) With this out of the way the erection of the garage can be done in an afternoon and evening. At this rate arrangements this end will have been completed by the end of the second or third weeks in September.

We have had no one enquiring about the old car and I doubt if we shall. If I were to advertise it for £10 the result would still be the same. The ten year test has got them all playing safe. I paid nothing to Binding and Paynes for the examination of the car. They only told me what I wanted to know – which was the condition of the chassis. No further examination was made or report on any other part so I doubt whether they will make a charge.

Potatoes seem to do very well down in the new plot. I had a good crop here the first year I dug out the bottom plot. Something in the newly turned turf I believe – apart from leather jackets.

We have all been out to Amersham Common with Delph Roy and Christopher, Norman and Pauline. They picked us up about 11-00am and off we went in the two cars. Of course Carol was sick just as we got to Chorley Wood – all over June. This meant she had to take off her skirt and stayed wrapped in newspapers and macs all day**. Carol recovered enough to enjoy herself but she is a little off colour to-day. The common is a very popular place. There were few people there when we got there but by late afternoon many cars had arrived. Where we parked is the fairway of a municipal golf course – nice and wide so that the children had a long runway under full observation. Norman***, Roy and I walked nearly half mile down to a pretty pub only to find they had closed at 2.0 p.m. The scenery was good and the air pure so I expect it has done us all a lot of good especially as the sun came out and kept it warm and sunny all day.

Well there it is for now. Hope you are both keeping fit.  Love from us all till next time.

*(sic) – but on Alec’s typewriter it was necessary to use a lower-case ‘L’ as a ‘1’, so I assume this is what was intended.

**You really would have thought June would be smart enough to take a change of clothes with her, wouldn’t you, considering how often this seems to have happened?

***At the moment I have no idea who Norman was. Roy had a brother, but he lived in Germany so I doubt it was him. Norman may have been a boyfriend of Pauline’s, but if so he didn’t stay around long enough to make much of an impression.


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