Sunday 28th August, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you very much for last letter, note you have gone back to the old paper.  What was the result of the experiment?  Carol soon shook off the effects of her car jaunt and was as right as ninepence when we got home apart from being a little tired.

Still no news of the applications. Saw John Welchman ( who went to L.M.R. ) last week and he told me that he had the tip off from his own Staff people that the bar had been put up against other Regions taking W.R. staff ( Work Study) and a similar bar also applied in the reverse direction.  This has damped his ardour a bit as he has been campaigning as hard as possible to get back to W.R.  The bar also applies to Manning who was the first to go. As you may expect those of us who sat tight are feeling a little smug now. I hare heard on the Grape Vine that interviews for the W.R. Out of Cats will take place on or about September 20th.  There is considerable amount of time lost when it is viewed from the pocket angle but I suppose from the Organisation’s point of view little time has been lost as the Section has not been set up yet.

The temporary assignment is getting me into contact with the nobs all right, I have to wear my best suit every day now just in case.  Next Tuesday I am going to Cardiff to a meeting with Pattisson, Moore Bennett and his two Assistants, Hankins and Alwyn Jones. We shall also have someone representing the Docks Manager and no doubt several hangers-on.  As I am on holiday this week, the interruption is not wholly welcome but never-the-less it is not the meeting to miss.

Sorry funds running low on the rose stakes – you will have to have a flag day ( Alexandra Rose ).*  Re Dahlias – went out and picked a large boxful of pink cactus blooms this mornng.  These I believe came from a tuber Geoff gave me and the blooms are about four inches across.  They are very good particularly as they make such long single stems.  Note your business day starts at 5-50am,  What a carry-on in retirement. I should be inclined to change Chimney sweep.**

Note your old car in for steering attention.  Mr Payne is wise to be so careful about steering in the London Area but I would not have thought there was anything amiss with its steering gear.  When I got the petrol and oil at Eastcote for you I thought how well it handled.  I suppose that was by comparison.  I must read up again the conditions to be observed when cars undergo a change of owner ship and will let you know what documents I need. No more progress on the garage yet.  Although I ordered garage last week they want me to fill in their official order form and so that has delayed things one week.  The order will go off tomorrow and I shall order some hard core same day.  I may ring round and get several Quotations, including one for the whole job. 

Had a laugh about Elford.  Note you have started some orange wine.  A tip worth passing on is to give the brew plenty of sugar.  I made some once and it was a good strong wine but very bitter.  I think there may be a tendency to sharpness that can only be counteracted by increasing the amount of sugar.  I shall have a look at the Elderberries promised tomorrow when we go to West Drayton, and pick some I hope.  You have been very busy on the wine stakes – I just do not seem to get round to it.

I note the pattern of your car. By looking at the back of several parked Austins I had worked out roughly what it looked like but you have as yet not said what colour model you have.  Saw one advertised in London Garage on Saturday for £461** but did not look to see what condition it was in or what year for that matter. 

Well we have news this time of the probable acceptance by June’s Mum and Dad of the latest offer for their property. Our latest news is that they have agreed to sell and to be out by the end of October.  Of course this creates something of a hubbub as there is the question of disposing of stock ( at retail price ) finding somewhere to store any furniture, deciding what part of the country to start looking for a house to buy and then finding one and buying it.  I think there is an attraction for Westcliffe on Sea but a reluctance to leave the London Area, where so many friends and relations live.  My own feeling is that all other things being equal the price of property at Westcliffe is likely to be much lower than here.  We shall await and no doubt assist developments.

Roy has had an accident in his car.  It happened last Thursday when he was stationary outside Leslie’s shop in Hanwell.  The brakes of a lorry failed when presumably coming down Cuckoo Hill and ran into the back of Roy’s car and damaged another car as well.  We understand there is substantial damage to Roy’s oar but it is for repair and it should be ready in a few days.  I do not know now he will get off for claim.

We have Pauling staying with us this week-end.  June and I and the children motored over to Battersea yesterday to see the flat and bring her back. The roads were shocking going over, I think we got mixed up with the Chelsea crowd. As Roy’s car is out of action shall probably go over again later in week to take her to their place.**** 

We had a short run out to Pinner Park again today and had a few minutes’ sunshine.  Host of the day has been very wet and depressing but it did come out warm for a half hour or so.  We had a short ride through Pinner and ambled back through Eastcote.

Have still not cut the grass, it is quite long now and soaking wet.  It will become a major operation if I leave it much longer.  Runner beans coming in nicely now but no sign of tomatoes ripening.  One pumpkin about the size of a tennis ball but nothing else to report.  Doug has completed fence down his left hand side of garden.

Well that is all for now except to wish that you keep well untill we hear from you again. Love from us all.

*Alexandra Rose Day used to be almost the equivalent of ‘Poppy Day’ in the UK, with people buying little paper roses to wear in their lapels and the proceeds going to charity. I hadn’t heard of the charity for many years and supposed it might have been wound-up, but on checking I see that they are still in business and are largely concerned with issuing food vouchers to impoverished families – which is great news.

**Would you indeed, Alec? Personally I would value a tradesman who turns up on time more highly than an extra few minutes of sleep; your mileage, as they say, may vary.

***The equivalent of just under £11,000 today.

****Can’t imagine why as the Tube was – and still is – pretty convenient for the journey!


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