Thursday 8th September, 1960

Leonard to the family:

[Alec’s letter, presumably of Sunday 4th September, has not survived. NB: for a change, Leonard is writing on plain white foolscap.]

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for June’s letter received on Friday last and Alec’s on Tuesday this week and not forgetting Susan’s splendid effort at drawing. Your week’s leave was a proper ‘washout’ and all of you must have had a terrible time coping with the many preparations for base of garage. Reminds me of time Don & Geoff came to Clevedon to build shed. They had a week’s leave and every minute had to be used or the job could not have been completed. The first day (Sunday) it poured so everything was turned out of front room and the sizing and cutting of timber was done there. We hope none of you had any after effects consequent on working in such weather.

Note from June’s letter you had a trip to wembley on the Monday and did a bit of shopping also a trip to Richings Park then later in week a long run to Westcliffe on Sea with June’s Father & Mother – how nice for them to be able to get away together for once – expect they enjoyed the day out even if not suited regarding bungalow. The map I have of the area shows Hadleigh but not Westcliffe. Which way did you go? Query north of London then South East. We hope they can get fixed up soon as that will be one worry off their minds and what a relief it will be to get away from the shop* and district.

Turning to Alec’s letter again I imagine he was glad to get back to work this week for a rest. I used to feel like that after a good week on the garden in the old days. Note position re: vacancy applications but no doubt you will keep us advised of any developments. Heard this week that Saunders of Yatton is going to Bridgwater (Spl. A) and that Norman Allen had an interview for two jobs at Transom House yesterday – had to see Hallen and Arthur Price.

Yes the bellringing is quite good fun and last Saturday at Portishead we had 10/- each for our trouble. Only two of the regular Portishead ringers were available and they were most glad of outside assistance. Our next one here at the Old Church is on Monday Oct. 3rd – wedding at St. Peters and bells at Old Church. The Old Church at the moment is upside-down, roof off (temporary galvanised sheeting to keep rain out) part of inside sealed off and piano being used in place of organ. All this due to renovations being carried out consequent on work of death watch beetle. Now feared that damage worse than first anticipated and estimated for.

Our house too is upside-down this week as we have Frank James and his assistant in repapering and repainting Hall & staircase. Fortunately since Monday weather has been grand & we can keep doors open & let paint dry quicker and incidentally to let some of the smell out.**

Assume by now you have completed minutes of meeting and had another trip to Cardiff. Presumably progress being made with the scheme in hand for Cardiff area.

Have you heard from Geoff and family since they returned from Italy? Should have been home again sometime yesterday.

Had a line from Don yesterday to say that Mrs Elston (Exeter) died on Sept 1st and that Joan and he went to funeral on Monday. Mrs Elston was a very great friend of Grandma Atkins as I expect you may remember.

Don & Joan are coming up to dinner on Sunday 18th inst. – in style presumably in the new Countryman. Have not told him yet that we have changed cars.*** Your LTA 259 now safely garaged in St Andrew’s Drive and cannot be moved again until it is covered by your Insurance. Quite safe where it is and in the dry. Radio Licences are not transferable hence the desire to renew in your name. We seldom used it when out in car and shall not miss it in the future. Must admit though that if anyone out for a picnic like you were at Richings Park it could be very enjoyable. Query any moves regarding your present car GJO 120?

Shall have about ten pints of elderberry wine in due course and you must have a bottle or two later on. An afraid it is too late now for you to think of getting any berries. The orange wine seems to be maturing all right but a little on the ‘sharp’ side at the moment – more sugar in due course – hope to bottle about nine pints.

Managed to cut grass on Monday but it was hard work even for the motor mower.

Bad luck on football pool effort – obviously wrong week to get an all correct line as you say – still the permutation is good.

Have now passed the 1 cwt mark with tomatoes and quite a number still on the plants to ripen. Runner beans practically finished except for a few odd pounds but I shall have several hundred for seed. Broccoli now turning in and even a few savoys are formed in the seed bed. There has been an unmistakeable sign of Autumn in the mornings down here this week and some fog but yesterday and again today we have had glorious sunshine all day and I’ve been able to get on with hedge cutting – the ground is still much too wet to get on.

A lot of work going on next door now-a-days – somebody there most of the time painting or hammering until 10.0 p.m. nightly. Today an electric cooker was taken in and fixed by Electricity Coy.

Susan made a very good drawing on her own – how did they react to the work being done in the rain last week? Or were they otherwise occupied? Note Pauline was with you part of the time so no doubt Aunty Pauly had a rough time.****

Have asked Don if any more cider available. How did your neighbours like the lot you took back?

Note you may be going Cardiff again next week and if possible will make Clevedon for a short visit. Of course we shall be delighted but, if you can, let us know in good time so I can meet you at station.

Mother has just picked up June’s letter and said she is going to reply later to look out June.*****

Not much more to tell you this time – hope you are all keeping well and that this break in the weather will enable Susan & Carol to get outdoors again.

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls.

Mum & Dad

*There do not appear to be any photos of the shop – at least, I haven’t found any. I remember it as being narrow and dark, with an odd little triangular garden filled with nettles. I was told as a child that it was being bulldozed ‘to make way for an extension to the runway at Heathrow’, although a quick look at the map shows this to be patently ridiculous. It was clearly bulldozed at some point in the 1960s-1980s, though, as the address is now a branch of Aldi.

**Anyone familiar only with modern paint can have no real idea of how much paint – even emulsion – used to stink in the 1960s. It was foul, and it took a very long time to go away!

***This one-upmanship over cars is a seriously unattractive trait IMHO, but mercifully not genetic; as long as a car does what you need it to do, who cares what bells and whistles it’s got? (Although I must admit heated seats sound more attractive as one gets older.)

****Because looking after children is such an imposition. Good job there are women about to do it.

*****And yet more disrespect towards women; clearly a letter from Eva couldn’t have any value whatsoever and is something to be avoided if possible. The self-importance and belittling comments about other people get very old very quickly, don’t they?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s