Thursday 15th September, 1960

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for the big budget of news received on Tuesday and the drawing of motor car from Susan – never mind if it did only have three wheels she has a pretty good idea of the shape and knows where to put windows. You are quite right regarding use of this paper at times – the other sort (printed one side) weighs heavier and more sheets of it have to be used.

Glad to hear the week’s leave was not a ‘washout’ at least not in one sense of the word. Actually I think you all did remarkably well under most difficult circumstances. Let’s hope conditions will improve for you the next two or three weekends to enable you to finish the job satisfactorily.

Noted the route taken by you to get to Westcliff – sounds as if you had some busy roads to pass along – all completely foreign to me. Have never even been to Southend by rail. Anyhow it gave Mr & Mrs Baker an opportunity to look at the bungalow – have they had any luck elsewhere yet? query the place at Hillingdon which of course is not very far from their present home.

We are very pleased you have at least an interview for another job on Monday next and wish you all the best for a successful result – presumably it is for the jobs each at Paddington – Bristol – Birmingham & Cardiff. Who is on the panel? Any idea beforehand?

A letter from Geoff since his return from holiday says he did not get either of the posts for which he had interviews about three weeks ago. Now he has another interview on Friday this week for something else. Have not yet heard if Norman Allen was successful for one of two jobs at Transom House for which he had interview on the 7th inst. Incidentally Hallett & Arthur Price were two of the three on the panel – how exciting!

We shall be very pleased to hear how you get on and if there were any ‘catch’ questions some of the panels appear to be fond of asking. Re: Saunders – he got his Class 1 on assimilation whilst at Temple Meads and moved to Yatton on same grade. Now he gets Spl. A at Bridgwater.

Note June busy stripping paper in Dining Room – surely this would have been an ideal job for Susan & Carol? I’m sure they would have been delighted to do it. We have not had account yet but anticipate the total cost including paper for papering and painting the Hall & Staircase will be £30 [£700 in 2020 money] and it really is a splendid job – made such a difference as you will see next visit. In my opinion the Hall & Staircase are the two worst sections of any house for redecoration etc. and whilst it is being done practically the whole house is affected in one way or another.

So you have had a go at the grass and the girls have been haymaking – not surprised you could not keep box on. I could not risk the motor mower and had the job of raking grass up afterwards. It’s been a most disastrous period for any outdoor activities and I pity the people who still have to dig their potatoes – cannot tell potatoes from clods of sticky earth.

We went to Bristol yesterday afternoon to see the Newmans and rain lashed down – some cars even had lights on it was so dark. It was our first trip apart from local runs to the village in the new car but we reached there and got home safely at 10.15 p.m.*

Heels (next door neighbours) went off to Croyde near Woolacombe last saturday – weather then good and continued so on Sunday and Monday but since then back to the water cart again – have been able to roll up the hosepipe and put it in shed for the winter. One thing about it – I know I shall not be carrying water to bottom of garden next season.

Houses seem to have risen in value in your location since you bought in 1954 – fancy nothing available under £3000. The garage on your place will make a big difference if & when you want to sell – much more than the actual cost of and erecting the same.

What an outing in the Cardiff area and good entertainment too by the sound of it. I like the idea of visiting the various places – it is the only way to get a real insight into the layouts and working. Godfrey was very fond of doing this whenever he was in new territory. You can get it in the mind’s eye and retain it better. The session with Pattisson presumably was to report on the position. Noted you were not visiting the Cardiff area this week – just as well perhaps having regard to weather.

Have not told Don & Joan we have changed cars so when they come on Sunday in the Countryman** they will have something to see.

Glad to hear your tomatoes are reddening up a bit – have to watch out for frosts soon and then must pick them quick and let ripen indoors. Shall have to pick all mine later this month and let green ones ripen in trays as I want greenhouse for bringing on the Chrysanths and Cinerarias, geraniums etc. The totasl weight of tomatoes picked is now 130.5 lbs [nearly 60kg]. At the moment I am suffering from hedgitis as cannot do anything on garden – too wet. Most of the hedges have been attended to and am now tackling the bushes alongside the concrete path adjacent to big lawn. these had reached a great height and I’m now bringing them back to about 7 ft. The growth is so thick have had to use saw many times. It will give more room on lawn and allow sun to get at a bigger area of grass therefore it will be drier for cutting.

I still have a bottle or two of greengage wine on hand & several of plum all last year’s. This year’s Orange & Elderberry still in their respective fermentation jars & working. Nothing much else about at the moment.

When we got back from Church last Sunday evening found two young girls on front door step trying to sell a basket of blackberries they had picked on the hill during the afternoon – we did not want them. Could pick our own if needs be by going on hills or in fields towards Kingston Seymour as you well know.

After cutting strawberry plants down to earth level so that you could not see any leaves at all they have shot up again – flowered and Mum picked two or three ripe berries yesterday – this is second crop. Shall have to cut them all down again now as soon as can get on ground.

Well no more now – hope you are all keeping fit – best of luck on Monday.

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

Mum & Dad

*With all due respect to Leonard’s spirit of adventure, this is a mere 20 miles in each direction.

**This is of course not a Mini Countryman, which would have been a pretty new innovation in those days. It’s far more likely to have been something like this.


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