Thursday 22nd September, 1960

Leonard to the family – not, for once, on timetable paper!

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for another nice long letter and the drawing from Susan. Thank you very much Susan.

Naturally we are wondering how you got on at the interview on Monday and hope you will soon have some good news for us. Things seem to be looking up at Bristol. I hear Ernie Iles has a Spl A at Transom House and Norman Allen (at last) a Class 3 also at Transom House. Several other appointments but nobody else of note. No further news from Geoff yet – expect he is waiting for confirmation.

Note Mr & Mrs Baker not yet fixed up. That house you described in Hillingdon sounds awful. However anybody has the cheek to offer it for sale in that condition I just cannot imagine. Hope the house problem will soon be solved – it will be a big load off their minds once a decision has been made.

Don & Joan duly arrived just after 11.0 a.m. on Sunday and departed at 4.10 p.m. – weather was really lovely whilst they were here although actually raining when they left Lyng. Mum & Joan had a walk along the front in the afternoon whilst Don had a short sleep. He is looking remarkably well & says he feels fit. A big difference to twelve months ago. We did not say anything about the changing of the car until we were all walking down the garden to have a look round. They were very impressed and thought we had got hold of a good one. Both Don & Joan sat in the front to get the measure of it. Incidentally Don brought up four flagons of cider which I’m enjoying.

Had a call from Uncle Joe at Tiverton on Tuesday evening. They want us to go to Tiverton on Friday 30th inst then on to Exmouth following day and stop there until the Tuesday i.e. 4th October and this we have arranged to do. Will give us another short break before settling in for the winter.

Talking about winter we have had to start fires as it has been so cold – nearly a frost yesterday morning and now it’s raining again as bad as ever. Managed to dig a small piece of a large plot yesterday but this latest downpour will stop operations for a day or two. Pity our neighbours at Croyde, their fortnight is up on Saturday and I’m sure they will be glad to get home.

Mrs Marshall – with others – went on a coach tour to Scotland last week and arrived home Sunday. Had three wet days but all on the coach apparently thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Roy Hewett and his wife are returning from Worthing today after a visit of nine days – don;t expect to see him sunburnt when he next calls round here.

No I did not shed any tears over the shallots Alec. I skinned them outdoors and positioned myself so that the prevailing wind took the odour of them away from me. No trouble at all.

Note you are at Cardiff again some time this week and that additional staff should be available from Tuesday – query at London or Cardiff. Also that you have made further applications for vacancies in Research Section. What happens if you get one of the posts for which you had interview Monday?

So Barnes and Baynton-Hughes have moved on – both trainees I believe. Don had a letter from Geoff saying that Bob Taylor had got Hart’s old job at Birmingham. He has done very well if this is true.

You are still busy at weekends on garage preparations – hope you will have a fine day when you come to erect the building.

The bombs at Pill turned out to be three mortars ? and they were exploded last week. Apparently they were of British origin and it is assumed they were part of a lot used by troops billeted in the neighbourhood during the war.

Ian Spencer is better again but has given the complaint to his baby sister and a young girl in her early teens who goes in to play with them.*

Notice in the press parents at Derby in a hurry to get their children immunised against Diphtheria following death of one child in the area. No such thing in my day and I had six weeks in an Isolation Hospital with it.

Not much to report from the garden this week. Tomatoes still plentiful but much slower in ripening due to lack of sun and consequent warmth. A lot of apples are falling from the trees. Yesterday just before 2.0 p.m. I was walking down garden path and just as I turned to go along path to greenhouse a grey squirrel jumped onto the garden frames and scurried over the tops of all of them towards field and disappeared in direction of bungalow at the bottom. Must have been one roaming from the grounds of Clevedon Hall where I think they are fairly plentiful.** Anyhow I hope he does not come back here.

We heard yesterday that Mrs Stacey, (wife of Bristol TM Yard Insp.) with whom we exchange visits occasionally, who has been in Southmead Hospital for observation, now has to go to Frenchay Hospital for an operation for a growth on the brain. This sounds a pretty bad job but cases are on record of full recovery being made.

Mrs Cornish came over this morning and said her elder flower wine made last year is very good. I put sugar in the lot I made after your visit here in June and it is now very sweet – too much so I think but it’s very strong stuff. This year’s orange and elderberry wines are still in fermentation jars but working very slowly due to the continuous cold weather.

I put in a claim for partial refund of cost of renewing water pipes following burst but have heard nothing so far from Insurance people.

Our ton of coal came last Friday and I had it dumped outside shed so that I could sort it out and stack in shed. Coal arrived at about 11.30 a.m. so decided to have dinner first. Started on coal about 1.30 p.m. and soon after down came the rain. Persevered until about 3.30 p.m. and was then wet through so have up for the day having moved about 17 cwt. Finished the job off before breakfast next morning. All under cover now except for the 1 cwt slack which is lying in V corner outside shed.

Well I think this is the lot once more – hope you are all keeping fit.

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

Mum & Dad.

*Ian Spencer’s latest indisposition must have been described in a letter from Eva which has since been lost. Very few of Eva’s have survived, and as they were addressed to June my assumption is that they were either used to light the boiler or torn up into shopping lists. Late in June’s life she had to be relieved of several reams of paper she was intending to use for shopping lists – never realising that it would take her a thousand years to use it all up. The habit of thrift has stuck, though. I’m *still* working my way through stationery supplies bought by Alec before his death in 2001.

**Except that Clevedon Hall is a long way away on the other side of town and there is woodland much closer. An odd conclusion to draw.


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