Sunday 12th February, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thank you both for latest letter, glad to hear, you are both much better although not quite fully restored yet. Yes so far thank goodness we have all escaped the flu, and generally the epidemic seems to have been rather scattered in these parts. A list was sent round for key? staff to apply for flu vaccine injections. I had mine on Friday morning and can still feel tenderness in the arm. The vaccine is supposed to take full effect from two weeks after it has been given and to last for a year. If this can be given every year and it works, shall have to keep it going. There is some immunity degree even from the start, but there is still the risk of getting flu within the first fortnight.

I do not suppose you felt much like wine tasting recently however restful an occupation it is. Nevertheless I expect you are now feeling more able to cope. My Apricot/Celery mixture is in the last stages of fermentation and I have another concoction ready to take its place in the fermentation Jar. The latest is based on a packet of dates that got loft over from Xmas together with two old grapefruit and two old but very juicy and sweet oranges. One wizened apple also wont into the brew. There is upwards of half a gallon ticking over nicely. Have the remains of the last gallon of apricot which I shall try to keep for your approval next month.

Yes again we think the Field End School is quite modern and it certainly looks to be up to date from the inside as well as outside.

So far as meetings go, Mr Lay managed to stay away all last week so that we dropped in nicely for those arranged for last week. McDonald came back on the Monday still looking the worse for wear, but managed to last out. No more have gone down with it.

I noted the Class One vacancies. my strength is to be six each of “A”s Ones, and Twos, and as I have only two “A”s One One, and Two Twos at the moment directly attached (as distinct from those on loan) I shall certainly get some of this crop of twenty-five. The position changes rapidly from day to day however. For example, London (and now Bristol) are asking for a much larger establishment still, some vacancies will be filled from within the organisation which includes research men, and some will leave before even the initial posts have been filled. Where we shall be getting the staff from I cannot think. There are now hundreds of applications to come in – everybody now wants to jump on the wagon. They all seem to have forgotten what they had to say about the subject only a couple of years ago.

I am sorry Norman did not get a job. It was only an outside chance of course with his present grading so low. Still, tho fact that they interviewed 30 people is a good omen. It means they are looking around for likely candidates and are not just filling the posts for which the interviews took place. Some of the unlucky 30 will not bother again, some will have get other jobs by the time the next batch of W/S vacancies are advertised so it is bound to be to Norman’s advantage to persevere and particularly to show interest in the work that is going on in the section by asking the people in it. I cannot say how important a display of enthusiasm on his part is at the present time and he should not do too put out by his lack of success so far. By far the most important part of W/S is tho “Human Relations” angle and it has been said that that amounts to about 75% and tho remaining 25% is Black Magic (Slide Rule, and various technique etc.)

We had interviews for five two’s [sic] on Thursday and again on Friday morning. I do not know how many there were, but I am satisfied that two of my temporary two’s will be made permanent.

My requisition for coach equipment was cut and I am now trying to find out who deals with such matters. It seems incredible to me that no one seems to know. Shall drop a fair sized spanner in his basket when I find out. I cannot seem to get far over tho coach business. We had a good meeting at Oxford so that I shall probably start a team there soon. When I do I shall ask for a coach, and bring some more pressure on the subject. At the moment I have no immediate use for one anyway. I do not know whether I told you but I have the keys of the Westbury coach in my drawer, so it is someone else’s next move.

We still have not had much chance to do any serious window gazing for a lamp shades and although we went to Harrow this week-end did not see any there.

Some rain your end to all accounts, but you did manage to make a start with some of your sowing. I remember the gulley when it fills with rain, but I suppose you hare cured that bit between the greenhouse and garden by the construction of the concrete paths. Prams are getting plenty of exercise but no doubt this will increase with the arrival of better weather. There is still plenty of indoor activity that goes on with them as well.

Cannot comment on the price for Roselands as I have no knowledge of its size and condition. I remember Hamblin the hairdresser although you have the name wrong. It is Hamilton, but Gfr. Fewings* said he knew him when he lived at Tiverton but his name was Middleton then – some mystery. I asked him many years ago if he know Tiverton and he said he did.

I am sure you will look forward to seeing Arthur when he comes to England this year. As you say it is necessary to have some funds to keep travelling like this, but I suppose it is all a question of values and the relative standard of living here and in America. It must be rather nice where he lives. I expect he likes to have someone to look up on his trips.

I said at Headstone Lane that you would be thinking of us all. The jaunt went well but of course Carol got so excited that she was sick as soon as we got back. To complete that side of the picture we had a repeat performance from her when returning from Harrow yesterday.

Cranley Gardens is at Ruislip Manor. If you face up the hill there, you take the last turning to the left before you get to the railway bridge, and then it is a turning to the left again.

Eileen is spending tho Week-end with, and so is Pauline. We went to Pinner Park this morning but it was not too pleasant. Few flowers out and a host of dejected ducks feeding off bread crumbs that the girls threw them.

I note all the people are selling their houses in your area – is it coincidence? The place must look a lot better without all the tree branches – more light.

Well that is all from those “Bowler Hatted people”.


[*Joseph Henry Fewings, 1873-1943]


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