Wednesday 8th March, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Thank you very much for another budget received on Tuesday just as we were about to leave the house for the station – I read it in the train after leaving Yatton. What lovely drawings from Susan & Carol and one of them in a separate envelope with a stamp on it. Thank you both for sending them to us. This time I see you drew a little girl appearing on T.V. or was it Andy Pandy?

Now to your letter – it was a surprise to hear car had failed test. The orange coloured reflectors were on car when I first had it but with the use of that particular shade for the ‘winking’ indicator lights I suppose it is only right that they should be changed for red reflectors. The other fault is a new one to me and I must speak to Payne about it first opportunity. At the moment I cannot see the logic of it. However I hope it is alright now but will it cost you two fees of 15/- in addition to charges for the alterations?

Whilst on subject of cars Heel called to me over the garden fence today (this is unusual to start with) and asked me round to see his new car he had had delivered Monday night. Apparently he had just taken his other in for servicing (to a garage on Bristol Road) and the Hillman arrived whilst he was there. Jokingly the proprietor asked Heel if he wanted to exchange his car for another and after some haggling a deal was effected, although when he left home he had no idea of changing.

Well we had a pretty good day yesterday – trains late in the morning because of fog. Saw Don at Durston for about a minute. Arrived Exeter 12.30 p.m. (20 late) and went straight out to Heavitree where we found everything in order*. Mum picked from our garden and took down Daffodils – Narcissi and Anemones which quite filled the vase. We had a snack lunch in Cross Park and then back to the City to look round the shops. The road in the main shopping centre is torn up for half its width and for about half a mile in length making transport a bit chaotic. Caught the 3.35 p.m. Exeter and 4.35 p.m. Taunton and indoors by 6.30 p.m.

At Taunton on the way down I saw Sam Squire who was en route to Bridgwater. Said he saw you a little while ago. He is retiring in June having reached 65.

Note your method with the L.D.C. representatives what about the Yard Master? Does he not get a dose also?

The route to Ruislip – we do not go through Maidenhead – Godfrey’s house is very much this side of the town and our journey thence via Bisham cuts Maidenhead right out. Things should be different of course when Maidenhead’s bypass is available.

Mum and I think you must be mistaking Miss Weeks for Mrs Salway. The latter moved from the Avenue before Susan was born and has only been back on odd occasions for an hour or so.

Have not seen Aston since he was due to see his Dr again early this week so do not know how he got on.

Mum very annoyed with the deckchair suggestion & will probably comment on this later in bulletin.

Note your visitors last Sunday included two young children who could keep the girls busy – a bit late for them to be going home surely?

Peter evidently likes your wine. I have started the parsnip going this end and shall put yeast in tomorrow – Mum will bring some back from the baker’s.

Sorry you upset the coffee when typing letter. Could make one or two suggestions to avoid this but no doubt they have already been made.

Noted you will not require any more Chrysanth cuttiings. We shall pick out the best of the Jersey Beauty apples & bring along and they are lovely for eating just now. Can of course be used for cooking but I think you may prefer them for eating purposes.

Am afraid I must now continue the Gardener’s Gazette as other news now pretty well exhausted. After the rain at the weekend it has been lovely again with sharp frosts and fogs early morning but hot & sunny from about 11.0 a.m. Have managed to get a row of peas in but ground was very rough. Also have put in onion sets. Tomatoes sown in greenhouse still now showing but about 20 seeds put into a pot and brought indoors and stood on water heater are all up lovely. Must try and get some potatoes in this week. Our last season’s supply now running out and we shall be buying for the weekend. Have a hundredweight on order from Durston but do not know when we shall receive them. Have dug the two long trenches for runner beans and now putting all waste vegetable matter into them to make compost. The garden generally is looking fairly tidy again now if can only manage to keep weeds down. Should think your soil has had a chance to drain if not dry out by now.

Yours gallon of Bravery’s Jungle Juice will not be ready in time for me to taste it but I hope it turns out alright. I think the two bottles of plum I’m bringing up are of the first grade – the labels have disappeared so cannot be absolutely definite. The orange in my opinion is really good and the Elderberry up to the standard you had before.

Tried to start the motor mower on Monday without success so when I left car at the garage yesterday morning took sparking plug of motor mower down and asked them to clean it out as I could get no spark**. Grass too wet this afternoon after a very wet fog early this morning so have not yet made a second attempt.

Am still waiting for Norman Baker to bring pony along to cut/eat grass in field. I saw him the other day and he said he would bring it along shortly but I hope it won’t be before Easter now.

Saw Ching last night on train from Yatton to Clevedon and he said he is under Soole on research work and that Soole is under Gallacher(?) & Burt. Not a very healthy atmosphere by the sound of it.

Well I think this is the lot once more – hope you are continuing to keep fit.

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

Mum & Dad.

[*Although Leonard isn’t clear here, this is certainly a visit to his parents’ grave(s); they had both died in Exeter, Emily only two years previously and Thomas in 1941.]

[**This is Leonard all over, expecting other people to sort out his problems for him – especially ‘tradesmen’. It was an attitude that prevailed in the family well into succeeding generations and speaks to a class-consciousness that has still not completely disappeared from the world.]

Letter from Eva to the family on the remaining three quarters of Leonard’s sheet of paper:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for your letter & contribution towards the picture gallery. There is quite an expression on the big girl’s face looks as if she had been up to something.

I like the idea of me directing operations from the deck chair. My manual labours would be missed if they discontinued believe me. There seems to be an unusual weed this year & plenty of it, expect the exceptional rain has brought that one out. The flowers I took down to Exeter were really nice. None of them had come out four days ago but I picked them & brought them in the kitchen where they all opened. I did that before Xmas with the chrysanths (outdoor) & had flowers for weeks.

The shops looked nice at Exeter only needed the L.S.D. I bought Dad a 5/6 wove tie dorn to 4/1 at Horne’s. I see they have a Barnett-Hutton shop there* didn’t know they were down further than Bristol.

I was going to throw away the Xmas cards but Dad says perhaps the children would like them if so we cabn bring them plenty of scribbling space on them.

Mr Heel’s car is not so long or wide as ours & he has no wireless in it either so he is claiming rebate on his £1 licence.

They are renovating the promenade wall where the people sit so I expect they have had a few heavy weights on it at times.

No more now will close with love to all from

Dad & Mum

[*Apparently this was a chain of ladieswear shops owned by Hide & Co which in 1965 was taken over by Tootal but was not part of the deal when Tootal sold Hide & Co to House of Fraser in 1988. Hide & Co was put into liquidation in 1988 and the inference from this must be that Tootal still owns the Barnett-Hutton brand.]


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