Wednesday 15th March, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol,

Many thanks for another budget of news and drawings received on Tuesday – thank you very much Susan & Carol for the drawings and for the one in the special envelope with the stamp on it. The postman knew we were waiting for it. Can quite understand the rush on paper envelopes & stamps this will last until something new turns up to attract their notice.

Glad to hear car now alright and that you have the necessary certificate. Now I see the authorities propose to bring cars less than ten years old in[to] the scheme. Suppose its as good a way as any to get more money out of us.* Note cost of certificates – I had no idea what the procedure was. Have not seen Payne to have a talk with him about the handbrake.

Had a letter from Lyng Saturday asking us to go down on Saturday 19th inst – this will be out first visit since you were with us and we all called in there on Monday 27th June. They last came to Clevedon on Sunday 18th Sept. when of course they saw the A55.

Last Monday the 13th Roy Hewett looked in during the morning and in course of conversation asked if we were going to Mr Hessel’s funeral that afternoon. This was a shock as on the previous Friday Mum and I had seen and spoken to him on Hill Road and later in the Library. He must have died the same day and apparently had a heart attack after he got home. Would have been 68 in July. Will try and remember to bring Mercury up if account of funeral printed. Understand that some time ago he had a serious heart illness and had never fully recovered. On the Friday morning he told Mum that Frank was doing very well and was now in the Clifton office of the Portishead Power Station but what actual work he is doing we do not know. Last we hear was that he was the Welfare representative for the firm.

Yes Heels car is in good condition but as I think I said last week we do not know price he paid for it.

Had forgotten all about the rose cuttings but I will put a couple in a flowerpot and bring them along. Let’s hope they take root alright.

I see Moore (No. 12 this Avenue) has now changed his very old car for one not quite as old but still very much over ten years of age. He uses it to carry his ladders about in connection with his job as a window cleaner.

Saw Mr Aston on Sunday last and he feels a lot better so much so that Dr says an X-ray not now necessary.

We went for our usual walk round the hill but it was a bit colder than what we had been having previously. It’s grand again this week so far.

Note you had an evening out on Friday last. Have read and seen on TV pictures of the hotel ‘Aerial’ – how were prices there? I see you did not stop long but went on to Mr Baker’s former place. You must please congratulate him for us on reaching his seventieth birthday – hope he and Mrs Baker are keeping in good health. Whereabouts is Richings Park?

Re: Parsnip wine I am enclosing the recipe which I cut out of Popular Gardening a long time ago and am making the wine to these instructions except that as the lemon balm was growing in the garden was rather young at this time of year and did not appear to have much strength I put in the juice of a lemon extra. You can let me have cutting back when I see you. At the moment the ‘must’ is in a polythene bowl in greenhouse.

Have never heard of the fennel growing on Church Hill. The Elderflower wine still in cupboard but am afraid it will have to go down the drain. I really think it must be worse than Epsom Salts.

Yes we will bring up the Christmas cards for Susan & Carol – we just wondered whether you would like the girls to have them to write on before destroying them ourselves. Keep them amused for a few minutes I expect.

May get some Somerset Jungle Juice at Lyng this weekend – if so will bring a drop along.

Just remembered that in your last letter you mentioned the possibility of installing a parking meter outside 84 Queens Walk – am keeping all bad coins for use therein. Thank you very much for your invitation to arrive in time for lunch on the 29th. Will you please say latest time of arrival and incidentally if we don’t make it by then don’t wait lunch. We shall be there alright if no trouble with car.

Now for a continuation of Gardener’s Gazette. Managed to cut grass on all lawns on Saturday for the first time this season but it was very hard even with motor mower – the grass in places, particularly under the trees, being six inches or more long. Looks a bit rough now but the work is over for another year as it will be easier to cut from now on. Put in quite a lot of seeds earlier this week and one row of potatoes. This morning I cut a lot of sticks from hedge (adjacent to Heels in the field) for beans. By the way all the grass mowings went into runner bean trench.

Did I tell you Don has got rid of his motor bike and bought a new Labretta. He had a lot of trouble with his motor bike and eventually got rid of it cheaply.

What about the new railway appointment announced this morning – Beeching. Am afraid this is going to cause a flutter in the camp again and I should think the Union would object too. The whole concern may be reorganised again now and put progress back for some time. Did you see the letter in the ‘Telegraph’ recently from a retired engine driver? Evidently does not like Work Study. Roy Hewett brought the extract from paper for me to see.

Mum gone to Townswomen’s Guild this afternoon and going out to Caperns the seed people at Yatton next Wednesday.

Not much more to say this time – if there is anything else you can think of that you would like us to bring up you must tell us next letter – am already sorting out one or two items to make sure we don’t leave them behind. Must put one more coat of polish on lamp and work out best way of putting it in car.

Hope you are all keeping well.

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

Mum & Dad

*Because it’s definitely not to remove a lot of mobile deathtraps from the road and bring the number of deaths and serious injuries from car accidents into more manageable proportions, of course.

Eva to the family, on the remaining three-quarters of a sheet of Leonard’s paper:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for my very pretty Mothers’ Day Card. I also had a nice bunch of daffodils from Mr Aston. Plenty of them about this year as the weather has been much warmer. Not very long to Easter now so hope some of this weather will be saved for then. We have been slogging away at the weeds this week & its very hard work.

We had our T.G. on Wednesday & it was a packed room. On June 1st we are going to Cannington Farm Institute. Some of them are also going to Trowbridge egg packing station in April but I jibbed at that not interesting enough. We have for next time a posy in a thimble I ask you what flowers can you get in there?

Spencers haven’t sold their house yet, have had some offers though the latest £2,250 [£52,300 in 2021 money]. I reckon we could get a good price for ours if we wanted to sell it.

Those two grocers at the top of Hill Rd have amalgamated now known as Wilkins & Bull [? or Butt ?].

I don’t think we shall have a great number of plums this year but certainly more than last year.

Nearly all the oil has been cleaned from the beach. At one time the sea reached as far as the houses opposite the Pier and they were streaked with black oil. They have been bulldozing the oiled pebbles & sea weed from the beach. Hope it doesn’t return. Some ship must have thrown it out.**

No more now lots of love

Mum & Dad

[**I have been unable to locate a specific incident that might have led to this remark, but I did find a reference in Hansard to the ongoing problem of merchant vessels discharging oil at sea and the fact that this was an increasing concern at the time.]


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