Wednesday 22nd March, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Many thanks for letter and card received on Tuesday together with greetings and best wishes for the 21st. Also noted ‘something’ waiting at Ruislip for which, in anticipation, thank you very much. Had a letter from Geoff and card from Rebecca & Sara also card from Don. Am glad it is not Easter this week as it has been so cold – feel it all the more after the nice spell of warm weather. Let’s hope it will improve a little bit next week – not forgetting the clock goes on an hour on Sunday.

It was dry but rather cold for our trip to Lyng last Sunday. Don & Joan made us very welcome of course but it was obvious both were not 100%. Joan was recovering from a dose of the flu and the colder weather was affecting Don with his breathing. Anyhow Don & I went in car during afternoon out to the cider maker and returned with several bottles some of which we brought back to Clevedon including two or three to come to Ruislip. Joan also gave Mum a dozen new-laid eggs for the children – shall soon want a trailer. Incidentally it was not first long trip in the car – we went to Exmouth through the floods in it last October if you remember – the weekend before you came over for the Austin A40. Still it was nice to get out and have a good run on Sunday even if it was a bit cold.

Now you have said where Richings Park is can recollect you have told me before but when I mentioned it last letter had completely forgotten.

There was no mention of Mr Hessel’s funeral in Mercury and not even an announcement and Mum recalls now that it was the same when Mrs Hessel died several years ago. Expect you knew he married again and was living in Kenn Rd. opposite the station in the house formerly occupied by Cuff.

Have taken two cuttings each of three rose bushes growing in plot between house and golden privet hedge and specially marked those we think are from the bush you have in mind.

We saw the Lambretta at Don’s, he uses it for getting to & fro [sic] Durston. Can understand it in one sense for it is a most difficult job to get out of his yard – somebody must stand in road every time because of the heavy occupation of same and of course because one has to back out blindly.

Sorry to hear you have all been a little out of sorts recently – query due to the sudden changes in temperature. Hope all back to normal by now. Yes Mum is keeping the drawings the girls send along and as we have said before some are really good. This week’s effort very good indeed. It won’t be long now before we see you all again. We shall do our best to come before 1.0 p.m. but don’t wait any longer than 1.15 p.m. should we not be along by then. If any big delay likely will get on to telephone. Note you will be having some leave as from Wednesday evening – this will be very nice but please order some warm weather.*

Mum gone out to Caperns this afternoon with T. W. G. party – may come back in a cage twittering! Understand Mr & Mrs Palmer gone to London by coach today to visit Ideal Homes Exhibition – may be alright going up but expect it will be cold on the homeward run tonight.

We had a white frost this morning – many more of these and it will be goodbye to the bit of plum blossom we have on the trees in field. Have put in all the Ulster Chieftain early potatoes [ref ?] 28lbs and now have a similar quantity of second earlies to go in but by the look of things this will be after we return from you. Managed to put out a row of sweet pea plants and another of gladioli corms but since last writing this is about the extent of the new plantings. Mum weeded the two rounds on lawn and I’ve since dug them – terrible stuff. Now sprinkled lime on them to help break up clods. Strange to say the new rose trees in the rectangular plot seem to be coming on nicely.

Note your remarks about the fennel on Church Hill – must look out for it one day. Glad you found the parsnip wine recipe interesting – my brew seems to be developing alright – shall put it under fermentation lock this coming weekend. It will be safe then whilst we are away.

Did you see the TV reports on Beeching in ‘Tonight’ and ‘Panorama’ on Monday evening? A lot of people appear to be very sore over the appointment. I notice in Sunday’s paper he knows the way to use a lawnmower.

Saunders (Yatton) moved his home to Bridgwater today where he has had a bungalow built on the Westonzoyland road. We passed that way on Sunday and looked out for it but failed to identify.

Have not seen Payne this week so cannot comment further on the car hand brake question.

Mum just arrived home with everything except the bird but she must tell you about it later.

Not much more to say now except that we are both looking forward to being with you next week – shall be quite ready for a crust of bread & cheese by the time we arrive June.

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

Mum & Dad

[*According to online sources, the weather in London over Easter 1961 was ‘mostly mild and sunny’, with the cold weather and rain returning on Easter Monday, April 3rd.]

From Eva to the family on the (whole!) reverse side of Leonard’s second sheet:**

Dear Alec June Susan & Carol

Thank you for nice letter & drawings by the artist. They are very good.

Well here I am back from the Trill factory complete with Budgie grit & seed plus booklets plus papers for bottom of cage. Only needs the bird & cage. It was a good outing – the factory is oil fired. We went round in batches of seven: the noise was terrific but everywhere was very clean. At 3.40 we were conducted to the canteen & regaled with sandwiches (lettuce & tomato) tea cakes & jam & iced cakes & tarts. The grounds outside are nicely arranged, quite a change from Lewin’s Mead Bristol.*** It is the only factory in England of Caperns.

It’s been too cold for gardening these last few days so have been doing a spot of spring cleaning instead. Dad is going ringing at St. John’s tonight Mr Bees who was a ringer was buried today.

Dad & Mr Aston were each wishing each other a happy birthday yesterday (Tues). Mr Aston is 67. Fancy June’s dad 70. How the time flies.

Oh we had some sunflower seeds given us as well, they are also ground down for food.

I put out a few geraniums last week thinking they would be alright but I believe they have had it.

The people in the next house to the newly marrieds are in the garden & I believe they are trying to cut the grass with scissors. They must be moving in for Easter I should think as the Electricity Co. have been busy there.

Well I think this is the lot just for now, won’t be long now.

Lots of love from

Mum & Dad.

[**Eva’s handwriting here is something like 7 mm tall whilst Leonard’s is much neater and only 3mm – taking totally unscientific random samples from this letter.]

[*** Despite being very familiar with Bristol we can’t quite puzzle out the reason for a direct comparison between Caperns’ grounds and Lewin’s Mead at this time, unless perhaps there was some municipal flower-bed or other in the vicinity of Lewin’s Mead that wasn’t being maintained to the same standard, and which had become Eva’s personal standard for poor garden maintenance.]


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