Sunday 30th April, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for your letters again this week. Sorry I was unable to complete my last in time for your Tuesday morning delivery but gather that June finished off all the news. No more serious accidents at school to report thank goodness but there were a couple of grazed shins which the teacher dealt with on the spot.

As you say Susan is not very forthcoming about her activities at school but occasionally, as if by accident, she drops out a little bit of news. Susan has pals everywhere, she seems to attract them. She has an invitation to a party of a girl she met at this school. It was a nice little formal card, and we shall let her go. She was so independent minded that after a couple of days she was allowed to go to and from school on her own, but now she wants June to take her again. I suppose these fads will come and go according to circs. , but anyway June is now taking her and she finds her own way home.

June’s cold is much better now thank you, and I am happy to say that for the time being at least this one seems to have passed over.

I am sure that Peter and Brenda will look you up if they take a trip your way. I think it quite likely that they will come as he seems to like taking long trips.

Hope your week-end at Exmouth goes off O.K. From the weather point of view though it needs to brighten up a lot. To-day went according to the B.B.C. forecast (cloud early – turning to rain).

Carol does not mind at all being on her own all day. She is quite a good little girl, and for the first time we are seeing her outside of the influence of Susan. We are quite sure that left alone she would be much better behaved. She did say on Friday “Susie stop home from school to-day and play with me” but did not press it. She will stay quiet on her own for a long time just looking at a book.

Don seems to have stocked you up well with cider this time. Accord­ing to my reckoning you had six gallons, and that must be about half his supply. I hope we shall be seeing something of them when we are on holiday but will not make any definite arrangements until we find out the most convenient date all round.

Why not accept the invitation to go on the office outing? I know you have been there before, but it might give you a chance of a natter with old friends, and if you do not want too much refreshment you can always claim “Doctors Orders”. I wish I could give you copies of the Railway Gazette to read and pass on but ours has a long distribution list. The one you had was one I took home and forgot about go long that it was easier for it to vanish.

I notice that Nos 1 and 2 bays also 3 and 4 bays in the green house are fully utilised, but you do not say what is the occup­ation of the Main Line Platforms. Perhaps it is because you have no through service. *

Note you are again planting runner beans in bulk. Hope to sample some of those in due course.

Decorations are causing you some disturbance, but at least the waiting for the men to start on the wiring is over. Note the horse still in good order. ( What about preparing a hot-bed, and forcing a plant or two?) Is the river fenced off so that he cannot get out? We shall have to go on the hill to fly the kite I expect otherwise he may take fright. Why not suggest that Mother takes a toasting fork down – it was effective against Felix. Incidentally, what inspection does Mother do to the fruit trees, and is it effective?

Note your Parsnip wine still under fermentation lock but working slowly. You will find that if you use more yeast you will speed up the process. In each of my last gallons I have put in a whole one oz. packet of powdered yeast with the result that there is a terrific fermentation started almost immediately, and it comes to a full stop at approximately three weeks.

Note you had a good trip to Bristol and that there seems to be another in the offing.

Yesterday I set about making the low cupboard in the alcove behind T.V. so that we can dispense with the T.V. stand. After most of the day on it, apart from afternoon shopping, managed to get most of it done, the original cupboard with the glass fronted doors now rests at an angle of 90 degrees to the diagonal of the room with the right hand end ( front corner ) touching the corner of the chimney breast. All the space between the existing cupboard and the wall has now been filled in with the wood taken from the old bookcase on the right hand side. This is supported on battens fixed to the wall with plugs and screws, and the whole assembly screwed together. Due to using old wood of a fixed length it was necessary to leave odd shapes out if the best possible utilisation was to be obtained, and these shapes have since been filled in rather like a jigsaw puzzle. One remaining side, that adjacent to the bureau, has to be fitted but as I am now out of wood altogether, that will stay until next week-end. The surface is fairly level and with the application of a plane and sandpaper plus some plastic wood for the small cracks and a coat of paint, it will look quite passable.

To-day we went over to Tufnell Park to visit friends of June’s. The last time we were there we had not long been engaged. We went via the Western Avenue to the North Circular Rd then turned of into Archway Rd (A1). The forward journey took 21 miles and 90 minutes. The delay was due to having engine failure when on the Western Avenue. I had had trouble getting away and this I thought was due to some dirt in the filters. I thought if I could get out on the main road and rev the engine up for a bit, the trouble would clear. This seemed to work until we got almost into Greenford when the car stopped and would not go further. I managed to push it back about 10 yards into a layby with June’s help. After taking raincoat and jacket off and rolling up my sleeves and generally looking important and getting nowhere, a chap offered assistance. We tried the plug wires which I suspected but they were all in order, so was the feed. All the trouble was caused by a loose connection on the coil. This tightened, off we went without any further to-do. Coming back we crossed over Hampstead Heath and went by way of Cricklewood, Harlesden, Willesden, Stonebridge Park and Wembley. This journey was only 17 miles and about 50 minutes.

Note Mother has been doing some clearance work on the long grass. Could do with her assistance ( or that of the horse ) on our lawn as it has not been cut for over two weeks now and looks it.

So Mum is delivering the Church Magazine, I thought they would get her on it in the end. What is the commission?

We got a few barrow loads of earth off the field the other night to make up the levels a bit and hope to get some more when convenient.

Well that’s all for this week. There was something from Susan floating about, but the output has seriously fallen off since school started. Will get Carol to take over as soon as possible.

Love from us all.

*Railway humour, arf arf!


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