Wednesday 20th September, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for the weekly budget which duly arrived yesterday. Glad to hear children on the mend again and hope you too will soon get rid of colds. 

Post your end a bit awry then as it was dispatched by usual collection here. 

Have no more of last year’s cherry wine on hand but will include a couple of bottles of this season’s brew in the boot of car when we come up. By the way no further news of proposed visit to Tiverton and Exmouth and time is going on. don’t want to leave our visit to you too late or shall be in too foggy weather for the journeys. Thanks re: tip about Staines and I must look up alternative route. 

It was very nice of you to drop me a special line re: Mr Godfrey death – it was first intimation I had had and I promptly wrote Mrs Godfrey and had a reply on Monday. The news came as a bit of a shock as although he was not in full health I thought – when we saw him in April last – he would be able to last several years yet. 

Tell Susan that we only see a few donkeys on Saturdays now because like her all the boys and girls have gone back to school. The beach of course is very much quieter now, only a few visitors about. 

Talking about blackberries – Bill Aston and I went out towards Kingston Seymour again last Friday morning and got home about 12:30 p.m. with 11 lbs and as he did not want any I brought them all here. Consequently I made another gallon of wine and Mum turned a lot into blackberry jelly. There are literally thousands of berries to be had for the picking. I think it will make a very nice wine. 

Note you are having trouble with slugs etc again after recent rain and that the dahlias are suffering. 

So you have a little girl up there who calls herself Robin Hood. Has she seen the new children’s comic Wonderland yet? 

Noted position re: honeysuckle cuttings – those in the polythene bags should be given some air when they have actually rooted – the purpose of sealing in the polythene bags is to encourage a humid atmosphere which assists rooting and whilst thus confined the bags should be turned inside out every two or 3 days to get rid of the moisture which lies in droplets on the inside of the bag. You may know all this of course. 

According to this last week’s Mercury the proposed new motorway for the West of England linking up the existing Birmingham and Ross motorway will come through the hill by the Water Station at Tickenham and cross the road by the Tickenham football ground then cut right through Kingston Seymour and on. Looks to me as if it will obviate having to run through Yatton and Congresbury as at present. 

Have ordered the two photographs of Susan on Mobo toy and expected delivery early now.

So Pauline is back from Spain – pity about her friend as it must have spoilt holiday for both of them. Geoff says they enjoyed themselves and that since their return he has tried to get you on phone but gathered from exchange your “number temporarily out of order” so he is going to ring you again – probably has done so by now and unable to understand why phone phone “still out of order”. Well Arthur duly arrived at Weston at 9:30 a.m. on Friday last and having said on phone we would meet him there we were there on time. But can you tell me how long an American weekend is for he is still here, no sign of moving on? 

He brought one piece of disturbing news and that was a distant relative of hours died out in America in 1912 a millionaire. Apparently this man by name of Madge, a son of a sister to your Great-grandmother Fewings, took part in the Gold Rush to Sacramento in the 1880s and struck lucky then bought a ranch and settled down as a rancher. But he had two sons who shared the fortune after the old man’s death. How about that? Could have done with a bit of that money myself.** 

So you are having some fun with your Paddington Yard report. Can understand Bryant – it is first line of defence to say a thing cannot be done and of course the scheme may have to be trimmed a little as a bit of a sop for him. 

Reverting to alternative routes for the Ruislip journey I take it we come out at the London end of Slough and at traffic lights cross right over main London road into the Iver Heath Road? 

Arthur has seen the wine making arrangements here but I’ve not offered him any yet. Says he has made it by gallons over there and it seems everything is done better or that everything is twice as large there – getting a bit fed up with it really. Apparently he once had hundreds of tomato plants fruiting (funny he does not eat any here) in the States but eventually sold the place for $14,000 having only given $4,000 for it himself. I wonder. 

Yes it was quite nice to be in choir again but have already told them I shall be missing for two consecutive weekends in near future. The old ones in are Mr Palmer – Ern Cole – Tom and Les Garland and Norman Baker. It was very familiar as you suggest – there was nothing I was not conversant with but they badly need treble voices – that line is terribly weak. I think the vicar is aware of position and is doing what he can personally and also keeps prodding the organist and choirmaster into action. 

Yes I think both Susan and Carol would have been delighted to have gone blackberrying with us. it was just a little too early when Susan was with us but she did have the odd one occasionally off the bushes by the side of the path around the hill. Latest figures for runner beans 280 lbs and tomatoes 192½ lbs, latter still going well and plenty on plants to come.

Obviously I’ve not done much since Uncle Sam (pardon Arthur) arrived. His place at home Daly City has a population of 55000 but he gets lost here with a population of about 10000. Managed to cut all lawns this morning whilst Arthur was out losing himself in The Triangle thinking he was in Hill Road, for which place he set out. 

Glad Susan likes her school dinners. I wonder what happened at her school today? Did she have a day off because of the teachers? I see the pupils of one school at Swindon had a meeting to decide what they would do when their teachers were out. Results was they also decided to strike. 

No more now hope you are feeling better. all our love to you both and once again lots of kisses for Susan and Carol. See you all soon. Mum and Dad 

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

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for welcome letter and glad you liked my drawings for Susan. We are having our harvest at church on October 1st but dad says he doesn’t want to be here especially as they have not practiced the Anthem enough. 

We have been selling tomatoes today like hotcakes. I don’t know if it’s something to do with Dad joining the choir but the ladies have been down, I will have to keep my eyes on Dad. We have a few pounds left to ripen anyway. Thank goodness the beans have finished. 

The people are fast going away from here and we shall settle down for the winter soon.

Michael Richings has passed his BA but is doing another year at university to make up for the year he missed. 

Have the children being sent home from schools up your way? T

They have in Bristol and Weston in some of the schools. 

We had a good day at T.G. yesterday. The competition was for an edible hat. Only one entrant but it was very good. It was a sailor hat made of sponge coated with pink icing and trimmed with striped ribbon and a few roses – made of marzipan I suppose. 

Well I think this is all so will close with best love from us both. Arthur goes on Friday morning to Dawlish. Mum and Dad 

*Never mind the ‘Willow Man’, described in the linked Wikipedia article; to a true local the most famous landmark on the road is Humphrey the camel.

**Well, this is a new one.  Alec did a lot of family history research into the Fewings line, but unfortunately all his research – although shared with others during his lifetime – died with him.  The disks he left behind are no longer possible to read, and the paper files are too numerous and disorganised to consult for the time being.  However it will be straightforward enough to trace back the family tree and see if a marriage to someone named Madge surfaces; it just requires time that isn’t actually available to me at the moment.


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