Sunday 24th September, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you once again for a very interesting letter. No hold up with post this week. I must say we were looking forward to hearing of the doings of Uncle Arthur plus your reactions etc. 

I did not think you would have been able to save much of 1960 cherry wine for long. Of course the 1961 lot is fairly new, and it would be a pity to use it up before it has had time to mature. Nevertheless we are quite prepared for some of it to mature at this end if you have any to spare. 

Pity you have not heard from Tiverton about the proposed visit to Exmouth, but shall I expect you to make up your mind about us at short notice anyway so don’t worry about it. There are a few mists about early these days but they do not develop into much, and clear well before midday. I think it is still a bit too early to start thinking about fogs. The weather will have to be much colder for the really bad fogs to form. I think you are fairly safe to travel up till about mid-November and would be extremely unlucky to come unstuck. 

Glad you were able to write to Mrs Godfrey, I thought you would want to do that. 

So you had another trip to Kingston on the blackberry lark. I thought that Friday was the day you had to pick up Arthur at Weston, did he not want to come with you. I am not a bit surprised that there are thousands of berries to be taken. It will probably be the cheapest way you can make even including the elderberry. At this time of year too, apples should be plentiful, particularly the windfalls, and imperfect ones. I believe you had a go at some on a previous occasion, but you may think to try some more. As an idea, blackberry and apple, as in the pie, might make a good combination. 

Yes still slugs and more slugs. I saw the paper-boy put his heel on one about 6 inches long on the front path this morning. It is quite risky walking down the hill some mornings as they come out of the grass and cross the path (for some reason query same as the chickens) to the hazard of all passers by. 

I do not think that Susan has seen the comic Wonderland yet. She was off-colour last Wednesday and stayed home from school. I brought a couple of comics home in addition to the two they normally have, but did not see the one you mentioned. There are lots of comics for all ages these days and it is a job to get the right age group now. 

So far, although I was aware that the polythene bags should be turned every couple of days, I have not done so.  The bags are in position as I placed them over a week ago. I see there is moisture on the inside and in all three pots the plant is throwing out leaf buds. I cut one right back if you remember and took off all the green leaf but the other two retained varying amounts of leaf.  It seems to make no difference as all the old leaves are still full of life, and the cutting without leaves is also throwing leaf buds. The pots are out in the garage right up to the glass level at the bench end. I expect it is a bit early to hope that they have rooted?

Sorry to say I was not aware that there would be any motorway anywhere near Clevedon. Something must have been said at some time or other, but I cannot recollect it. I cannot picture the Water Station at Twickenham or the football ground. Is it at the bottom by the star or even back in the direction where we saw the dahlias, or is it further on where the road divides for Failand and Nailsea. Perhaps it is a little way along either of the last named roads. Fancy it going through Kingston Seymour. It looks as if this road will provide the route that has been wanted for so long, one direct from Clevedon to Weston along the coast. 

The trouble with motorways is that they limit the number of access roads, and you may find that although it passes through Kingston, there may not be a roundabout or slip road which will enable you to get on it. However it is bound to cut the running time and possibly petrol consumption if you can get on one as near as Congresbury. Shall be interested to learn more of this project. 

Pauline went to Italy not Spain. Language, climate and food very similar, but not the direction. 

Not surprised that Geoff has not been lucky in contacting us by phone are you? 

You should remember that in America everything is done on the “grand scale” and a mere weekend assumes the proportions of a week. Nice to hear that some distant connection of ours strike it rich, but it won’t do him much good now poor chap. Presumably the party mentioned must have been an elder sister to Great-grandmother Fewings unless her son came to an untimely end in 1912. The sons and daughters of Grandmother Fewings mostly lived another thirty years, and several are still alive. 

Re: Paddington Yard report, had a meeting with Bryant on Friday (Goods Agent).  He had some of his inspectors present and NH. Bryant sent his District inspector. It was very fiery for about two hours, they called it all things under the sun, including murder, – and said it could not be done, – the drivers would not have it, the shunters would not have it, – the L.D.C. would not have it, etc. The chief inspector with two months to go offered to resign on the spot etc etc. Told him I could not comment on that one as it was a matter between him and Mr Bryant. Once we had sorted out all the issues raised that were the prerogative of other people to raise, they were left with the straight issue, – could all the work be done with one engine? They agreed, but said that insufficient staff had been provided to do the work. That of course is a matter for the L.D.C. staff side to comment on, so in the end subject to one minor provision, Bryant will recommend the report is passed onto the next stage. 

Regarding your query about the route, I believe the route you describe is the right one, but I cannot remember how we came back. I think we got a little lost in that area, and we wandered about in the outskirts of Windsor before getting back on the trail. I think that when you travel the layout of the roads will be a little different from those which we travelled on, as the M4 motorway has since been opened. This road bypasses Maidenhead, and will eventually pass Slough, but at the moment it stops short on the west side of Slough and you have to go on the A4 to proceed. Coming from the A303 through Englefield Green you will have to cross the A4 to get on the Iver Heath side and I am pretty certain you do it at the lights you suggest, also crossing the railway line by Dolphin Junction signal box. 

Susan suggested that perhaps Grandfy might like to grow a few blackberry bushes in his garden, but I told her you had spent the last thirty years trying to keep them out. I do not think my reply was understood or appreciated.*

You query what happened on the day of the school strike – Susan was sick as I said earlier but there was no strike at her school although some of the others in the area did close. I gathered that the parents had received letters informing them of the intention to strike. 

So sales have increased since dad join the choir. all good for trade apparently. 

Nice to know that Michael Richings has passed his B.A. At one time it looked as if he would not I think. 

Should have thought you could have made an edible hat, but after all you have prepared a few edible boots in the past. (reply awaited). 

So Arthur has gone on his way rejoicing by now. Hope the visit was a success for all concerned. After all they do live and act differently in America, and I suppose we should not judge them by our standards, or by any other for that matter. It is just a question of finding out how much one has in common apart from the language. 

Have not cut grass and may now leave it for the winter. We go out to tea this afternoon so it will be all rush and tear soon. Last Sunday we went over to West Drayton, Peter dropped the first bomb by bringing in his new girlfriend, and soon after the second one exploded when Mrs Hawkeswood and daughter walked in.

Tried to start the car yesterday to go shopping in the morning only to find that the battery was down flat. Borrowed Eric’s charger and in about half an hour had it on the road again. Doug was in bed with a heavy cold otherwise we could have pushed it into the road and tried coasting down the hill to start. Could not manage it on my own. Getting fewer and fewer dahlias now which is a pity as I had hoped you might be here to see them. We may have one or two left if your visit is not long delayed. Well there it is for this week once again, no doubt the girls will contribute a drawing or two. Love from us all for now. 

*Ya think?  After all, by the age of five a child really ought to be able to identify an invasive species.  /sarcasm.


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