Sunday 1st October, 1961

Dear Mr Coleman,

We are interested in having a radiator, located in the bathroom, fitted to our existing hot water supply, which is operated by a ‘Crane 20’ type boiler. If you can undertake this work, and can advise on radiators, cost, and fitting charges etc., would you be kind enough to call one evening soon to discuss the matter. It is desired that the radiator be operating before the colder weather sets in. 

Yours faithfully, 

[I have no recollection of a radiator ever being fitted in the bathroom, so maybe it didn’t happen. I’ll be looking out for any ensuing developments.]

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad, 

Thanks once again for weekly letter. Glad the drawings etc. still up to standard. I noticed from Mum’s drawing that you have horses in the garage. Carol has been doing little drawings, mostly of the straight-line variety, but sometimes in resemblance of a piece of string. We do not usually enclose those for you, but as soon as they have any definition I expect you will be getting her efforts as well. 

As I read your letter I see that last time we reported that Susan was poorly. We have almost forgotten that, as since then Carol has been well and truly out of sorts. She has had, and still has, heavy catarrh with an attendant perpetual cough. It gives her no rest, or us either. Have tried the very last drop of cherry wine, but there was not enough to make much difference. Will try to find another that has the same effect. The present working remedy is juice of lemon with honey or sugar. She had a fit of the miseries yesterday at lunchtime. Would not eat her dinner as she said it had cauliflower with it. (A few greens, but no cauliflower.) Did not fancy any pudding, so was taken to bed protesting. She dropped off almost immediately and slept until about 3:30 p.m. She is lively enough out in the garden today, but still has the cough.

Seems as though you had a fine time with Arthur. Have formed the impression that he is on the scrounge, and probably not very appreciative of what is done for him. Take all his stories with at least two pinches of snuff, and have very many doubts about Madge the Millionaire. I expect you gave a sigh or two of relief when you saw his train depart from Weston. I would not be surprised if his tale about the horsepower of the cars was not far out. I believe they have a different horsepower rating, and in any case the average car there is known to be extremely highly powered.

Sorry you do not take to Susan’s idea of a blackberry bush in your garden. I agree that if you have a thornless blackberry in a place that you can spare, it would prove a profitable line. I have in mind the fact that in succession it would come after the beans and tomatoes had declined.

Thursday 12th October will do us very well for your visit. If you are coming up in the morning, I will have half-day only off on Thursday and a day off with you on the Friday. All this subject to any crisis arising.

You are not alone in having a poor apple crop this year. I was talking to some people yesterday who were making the same point. I suppose the weather early in the year was the cause. Took off the polythene bags all together yesterday, and find that the cuttings are all in good order. On each however there was a deposit of mildew on the outside, and also on the woodly part of the stem of one. The new growth is not affected however and all look healthy enough. there is another flower bud on the rose you gave us, so you may see it in bloom. The leaves have been riddled with holes over the last few days – could it be slugs?

Nice to have increased your African violets. Will the new ones be the same colour, or is there a chance of variety? It looks as though you will finish up by having more tomatoes (by weight) than runner beans. a situation I would have thought improbable to say the least. The production of tomatoes seems to be rapidly overtaking the beans.

Odd that you should get another crop of broad beans. I have heard that broad beans planted in the spring are less resistant to blackfly than those planted in late autumn. You may have avoided much trouble with yours, as  I have not heard any mention of it from you.

It sounds to me as if the motorway will cross the main road near the Moor Road that passes Hollands’ Pottery. Too near for comfort, but all good for trade I suppose, and it will certainly be handy for you.

Re: the Yard Scheme, we have now got the reluctant agreement from local management to the proposals with the rider that they do not think it will work. We have tactfully leaked the details of the proposals to the staff side, and told them that local management says it cannot be done. That was good enough for them, just the opportunity for them to show management how wrong they are once again.

Beeching has been to Paddington and Phillips has met him. I gather that in the G.M.’s office, they breathed a sigh of relief that he was a much more reasonable man than they had been led to believe. MacDonald had a meeting with Curry,  Beeching’s man seconded from the I.C.I. Work Study section, and McD came away in buoyant mood. It appears Curry thinks we are well ahead of the other regions, and his own ideas on the subject coincide with McD’s expressed views which have hitherto fallen on stony ground.

I think I told you that when we were on our car rally, we took a trip over the M4 motorway (as much of it as has been built) which bypasses Maidenhead. It makes for easier driving as there is plenty of room per car and nothing to stop forward progress at the speed you desire.

No slip of the typewriter. Peter’s new girlfriend, Pauline by name, did arrive as detailed in my last letter. Have not seen or heard of her since mind you, but I believe the earlier arrangement has finished. Yes you have got the right Hawkeswood. Mrs H said her husband knew you.

Grass growing on our lawns to such extent that I think we need a herd of goats to reduce it rather than a mower. It is all very wet and has not dried out for a long time now. This morning started wet but weather has improved a lot with sun and blue skies just now.

So Arthur took some pictures of Mogg’s place did he? Pity he had not come here some years ago when he could have taken a picture of Gull House along the seawall*. It has been pulled down now I believe, but it was inhabited in our time. The last person to live there was the eldest son (with beard) of the person who used to live in the left-hand bungalow situated across the river and lying between the picture house and Binding and Paynes garage. Almost opposite St John’s School in fact. I believe the old man’s name was Heaven, but I have forgotten the younger man’s name, but I know it was not the same. A bit religious, think they were mixed up with the Hessels.

Who are the newlyweds who are celebrating their first anniversary? Seems double Dutch to me. Perhaps it is the people next door or maybe Michael Ritchings?

June had her L-plates up this morning, and we went out on the first road lesson. quite a good start. It is all a matter of practice after all. Pauline is here for the weekend, and has taken the children out before a walk.

Ken Lay off sick this week and likely to be for a while. He has hypertension with palpitations. I am afraid he lets the job worry him.

Well there it is again. One more before you come up. Love from us all for the time being. 

*There is something that looks like demolition rubble visible on Google Earth on the edge of the Clevedon Golf Centre’s land at Gullhouse Point, south of Clevedon Pill and overlooking Blackstone Rocks, grid reference 51.42636, -2.880945; this area does not seem to be open to the public, although information is elusive. However the 1841 Census definitely shows a family named Hancock living nearby; in 1861 they are still there but the house is described at being ’41 Old Church Road’, which is a bit of a stretch but I can understand why. By 1911 it is ‘Island Cottage, 112 Old Church Road’. Demolition had clearly occurred, though, before the 1950 County Series OS Maps were prepared, so given both Alec’s and Leonard’s memories it must have been some time before or during the Second World War. Maybe its derelict remains were flattened to give effective sight-lines for coast-watchers?


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