Alec to his parents:
Dear Mum and Dad
Your latest letter to hand at usual time, for which many thanks. Glad to say that both Susan and Carol are now much better, and but for an occasional runny nose, otherwise O.K.. Yes Susan can write lots of words now, and is beginning to show great interest in reading as she asks all sorts of questions about all and any writing she sees, including such things as posters, sauce bottles etc. Simple words of three letters are beginning to click into place, and with the present interest should start the ball rolling for the rest.
Last Sunday, as has been told already, a number of the bigger girls were whisked off to the primary section of the Sunday school. They had to form a line as their names were called out. When the line was complete Carol shouted out “you did not call out my name”. This from the teacher afterwards. I think to avoid disappointment for the children whose names were not called out the remainder were formed into a line and were taken round in a circle.
Yes we realised that the drawing represented mice in the garage, but had to have a crack at the artist. They always come in at this time of year, but gather they get a hot reception.
With regard to your visit on the 12th, please note you will be expected to lunch. It does not matter what time you arrive, nothing will spoil. It is not a very good idea to have a picnic lunch en route this time of the year, as it may be raining or a bit cold for hanging about. June will have something this end for you to eat so please do not bother about the grub.
I am not worried about taking time off. I do not think any obstacle would be placed in the way of my having extra days if genuinely wanted, but the main difficulty is finding a convenient time to be away. I have five meetings lined-up for next week already and that excludes Thursday and Friday. I would have had one on Thursday, but the man I want to contact is on late turn.
Hope the articles to be brought up do not weigh down the car too much.
I left the honeysuckle cuttings out of their coverings last weekend and all seem to have suffered a slight setback as a result. I think they are all still alive, but a distinct flagging is noticeable. Gave them a drop of water as the earth seems very dry. Probably the cause. Should imagine the rose leaves are being cut by bees or wasps. They are in tatters now. I think there will be a rose for you to see, also one or two remaining dahlias.
Some figures for your produce, can imagine at the potential there if only you have a reliable outlet. Yes I thought I made it clear in my last letter that I understood that spring sown broad beans were more likely to suffer from blackfly. Must have got the sentence crossed.
I saw a comprehensive plan of all the motorways a few days ago, and think that the new one you took off will be very useful to us. The drill would seem to be to follow the South Wales motorway until it joins the Ross Spur, then along that one and onto the West of England one. Distance probably the same as now, but could save up to half the time. I would say that to double the average speed would not be unreasonable. I should think that when the motorway is completed the peace and quiet will have departed from the neighborhood.
I cannot tell what the next moves are with Beeching. It is difficult to get a true appreciation of the position as people with vested interests are giving alternative views on his comments. Someone in the G.M.’s has told me that Curry has made a report that certain people are too obsessed with incentive schemes. (? McD)
Paddington Yard is on ice for the time being until I can get a hand-ou done for the staff. So many things on the go that only the most urgent can be tackled.
Note Don’s resignations, but we had the opposite effect at Maidenhead. One of the carmen had sent in his resignation, and was working out his time when the incentive scheme was introduced. As a result of what he learnt from the other men, and his bonus of the first week, He has withdrawn his resignation and wants to stay on. A checker who handed in his resignation at the same time is holding fire for the moment to see which way the scheme for shed staff goes.
Pity Don only got £25. Having been mentioned in the list it might as well have been for £5,000. Still he can now get 25 more if he wants to and increase his chances of. Susan and Carol have one each but so far no luck.*
No more practice with the L-plates this week although we did go out again in the evening of the day previously reported to you. Gear changing is improving, and occasionally we were able to get right up into top gear.
Of course Tiverton had to write when it was too late to do anything about it. Had they written before you could have delayed your visit to us for a week and fitted both trips in. We are of course glad for our own sake that it brings you here sooner.
Susan’s drawing of the L-plate was unprompted but I got the blame for it (of course).
The decorators finished at West Drayton a long time ago – probably 2 months. It was only one man (inside) and he soon went through the rooms. Outside there were a couple of men engaged on repairing the wall.
We have written to the G.P.O. to ascertain what they want from us to keep the phone on. Still can’t seem to make up our minds if it is worth it.
Well will not overdo the news etc. in view of your impending visit so will look forward to seeing you on Thursday – to lunch.
Love from us all.
*Sixty years later the position is still the same. See this Wikipedia article for a rough breakdown of the likelihood of ever winning anything!