Wednesday 27th December, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

In reply to your latest, arrived last Saturday or Sunday, I forget which. It arrived together with our card and that for Susan. Carol’s did not arrive until Sunday and there was quite a to-do from her as to where her card was. All ended well however. Sorry about delay in replying etc, but have not known where we were for a day or so, and odd postal deliveries on top.

Thank you for the presents you gave June and I, and also for those sent to the girls. They both had quite a few as you might expect, and no doubt Susan will try a few words herself in thanks. they were both very well over the holiday thank goodness, and we had no trouble with them at all. We all went to church on Christmas Day, and the girls behaved very well, especially as it was not a children’s service, and must have been boring for them. In the afternoon Mr and Mrs Baker and Peter and Pauline came over. Peter has had a tiff with the latest, so she was not in evidence. They all departed somewhere near 9 p.m. in Peter’s large car. Incidentally he tells me that the bottom and reverse gears have gone on his car, and it will cost about £50 [about £1200 in 2021 money] to have it repaired. I do not know what it will be if he has to do it himself.

On Boxing Day, the same party arrived about 1:45 p.m. when we all sat down to deal with June’s cooking.* I must say I sat in on all helpings, and had no difficulty with any of them. The girls had a most enjoyable time and so many presents that we had to reduce the numbers a bit so that we could all get in the room. At about 8 p.m. I took them all back to West Drayton, Peter having departed somewhat earlier. The roads were very icy and I had a lot of difficulty in seeing out through a windscreen on which ice kept forming despite the wiper being in action. By the time I got there, the heat from heater and passengers had raised the temperature enough for the  ice to  melt on all the windows. 

On Boxing morning I took the girls for a walk with their dolls’ prams out around the school and Clay Pigeon** and back via the little stream. It was very cold, but no wind blowing, and the sun was up so it was not unpleasant. 

I gather that Baynton-Hughes has got the job vacated by Pattisson. I told Geoff on Saturday, and we both had a good cry about it. I should think that six months later and he would not have stood a chance. 

Talking about Geoff, reminds me that we dropped in on them last Saturday to deliver the presents for Rebecca and Sarah. Mrs Peddle*** was there but mercifully the old man was out with his son-in-law. I did not realise it but I had not seen Mrs P since Stella’s wedding****. (She says so, but I am sure I have seen her since.) We missed Stella as usual, and everyone else was out, so it was very convenient. 

We hope you both had a good Christmas, and managed to see some people. Also hope your bellringers’ party goes well. What price some more flashlight snaps. (Chance to use up any bad wine you may have.) Instead of rough cider, try them with elderflower this year. 

Well will close now, more in the next Sunday letter. Happy New Year and best wishes from us all. 

*’We all sat down to deal with June’s cooking’ is hardly a fair way to describe eating a festive meal prepared by one’s wife.  June’s cooking was decent, if unadventurous, and I cannot recollect any absolute disasters except where the ingredients themselves were at fault – the occasional ‘not exactly fresh’ chicken, for example.

**The Clay Pigeon was, and still is, a local pub. See

***Mrs Peddle would be Stella’s mother (i.e. my great-uncle’s mother-in-law), Mr Peddle being her second husband.  I don’t know what the reference to his son-in-law may be – obviously Geoff was his (step) son-in-law but he was clearly there all the time; the obvious conclusion is that Mr Peddle had other children from a previous marriage, which I wasn’t aware of.

****Geoff and Stella were married in 1944 so this does seem unlikely; no doubt they met at one of the christenings of Geoff and Stella’s daughters in 1946 or 1951 – which is admittedly still a long time however.


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