Sunday 18th February, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks again for weekly letter and newspaper. I am sorry to report that last week the envelope containing both had become open at both ends although the contents were intact, and again this week precisely the same thing happened. I suppose it is a bit of a risk if this happens regularly as contents may get a stray. It would seem that the Sellotape you put on the end is insufficient for the job.

Thought you would have a laugh over the bread and water bit. So far nothing further in that line thank goodness.

One thing about Fortifones, they have supplied a number of batteries to keep you going for a while. If you get stuck again do not hesitate to let me know if you want me to phone them. Something seems to have twisted their conscience for them to mark the latest packet no charge? Hope it is not no change.

Note you had some severe weather your way last week. I had a meeting at Southall last Monday, and during the proceedings had a message from Paddington to the effect that June had telephoned to say roof of garage had blown off, and neighbour had helped to fix it temporarily, and could I come home before dark to make sure all was secure. It was a garbled message in the event. When the meeting ended, instead of going to lunch, I caught the bus across to Ruislip, but found that all that had moved was the crown piece at the house end, and the piece next inside it which was secured only by the weight of the first piece. These pieces are about 6 ft long, and had been lifted off by the force of the wind coming in through the open door of the garage. I had taken the car to station, and left a half door wedged open. All should have been in order, but it appears that a short metal bar to which the end piece was originally secured had worked loose and fallen off. At least this bar could not be found, and as it should have dropped inside the garage, can only think it had been missing for some time. I know it was there when we put the garage up. It appears that Eric and June together put the pieces back, and when I got there I found that they there were locked in place with a strong piece of wire tied round the main crossbeams. Poor Eric could only use one arm as the other was in a bad state following the vaccination. Doctor would not let him drive his car for a day or so.

I well remember a similar strong wind occurring when I was going to St. John’s School. I got as far as Mogg’s place but could not get round the corner. Had to dig out Mr Mogg to get me into Tennyson Avenue.

Have not heard the latest in the housing situation – next door. I suppose they will tell us one day what they are going to do, but I suppose it is none of our business. So far they have not said definitely if they are going to have that plot or not. If not, of course, it’s throws the whole thing wide open again.

Nothing further in the lawn Improvements so far, but the “Surveyor” has informed me that the work must be completed by May. I think we shall have to have a go slow for a while to push the wages up.

I should imagine that some of the last year’s parsnips will find their way into wine. As you know the older the potato or parsnip is, the better for wine. Talking on that subject, I forgot to tell you that last week (probably after going to press) I started off some more wine. This lot was based on 2 lbs of old parsnips, to which were added 1 lb of currants, tinned lemon juice (pure) equal to about 10 lemons, one orange complete with peel (very juicy), the peel of a second, and two banana skins. This lot has 2 lbs of sugar in it and the liquid wine yeast (as given to you). As Jungle Juice has already been taken as a name, I think I will call this one Alec’s Anaesthetic and hope for the best.

The mileage when you passed LTA 259 over to me was  46286 so you did rather less than 26000 miles in it. This over a period of six years. The average to you would be about 4300 per year. It is about half as much again as our average, but I would say that the average length of your journey was longer.

I thought there was something the matter with Geoff’s face the last time I saw him, but I did not like to mention it. Saw him again on Friday, and noticed little change. Glad you told me that he had been having trouble with it or I would not have known.

I have no doubt that you will lose the Clevedon train service altogether eventually, unless more people travel by it. There is no likelihood of that however as people’s habits have altered in the last twenty years or so. Nearly all have cars, or access thereto, and the television keeps them in in the evenings anyway.

We can find a corner for the thornless loganberry if you care to bring it up. Thanks very much. I do not know how long it is before they fruit.

Did not hear of the bad business at Lyme Regis.

Things seem to be happening in the housing line in Clevedon now. All the vacant plot are going by the sound of things. Of course what was once an out of the way spot what is now accessible by car. I recall a number of such plots in Edward Road which hung fire for years mainly because it was so far out of the main part of the town.

Sorry to hear about Dad’s thumb. How long has that been giving trouble? Note no bones broken – good job.

Pauline came over yesterday and released us to go to the pictures. We think it is the first time we have been since we possessed the car. Quite something to come home and not have to wait for a bus.

I see the chap at the bottom is digging his garden, and I expect several others are at that game today, it is such a nice day. Quite spring-like weather, and the girls are out in the garden on the swing. Of course they cannot agree for more than two minutes and a squabble begins. I see the prams are also getting an airing.

Had several trips out last week including a trip to Swindon. There I met Mr Armand now assistant to C.M.E. Spent most of the day with him, including lunch, and he asked to be remembered to you. it appears he is also a homemade wine merchant, and says he has even made his own whiskey, but he did not say if he distilled it or not.

No news of our joiner yet, but expect him at any time now.

Well must report that we are all fairly well at this end, and hope that goes for you too. Looking forward to that typewritten stuff. Is Mother going to be allowed to use it? Distaff side is barred this end. *

Well there it is again for another week. Love from us all. 

*’Distaff side’, i.e. his wife, June, but the implication is that she isn’t allowed to use the typewriter because she’s female … and we’ll just allow the stupidity of that to sink in a little, shall we? Younger readers may never have encountered a ‘typing pool’ in real life, but they turn up occasionally in films and TV shows set in the past, and you would have to look a long time before you found anybody male working in a typing pool. Men were usually very good typists, many having learned during their time in the services, but they didn’t type for other people – only for themselves. This is Alec’s attitude to life summed up in a nutshell, really; what’s yours is mine and what’s mine’s my own. He and June were both textbook narcissists, and it’s really no wonder that they had such dreadful rows.

This image was found on, where it is unfortunately not credited.

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