Wednesday 29th August, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Once again many thanks for your long and interesting letter received this morning. Glad you all enjoyed yourselves – we did as mentioned in last week’s letter and were sorry it was over so quickly. On the whole I do not think you would have improved on the weather the following week but I must mention today. It has been I think the hottest of the year and it has been unbearable in the garden. When I looked out of the window at 6:30 am I thought the glass was steaming and I tried to clean it off but it was in fact a very thick fog and I could not see the garden. It cleared about 7:30 a.m. and sun came out very strongly with the resultant brilliant day.

Yes last Saturday was also good somewhat similar to the previous one when you went to Weston but Sunday was a shocker. Strong wind most of the day and in the late afternoon terrific storms broke out and baths, tanks, and pond overflowing.

Glad to hear your pictures turned out satisfactory with the one exception – mum is disappointed about that one. Must look forward to seeing the collection when we come up.

Pleased you were able to supply Delphine and Roy with the duplicate cactus – it all helps to build up various collections. Hope you save the buddleias after going to such trouble. I’m afraid I should not have put them in the same day as the journey was made – should have been too tired. The one in the Lewis’s bag was the one you were anxious to save.

Yes June gave us a brief report on your journey home; where did you go wrong at Keynsham? Did you go past the church and turn right? Or did you turn right after arriving at junction at Keynsham and then proceed through Saltford? If you took wrong turn after passing Keynsham church then you must have entered Bath by what we call the top road and this would not be so bad as the lower road. Naturally we thought of you all on the journey and pictured you arriving at or passing through specific points. Bath of course was not one of them. 2½ hours to Marlborough was very good going with such a load. You did well to take things slowly especially at turnings and roundabouts irrespective of what was following. Noted you found yourselves running via Burnham Beeches – not mistaken for Burnham-on-Sea by any chance? 5 hours actual running time under the circumstances was really good travelling and how nice to know the girls stood up to it without being upset. This is excellent news and you will have more confidence for future long runs. They seem to have grown out of their car sickness bouts.

I take it the paintwork can be touched up on roof of car and that there was not a puncture to let in rain. Sorry to hear about June’s case if I remember she was a bit anxious about it before leaving here.

Noted all eatables except shallots duly dealt with. The shallots will be better after they have been pickled for a few months.

Very glad you have been able to get a couple of new tyres. They were badly needed and should help considerably on treacherous roads. I will pass on your thanks to Mr Bushell when I see him. He is on late turn at present and has a couple of 12-hour spells to do before the weekend. He had a very bad accident to deal with at work on Monday this week. A man got his leg caught in a conveyor belt and it took an hour and a half to release him when they discovered he had broken leg in three or four places. The kneecap has snapped off completely. The tragedy is that the conveyor belt should not have been working at that particular time but that has nothing to do with Bushell. All this information is private of course. Bushell says there will be an enquiry and awful row about it.

So your lawn needed a trim. I did not cut ours again until Monday this week and this morning I put on a good dose of lawn sand to kill clover and plantains. The sun has since done its work and already large brown patches are appearing. Pleased to hear about your tomatoes and hope you will soon be able to enjoy your own pickings. Ours have turned in very rapidly this week and in twodays I sold 17lbs and had about 7lbs still on hand after using some ourselves. Since starting this letter Mr Aston has run over for 1lb. Does Carol like tomatoes?

Noted your new neighbours not yet in residence. You will have something to tell Mr and Mrs Gray when they return regarding the bungalow at Worlebury* and I expect they will be very interested.

As mentioned above all water storage appliances are now full including the pond. There are just over 6″ of depth in the shallow portion and from the surface level of water to the bottom of the deep it is 2 ft 1 in. I’ve taken out all the rockery stones around the edge and now making wooden template for raising the concrete level to its new height i.e. level with the path. This is only preliminary work and makes a change from the more serious gardening activities.

Re: new lock on kitchen door, I had no trouble with the new alignment for keyhole – the drill soon dealt with that. Quite a nice job now until we introduce the rain drop glass doors for all the inside doors. Haha.

Note Susan has been using trowel etc. and doing quite a lot of repotting. Did Carol like her own choice of toy? What rascals to run off to the shops on their own and with some money too. What will they get up to next?

How about the driving lessons June? Any more practice? very sorry to hear it is necessary to take further advice re: leg and hope it will not mean an operation. On the other hand if an operation is the only answer and a good job can be made on it then perhaps it would be as well to face it and get it over. You will let us know what is advised in due course please.

Surprise news about your dad putting 155 High Street into the agent’s hands. Both your father and mother must be very weary of the business and I’m sure they would be glad to get out but the question is where? We hope a satisfactory solution will be found before long and give them at least ease of mind.

We have not been out of Clevedon since you went home but have had car out for two or three trips to library and Hill Road. We had a letter from Michael Richings last week and we noticed there is an account of the wedding in last week’s Mercury enclosed to you with this letter. Mum will deal with the card question for Susan and Carol in her epistle. At this precise moment she is delivering the September magazines.

Mum has written Tiverton and told them we would be pleased to visit down for a weekend at Exmouth either the first or second weekend in October but no reply so far. Expect their trouble is not knowing for certain when bungalow will be free.

Geoff and family in Spain now and just about half way through their fortnight stay. In view of recent hotel fires there I suggested in my last letter to them they should take an extinguisher for emergencies.

No luck on football but I see a pensioner living in Bristol won £62,000 last Saturday.

Have told Don his three-year-old cider should only be taken in wineglassfulls because it is so potent. I’ve not touched it since you went back. Not my cup of tea exactly.

So far as gardening is concerned as stated in last letter I’ve started to clean it up from the bottom end. To date have only managed to reach the strawberry bed where I’ve been busy most of today. It is in a filthy mess and I have had to take out hundreds of unwanted runners. In the midst of it Heel calls from over the fence “Do you want any strawberry runners as I have some to spare?” Incidentally he is working like a navvy again and is not careful will be ill in bed before he knows anything about it. They are going to Rugby on the 12th September for a prolonged stay and is getting rid of all his poultry in the meantime. So he will start up again when he returns. Cornish has been over once or twice seems very interested in the waterfall arrangement. Mr Palmer looked in yesterday and said he was sorry to miss you that particular week was under the weather again and did not get out much. Now booked up for a holiday at Hastings commencing on the 8th prox. He looks a bit wizened and does not move about as quickly as he did. I think he stopped with his firm much too long where he could not ease up at all. The man who succeeded him as foreman has since packed in the job has been too much for him.

How are the girls getting on since they arrived back at 84? We think of them quite a lot and picture them running about this place. At the moment Susan is still away from school and they can play together but Carol will soon be on her own again now and no Michael to play with. A few months and she too will be away to school.

Well I think this is just about the lot for another week. Apparently you heard no more of your application for job at B.T.C. Anything else about?

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol. Mum and Dad. 

*Interestingly this bungalow seems to have shifted position a bit, although the expressions ‘Sand Bay’ and ‘Worlebury’ are pretty imprecise. A slight whiff of snobbism here, perhaps?


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