Tuesday 4th September, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

We were on the look-out for your letter this morning with all the good news and some unfortunately not so good. Now I’m starting to reply in order to cover as much as possible before posting on Thursday.

As we mentioned in short memo earlier we are delighted with the news of your promotion and it sounds like something worthwhile. The fact you are going over on the 10th inst. indicates they are in a hurry to get on with the work and my guess is that they have been lagging in Work Study organisation and are anxious to catch up. Moreover I should say they have not the staff with the necessary experience to get on with it. Although I have never worked at Paddington I agree things are not the same as they were years ago and a change may be all to the good. I too have heard the Eastern Region is very friendly one to another, but to start with you may find one or two disgruntled because the job did not fall to them. Is Douglas Matthews still with them? When opportunity occurs you must please send us an Eastern Region magazine and now we have a direct interest in them should like to have it monthly or is this asking too much?

I know the old G.N. and G.C. and G.E. with the L.T. and S. forms the E.R. and that King’s Cross, Marylebone and Liverpool Street are the terminals of the first three. Query Fenchurch Street the terminal of the last named. It’s a section I know nothing about but I think you have a grand opportunity to utilise the knowledge you have gained in the past 20 years to help the E.R. Is the post a new one or has the previous occupant got promotion or retired? Anyhow our very best wishes Alec and we are sure you will succeed.

June will not care much about your travelling but this is one of the hazards of railway life. I noticed your train service from South Ruislip runs direct to Liverpool Street so no more changing at Notting Hill for Paddington. What is the fluttering in the dovecote you refer to? The fact that you have the job or who is going to get yours?

Your final comment on this matter that you have gone further East whereas you would have preferred to have come more this way – this again is all part of the hazards of railway life but just think – if you had remained in Bristol you would have been lucky to have reached Class 1 by now.

We shall be pleased to have your remarks on the new job after you have had some experience there. There used to be a H. Johnston there and I think he finished very high up. He was one of a Control Commission with Haynes (W.R.) Smart (S.R.) and Scagg (L.M.R.) who came to Bristol Swindon and Westbury in 1941 when Assistant Chief Controllers were introduced and I was with them for about 10 days.

I guessed there would be no changing of house and it is good to know the housing loan is all right – still at 4% I hope.

Now for the news which was not so good. We are very sorry June to hear of the problem in front of your mum and dad. It is really a tragedy but although I am not in a position to comment it does seem the lesser of the two evils is for them to go in to number 17 Eccleston Road. At least they will be able to relax and not be at everybody’s beck and call every time the bell rings. That in itself must be a great relief to them. It is surprising how the interior of a house can be improved by the right selection of paint and wallpaper. We sincerely hope things will work out satisfactorily for them. They both need all the rest they can get and it may be a blessing in disguise once the worry of the business and its financial position is off their minds. If a grant can be obtained for renovations this will be great but obviously the place must be brightened up before they move into it. I think I can understand your mum not wishing to go there.

Now to more general topics. Yes Friday and Saturday last were very nice days but Sunday not too good. Today we have a couple of violent thunderstorms and baths soon filled up again – this after I was thinking of carrying water again. Have disconnected from pond now because I shall gradually empty for winter rains to fill up. Glad to hear the buddleias are recovering.

Never mind about the odd pictures that fails. Expect you have a lot of good ones to show us later on. Which reminds me – will your move affect our visit? We do not want you to start asking for time off on our account so early after appointment.

I had no idea there were three sizes of tyres on car. Noted the new ones help the steering. I think that tyres are one of the most important features of car – so much depends on them.

Bushell did not mind the work from his point of view. He is qualified to deal with such accidents.

Let’s get off general topics for a minute. Have just got to the point in your letter in which you tell us of June’s experience in hospital with her leg. I’m sorry and surprised an operation could not be guaranteed a success. Let’s hope the injections will give her a lot of relief. Is the next one the final or will more be necessary later on? I remember the hospital. You pointed it out to us sometime ago – stands well back from the road.

Note no more driving lessons June – a bit difficult unless you can find a home for Carol for an hour but we hope you will be able to resume soon. You will need car more than ever if Alec happens to be away on your shopping days.

Re: tomatoes Alec, pick them when they start to colour and put them in a box to ripen. They will ripen quicker and give the others a chance to develop. So Carol enjoyed the ripe one. What about Susan or does she not like them?

I put some lawn sand on lawn last week and it certainly scorched up the clover and plantains but I shall want a lot more to make the job effective. No more real progress on pond yet but I’ve done some more measuring up around it. Am now in the midst of cleaning through the raspberry canes and find the gardening gloves most useful.

Your new neighbours back from Majorca then. Geoff and family start back on Wednesday the 15th. Have written for them to have letter on arrival back but have said nothing about your move. He will throw a fit when he hears of it at the office.

Fancy a real doggy having a sniff at Perky Pup.

Note both girls have had a day off colour. Both Mum and I have had something of colds on us these last few days. Must be the changing of the weather from Summer to Autumn. Working in the garden makes one perspire freely in muggy weather and a cold can soon be taken.

How about your flu inoculation? Wonder if the E.R. deal out the doses.

Re: tank please let me know length, breadth and width so that I can measure up boot of car. I will bring it back if I can get it in.

Nice to have an evening showing yours and your neighbours’ holiday snaps through the projector. It is a wonderful record of events and you must have many hours of pleasure looking at them. Did they have a good time? What did they think of your description of the Worlebury bungalow?

Am sorry to hear about Ray Skinner. Jeff told me a letter or two ago he was having a bungalow built at Paignton in anticipation of his retirement at 60 years of age. Stronquist I only knew by name and I never met him or Ken Clifford as far as I can remember.

[Letter continues on Wednesday 5th September, 1962.]


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