Sunday 9th September, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks for a nice long newsy letter again this week, also for the short reply to my memo. Thanks also for the kind comment on pending move. The date of my move is purely fortuitous. McDonald is on leave and could not care less what happens in his absence to his subordinates. The head of the Admin. section and the senior typist are on leave at the same time, and of course his assistant – Lay – has to make bricks without straw during his absence. However it is all to the good, as one cannot settle to anything with a move imminent. I do believe that they are well behind the W.R. in these matters, having resisted the introduction of Work Study for a while. I do not know  quite what I shall find, or even what my precise position will be in the set-up. The post is described as Work Study Assistant, but was referred to by Jagger at the interview as Senior Work Study Assistant. He also said I would be assisting Mr Russell but I find out he has an assistant named Cook. In any case the salary is £1,350 – £1,560 plus 3% [totalling roughly £33,000-£38,000 in 2022 parlance] so I should worry.

Doug Matthews is still at the Eastern Region, but I have not got his exact office address although he is still at the same address in Ruislip I believe. Meaddows who left us when at Reading to join the E.R. is now Costing Officer there. One of our former traffic analysis boys is Assistant Station Master there.

You are a bit out in your terminals. Marylebone was E.R. quite a long time ago. it became W.R. for about 4 years, and for the last 2 years or so it has been L.M.R. It is now the centre of a division of its own and has a Traffic Manager. The rest you got pretty straight.

There are one or two moves going at the moment at Paddington and my disappearance has helped McD to get the people he wants into more than one job. He was in something of a cleft stick over seniority before and may have had to get someone from outside. Now he can promote both contestants involved. I can give you more detail when you come up. When I get some more information on the subject I will let you know what goes on at the E.R. Will try for the magazine, but will have first to find a vendor.

I did not meet Johnson, but I think he is still kicking around somewhere. He was mentioned in the New Year Honours list of couple of years back. Scragg I met, and found easy to get on with but only saw Haynes a time or two after he came back and took over Guards Working for a time before Joe Gilbert. Smart I never met although his successor Alec Eagle I met very often and liked. He is dead now, having died some 10 years or so ago.

Regarding number 17 Eccleston Road, we went over there yesterday to have a look and see what wanted doing. The flooring is fair apart from one room. Damp is on several walls, and practically all wainscoting is coming away from walls which are crumbled to powder behind. Most windowsills and windows which are of the sash type require attention. Some cupboards require removal all together, and all rooms want decorating badly. There is no damp course, and plumbing is prehistoric. The whole is dirty and wants an army of chars to put right*. In short the house would provide several months’/years’ work for a fit young couple. The lease has 13 years to go. Something could be made of the place – I should not want it for my own – the main ingredients being time, energy and money, all of which commodities are absent I am afraid. We do not know as yet where Peter fits into all this, but if he were to live there no doubt he could do a lot to the place. We understand however that Mr and Mrs Baker are talking about going in there in about three weeks. How this is to be achieved goodness only knows. We have offered to help of course and must now see what can be done. No news yet of anything being done in the grant line.

So you have all the water you want in the pond now have you? What will you do in the winter when you do not want any water for the plants? Will you let the tanks overflow the downpipes?

Please come up as arranged. I should be able to have most of the time with you as the weekend is the main objective.

The first injection seems to have made a remarkable change in June’s leg. It is still sore of course and sensitive, but the elastic stocking has not been needed since. The second injection was given on Friday of last week, and the doctor was very pleased with the progress. It seems that he was impressed with the results of only one injection. There are no more to come, but the condition is expected to return in about two years, when the dose can be repeated. The pain is not cured, or even removed, but it seems that it has been substantially reduced. Let us hope it continues.

I have started to pick the tomatoes as they turn colour now, and put them aside for ripening. I have had one myself this week, and although the skin was a bit tough the contents were sweet enough. I expect that are a lot more out there waiting for my attention today.

I tried to get hold of Geoff in the office on Friday thinking that he was already back from his holidays. However I spoke to Brunsdon and he is not due until Monday. Have therefore not told him of the move. You could have done so, it is not secret. Bob Hill congratulated me on the move last week, but I have seen no one else of note. Pushed the boat out at the Mitre for the staff on Thursday, and they presented me with a leather dispatch case and a box of chocolates for June.

Sorry to hear that you both have had colds. We have been a bit lucky I suppose not to have had any.

Mowed the lawns again yesterday and got a little hot in the process. There is some sun about today although there is also plenty of cloud up. It is quite warm though.

Doug did not think much of the bungalow. I do not know whether that represents a little bit of envy or not. He said it was not worth £5,400 a sum that Eric had mentioned to him.

Must go out and measure the tank – I find that it is 26½ in by 20in by 19½ in deep. It holds 40 gallons. As I said before it leaks, but you should be able to remedy this fault with Sylglas.

Thanks for the comments from Bill Aston and Roy Hewett. Glad to hear of Norman Allen’s addition – did they want another girl?

It is a bit early to say about visits to Tottenham Court Road. It looks about the same distance from Liverpool Street to that point as it is from Paddington. It just depends how I am situated for nipping up there.

Sorry to learn that Norman has had an appeal turned down. Bad thing to have to go to T.S.S.A in any case but worse if it does not come off.

There it is for the time being, will no doubt have more to say on the office front next week. Will leave a bit of spare paper in case there are any further remarks to come. Love from us all.

*There is no male equivalent of ‘charwoman’ or ‘charlady’, and Alec is clearly thinking that everyone involved in the cleaning will be female. Quel surprise. 


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