Tuesday 18th September, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Thank you for such a long and interesting letter received this morning – what a budget to answer. Sorry to hear that June is still suffering pain with the leg in spite of the injections but it is noted she does not now need to wear a special stocking. A great pity the pain cannot be reduced – or should there be some improvement in due time?

Also noted the alteration in the position at 155 High

Street. Is it the case now that the business has been sold but not the property? The delay however does give a little more breathing space regarding the repairs to the house in Eccleston Road. Things moving in that direction apparently to install electric lighting and for necessary repairs to be affected. Like everything else it costs money and charges rise almost daily.

Your proposed date of our visit quite satisfactory so far as we are concerned but we should travel on Friday the 19th October for reason which will be given later in this bulletin. Perhaps if alright with you we could return on the Tuesday which would give us the equivalent time with you. This is a matter for you and we will fall into line with your wishes. Thanks for telling Geoff and it is quite a nice idea – if not too much for June – to ask them over instead of us going over there.

On Wednesday the 12 inst Mum and I decided to get out immediately after lunch and go for a trip in car – anywhere. It had rained during morning but was clearing up at dinner time. We found ourselves at Burnham but a gale force wind was blowing in from the sea and sand was blown into people’s faces and mouths. We soon got out of that by walking along the road on which the shops are – it was closing day so back to car and home.

On the Thursday at about 6:15 Mrs Marshall came round to say that Mr Bissix, organist and choir master, had collapsed in his home and doctor had ordered him to hospital the next day and would I take the practice that night. Nothing whatsoever had been prepared and I had to start from scratch. However we got over it alright and by Sunday a relief organist had been secured. This means that I shall be taking the practice every Thursday until further notice and as the relief organist is a very nervous individual can expect some fun. The irony of it is that we have had no practices for six weeks and an anthem has to be ready for Sunday the 30th inst. This is reason I suggested coming to you on the Friday instead of the Thursday in order to get practices in before leaving here, Bissix is in Southmead Hospital with a bleeding ulcer and within twenty four hours of his admittance had been given four pints of blood. So far they have not traced the leakage and until they do do cannot treat him properly.

One of the choir girls was married on a Saturday last and choir and bell-ringers turned out for the occasion, the choir afterwards going on to the reception in the New Hall. This was a very good do about 120 being present. Valerie Bush – Tennyson Avenue – was also married in the Old Church last Saturday but I doubt if you remember her – was only about a year old when you went to London.

Talking about elderberries – yesterday (Monday) I went down to light a bonfire and looking down the fields saw the elderberry bushes loaded with ripe berries so went down and gathered 4lbs and have started the treatment for elderberry brandy. Pity you could not secure the berries Peter showed you but you have enough on your plate without adding unnecessary jobs at present.

Last evening Stevens – with whom I used to travel to Bristol when he was in the timber trade – called round for an hour. He is now a secretary to a firm at Hereford but spending a few days at Clevedon. Whilst here Mr and Mrs Hewitt arrived unannounced so we had a full and talkative house for an hour or so. The two latter very interested in your new job and asked if any further news but we had not then had your letter which arrived this morning. The Astons have gone Manchester way to see some relatives for a week.

Yes I like Crane’s arrangement for his pond but ours is much bigger and calls for something different in design of surround. Incidentally although I know we have had no rain of importance for a week or upon the level has fallen about 1½ in. since I disconnected from garage roof. Have made no further progress with pond this week but have been concentrating on potato digging whilst soil is dry. Have an excellent crop of Majestic late potatoes and fortunately very few are diseased. The weeds are a problem again having covered the whole of the garden. I think I mentioned last week I had not felt like much work in the garden and it is a fact if you leave off for a time the garden gets out of hand very quickly. However both Mum and I are feeling better now and are giving a lot of time to the garden.

Thank you very much Alec for such a comprehensive report on the set-up of the E.R. Most interesting. Thanks also for magazine which I have just glanced through and shall read in detail later tonight. The Mag seems a much improved edition than the W.R. Mag. Certainly the paper is of a much better kind. From what I can surmise it seems the E.R. is much bigger than the W.R., by the mere fact of having Line Managers who themselves are in charge of Divisions and the latter presumably in charge of Districts. Would you say that the office you are in is the equivalent of the old Superintendent of the Line’s office on the W.R.? Glad they made you welcome. I guessed someone would take you out to lunch on the first day. A nice trip to Retford too. What a lovely opportunity to see a different part of the country – some of it quite nice.

Noted you will share an office with someone who is on the same basis as yourself. Is it a nice office? Hammond of course I knew in chief controllers days when he was an assistant engineer to Alexander. It is a small world.

So Geoff had not heard until you told him. What was his immediate reaction? Noted you have not contacted Doug Matthews. If he is at King’s Cross you are not likely to unless by accident. He seems to be sticking to the E.R. It is early days of course but from all you have told us I’m rather impressed with this setup and equipment. I also feel like if you can get settled in with them and produce the goods – as it were – that there are more opportunities available than on the W.R. where the difference between Operating and Commercial is still very strong especially when vacancies have to be filled. Your comments on this are awaited. Anyhow you already know you have our very best wishes for success in a strange land.

Noted you have been pressing Carol into carrying clippings to the waste ground – I’m sure she liked that. Sorry Susan missed her party but she must learn to do as she is told. The Wonderland book was for both of them. It is a book which caters for children of all ages – sorry you had to sort things out.

How about Susan’s sight? She seems to be always looking at things very close. Does the clinic examine eyes? Where is the recreation ground? Not the park surely. How did you get on at the harvest festival? Will leave mum to tell you about the cacti. I do not mess about with these. I managed to cut all lawns last Friday – grass had got out of hand a bit but that’s another job I’ve caught up on.

We are very sorry to hear about Christine. Homework is a strain on the kiddies – I never liked it myself – but nowadays it is most necessary if children are going to stand any chance of competing with others. You had a lot from the Weston Grammar School and I expect June had her share too. Both Rebecca and Sarah have a lot to do now. Not much of a reflection on Christine’s school before she went to Pinner.

Have your new neighbours moved in for good yet?

So Susan is doing a sort of arithmetic then – good. Expect she will be very good at it as she seems to be so keen to learn. Any more driving lessons June? Our neighbour Bushell is taking quite a lot of outings in his car, accompanied of course, ready for his test in October.

We have written to Tiverton and told them we shall be down on Friday the 12th of October. Shall probably be back again sometime on the following Monday or Tuesday. Hope there will be no flooding in the Exe Valley as was the case on a former occasion. Mr Palmer is on holiday at Hastings at the moment and strange to say our vicar was also at Hastings same time (unknown to each other) and they met in the church they both attended on the Sunday morning. No news from the Heels on holiday at Rugby yet.

This time last year Aston and I had been out gathering blackberries but so far there are not all that number available. Must try and make a trip along the seawall next week, weather permitting. Cornish still meandering about. Came over here yesterday but I was too busy to talk to him. Meanwhile Mrs Cornish is busy decorating the front bedroom.

Glad your tomatoes turning in all right now. No, I do not think you will find a lot of difference in the various sorts maybe the skins of some are tougher than others. Even with indoor fruit very little difference can be detected. Miss Caple just called with a cake for a weight guessing competition – another tenner gone.

Well I think this is about all – cannot make as much news as you can these days.

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for our two dear little girls. Mum and Dad. 


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