Tuesday 13th November, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Well here we are again with another week gone and your letter duly received this morning – many thanks for same and a budget of news. Weather not bad here Saturday and Sunday – sunny at times but inclined to be raw and cold. It was fine for the annual 11th November Parade and you will remember many in the past have been very wet.

Noted you had a shopping expedition to Harrow – not spending the 6% already I should hope. By the way I hear that the three months’ arrears on the last increase has now been agreed for the ‘Out of Categories’. Of the latest Awards someone living in St Andrews Drive and in the first stage of Out of Category at Bristol District Office is very fortunate as he retires on December 1st. Will get the extra on his gratuity but no help for superannuation. If negotiations had been a long-drawn-out and a decision not reached for a month or two and then the award only agreed say as from the 1st of January he would have been right out of it.

Your remarks noted re: your old neighbour you are probably correct in regard to his movements but it gives him an opportunity to look into see you all now and again.

Yes the raising of your grass levels must make a big difference to the drainage of rainwater and also keep your plot fairly dry underfoot. Ours seems to soak away all right except during continuous spells of rain when as you know there is an accumulation in the gullies in the field. The pond has a drop of water in it still but this will disappear unless we get more rain soon. These last two days have been lovely. A sharp white frost Monday morning and a lesser one this morning with two sunny and warm days helping the autumn along as you say. I agree this is the really dreary time of year but once get past the shortest day everybody looks forward to the spring although it is still then some way off. Glad you are keeping free of some of the fog – this is the worst condition of the lot.

Fancy the girls not liking Mummy having an evening out without them. Interesting to read your version of the firework display. We are glad they enjoyed themselves. We had some good times here back along down in the field with a big bonfire as well and all the children – or most of them – from the Avenue in to share the fun.

The trouble on the promenade on the Fifth resulted in £70 worth of damage as you will see on front page of ‘Mercury’ this week. Nobody actually caught at it consequently the cost will go go on the rates. The Teddy Boys have caused trouble in Clevedon before. They come from Bristol but since the Saturday night dances have been cancelled it has kept some of the rough element away.

Thanks for leaflet re: Chevin fire grate. We have tried two other places or rather visited two of the previous places again but still without result and must try in Weston when we go in. Did not go there yesterday as anticipated but went round the town again. Thank you for rescuing the broken pieces of the firebrick June. We may be glad of them yet. Pity to light fire without the protection of firebrick. We have a loose lever we think will do for the handling of the various pieces when hot – proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Thought you would be interested in the cutting from paper re: screens for use in connection with projectors. Your pictures were quite satisfactory on the light-coloured wall but whether there would be an improvement with the screen could only be proved by using one. The cutting may however be useful for reference.

What a disgraceful affair on the 9.05 a.m. Paddington. As you say it would never have happened years ago* but nowadays anything can happen at any time anywhere. Such things take weeks of planning by the men concerned but in this case they had overlooked the ganger walking the line. Other arrangements will now be made for paying out wages etc. but whatever they are the clever ones will get round it somehow.

Quite understand you may not be able to come down on a Friday next month but Saturday the 15th prox. allright so far as we are concerned. Let us know in due course time of arrival Yatton and I will meet train. Your E.R. magazine for October quite good and is now going around down here before letting Don have it later.

Yes our T.V. set give us a number of minor troubles but we use it very extensively – most nights from about 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. continuously and sometimes in the afternoon as well so I think we get our money’s worth out of it. The egg-shaped picture we were getting after the visit last Monday I put right myself by opening up the back and trying a knob or two. Fortunately it worked and we are back to normal again.

Mum did very well at Wall’s ice cream depot in Gloucester and I had more ice cream and I should have had at one sitting – couldn’t waste it. (No fridge at ‘Devonia’).

What a delightful story of Susan and her teacher. I am sure the latter had as much a kick out of it as did Susan and Carol. No wonder Carol wanted to stop with all those nice things to see and play with. Should like to have seen Susan’s face when she read the reply from teacher. What will she think of next? Her brain is very active.

As you know apart from odd jobs in the garage and greenhouse I have not done much here for several weeks but the weather these last couple of days has helped me to get outdoors and today I pulled up the first row of runner bean haulms and stored sticks, what remained of them. After dinner I started on the second row but sun weakened and a bit of a northeast wind arose so I cleared off into greenhouse until about 3 p.m. when I packed up for the day. A few days of this will soon see a difference. A letter from Don says he put in his broad beans on the 21st ulto. but they are not up yet. From what I can hear both Heel and Cornish have got theirs in also.

Re: grate again I have not fixed it to half and do not intend to do so as I think it will be quite alright as it is – must wait and see.

Our next door neighbour (Bushell) still busy on his verandah etc. but I suspect he goes out occasionally in his car on his own without L plates attached. He will do it once too often I’m afraid. Have not heard when he takes next test. Have you had any more driving June? Not very nice weather for it really at this time of year.

[Letter continues Wednesday 14th November, 1962.]

*Leonard is completely wrong here. Not only would it have happened years ago, but it also did. In fact – although Leonard’s details are rather sketchy – from what we know there are distinct similarities to the very first such murder on the railways in England almost a hundred years before. The notion that people were nicer to each other in the past is a completely false one usually arising in people who have had relatively privileged upbringings – which Leonard, despite his father’s disadvantaged start in life, did have.


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