Tuesday 20th November, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for your letters and drawings from the girls received this morning usual post. Very sorry to hear you are suffering from colds and catarrh – hope they will soon clear up but the weather at the moment is not very helpful. It has been bitterly cold here for several days with the keen north-east wind coming in from the Bristol Channel accompanied at times with rain and sleet. We have not actually had snow but on Sunday we could see some had fallen on the Mendips. According to TV London had its coldest night on Saturday in November for ten years. The cold snap has come in too suddenly for people to get acclimatised to it. Mum and I keep in out of it as much as possible but have to get out most days for something or other.

You had rain on Sunday by your letter. We had rain and sleet early but this tailed off and we had to put up with the cold wind rest of day. Good job it was not the Parade Sunday – would have made a difference to the attendance. Anyhow we do hope you will be able to shake off those colds soon.

Regarding increases in salary as I understand the position you will receive a total increase of 9% over the salary operating prior to April 1st last which includes the 3% already being enjoyed.

Noted some of your geraniums have had a touch of frost – these plants take it quicker than anything else. Mum has already put ours away in greenhouse where I now have the heater on again. The outdoor chrysanths are over of course and dahlias. Gardens generally looking a bit of a mess now. Yes we are on the track of ‘Mr Chevins’ now. As stated previous latter we went into Weston last Thursday and called at a couple of places. Neither had the article on hand but Hillmans (who have showrooms just outside the railway goods yard) said they could get what we wanted within about a fortnight. They asked to hold the pamphlet for reference and would return it when they have the firebrick. These people were most obliging about the matter. Will report result in due course. We  did not do much running about in Weston but bought paper, paint etc. for sitting room. The paper had to be ordered so we shall pick it up later.

Got home about 12:45 p.m. when Mum prepared dinner and we settled down for the afternoon. At 4:15 p.m. ratatat at the door. Mr and Mrs Richings had arrived from Weston unexpectedly. Fortunately mum had bought a cake at Weston which could be put on the table but we did not tell them that we had been to Weston that morning or that the cake was bought there. They stopped until about 7:30 p.m. First time we had seen them since August. Now we have to go down there this coming Thursday when incidentally we can pick up the paper ordered last week. One of the Bristol Work Study staff had told him of your move to Liverpool Street and they were of course interested in all the news of all of you. Michael and his wife have a flat at Reading and he drives an old van to his school at a village outside Reading. Apparently he has learnt to drive and passed test first time otherwise his wife would have had to drive him there daily before starting her work at the University library and of course fetching him in the late afternoon.

Richings tells me they have received a circular from Bristol telling them they must not in future accept gifts from traders at Christmas or at any other time and where they have been in the habit of receiving such gifts they must contact the firm or firms and discreetly inform them of the ruling. Moreover no Christmas cards will be issued by the various departments as hitherto. It is also now Western Railway and not Western Region. Wonder if there has been any such direction from the E.R. management?

Yes that was a lovely incident of Susan and her school teacher. Not many of the latter would have played ball with her like that. Carol too had a lovely time and looking forward to her own schooldays. Better this way than some I can remember when mothers had to drag crying children to school. Can remember this from my own schooldays seeing other boys and girls being dragged along and getting a hiding along with it en route.

Glad to hear June has renewed driving licence – keep off icy roads June. The trouble comes when you put brakes on too quickly. Have had some of this myself on the top of Failand early mornings when en route to Bristol. Fortunately for me there has been no other traffic about. I’m sure though you want to get on with it so that you can get around the local district for shopping and the school. Our neighbour (Bushell) is still risking his neck by going out on his own quite often. The police will I’m afraid catch up with him one day.

Noted no more news of number 17 Eccleston Road but that the auditor has called at number 155 High Street.

Expect you would have heard by now if the E.R. sell off their spirits and wine at Christmas. Incidentally I wonder if the W.R. have not stopped this along with the other  recent restrictions. Nice for Pauline to be able to get a bottle at reduced cost. Makes a difference sometimes whether you have one or two bottles.

Yes I too could see Ted Caple stuttering et cetera when tackling the offending motorist. It is an offence to cross the double white line under any circumstances and the police will prosecute anyone caught doing so. I have seen reports of such cases in papers from time to time. A couple of years ago when coming back from Ruislip via the A40 a motorist passed two or three cars (by crossing the double white line) on the Oxford bypass but at this point there is a mobile police cabin and the policeman on duty spotted him and immediately rushed out of his cabin and stopped him. Two or three cars following (including us) then pulled up because we could not pass the individual being questioned without crossing the double white line. Another policeman then came out and waved us by. We never saw the other motorist again.

Sorry to hear you have lost one of your succulents. Must see if can replace later. Mrs Richings brought Mum up one or two on Thursday including another bridal-wreath the original of which we lost by the frost last winter.

Decorating after New Year’s Eve certainly – could not tackle that before. Hope it is warmer then than now. Mum’s Christmas cacti are beginning to show signs of flowering – a very small red tip at the end of the leaves.

Buses still run from the Old Church but all run direct to The Triangle so if we want to go to Hill Road it means walking to Wilcox’s Garage. It is a silly arrangement and I hear it may be altered. Certain of the Bristol double-deckers now run  right through to the Old Church and thence back to Bristol.

Thank you in anticipation of the E.R. magazine and reasons noted for non-receipt this week. I let Pope (St Andrews Drive) see the October one because he has met Vincent who was mentioned in the mag as having been transferred from the E.R. to Bristol W.R. Accountancy Dept. Pope is the man finishing up on December 1st. The latest increase would not affect his superannuation because the average would not be affected in a period of 40 years.

Yes the plots of land around this district are for houses only and the two for the quarry site will I think be looking straight down Tennyson Avenue – some outlook!

Wonder how you got on on Sunday afternoon with your visitors? Expect you would rather have been on your own with the colds you all had. It generally happens that way though. Hope the children were on their best behaviour. With this weather you are having the benefit of your new gas fireplace. I take it first impressions have been confirmed. It was certainly doing its job when we were there.

Well I seem to have exhausted most of the news again. We had a couple of nice days here last week that I pulled up all the runner beans sticks and stripped off the haulms. Since then I have sown three boxes of sweet pea seed in greenhouse and I noticed a box of lettuce sown several weeks ago is now showing through. Have picked up two or three more hampers of Bramley Seedling apples and stored them in garage. Incidentally have you examined the Blenheim Orange apple since we left? We are eating some of ours and they are lovely. Should  however keep until Christmas if you prefer them then.

Norman Baker is coming along this week to put fence right for the horse to come back. Will do good if he will eat out the thickest part of grass for a week or two.

[Continued on Wednesday 21st November, 1962]


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