Sunday 25th November, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for weekly letter and paper. Sorry about non-enclosure of E.R. mag, but more about that later. Well you started by mentioning colds, catarrh etc. and I  regret to have to report yours truly had to have a couple of days in bed early in the week. Cannot say exactly what it was (medically) but usual alternating temperature and shivering and complete lack of energy. Got up for lunch on the second day, then for an outing took Susan back to school and had a short walk. The air was cold and dry with no wind, and helped to bring back some semblance of appetite and with it some energy. Returned to work on Thursday pretty well 100% again.

Regarding the geraniums, we brought in the large one and stood it on the spare T.V. set in the dining room. Since its arrival practically all of its leaves have turned up at the corners and gone black. It is probably too warm in here for it. It looks rather sorry for itself at the moment but there are still a couple of green shoots so it may not be completely lost. One of our indoor chrysanths, a white one, is beginning to come out in the garage. It unfolds a petal at a time and looks very straggly.

It looks as though you will be getting your firebricks soon. Perhaps these people (Hillmans) can also get you the proper handle for altering the draught setting. This gadget has a short U piece at the other end for lifting the front up for night burning. It fits into the central horizontal hole in the front.

I gather the Richings had heard of my recent transfer from the Bristol Work Study crowd. Notley was at Bristol last week and gathered a bit of information. It seems that Burt has gone to Euston. His post is being advertised (or redesignated) Productivity Assistant, and as the Bristol Division now takes in Worcester, Baynton-Hughes is fancied for the job. Mann – Work Study Section Leader Bristol – does not like the look of the way things are going and has applied for one of the O&M jobs at Paddington General Manager’s office. Three were advertised at at the same level as my present job. He may be lucky as the sitting tenants are far too junior. Highest rating among the ranks there at the moment I think is “B”.

Amusing about the perks being stopped officially. I did not think much of the practise, and had a do with Woodward on one occasion about it. However, I feel the gifts, despite the obvious intention behind them sometimes, are personal ones, and nothing to do with the Bristol management. If I were in Richings’ place I would take no notice.

June has not been out in the car yet but as we are all going to Sunday School this afternoon, she may elect to drive there.

By the way re: the mag, I must take it back to the office for dispatch from there as we have no large envelopes this end. Shall have to lay in a stock. I was going to do so last week, but was off for a couple of days – at letter dispatch time – and it did not get done.

We heard the screech of brakes when in Ruislip Manor yesterday and saw a Triumph Herald just managed to avoid running into the back of a learner who had stopped suddenly at zebra crossing by the Car Park. We were just walking down from the car park and it was quite a sickening noise. I blame the man in the back car A) for not expecting that sort of thing from a learner, and B) for going too fast anyway. I am surprised that Bushell goes out so often alone in his car. He must be fed up with it by now. The sooner he passes his test the better.

We understand the builders have started on number 17 already. It seems that as soon as they started hammering, part of the wall between the kitchen and the scullery fell down. I expect you know which rooms I mean. Nothing further about number 155, but presumably everything still all right as the date for removal has been fixed for some time.

Made some enquiries as to wines on the Eastern Region and at first was told that no special arrangements operated. Later I found that one of the lecturers in the Work Study School gets some. Shall probably make use of this facility another year.

There have been no further losses in the succulent field. No sign of budding from the Christmas cactus but I think it is too small.

We did not do too badly with our visitors last Sunday afternoon. We had given them up when they arrived at 4:30 p.m. I was thinking that it was only an evil postponed for another time when a knock came at the door. By this time of course June had the dining room all laid out with the food etc. The children were a little better behaved than last time but ours needed a prod or two to to keep them in order. June put the girls to bed about 7-00p.m. but our guests and their children stayed for much longer. I forget what time they eventually did go, but it was in the region of 9-00p.m.. We had showing the pictures on the wall of course. This is now a staple diet of entertainment. Have not taken any more pictures of course.

We are feeling the benefit of the new fire all right. So far we have not had it on full despite the very cold weather last week. When things are a bit chilly we put the gas up to three quarters, and it is surprising what a difference it quickly makes.

Note you have been able to get out and about on the garden. It must have rained here in the night as there are pools of water on the concrete outside the window. June has the apples stored somewhere and I must enquire as to their state. Note the horse will be back shortly. He will clip the grass and hedges down a bit for you. It is certainly early for such cold weather as we had last week, there is every the indication of more to come. The sun to belie my words is trying to shine now. This can only mean fog.

Did not notice there was a football match on last Wednesday, but when we put the T.V. on to get the children’s programme we noticed the change of programme. I did not switch off!!!

Hope mum managed to bring home some soup from the T.G. this week – more appropriate than ice cream.

Well our little armchairs arrived first thing yesterday – before breakfast things cleared away. Did not have an awful long time trying them out as other things on the go but they feel very comfortable, and I’m sure they will get good use. It being wet and miserable after we got back from early shopping yesterday I got June to give me a hand, and we got most of my spare timber up into the loft where we started to lay a floor. The trouble in the loft is is that the joists are all at different levels, and the support beams keep getting in the way of your head. Did not make an awful lot of progress at first as had to get a piece of 4 x 2 to make up joist level for the main flooring. This was obtained in the afternoon plus a supply of two inch nails so as we get more boards we can drop them in position. Our greatest need at the moment is an easy means of access to the loft without bringing in the big ladder. Our steps are too low for regular use although I have done a trapeze act on them before now to get into the loft. I have some wood from a former fence that is quite strong enough to stand walking upon and this is being cut into length of approximately 2 ft to cross to neighbouring joists. The main floor will be 1 inch flooring.

The succulent was not over-watered. The reverse is more likely to be the fact. As I am only giving them water at the rate of a few spoons for each week over-watering definitely is out.

The children have been in here with me writing and doing their letters so it looks as if you will get a good mail this week.

Well I will close now and pop up into loft to do a bit more. Hope you did not pick up any flu etc. from that cold spell. Hope also Mum’s cough has gone. I have one too – very irritating. I think I will give it a dose of wine.

Love from us all for now. 


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