Tuesday 4th December, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Once again many thanks for letter received this morning – second post – and the enclosure from Susan. Note our last letter did not reach you until Saturday. Must be the Christmas build-up or the weather. This is really the reason we try and post on Thursdays so that if one day is missed you are sure to get it on the Saturday and not be in suspense as it were over the weekend.

Very sorry to hear the cold or flu has got to down on the chest – it will want some shifting from there but we hope you can do just this before long. How are you keeping June, and the girls? Hope you have shaken off your illnesses.

Looking at the date we see it is the anniversary of your wedding – 8 years ago today. Congratulations to you both and very best wishes for the years to come.

Yes we had a very sharp frost here on Sunday and although sun came out later it remained cold all day. This morning we have a dense fog – in common with most of the country – and I cannot see the trees at the bottom of the field from the house. Mum went into the village this morning and said not many about and all cars had headlights on. I’ve not been out – this kind of weather gets on my chest so I stop indoors as much as possible. Went down to greenhouse about 10 a.m. just to have a look around and get some Savoys for dinner.

Hillmans have delivered the firebrick (cost 6/6d) [equivalent of £7.75 in 2022 currency] and I soon put it in position. This morning Mum lit up there for first time and everything going fine. It was worth going to the trouble to get the proper fitting and I can assure you the fire grate looks really nice in the sitting room. We told the other firm from whom we purchased the wallpaper to keep the odd roll until we came for it which might mean a fortnight or so. Expect it is there by now but they must hang on to it for the time being.

Understand Richings saw an advert in local paper from the police inviting motor car drivers to visit the police station and receive instruction from police drivers on how to improve driving. After so many lectures they were taken out on the road by police drivers and shown how to put theories into practice. That was all there was to it but no examination or test. Just a demonstration but expect it was very interesting.

Position noted re: Baynton-Hughes. Have also heard of the abnormal vacancy lists out on the W.R. Understand most of the jobs are being advertised at salaries lower than those now obtaining for the posts but the present occupiers will not receive any reduction of salary. Future occupants of the posts will however be subject to the new rates. Perhaps you were also aware of this.

I thought Notley was already under McDonald. If this was not the position who did he come under hitherto?

Noted June has not had any more driving experience lately – sorry about trouble with car – is it something to do with the ignition? Ours is still going well. Have not had Bluecol put in yet but Bushell said if I got the stuff from Boots he would put it in for me. Have had no further news from tyre people re: faulty tyre and to date have not paid for the new one. The local firm said leave it until we hear from tyre people.

What a shocking state of affairs at number 17 Eccleston Road. It is just as well though these things are coming to light now and not later when Mr and Mrs Baker have settled in there. That would be about the last straw.

Could not agree with you more regarding Christmas being an expensive time. It is absolutely devastating – good job it only comes once a year.

Thought you would remember Bray. I first met him at Westbury D.S.O. when he had just joined the service as a messenger and before being supplied with uniform he wore short trousers and I reckon at that time (1919) he was about 14 years of age. Expect you know Hallard left the service altogether to take up other work during the war. Sid Guy is the Passenger Train Inspector in place of Bill Hodge who retired last year. No you have not told me about John Belcher, he must have been mad to get up to tricks like that.

Position in loft noted. How do you find things up there query all nice and dry. There is certainly a nice bit of room there if you can fix things up to your liking. You evidently think the girls will not get that far. You never know. What was your session at the Work Study School for? Query a refresher or just an afternoon out.

I remember your party last year when it was such dreadful weather that the number attending was affected and even June did not get there very early. Hope you do better this year. In any case you will presumably be guests.

Talking about house repairs again I understand quite a lot has to be done to the bungalow into which the Curate moves on the 13th. This is Miss Emly’s former bungalow as I expect I have mentioned before.

Since typing the foregoing the fog has become thicker and it is quite dark although only 3 p.m.

I went up to Bristol on Friday last for Gray’s funeral. Not a lot of his old colleagues there really. Soole and his wife (the former Miss Richards) were there and I see he is sporting a moustache these days – looked horrible. Also saw Griffiths, Bill Williams, Yeandle, Vic Cox etc. I went on a bus from the Old Church through to Bristol travelling via Tickenham, Failand then down over Providence to Long Ashton and thence main road into Bristol. Very interesting but not a nice morning by any means. Got home just after 1 p.m. and enjoyed a good hot dinner.

Yes I guessed you would be content to stay with the E.R. and I agree it will probably prove to be the better investment in the long run. The W.R. seems to be in a state of chaos and nobody knows when or where it will end. Budworth now at York then. The W.R. staff are certainly moving all over the place.

I’m sorry cannot oblige Peter with some more sloe wine. Cornish has destroyed all his sloe bushes and it will be difficult to locate others. I did see one or two when out blackberrying in October but not in such numbers as would have enabled me to gather enough for making a drop of wine. Actually I planted some of Cornish’s in our field but they did not take. I certainly like it enough to go after some berries if can be certain of getting enough. Meanwhile the elderberry I made with the shredded wheat is proving a very nice drink and we both like it. The blackberry is still waiting to be racked off from fermentation.

Since writing last week have had a couple goes at digging the plot from which the runner bean sticks were pulled up earlier. Somewhat hard work but to date have done nearly half-way across garden. Another couple of good efforts will see that piece complete it. Have then to tackle the plot beyond the hedge and that is a good mess and will take some clearing. Broad beans put in in October not yet through and now it will soon be time for the shallots to go in (supposed to go in on the shortest day of the year year). Just been looking at Susan’s letter – another very good effort on her part. She uses her words very well in phrasing little paragraphs. How does she get on with her glasses? Rebecca’s birthday today too – 16 this time. How time flies.

It has been so cold down here these last few days that Mum has kept our all-night fire in since Saturday making it up late at night and closing the ventilator and opening up in the morning. Keeps room (living room) nice and warm to come down to. This could now be done in front room if required.

The Richings are expected to dinner on Thursday this week but must tell you about this next letter. Richings is wondering if John Saunders at Newton Abbot will apply for Swindon which is now coming vacant in which case he (Richings) will be an applicant for Newton Abbot. Obviously en route for Penzance where Michael Richings’ wife’s people live.

Heard from Geoff late last week. Says he is going to Taunton to see Don on Saturday the 22nd inst. so he will take a few bottles of wine I ordered down there and I will pick them up on the Monday when I see Don. Will you be coming down here on the 15th as you tentatively suggested earlier on? Get rid of that chesty cold meanwhile as travelling long journeys this time of year is not helpful. You know we shall be pleased to see you if you can come.

There is a lot more in this week’s Mercury about the development of Nailsea and of the proposed lido for Clevedon if you can find time to read it all. Frankly I do not read it to that extent but one can see there is going to be a lot of objection to both schemes.

Sorry you found Roy had been pretty rough when you visited them on Saturday evening and we hope he too is on the mend now. Pity we have to put up with such weather but it is one of the penalties of living in England. What about going out to Tristan da Cunha? Those people will be glad to get back there in spite of the danger from the volcano.

Our neighbour (Heel) is still busy on his garden and on hedge cutting trying to make up for the weeks they were on holiday.

Yes the mag reached us alright – I had not noticed it was just too large to go inside envelope. Roy Hewitt has it at present then it goes to Bill Aston before going to Don. I like reading about the various stations’ work and staff. Something entirely new for a W.R..

Thought I detected signs of a mouse in garage recently so have trap set but so far without results. I may be wrong about it of course but we’ll wait and see. It is the time of year when the field mice seek warmer places and I have not yet blocked up all the places where they could get in.

Down to the bottom of page again so time to close for another week. All my love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls. I expect they are looking forward to Father Christmas – a lovely time for children. 


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