Sunday 23rd December, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for your letter this weeks arrived this morni [missing word]. Yes I agree that last week came and went very quickly and I am afraid it now seems a long time ago. Thank you for a nice week-end [missing word] you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and sorry we were not all able to be t [missing word]* Yes we look forward to Easter and your next visit, but first things first and we hope that you both have an enjoyable Christmas. This year Xmas seems to have crept up on us. Nice to know Ted Caple gave his approval to the photo’s [sic]. I suppose I must have known that he was an amateur photographer but certainly had forgotten. Does he do colour slides? and have you seen any of them? I forgot to tell you that when Rebecca phoned us to thank us for her birthday present she said that Stella was ill in bed with flu. I expect she has got over that by now. Reminds me of the attack I had just before Xmas one year when you were visiting us.

I think this business of closing stations on Sundays and at holiday times is a good thing. About time the public were trained to travel at respectable times. Not much profit in keeping the establishments open for just one or two late persons. So far as the staff are concerned it is about time they learned to live without overtime.**

Glad you reminded me about the Elderberry Brandy. It was very good indeed and I enjoyed it. I have in the last couple of days had a glass or two of your mixed orange and cherry. It required about three glasses before I was satisfied. The girls had a couple of glasses each and Susan got a very red nose into the bargain. Needless to say the level has gone down some.

Well I cannot give you very much this time, as dinner is almost ready and my room is required in preference to my company. Also I have passed over most of the news when I saw you. I shall continue until evicted. More orange etc. in a minute I hope.

We have not looked at our Xmas presents as we like to do that on Xmas Day. Thank you both for the ones you gave me to bring back. I was well loaded.

Some game with Mum’s cooker then What a price for just a switch. Cannot think that the total cost can be much more than that or you will have been robbed with a vengeance.

Give the horse his Xmas sugar mind. Have told the girls that he had arrived and they seemed very interested.

Well will close now until after the holiday and wish you once again a good time. We are all well and hope you both are and remain so until the better weather.

Love from us all.

*There seems to have been some carbon paper slippage in the early paragraphs of this letter.

**Alec’s politics are very much of the “I’m all right Jack” variety; he clearly can’t imagine, for example, hospital workers or other essential personnel having to go on duty in the middle of the night or on Sunday mornings – a time when, I should mention, he was most certainly not to be discovered in church. Nor does he seem to have any notion that the staff required to open the stations at 6 o’clock on Monday morning could have to set off from home at 4.30 or 5 o’clock and if there are no trains they will have to travel either by bus or some other form of road transport, which is pretty self-defeating. All this when he is also saying that if people don’t use the railways they will lose them. The essential point he seems to be missing is that a service needs to adapt itself to the requirements of its users, rather than trying to make the users fit the requirements of the ‘service’ – which then becomes not an essential but a luxury item which people will rapidly learn to do without. Not for the first time in the course of writing this blog, I would dearly love to jump back through the fabric of history and slap him upside the head for his very short-sighted and egocentric views.


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