Tuesday 8th January, 1963

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec, June, Susan and Carol

No letter today so thought I would start one for you in anticipation of yours turning up tomorrow. if the weather is anything like what we have been having this last week you must be having real difficulty in getting about. Last Thursday the 3rd inst was about the limit. It raged a blizzard here all the previous night and all day Thursday until about 3:30 p.m. and afterwards you never saw such a mess in your life. I certainly have not. Where I had previously cleared the snow from front path it was all covered up and more so. There were and still are drifts in the drive about 5 to 6 feet high and Tennyson Avenue was almost covered to a depth of 3 ft with drifting well up over the front garden walls. It remained in this state until 4 a.m. this morning when we were awakened by a mechanical shovel pushing its way down the Avenue, having just reached us after doing Old Church Road. Still impossible to get car out and this morning I could not even start it and it appears the battery is right out. Must see Bushell for next move. He had been on nights at Portishead and had to start on the night I mentioned above. Heel and I had to help take his car out from the side of house and he left it in the middle of the road ready to start off at 9 p.m. backing out to the main road. Took his spade and shovel with him. This journey he has done nightly since but I’ve not seen him to know how he has managed it. 

On the roof of house there is no accumulation of snow on side where the netting has been fixed but of course outside on French windows side there is at least a foot depth of snow on roof and this has been easing towards edge daily during the few hours of thaw so that I have had to stand on a chair in back bedroom and knock off the overhanging quietly to prevent breakage of top glass in veranda. Mr Heel told me just now he went over to Churchill today and found about 18 inches of snow on the ground right through Yatton and just beyond to the level crossing at Congresbury a narrow road had been cut through the snow and it was piled up on either side to a height of 15 to 16 ft leaving room for single line working only.

Reports are coming in of guttering breaking under weight of snow and falling down through conservatories causing more damage to glass. All lorries have been pressed into service by the Council to cart the snow to the beach where it is dumped into sea. The frost these last few mornings has frozen the ridged-up snow into a really dangerous menace for road traffic. Needless to say apart from going down to feed horse and mum struggling down to Elford’s we have not been out except on Sunday and again yesterday when we managed to walk up to library in our Wellingtons. We have a drift between shed and kitchen of about 3 feet high and I’ve cut the path through it to reach garden. Except for the tops of a few of the tallest sprouts and the raspberry and currant bushes the garden looks like one large sheet of snow. 1927 and 1947 were bad winters but this one easily beats them both. The east wind too being so continuous has made things much worse for getting about. 

I wonder how you have fared at Ruislip and for getting to station and shops? Most of the schools have announced later opening dates on the radio and TV and what about the football last Saturday? 

Both mum and I have had chills in our stomachs resulting no doubt from the cold atmosphere. With all what I have mentioned above I think we have escaped the worst of the trouble. You have heard and read about the state of the weather throughout the country. No letter from Lyng this week so have no information from Don. Our coal is going down so fast that I have had to order another 10 cwt this morning or we shall be right out in about six weeks. We started the winter with about 27 cwt. How about your gas fire in front room? You have found the benefit of that one many times over by now. 

Have you been able to get enough vegetables this week? We are all right for potatoes and mum has got tinned carrots and steak and sausages from Elford’s which has obviated going into the village or up Hill Road. The bus service has been upset of course and I believe one day they did not reach Clevedon. On the branch train service it is standing room only mornings and evenings. What will they do if the service is discontinued? 

Continued Wednesday 9th January, 1963


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