Wednesday 13th February, 1963

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Once again many thanks for your newsy letter received this morning. First of all we are very sorry to hear Mr Baker is so poorly and hope the better weather which should be just round the corner – as it were – will help him to get back to normal. The present conditions are very oppressive and no encouragement to anyone feeling a little off-colour. We are sorry to hear that Mrs Baker still does not care for the move – perhaps as she gets more settled in she will think better of it. It does seem that all possible has been done at number 17 to improve its former condition and I’m sure it must be a relief to get away from the shop.

Now back to the beginning of your letter. Did you get any snow last Sunday (10th February)? It started here about 9:30 a.m. and kept on until about 4:30 p.m. sometimes and sometimes very heavy. I swept the snow off path between back door and front gate at about 5.0 p.m. but  when we got up on Monday morning there was another lot about an inch deep. This weeks too we have had several flurries necessitating use of broom to clear pathways. It is lovely today though – sun shining strongly and it is quite warm sitting here in living room. We did catch sight of some grass before last weekend’s snow and again now the thaw is making a big difference. May it continue with the good work.

Noted your plumbing now in order and no further alarms alarms. Sorry the girls have been suffering from colds and coughs again – as I said before what else can one expect this weather. Mum and I keep going but it is a job at times and I’m really thankful I have not to make the journey to Bristol anymore. The operating side must be having a very worrying time of it. I see Marples was at Bristol last Monday blowing his top.

Your colleague has something to grouse about – no water since 26th January. The neighbours on either side of Aston are still without water waiting for plumber to attend burst pipes. Glad to hear June managing to keep well – good job somebody in the house can keep going but with your house without the necessary heating it must have been rough on all of you while it lasted. You would be surprised what a good slide the children made of the church pathway with so much snow to make a bed with and believe me it was pretty treacherous to step on last Sunday even with fresh snow on top. Wanted Jim White back again to chase the kiddies off. We had already suggested to Aston he should charge for water service to get back a little of what it cost him to keep going. Now we hear of another ceiling down as a result of snow accumulating under tiles. We have a lot to be thankful for here as had practically no inconvenience throughout.

Glad to hear car going alright. I did not keep ours out more than three nights the weather was so severe I put car back into garage even if it meant stopping there for a few weeks which fortunately was not the case.

Incidentally has Mr Baker had to change his doctor since they have moved over to Ealing? This is always a nuisance as you get used to one individual and he or she gets used to you. Mum’s hearing aid still going well and we heard from Fortiphones this morning that cost of repairing her original set will be £2.10s6d [roughly £57.50 in 2023 money] so I have now send off checque for this to be done. I believe mum has a very old set laying about here somewhere but whether she can spare it will be up to her to say. It has not been used for years and was I think her original set when she first started using aids. The cost of phoning London during the day is 2d [19p] for ten seconds i.e. 3/- [£3.42] for three minutes which is not at all bad. After 6 p.m. there as a reduction of course.

Mum went with the T.G. to Yatton Monday to look over the Avalon furniture factory (Wake and Deans in your time). Incidentally Ray Mogg who has been with the firm as their representative in the Manchester area for a long time now returns to headquarters at Yatton as their Sales Manager. Mum was not impressed with the furniture she saw – most of it was foreign wood veneered over.

Yes I expect the cost of clearing snow from the roads will run the rates up nicely but we are all in the same boat with this. What about the lottery for the proposed Lido in Clevedon? I like the story of the footballer and his ‘bonus’. Must pass this one on in due course. Pity the programme ‘That Was The Week That Was’ is so late on Saturdays but some of it is worth listening to especially Bernard Levin who is one of the regulars and comes on towards the end. Whatever was the matter with the girls on Saturday then – could they not get outdoors at all and felt fed up with themselves.

Noted your wine sinking fast in more ways than one. I have now started to sample the first of this last season’s blackberry – very nice too. Not properly racked off yet, still in the sweet jars.

You will see in ‘Mercury’ enclosed at Mrs Yandell (formerly of Clevedon Lodge) has died and also old man Gulliford. The Yandells have been living near the East Clevedon Triangle for several years since their return to Clevedon after leaving the Burden Estate after Mrs Burden died. Mr Yandell still does a bit of horticultural judging at shows.

A letter from Don this week indicates they have not had it quite so bad as we have but plenty bad enough for getting to and fro the station. He has not been out to his ‘local’ for many weeks. This place is right out in the country away from houses. I wonder how they manage to keep going for profit. The publican happens to be a smallholder as well so I suppose this helps.

Yes June we are both looking forward to being with you at Easter – won’t be long now. It will be eight months since we last saw you and the girls. Alec of course was down in December for a couple of nights. We shall also be pleased to go and see Mr and Mrs Baker and hope by that time things will have improved in many ways including the health of them both. Presumably Peter is living there but we guess Pauline maintains her flat in London and gets home as often as possible. Hope they both are keeping free of colds along now.

Noted you do not see much of your new neighbours. Like you we close the shutters early in the evening and stoke up the fire. No gardening as you may imagine but I did see a couple of broad beans poking through the snow today and hope the rest are safe. Another wood pigeon on the lawn requires cremation and I shall have to deal with it. Looks as if a cat had this one by the number of feathers scattered all over the place.* I spent a couple of hours in greenhouses this morning, temperature up to 70 degrees, sorting through the runner bean seeds. About 2% had to be discarded because of mildew but there are still hundreds left. Sowed the tomato seed in a box but shall have to bring it indoors or will they will never come up – temperature much too low (30) at night.

Had a letter from income tax people this morning to say my code number will be altered from 12 to 1 starting next 6 April so have written to ask them why seeing the position will be identical then as it is now. So far I’ve not heard from railway regarding increased percentage of pension but even that should not mean such a big difference in coding. They might as well have the lot and we can starve. Now we are waiting to know what the Council are going to do about the rates for this half year. Do you yet know how you have been re-rated? Thanks in anticipation for the E.R. Mag, always interesting.

We still have Joey the horse with us but he has been fed on hay for many weeks now. Today I noticed he has been scratching about in the patches free of snow but not much there – all dried up. 

Mutt and Jeff still at it – they have been very busy brushing up with so much snow about and the handles are quite suitable for leaning on. It looks as if we have saved a number of geraniums and our primulas are still in full flower. How about yours? This means that ours have been in flower continuously since last October and giving quite a nice splash of colour.

The water cart still going its rounds and must continue so long as people are cut off from the main. I’m surprised it has not been necessary for similar arrangements to have been operated at your end. The plumbers must be getting towards this end of the town now as mum saw one lot at Tom Garland’s bungalow this morning. This place is opposite Mrs Marshall’s field. Have ordered from Smiths of Bristol (big wholesale ironmongers) a pair of steps (8 tread), two dozen pea guards, some netting 25 + 2 yd, and some wire for tying things up. This firm advertises quite a lot in gardening and ordinary newspapers and prices fairly reasonable. Our existing pair of steps (5 tread) have had their day. Your grandfather Fewings had them for many years before they came up here and they have given us good service. Now I have to get a dozen angle iron stakes for holding up some more raspberry canes. In this case Smiths’ price was higher than a firm at Wolverhampton latter being actual makers thereby the difference.

We hear the Hewitts I having a cruise for their holiday this year. Hope sea keeps calm and nobody rocks the boat.

Apart from the odds and ends already mentioned there is no local news again this week – everybody keeping in out of trouble. The Salthouse Pavilion is now being dismantled and one of our neighbours has got hold of a lot of the rotten timber and is making the best use of it. It was free to anybody who fetched it. Just as well – nobody would have bought it.

No more this time. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls. Mum and Dad. 

*I suspect it may have been a bird of prey: a cat would not have made its meal in such a public place, but a bird would.


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