Sunday 17th February, 1963

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks for weekly letter, to hand as usual. Odd that shortly after typing in that my last letter that it was nice to look out on green grass once again, that the snow should start to fall again. We had a fair dusting next morning, enough for me to have to put on the overshoes for one more time. Managed to leave them off again on Wednesday, and what a difference to the walking. Makes one feel so much later. There have been flurries are snow this morning, but just the odd flake in the wind. The sun is actually trying to come out now, makes the place a bit more cheerful. It is still cold of course but nothing like we had it a while back.

Glad to be able to tell you that Mr Baker is better. We had a visit from Peter and a new girlfriend on Tuesday night, and he was able to tell us that Mr Baker had been able to potter around, and in fact had gone out that day. The doctor called of course while he was out, and registered some annoyance. With regard to the new girlfriend, it seems there is something brewing but we must wait and see the outcome. It is pretty definite that all is finished with Brenda – off with the old etc etc. I do not think Mrs Baker will ever be satisfied with number 17, and I think the matter goes rather deeper than bricks and mortar.

You seemed to have more snow than we did last Sunday according to your letter. We still have some in our garden at the back, but there is now more garden than snow if you follow. The birds are having a time making up for the lack of food, and there are a number of them out on the lawn now.

Glad to be able to report all are fully well again now. I can well imagine you are very pleased not to have to turn out and go to Bristol daily. Mind you there are things one gets used to, and if back in regular working there, you would probably take it in your stride. My colleague, at the last time of reporting, on Friday still had no water although everyone else within miles seems o.k. His wife ran up the Colne Valley or some such water board, and they were quite shirty – said there were 700 on their books just like them.

Mr Baker did have to change his doctor when transferring to Ealing. He now has my old one, the one who attended Miss Baker, Dr Massey. He used to be the police surgeon for Ealing.

Not bad to get Mum’s hearing aid put right for a couple of pounds. They are expensive things to buy. Note you have an old one knocking about. Interesting to hear that Ray Mogg has done so well with his firm. I wonder how he will like living near home again. What a game that lottery is. However if it helps to keep the rates down more tricks like that will be welcome no doubt.

The girls have gone out for a walk together. if you such a nice morning and they have been cooped up for far too long.

When Peter arrived last Tuesday, he immediately asked if there was any more slow wine. Told him no but tried all the available supply on them. He enjoyed them all but particularly the blackberry so I let him take the remains of the bottle with him. Have not heard if he got home alright.

Sorry to hear about Mrs Yandell. I had not seen anything of her for many years. I believe I did see Mr Yandell some time ago, and once saw Gladys, but never saw Mrs. Saw our next door neighbour for a couple of minutes yesterday. He was wandering around his garden making mental notes and plans for the future layout etc. Had a look round ours at the same time and found it in not too bad a shape apart from the fence at the bottom which will need a deal of attention this year.

It must have been very pleasant out in the greenhouse with temperature of 70 degrees. Have you fixed your thermostat in greenhouse to switch on at 10 degrees, or not at all?

Odd about the income tax people to recode you so much for no apparent reason. Be interesting to hear what they have to say in reply to your letter. I gather the Middlesex county rate is down one penny halfpenny in the pound [0.625%], but we do not yet know what the local rate will be. It depends on the county rate as you know (to a certain extent) and the latter was only published in evening papers on Friday.

Our primulas, thanks to June’s attention, as still both flowering well. I should recommend that strain as they had a rough time of it in the window this winter and came through well.

So Hewitts are cruising this year. Where are they going – for a trip around Monkstone Beacon? Note the circumstances of the timber from the Salthouse Pavilion. In London they burn all the timber from the houses they are pulling down. They do not even give it away as there is always a risk of woodworm, dry rot or other timber diseases so they make a huge bonfire on the site of the demolitions, and some of them last for weeks. Many old properties which have been condemned have been accidentally (??) burnt down by the spread of the bonfires. Frequent letters have appeared in the evening papers about the awful waste of wood, but they all get the same answer.

We are going to Christopher’s birthday party this afternoon. The girls have been looking forward to it all the week. Carol goes to school on April 22nd, six days after her fifth birthday. The girls turned up a few minutes ago having been out for about an hour with their prams. They have now dumped the prams and gone out with scooters. Latter well-suited to the day. The sun by the way still shines although there is little heat in it.

Must try to get E.R. Mag posted to you this week. I expect it is out now. I gather that Bill Bryer has been made Productivity Assistant (officer) at Plymouth. It is a new post. Baynton-Hughes has been seen at Bristol where it is learnt he is Assistant Special Duties. No one knows what the special duties are. Lay has been renamed Work Study Officer with no change in pay. Hitherto he was Work Study Assistant but did not specify to whom. George Muirs my Commercial counterpart when I was at Paddington has been made Assistant Goods Agent Paddington. He was at one time Checker in the shed there.

According to the news on the television there has been a lot of flooding around Taunton way so I suppose Don and Co will have another dose of it. Can imagine that melting snow coupled with rain heavy at times would be a bit of a problem.

Well there it is again for another week. There is very little news to report. Nothing changes at Liverpool Street (accept the hours of daylight). Had a visit from a chap from North Eastern region at York to learn all about our activities and how to do them. There may be a return visit to be paid there later on. Having not been to that part of the country, it should be interesting*.

Well hope you are clear of colds and able to get around o.k. Love from us all.

*This is the first glimmering of what four years later would turn into a move to Yorkshire – IMHO a disastrous development for the whole family. 


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