Sunday 31 December, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Well now the festivities are over once again, and everything back to normal or near enough. Thank you for your most recent letter which arrived punctually once again. Not to worry about the cold, there are enough around here for us all to have had them times over without your contribution. Just one of those things, you can’t stay locked up in a box to avoid meeting people with colds and in any case doubt if it would do much good anyway. I think with the children that each cold, however distressing to watch, is a step more towards immunity. It will never be total, but the more they get, the greater will be their resistance.

Sorry to hear you have not shaken off the effect yourself, and hope that it will not be long before you do. Apart from the usual catarrh, the children were free from colds over Christmas, and June managed to get over the worst of her cold by Christmas Eve.

Glad you were able to see the Astons on the two days, but it must have been awfully quiet for you. You should have moved a bit nearer to us, and joined in with our doings.* As you know we saw Geoff last Saturday on the day you went to Lyng. He said you were making the trip that day, and gave an account of his trip of the previous day. He complains that every time he travels something delays the trains. Question of physician heal thyself I think. 

Sorry to learn that Don was well off-colour again due to cold. Heard something on the wireless that it is desirable to have warm bedrooms, and in any case this is most essential for those who are subject to chestiness or bronchitis. We have kept the electric heater on all night in the children’s room for about one week now and the difference is amazing. Glad to hear Don is a little better now.

So you saw Richings and Saunders respectively at Weston and Bridgwater. Hope they had time enough to fetch the bottle while you waited. 

Yes we thought we had done very well to get 63 people to the party at Castlebar. A number of them said they came against their better judgement as they did not want to let us down in view of all the arrangements made. As a result of the band failing to turn up, and a small working surplus, we had £10 over so we were able to pay back money to all those who paid in advance and were unable to attend. The hit of the evening was C.F.E. Harvey. He joined in all the games with gusto, and in one form of musical chairs he missed his seat altogether and went rolling over the floor. 

Half the battle of driving in London is knowing where you are, and what roads to take. Once you have a route in mind driving is the same as in any other town. 

I gather that the weather round your way has been very bad. We have had it cold but only today did the snow arrive – much to the delight of you know who. It was raining on Friday morning so I took the car but before I got out of bottom gear had gone into a four wheel skid. Good job it happened straight away or I should not have suspected the possibilities. Trouble was rain on top of ice. 

I was sorry to hear about Mrs Drewett. Odd that it should have happened on Christmas Day the same as Mrs Beale. 

As I write you must be getting ready for the ringers’ supper. Hope it goes well for you. How do you pack in 15? Should think that you have to take most of the furniture out of the dining room to do so. 

Odd you should have mentioned the parsnip wine in your letter, as by now you will have received mine which said that we had some on Christmas Day. I found it very good, but Peter passed no comment – it just disappeared. I got the grape wine out also among the Christmas fare, but after trying it myself decided that it would be wasteful to push it around yet as a few months more should remove any trace of rawness. 

So Arthur is ill, is he? Nice of them to send a card – no dollars enclosed though I gather.

This morning I took the girls out into the garden to make a snowman, the snow being about five inches thick. It was still snowing hard, and although I used shovel and garden spade the stuff was too sticky to work with. Made a heap of snow about three feet high and let it go at that. Took the girls down to the corner and back. Coming back against the wind was like a blizzard, and they had enough by the time we got back to 84. 

Eric has to return to Bristol for work tomorrow, and a few minutes ago we saw them all troop out to remove snow from off the car and get it started. He had a job to get moving – had to go forward and reverse a few times but eventually left at about 5 mph. The snow eased off when he went and only a few thin flakes were falling but now it is as bad as ever. Hope he can get through. 

Well we all hope you have a good and enjoyable New Year, and thank you for your wishes on the same. Try and keep in the warm as much as possible and give the Christmas Cheer a bit of a bashing also to keep cold out. Love from us all for now.

P.S. We shall be thinking of you around midnight (if still awake).

*This was a constant theme at the time, and eventually did come to pass – although in an environment very different from Ruislip.


Alec to his maternal uncle and aunt (Eva’s brother Joe and his wife Lydia):

Sunday 31st December, 1961

Dear Aunt Lydia and Uncle Joe

Thank you very much for Christmas wishes and the presents you sent to the children. I think there is an effort by Susan which will be enclosed. Hope you had an enjoyable Christmas as I am sure you must have done with all those children around (of all ages). Pity we were not a bit closer, so we could look in for an hour or so or vice versa. 

Snow lies thick here today and is falling fast. We had no snow before today so you may expect someone was excited. We went out in the garden this morning and tried to build a snowman, but the snow was too sticky and too cold so we only finished up the pile about three feet high. Had a walk down to the corner of the road but coming back was like going through a blizzard. That was enough for the girls. 

We had eight for tea on Christmas Day and the same number for dinner and tea on Boxing Day. Susan has been to a party and they both have another one to look forward to next week. Susan is able to read books to Carol now and you may expect she is in great demand.

Hope you liked the photo. Most of the pictures taken came out well, but are best seen on a projector. We were very surprised and delighted with them. Beginner’s luck I suppose. Have another film in the camera now and have taken a chance on some  indoor colour snaps without flash. Hope it works. 

We had a nice tree this year and got it suitably decorated. About as big as the one I remember at Somerholme many years back. We took the girls to Church on Christmas Day (grown-ups service) and they behaved themselves very well. They go there for Sunday school and children’s services, so it was not altogether strange. No requests for ‘more [illegible].’

Well I expect you are keeping the fire warm these days like us and looking forward to the New Year so will wish you all good luck and prosperity in it and love from us all.


Alec to his paternal uncle and aunt (Leonard’s brother Don and his wife Joan):

Dear Don and Joan

Thank you once again for the kind Christmas wishes and enclosure to us all. There is a letter from Susan already prepared which I will enclose herewith. We hear you were not too well over Christmas but that you are feeling a little better now. Hope the improvement continues, but cannot but feel that the weather is the cause of the trouble. 

Snow lies thick here today and is falling fast, but we are fortunate that we have not had it before today. It has been bitterly cold here and that is no incentive to leave the fireside. The girls and I did go in the garden this morning to build a snowman, but were only able to stay out for about half an hour. My next door neighbour has just left for Bristol in his car. The best of luck to him. 

We all dropped in on Geoff and the girls last Saturday morning and exchanged Christmas presents but apart from that we had not seen them for some long time. On Christmas Day June’s parents and brother and sister came over in the afternoon until about 9 p.m. and on Boxing Day they all came to dinner and stayed till about 8.0p.m.. While we all sat around Susan read through the whole of a book to us and Carol who would not be outdone sang ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’. Susan now reads books to Carol, not bad considering she is only in her second term. She can also knit a little and has something lying around with about seven lines of knitting on**. They both had some lovely presents and there was some fun on Christmas morning and wrapping them. 

Peter produced a tree about ten feet tall which made our five shilling [£6 in 2021 money – good luck getting one at that price today!] one look a bit silly so we dumped it in favour of his. With lights, tinsel etc. it looks quite nice. 

Managed to break the nutcrackers on an almond (we have some tough nuts around here) but other than that the Christmas passed without incident. 

Well we all wish you both good health and prosperity in the New Year 

**’A little’ was precisely the way it stayed for the next seventeen years, too, until the arrival of Robin resulted in a sudden desire to learn to knit.


And this, dear readers, concludes our letters from 1961.

Please join us again from Monday 3 January, 2022

for what is going to be a very full and fascinating year.



Thursday 28th December, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter received on Friday of last week but very sorry my cold was passed on in the short time you were here. It was most unfortunate that at that particular weekend I was suffering from it. Have not properly shaken the thing off yet – still a bit tight in chest but what can you expect during this arctic spell of weather. We do hope however you were all able to enjoy the Christmas and that your colds did not get any worse. 

We thought of you all quite a lot over the weekend and I expect the children had a merry time of it. Apart from going over to Church we kept to the fireside on Christmas Day – the Astons coming in at 5.0 p.m. for a cup of tea and and a chat leaving again at 9.0 p.m. On Boxing Day Mum and I went over to their place at 5.0 p.m. and got back at 9:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of course I went to Durston by  8.11 ex Yatton to exchange Christmas gifts and to pick up what Geoff had taken there for us previous day. For once in a while train was right time from Yatton but alas we had 25 minutes at Huish Crossing because signalman could not work the gates. This cut margin at Durston but return train was about 15 minutes late so did not really lose much time with Don. He was rough – the cold weather was affecting him and he had bronchitis finding difficulty to breathe but a letter from him this morning says they had a very quiet Christmas and that he is feeling a little better. I saw Richings at Weston and Saunders at Bridgwater for the odd minute we were at each station.

I think you did extremely well to get 64 out of 83 accepted to your dinner to turn up at Castle Bar on such a foggy night and were glad you were able to fetch June even if a bit behind schedule. Should not like to have driven car from Paddington Station myself even in good weather let alone that fog. Noted everyone had a good time so presumably another will be arranged at some future date. 

The trip to see the lights then not particularly a success but at their age I expect Susan and Carol thought them wonderful. 

We now have an invitation to Lyng for a Saturday early in the New Year but the weather will have to alter considerably before we go far from home. We have not been there since you went with us back in the summer. Joan still waiting for hospital treatment to her cysts.

You will be sorry to hear Mrs Drewett died early on Christmas Day at Margaret’s home in Swindon. Apparently death followed a third stroke – had only been back with Margaret about a fortnight. Understand funeral is in churchyard here on Saturday morning. Very strange she should have passed away early on Christmas morning as you may remember Mrs Beale (Mary Beale’s mother) died in Tennyson Avenue early on Christmas Day many years ago. 

Mum now getting busy with preparations for the big supper here next Sunday night – anticipate 15 will sit or try to sit down to tables in dining room. 

Glad you found another bottle of cherry wine in stock. I sampled one of my parsnip bottles last week and it was really lovely and so clear to look at. Have you tried the one I brought up in October – shall be glad of comments in due course. The grape wine I’ve not looked at since I put it into a couple of sweet jars but expect it is palatable now.

So you have been down to Reading Yard again with possibly favorable results and more visits elsewhere I suppose now the holiday is over. When does Susan’s school reopen? 

By the way we had a nice Christmas card from Pauline but I’m afraid we missed her again for want of address. I think in future we must send one to her home at Yiewsley. Please thank her for us when next you see her. On Wednesday (this week) we had a card from Arthur in California but it was not written by him so he must still be ill. It was posted by air mail on the 19th inst.

Well I think this is about all for this week but we do hope you are alright again now and very sorry I had such a cold when you came down.

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and carol.

Mum and Dad. 

PS our best wishes to you all for good health and prosperity in 1962 .

Mum and Dad

Eva to the family on the reverse of Leonard’s second sheet of paper:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol,

Well Christmas is over once more and we hope the weather will improve with the New Year. At the moment it is snowing and raining and the ground is like ice. Dad said he’d forgotten to send to Pauline but I hadn’t, I sent it to her home address as didn’t know where her flat was in Battersea.

Mr and Mrs Hewitt invited us to tea and supper on Wednesday and we arrived home about 10:15 p.m. Yesterday, Mrs Marshall came to tea and brought the usual bottle of wine for the bellringers’ supper. We shall have to soon go flat out for that. Haven’t seen Mrs Cornish since before Christmas so hope she hasn’t had too many ‘one over the eights’*. 

Mrs Drewett is being buried on Saturday at Clevedon. 

We hope the colds are all gone by now if you can keep warm. We have stuffed the ventilators and the window, the wind just seems to come in through the cracks of panes; shall have to see about double glazed.

Well here’s the lot for now so will close with lots of love to all Mum and Dad.

*’one over the eight’ is an expression that is seldom heard these days; it was a mid-twentieth century euphemism for intoxication.

Eva’s drawing seems to represent the standard lamp made by Leonard earlier in the year  together with a swan. There are also three mysterious round objects which may be buttons, counters or coins.  [Actually, perhaps this is ‘chocolate money’ which we were always very fond of!]

Wednesday 27th December, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

In reply to your latest, arrived last Saturday or Sunday, I forget which. It arrived together with our card and that for Susan. Carol’s did not arrive until Sunday and there was quite a to-do from her as to where her card was. All ended well however. Sorry about delay in replying etc, but have not known where we were for a day or so, and odd postal deliveries on top.

Thank you for the presents you gave June and I, and also for those sent to the girls. They both had quite a few as you might expect, and no doubt Susan will try a few words herself in thanks. they were both very well over the holiday thank goodness, and we had no trouble with them at all. We all went to church on Christmas Day, and the girls behaved very well, especially as it was not a children’s service, and must have been boring for them. In the afternoon Mr and Mrs Baker and Peter and Pauline came over. Peter has had a tiff with the latest, so she was not in evidence. They all departed somewhere near 9 p.m. in Peter’s large car. Incidentally he tells me that the bottom and reverse gears have gone on his car, and it will cost about £50 [about £1200 in 2021 money] to have it repaired. I do not know what it will be if he has to do it himself.

On Boxing Day, the same party arrived about 1:45 p.m. when we all sat down to deal with June’s cooking.* I must say I sat in on all helpings, and had no difficulty with any of them. The girls had a most enjoyable time and so many presents that we had to reduce the numbers a bit so that we could all get in the room. At about 8 p.m. I took them all back to West Drayton, Peter having departed somewhat earlier. The roads were very icy and I had a lot of difficulty in seeing out through a windscreen on which ice kept forming despite the wiper being in action. By the time I got there, the heat from heater and passengers had raised the temperature enough for the  ice to  melt on all the windows. 

On Boxing morning I took the girls for a walk with their dolls’ prams out around the school and Clay Pigeon** and back via the little stream. It was very cold, but no wind blowing, and the sun was up so it was not unpleasant. 

I gather that Baynton-Hughes has got the job vacated by Pattisson. I told Geoff on Saturday, and we both had a good cry about it. I should think that six months later and he would not have stood a chance. 

Talking about Geoff, reminds me that we dropped in on them last Saturday to deliver the presents for Rebecca and Sarah. Mrs Peddle*** was there but mercifully the old man was out with his son-in-law. I did not realise it but I had not seen Mrs P since Stella’s wedding****. (She says so, but I am sure I have seen her since.) We missed Stella as usual, and everyone else was out, so it was very convenient. 

We hope you both had a good Christmas, and managed to see some people. Also hope your bellringers’ party goes well. What price some more flashlight snaps. (Chance to use up any bad wine you may have.) Instead of rough cider, try them with elderflower this year. 

Well will close now, more in the next Sunday letter. Happy New Year and best wishes from us all. 

*’We all sat down to deal with June’s cooking’ is hardly a fair way to describe eating a festive meal prepared by one’s wife.  June’s cooking was decent, if unadventurous, and I cannot recollect any absolute disasters except where the ingredients themselves were at fault – the occasional ‘not exactly fresh’ chicken, for example.

**The Clay Pigeon was, and still is, a local pub. See

***Mrs Peddle would be Stella’s mother (i.e. my great-uncle’s mother-in-law), Mr Peddle being her second husband.  I don’t know what the reference to his son-in-law may be – obviously Geoff was his (step) son-in-law but he was clearly there all the time; the obvious conclusion is that Mr Peddle had other children from a previous marriage, which I wasn’t aware of.

****Geoff and Stella were married in 1944 so this does seem unlikely; no doubt they met at one of the christenings of Geoff and Stella’s daughters in 1946 or 1951 – which is admittedly still a long time however.

Monday 18th December, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you both for your recent letters*. I am afraid they both got delayed in the post, and in fact both arrived on the Monday. June has already replied to the first one, so I will deal with the second one now. 

First of all I am sorry to say you managed to pass on your cold and it gave me a sneezy midweek session. The girls have been ill again, but I cannot tell if it was a new cold or only catarrh. Susan came home from school with a bilious turn on Friday, and again on Saturday she displayed the same symptoms. Have June now lying in a chair with the apparent onset of a cold. So it goes on**. Glad to learn that your cold is improving, but sorry to hear that Mum has now got it. 

Thank you for the night stay at Clevedon and the presents brought back with me. We have not yet opened them, and they will await the day. Glad you liked the photos and the other things. We are more than happy about the settlement of the car. Of course you should not have refunded £30, as the arrangement was for £100***. Have not yet done anything about the tires, but will bear the subject in mind. 

Took the car up to Paddington on Friday (the day of the party) and had an awful job getting back to Castle Bar. The fog cleared later as you know and I was able to fetch June about 9:15 p.m. Unfortunately only 64 out of the 83 people booked actually turned up. We had already collected money for 83 haha but everyone had a good time. 

Odd about the missing key. Had an idea it was caught up somewhere, but thought it must be your turn-ups. 

Cherry wine arrived home safely and in fact one of the bottles is already in action. It is odd though that rooting in the wine cupboard this weekend I found another of your cherry wine bottles labelled 1961 number 1. Did not think I had any more. This weekend I racked off the Date (February) the Jungle Juice (March) and the Carrot (April) all of this year. The first two are out of this world (and I do not mean unearthly) and the carrot whiskey is much drier and as yet perhaps a little immature. 

Note your new neighbours seem to have arrived at Martindale at long last. 

The trip to see the lights was not too bad, but there were not an awful lot of lights to be seen on the Great West Road. We passed an accident on the opposite lanes – about six cars drawn up and fire engines and ambulances all over the place. Traffic about six deep was held up for about half a mile. 

As the post seems to be all over the place this will have to act as the Christmas letter to you, and shall post it first thing Tuesday morning. 

Went to Reading today to see yard staff and they were suitably impressed with the news we gave them. I can see that I shall have to go there again shortly. Going to West London C.S. tomorrow and it was planned for Morris Cowley on Wednesday, but that may now be postponed till after Christmas. 

Well hope you look after yourselves throughout Christmas, and don’t overeat. 

Love from us all for now.

*These do not seem to have survived, and it’s likely they got caught up – and subsequently thrown out – with the Christmas cards.

**When you are advised to move from London for the sake of your family’s health, it might be a good idea to take heed rather than endlessly complaining about the consequences of ignoring it.

***£2,360 and £708 respectively in 2021 parlance.

Sunday 3rd December, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks for another newsy letter. Shall be down next Friday night so shall not read the next one until I get back. By the way I have not looked up train yet as all the times have been changed around, Cannot say offhand what it will be. Shall probably come down on something leaving about 5 p.m. (diesels excepted) or, if I fiddle a few hours off, it may be earlier. 

Glad to report that both of the girls are seemingly normal now, although Susan had a bit of a cough in the night. It did not amount to much. I am keeping the cherry wine for coughs, but letting them have apricot on demand when they think they would fancy a drop of wine. I think it is the sourness of the cherry that does the trick. Apart from a snivel or two, which thank goodness have not developed so far, June and I have both been free from colds etc. I did have one early in October, before the flu injection, but no sign of one since. 

I expect you are glad you finished the papering. Good to get the accolade from Mr Palmer. He should know a thing or two about it. Is this the first time you have tackled the dining room? I do not remember it being done before although I know it was done. 

Shall hope to see your agricultural and horticultural displays when I get down next weekend. Ours are finished now, and probably the first signs we shall get will be small show from the forsythia cuttings (if they flower this year).

I did  see David Dimbleby in the holiday programme some time ago, and think that was the only time I have actually seen him. I agree about the old pals act of T.V. stars. Shocking racket. 

No trouble since with the battery and I think that the topping up did the trick. 

I do not know how Sara came to take the 11-plus as I am under the impression that Middlesex contracted out of that business.

The annual wine list came round to our section and I had a couple of bottles in the order.

Hope you manage to get your TV right for Christmas. It was at this time the first year you had it that it failed. About time they found what the trouble was I think. 

There will be less and less cohesion between the Divisional Offices as time goes on. At the moment everyone is fighting for prestige etc. Orders from the G.M.’s office are being openly disobeyed, and the G.M. seems powerless to stop it. It is a serious state of affairs, as previously, even if the decisions were wrong, all Districts were wrong together. Today you can get five versions of wrongness. By now you will have read the note and closed to us all in our pay packets by Dr Beeching. Can only hope he gets cracking soon. it wants some strong handed person to unravel the present mess. 

Had not heard that Joan was going into hospital, but the operation is a very minor one so she should not have much trouble. Usually they do it with a local anaesthetic. Can’t think what they want her as an inpatient for. 

Mrs Baker is much better now after extractions. Just a little soreness which should soon go. Probably be able to bite a bit for Christmas. Went over there yesterday and they both seemed to be in fine fettle. Also went on to Ealing for June’s new glasses, and dropped in to see Aunt Eda. She was up in an armchair before the fire and seemed also in good shape. She asked after you both. A Mrs Moody is staying with her and looking after her. She herself is bent double with some disease, but gets around quite well. 

Could be that you now have new neighbours at the bottom of the garden. change from fairies. 

I do not suppose you will be hearing anything from Uncle Arthur again after his last visit to you. Should think he has got the message by now. 

Broke a pane of glass in the garage yesterday. Had a brick under the door to stop it from swinging-to, and found it jammed when I tried to close the door in the dark. Had to shift it with the mattock in the end, but before that, had pulled the top half of the door forward (the bottom remaining still), and the resultant twisting effect on the frame, broke the glass. It has only cracked across, and is held in by the putty. Shall I leave it for a while. 

Hard to think of Rebecca as fifteen. Not long now before she will be thinking about school leaving.

It is getting very misty here today, and as I write, the mist seems to thicken. After a fine day yesterday this is a bit of a contrast. 

Went to Reading and Maidenhead on Thursday. No trouble there. At each place we are gradually extending the field with good co-operation from the staff. Have not seen the yard people again yet, too tied up on other things. 

I gather that our old friend Baynton-Hughes is the leading candidate for David Pattison’s old job. That will give him well over 2000 per annum. Not bad when you think that he was a Special A in 1956. The Reading Station staff do not want to set eyes on him again. 

Of all things, I see it is now raining. Hope it keeps off for the afternoon. 

Well that is all the news for now, look forward to seeing you next weekend. Love from us all for now.

Wednesday 29th November, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for another weekly budget and enclosures from the girls. Thank you very much Susan and Carol – some more drawings for our collection. Nice to hear Susan was able to return to school during the week but oh dear Carol what did you want to get ill for? Hope you are better again now and that the cherry wine is helping to check the coughing. 

This weather is having its effect on old and young alike – fortunately the bitter N.E. wind has abated a little but we had a really sharp white frost Sunday morning and a deal of fog. It was my turn for ringing for 8 a.m. service but it was not very pleasant walking the short distance to church. Incidentally I noticed the flagpole had been fixed in position so somebody has been busy since I last wrote. 

You really surprised me that Carol gets some relief from the cherry wine – it’s a good job you discovered this remedy and that it is doing the  trick and enabling you all to get some sleep. We do hope though Carol will soon be alright again – the continuous coughing must make her chest very sore. Perhaps you can take back another bottle of this wine Alec when you look down next month. I’m certainly glad I made some more this season. Quite a number of people here are suffering from what is described as a 48-hour flu but generally it is in the nose and head. Sounds as if many children in Susan’s class are suffering from something like this. You did not say but we hope June and yourself are managing to keep going.

Finished papering the dining room at about 6:30 p.m. Friday last and Saturday was spent cleaning up and and replacing carpets etc. Must say that it looks very nice and Mr Palmer saw it Sunday dinner time and favorably commented on the effort. (I told him to take off his glasses before he entered the room). After his lifetime of experience in the building trade he knows exactly where to look for the weaknesses. It will be an easier job to do the big bedroom (one facing garden) but this will have to wait until after Christmas. Yes it is the cutting in around the panes of glass that take up so much time when painting. Anyhow enough of that for the present.

Note you left the chrysanths outdoors – expect the recent frosts have about finished the flowers. We have quite a nice show in greenhouse – not by any means prize blooms but nevertheless a good show. The gladioli corms which had been drying off in the frames I’ve now cleaned off and stored in box in greenhouse so they should be alright for next season. The broad beans put in on the 25th and 27th October are coming up and yesterday I put in another row. Also dug first of the two trenches for the runner beans – the other will be dug before week is out all being well. 

Grape wine still working but have not had a chance yet to rack it off and bottle – waiting for a wet day to do this when I cannot get outside. 

Noted your neighbour starting work at Bristol next week – presumably he will travel by road at weekends. 

Where did you see David Dimbleby then? Query when his father was showing films of their holidays sometime ago.* Chataway of course is off TV now because he was elected M.P. at last General Election but it’s about time a lot of so-called T.V. personalities were paid off for good. it is becoming the ‘dear old pals’ brigade – you come on my show and I’ll come on yours. 

Sorry to hear you are having battery trouble – do you keep it topped up with distilled water? The battery was about two years old when you had the car and it is only guaranteed for two years so it may be that it is on the way out. Only a garage can give you the answer. 

Our potatoes did not crop as well as in former years but it is difficult to say why – probably lack of manure. Shall try some late variety next year. They usually crop heavier than the earlies. 

A letter from Geoff last week said Sarah had taken the 11-plus exam but results would not be available until next May. I thought Middlesex was one of the counties that had dispensed with this exam. He also sent copy of the annual wine list and I’ve ordered a few bottles which will reach us via Lyng.

Our T.V. set is giving a bit of trouble again – the sound takes about half an hour to come through after switching on**. This is similar trouble to what we had before and Bell’s people so-called put it right. Told him yesterday to fetch set to works and put it in proper order. Expect it will be away for 2 or 3 days. Noticed Sealeys (the other T.V. people) van outside Cornishes just now so it looks as if they have a bit of trouble too. 

Don has been called out a couple of times since I last wrote – in one case a man was killed on the line between Bridgwater and Durston and he also had to attend inquest. 

Note not much doing then at the office apart from routine matters – the trouble is these must be attended to as they have a nasty habit of accumulating. Perhaps it is as well you are not out and about this weather. The divisional offices seem to be doing well. Geoff that says the return fare Bristol to Cardiff is 12/3d and from Cardiff to Bristol 14/3d*** due apparently to the two Divisional Managers’ difference of opinion. The Chard branch is shortly to be closed for passenger traffic but will remain in use for goods traffic. Any more news of Beeching? Saw him on T.V. the other day catching his train to London. Note the unions are going to rock the boat again they must be utterly mad. 

Did we tell you that Joan (Lyng) is waiting to go into hospital to have some cysts removed from her head – has already been waiting several weeks and no sign of admittance yet.

Expect you have heard – since you wrote – how June’s mother and father are getting along this cold weather. Hope Mrs Baker now fully recovered from the shock of having all her teeth out at one go. 

We are not quite sure whether the new people have moved into Martindale – down by river – but over the weekend we saw lights there in the evening. May have been down doing some decorating (could give them a few hints). 

Have not heard if Tennyson House (thatched roof) yet sold. 

No news of Arthur Fewings since he returned to California at beginning of month. 

Well I think this is a lot once more.  All our love to you both and more kisses for dear Susan and Carol. 

Mum and Dad. 

*According to Wikipedia, “The two younger Dimblebys both made their television débuts in the 1950s in the BBC’s first holiday programme Passport, at a time when the whole family would visit resorts in Switzerland or Brittany.”

**At this time transistors were not yet generally available and TV sets (and radios) operated via glass valves, known elsewhere as vacuum tubes. If these were failing they could take a very long time to warm up, hence the long wait for the sound to be available on Leonard and Eva’s TV set.

***In 2021 money this would be either £14.45 or £16.81. The current return fare would be roughly similar at £15.60 for the cheapest option, or double that depending on the service chosen.

Eva to the family on the remaining three quarters of a sheet of Leonard’s paper

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for the masterpieces this week. Can see they will soon be hung. 

Well dad has really finished the painting etc. and everything looks fresh again but for a few days it was chaotic, you couldn’t go anywhere but you had paper sticking to the soles of shoes. I have to get a new shade for the room haven’t made up my mind yet but expect will get a pale one.

It’s been a terrible day today and had to fetch magazines from Works and then deliver my lot. The latest is there is going to be a parish party on Jan 26th at the New Hall, the first party to be held there at the Community Centre when it is finished. The sting in the invitation is the price of the ticket 2/6d. ****

Mrs Cummings has been busy taking mousetraps up to the church. She is indignant that the flowers which she puts there in vases as well as berries gets all eaten up so she has caught one or two.  They don’t set one for Sundays as it would be sure to go off when everything was quiet. 

Hope the children sang nicely at the service. Rebecca’s birthday on Monday she is 15. 

Lots of love from Granfy and Grandma.

**** Roughly equivalent to £2.95 in 2021 currency, which seems a perfectly fair sum.

Eva’s drawing at the bottom: a bunch of holly, a Christmas cake, a rabbit with a tie and sunglasses, what is very possibly a star above a manger, a donkey and a Christmas tree.

Sunday 26th November, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for letter again this week, arrived just before we went out for the usual shopping expedition. You will be pleased to know that Susan after a bad spell had recovered sufficiently to return to school during the week. Almost to the minute however, Carol decided that it was her turn again and took up the running*. June had to get Ethel to come in to look after her while she went to the school for Susan. Most of the week therefore in the illness stakes has been devoted to Carol. Two visits to the Doctor have failed to produce anything that would stop her hacking cough so after one full night of it we resorted to the old formula – half glass of Granfy’s Cherry Wine. Result sleep for all of us. I think that it is a two-way cure, it cuts the phlegm, and induces sleep all at the same time. Throughout the day at about three hour intervals she gets another small drop, and that defeats the cough.  She woke up coughing and spluttering again this morning, but after the noggin, there has been no sign of a cough. Of course Susan now qualifies. There has been an awful lot of illness in Susan’s class and she tells us that there are now only 16 present. I believe the normal figure is nearer 30. 

Hope you have managed to get some of the property clear of debris etc following your decorating exploit. It does not take long to get in a mess, but rather longer to get it straight. I can picture the difficulty you had with the “windows” – all of them – and I am glad that we have no such problem here. Cutting-in is such a tedious job, and so far we have not shone at that game. I am not surprised it took a whole packet of polyfilla to fill the gap left by the pitch rail. We had a big filling job to do when we took down the pantry, and we overcame the expense of buying several packets of Polyfilla by buying ordinary plaster to fill most of the gap, and then only topping up with Polyfilla. Plaster is a lot cheaper than Polyfilla. Shall expect to see great signs of improvement when I arrive, and hope the visit has not upset your plans in any way.

Regarding gardening, you probably recall that I told you I would not bother any more with the indoor chrysants. Accordingly I left the remaining ones outdoors. Despite heavy white frost they have continued to grow and flower as normal. They are in better shape than the supposedly outdoor chrysants that are in the strip at the end of the lawn. Another white frost out there today so will wander down and see if they have still survived.

Saw Eric Benn yesterday and he said that he had another week to do in London before he goes to Bristol. He says he will travel home at weekends when he can. No talk of where he will live. 

I have seen David Dimbleby and agree with your remarks. Put Chataway with them and you have a handy trio. 

Had Friday off to give June a break with the children. Took Susan to school in the morning, and tried to get the car out to fetch her, but battery well down. Cannot recall that I had done much night driving but it had not been used for a week. Had visions of getting Eric’s charging plant in again, but had another try on Saturday morning. Before switching on the ignition, I turned over the engine many times**, then pumped the float chamber hard. Turned on the starter motor, and it gave a few uncertain turns and stopped. I thought this was the end, but gave a turn of the handle on spec, and it was away first touch. Of course it did not take long to get a charge back into the battery, and things should be O.K. again now. I believe you said that the battery was an old one in any case, so may want renewing soon. 

Note your grape wine still going. After bottling mine (with corks loose just in case) I tested for gas pressure after a week, but none was there. Oddly enough, your cherry has produced enough pressure to force out the cork overnight. The wine may have been encouraged to work again due to being left on top of the T.V. in a warm room. We could not find a cork at all, and was sure we had put it on. By mid-afternoon we found it behind the T.V. set. I put in a bigger cork last night, and rammed it home. To make a comparison the bottle was left on the T.V. set again, and this morning there was a distinct pressure there. Do not worry it will not get a chance to do any damage at the rate it is disappearing. 

I gather you got the point about a second garage. What with firewood, steps, garden implements and toys, not to mention dahlias stored for next year, there is hardly room for the car. 

I seem to remember the flagpole at the church being erected sometime during the early Thirties.  It was put there in replacement of an even older pole.

Surprised to hear that you are buying potatoes already. What went wrong with you this year’s crop?

The scillas should make a good show. We have not potted up anything this year. everything you brought up that had not previously been reported expired is still going strong and we hope to be able to keep them now. The children show no signs of wanting to pull the cacti about but occasionally they get careless.

What is the point of going to the Coal utilisation lectures when you already know that the best fuel is electricity? Some tea by the way. Could almost taste that coffee cream cake. 

Well there is not much news to report from this end again. We have not seen or heard from either side of the family since writing last. At the office nothing much moving, but lots pending if only one could get round to doing the big jobs instead of being tied up with a myriad small pressing items which are almost routine. Lay had a week’s holiday, the first he has had this year apart from the sick leave he had early in January.

Well we are expected to attend a children’s service at the Methodist Church this afternoon so must start to pack up. Love from us all till next week.

*Three years old and already so manipulative, deliberately being ill just to upset her parents!

** Younger readers may not be aware that at this time all cars were supplied with starting handles; see this video for further information.

Wednesday 22nd November, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for another long letter to hand as usual on Tuesday but sorry to hear Susan has been poorly again – wonder what can be the matter – query a chill in the tummy. Apparently a lot of children round here are suffering similarly. Must be that cold N.E. wind we had about a fortnight ago. Hope she will soon be alright again.

Thank you Susan and Carol for some more lovely drawings – they will be put with all the others you have previously sent us. Fancy Susan now reading little bit out of the book called ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It was good of Carol too to recognise the drawings made by Grandma.

Well since I last wrote we have been up to our necks in dirt and paint. Started off on the Wednesday by stripping paper from walls and making good broken pieces of plaster etc. Then picture rail above mantelpiece had to come out and I found that originally it had been fixed before the walls had been plastered so a deal of filling had to be done to close gap – took a whole packet of Polyfilla. When it came to putting on first coat of paint I wondered when should finish. Took two days each for undercoat and topcoat. There are 31 panes of glass to ‘cut in’ viz. 15 in French door, 6 over French door, 2 large windows (one on either side of French door) 4 panes of glass each in the two glass cupboards and these latter had to be ‘cut in’ front and back making a total of 39 ‘cuts in’. As there are four sides to each pane of glass this meant 156 ‘cuts in’ for each coat of paint so you can see how tedious it was to get through this lot. Anyhow I finished second coat by 3:15 p.m. today and now waiting for it to dry so can start papering tomorrow. The colours of paint by the way is silver (could not afford gold). I must say it looks alright so far – must now be careful I don’t put paper on back to front. 

No gardening obviously this week but weather quite nice really since that cold wind has dropped. Ground fairly dry too. Don says his broad beans are showing through soil but mine or not up yet. Did I tell you I managed to get a row of peas in early last week? 

Note you have made another visit to Reading Yard and have plenty of the right ammunition for them – must make them think about their own Union leaders. 

The ice plant (sedum) will die back I expect but root growth should ensure a bigger plant next season. One of our neighbours in St Andrews Drive (bordering our section of field) called the other evening to place a vegetable order (sounds like the greengrocer) and said they had a lot of cuttings of a tradescantia. We gave her one of ours (identical but smaller than the one you had) and in return we had one of hers. Quite a different colouring so if we can strike cuttings in due course you must have one. 

Now you mention the old lady who used to live next door to you I have a faint recollection of hearing about her at the time. Has Eric Benn actually moved to Bristol? (Work I mean not his home.) On our local TV news we now get David Dimbleby who apparently is the Outside Broadcast T.V. reporter. Just about as overbearing as his father. 

How have you been rated for garage? 

There is still a lot of water in deep portion of pond but I cannot say if there is any life there – much too cloudy. 

So you have been busy log cutting – we are a bit short of suitable sleeper wood for logs but plenty of short stuff alright for fire lighting. If the frosts persist you will soon have to have your antifreeze put in car. It’s been a bit nippy one or two mornings.

Reverting to decorations again, the brick wall pattern of paper over the fireplace will be much smaller than the pattern in Geoff’s dining room – more in keeping perhaps with the smaller room. Don’t care much for the idea of a five barred gate as after looking at it all the evening might be jumping over it all night. 

My grape wine is still fermenting but I note you have bottled yours now. Shall look forward to tasting your apricot. 

The wall brackets you have detailed are more or less identical to those made and fixed by Mr Palmer in his own house. He drew a sketch for me and put in measurements – must try and remember to show you when you come down. 

The British Legion parades seem to have improved in numbers all over the country – the weather was good and this has a big bearing on attendances especially when the march is a rather long one. 

What is the point about a second garage being required for car? Is the present one being occupied with odds and ends? Even with the big garage I’ve often said to myself ‘if the garage was bigger I could get more stuff in it’. it is surprising how the odds and ends accumulate over the years. 

The old flag pole on church tower broke recently and the new one arrived last week and is at present lying in churchyard. Looks like a ship mast to me. Somebody is going to get a headache lifting it onto tower. I know one who will be missing when the job’s done. 

Yes Mrs Hewitt will now have plenty of scope for her tongue as vice-chairman of T.W.G. – might give Roy a break. 

Have heard nothing more of the broken sewer pipes in Cornishes but I believe someone from Council was having a look round earlier this week. 

Mum had to start buying potatoes today which is an indication of the poorness of our own crop this year. We have a couple of hundredweight on order from Lyng but no arrangements made yet before bringing or fetching. 

No more now.  Hope Susan is better and that you are all in good health once more. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol. 

Mum and Dad

Eva to the family on the remaining two-thirds of a sheet of Leonard’s paper:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for the letters and drawings. I hope the children are getting over their little upset. It is common down this way and has lasted about three days. 

It is warmer here today but yesterday and the day before we had a severe frost. It looks as if we are going to be held up for the paper now so we haven’t had it yet and dad is ready to put it on tomorrow. We are in a good old muddle and everything is filthy in the kitchen – got one easy chair there and the other the porch, besides curtains cushions etc. 

Have today planted out two dozen scillas, they are pretty little blue flowers and last a long time in the bulb bowls.

Dad has been very busy this afternoon (Thursday) while I have been in Bristol. He has already finished papering the walls. We went to the Coal Utilisation Council for a lecture and film of different kinds of uses of fuel (solid). The best thing of the afternoon was tea. They gave us walnut and date bread which they had made also a coffee cream cake which just melted in the mouth finished by a hot mince pie straight from the oven – and tea of course. The girl was busy making mince pies as a group of Young Conservatives were usually there in the evening. The shops were looking very nice and hundreds of people about.  Xmas will soon be here and shall soon have to think about the B.R.s’* party. 

Lots of love from Grandfy & Grandma Mum and Dad.

*Bellringers’, of course!

Eva’s illustration includes a Christmas pudding with holly on top, a plate of mince pies, a turkey, a child in trousers and a cardigan, a bunch of balloons labelled ‘pink’, ‘blue’, ‘red’, ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ and what appears to be a lamb with a star above it.  In the bottom corner are two unidentified objects, one of which could be a shoe full of jelly and the other possibly a cabbage. 

Sunday 19 November, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for your letter duly received by breakfast time yesterday. glad you like the drawings again and note they have been put in the art gallery. Sorry to report that we have had a lot of trouble with Susan again. Early in the week she was showing signs that she was not exactly herself, and came home from school a couple of days running with evidence of having had accidents. The last time she brought a message for June to see Headmistress next day. I managed to get home fairly early myself that day (Wednesday) and we took her to the doctor. He would not say what it was of course, but said we had to keep her in and warm. The following day she moped about the place and when I got home discovered she had been very sick (chairs, carpets etc). Of course the night had been interrupted and in fact on Friday night June slept in with her and I had Carol. Fortunately on Saturday she showed considerable signs of improvement to such an extent that we were able to get weekly shopping done plus other jobs, and took her with us. Today she seems a lot better, and apart from loose cough and snivel.* Glad to hear you are both free from ills to date.

Should imagine no difficulty in making up your mind to pack up digging etc. when weather turns against you. I cannot say I am very enthusiastic about doing anything in the garden although it looks the usual mess at this time of year. 

We paid a visit to Reading Yard on Wednesday, Lay, Mures and myself. Had another informal chat with the staff side of the L.D.C. and they told us that the men were opposed to more Work Study at Reading as they had not seen the results of the previous investigation but had suffered the staff cuts nevertheless. I pointed out to them that this was entirely due to the N.U.R. at the time refusing to consider the scheme until they had considered another that was still being compiled, and after that had refused to take part in any consultation on any subject (National Ruling) for several months. I think they half believed me, but wanted to see it in writing with Mr (Sid) Greene’s signature on it. Fortunately in my papers I have a copy of Greenes letter on the subject, and we can get access to the original at Unity House so this one will bounce back in their direction very soon. 

The ice plant has already put out several new shoots so hope we can get a decent growth by next year. The tradescantia has put out several more flowers which last only about one day.

Perhaps you cannot remember that when we first came to Number 84 there was an old lady living in Number 82 who had allowed the garden to go to rack and ruin? The grass was long and had not been cut for ages.** She moved very soon after we arrived. Be interested to know what the house will sell for of course, but as you say it will not be much of a clue to the value of one with garage or garage space. Incidentally I had a Schedule A assessment for the garage this week. 

I had a feeling that you would not have been down to the river lately. What about the pond? Is there any water left in it or are there any eels left? If there is water then there is a good chance that there is something alive in it. Fish, especially eels, are very hardy. 

I cut up the remains of a sleeper to use as logs on the fire last weekend, but so far we have not used many. There is still plenty of wood to be cut up. Have so far not had any antifreeze put in our car. Will have to leave that job for a while. 

Good crack about the hat. They do not miss those things even if half blind. This one does not look as if it is in hiding by the way.***

Note from both your comments that the decorating is in full swing. Do not know whether to call you Peter or Adolf.**** So you have gone for the brick wall idea too. Should have thought it more original to disguise the fireplace as a five-barred gate. 

After this week’s episode from Susan, we shall postpone doing anything special in this house. Sympathy would be strained to say the least if they gave new furniture that treatment.

Had a taste of one of the Apple wines I had been keeping. I think it has gone to vinegar. Unless more sugar makes it palatable I shall have to throw it away. Do not know if I told you that I decanted the apricot wine to bottles last week. This is very good. Note your point about the grape wine, but as mine has been in the warm all the time, fermentation may have been faster and may now have been completed. In this case I think I had better put it to bottles.

We have three wall brackets in our dining room as you know, and it was as replacements for these that I mentioned the subject to you earlier. The present ones are fixed to the wall by a flat panel approximately 5 in by 3 in a 6-inch spur jutting out at right angles with a flat top and curving underside. (This just prevents it from looking triangular.) This spur looks to be about 1 inch wide, and support at the end a square block about 1 inch and a quarter size and half in deep. On top of the square the lamp assembly complete with switch rests. I cannot say I like the design but it has the merit of being simple. The thing would be required to be of a dark colour to match the rest of the fittings in the room, but otherwise design is up to you.

Why did the locals turn out in such force to the British Legion parade this time? We had some big parades on the 30th, but thought that sort of thing had declined recently. 

Note your work has involved the moving of chairs at cetera from place to place. We shall soon want a second garage to put the car in. 

The children saw the drawings and Carol it was who guessed what they were first. Susan can now read short sentences from Alice in Wonderland so must be getting on well at school. 

I know Joe Reed. Hope his complaint does not turn out to be bad, but it sounds very suspicious to me. 

Glad you were able to vote for Mrs Hewitt and get a bit of local support on the T.G. She will talk them into anything. 

Well must close now in the hope that next week we can give you a clean bill of health. Love from us all. 

*As we all know, children who are five and three years old respectively spend a lot of their time deliberately becoming ill in order to inconvenience their parents. I have yet to see a single word of sympathy from Alec in any of these letters – our childhood illnesses were of no concern to him except in terms of having to take us to the doctor or having to clean up after us. His utter inability to empathise is even more mysterious when you consider that he spent eight months in an isolation hospital as a child; surely one who had been so ill himself would understand illness in others – but no, clearly he had the monopoly on suffering and nobody else was ever going to be as ill as he.

**He would be horrified to see the back garden of number 84 now; it doesn’t seem to have been touched since we moved out in 1967 and rumour has it that there is a fox den somewhere beneath the brambles.

***Har har, silly women buying silly hats and looking silly in them! This misogynist humour is typical of its time, of course – women drivers, what a scream! – but shows a distinct lack of (a) charity and (b) original thinking. Whyever would one marry a woman – professing to love and honour her in front of all one’s friends and family – and then ridicule her for her choice of hat? Honestly, there are days when I really want to go and dig Alec up and slap him upside the head for his thoughtless and often cruel stereotyping and utterly dismissive words and actions towards women. The fact that he was cremated twenty years ago would, of course, make this difficult, but it doesn’t stop me being angry with him.

****That is, ‘Peter the Painter‘ – i.e. one of the supposed anarchists from the Siege of Sidney Street, or of course Adolf Hitler who had some talent as an artist.

Wednesday 15th November, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for a budget of news and a lovely drawing from Susan and another from Carol – thank you very much young ladies for sending them on to Grandfy and Grandma – we shall put them with the others in the desk. 

Glad to hear you are all fairly free of coughs and colds at the moment of writing. Mum and I are both keeping free at present but the N.E. wind which has been prevailing for several days keeps us more or less indoors. I did manage to put in a row of peas on Monday but was somewhat sheltered by one of the hedges. Tried to do some digging though yesterday but gave it up after about 15 minutes and crept back into greenhouse. 

So the ‘penny for the guy’ was duly registered by the girls – they do not miss much. Glad they enjoyed themselves although too tired to see the display by next door neighbours. Yes accidents happen every season in spite of warnings and it’s generally a case of ‘who would have thought it’. 

Thanks for information re Reading Yard et cetera and shall be pleased to hear in due course what progress you make with L.D.C. Noted no suitable vacancies about just at the moment.

It is possible the ice plant will not produce any more leaves this year and that what remains will gradually die right back. Keep it in a safe place and it should shoot out afresh next spring. If  it does not we can easily replace as have several rooted cuttings on hand.

Bill Raine did remarkably well considering he was up against such men as Mr Yandell whom you will remember was formerly head gardener to Mrs Burden at Clevedon Hall. Fancy you remembering a walk with him on sea wall to Wick st. Lawrence. Incidentally the body found near the Blackstone Rocks has not yet been identified. 

Did not realise you had already seen one change of occupants in Number 82. Somewhat solves his garage problem now as he will not be further interested in getting a piece of land to erect one. Wonder what the house will sell for? Lack of garage and garage space may cause a bit of difficulty as most people want this facility even if not in possession of car. 

Glad to hear Mrs Baker getting on alright following extraction of teeth – should make a difference to health but a bit awkward without them. Time will come when she will want to take out her dentures to enjoy a good meal, that is unless she has become acclimatised to having false teeth in her mouth. I remember that only too well. 

No I’ve not had any more timber from river – in fact I do not think I’ve been down that far but once since you were last here. The bit you helped to get ashore I cut up only last week and used as logs on fire. Could wish we had a lot more of them as have been cutting up sleeper wood for this purpose. It would be some job to level a strip down to river to enable motor mower to be used – sounds like hard work too. 

Thanks for comments on antifreeze. Actually I never had my radiator flushed out this year so the remains of last winter’s Bluecol is still there but if weather turns in particularly severe shall have to have the job done. 

So you went to West Ealing for June to see an optician and came home with a new hat. The query is did June get the hat before or after visiting optician as it is suggested that if the visit was before perhaps there was then no need to see the optician. Anyhow we hope June was delighted with the hat. 

It was an uncle of Mr Palmers who died at Cannington and and he is having a bit of job settling matters up. Our visit to wallpaper and paint shop took place yesterday and mum was in her element for a few minutes picking out the winners. Shall now have to start stripping the dining room and commence operations. Just as well perhaps to have job indoors for a week or so considering the state of the weather outside. Think of me next week. What is it the old song said?  “When father papered the Parlour” etc. 

Report on the various wines noted. I fully agree about the blackcurrant and rhubarb mixture – much too sharp at the moment. Mrs Marshall gave Mum (for me) a stone jar complete with cork and handle (gal. size) as used for cider in the fields during haymaking time. Quite a nice job and in good condition. Shall use it for storing wine. I noticed today the grape wine is still fermenting fairly fast in spite of fact it is in garage which is on the cool side. Will keep you advised. 

So you have had a couple of power cuts. Now it is reported in the Press there may be a strike over Christmas which will result in a general blackout. 

Yes we know how narrow the road is at Yiewsley – sorry to hear of the accident there but if there is a drunken driver at the wheel of a car anything can happen even if road is very wide one. 

Shall be delighted to see Alec evening of December 7th and we’ll meet him at Yatton when we know time he will arrive – wonder if wallpapering etc will be completed by then? 

Not a lot to report in the way of local news. Have finished digging the plot on which runner beans were grown and and that in the main completes all urgent work in garden until the spring. 

You mentioned something about brackets for wall lamps when we were at Ruislip.  Wondering if I can try my hand at making something as saw Mr Palmer had a couple in his living room which he had made. How many had you in mind?  And have you any particular design in mind? 

British Legion annual church parade last Sunday in common with rest of country. It was the biggest here for many years and they could not get them all in church. A fine day but cold Any wind kept people on the move. 

Cornish came over one day last week – could see me digging from his landing window – said the sewer which runs practically the length of his field was broken in five places and ground on top was sinking. I told him he had better tell Surveyor. Fortunately I have no sewer running through our field but I think Heels have one and they seem to have a lot of trouble. Must wait and see what is going to happen. 

Well this is the lot for another week – hope you are all keeping fit. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.

Mum and Dad.

Eva to the family on the remaining three quarters of a sheet of Leonard’s paper:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter and drawings by the children. We are well and truly up to our necks in paint and paper etc and don’t know which way to turn. We put one easychair in porch outside kitchen, one in the kitchen and small chairs upstairs which just left table and sideboard sitting in room. Dad spent all yesterday scraping paper off and and it is jolly hard in places although swamped it with water. The room was done back in 1952  as decorator had put date on it we thought it was that year. I have chosen two papers full. One for chimney breast to represent a wall & the rest of paper off-white raised with stripes in places of green, and silver paint for woodwork. I must say it is cold down here and shall be glad when we can get back in dining room. 

Shall be pleased to see Alec down when he can come. It was our T.G. general meeting on Wednesday – the voting for next year’s committee took place and Mrs Hewitt got herself in as the Vice Chairman which she promised herself. 

We went down to Mr Palmers one afternoon this week and to see the wallpaper. The taste some people have. First it was a lilac ceiling in itself was quite good, but the wallpaper (main) was trailing ivy leaves in vivid green while the chimney piece was done representing a wall with bricks big enough for a huge room in heavy black-and-white, the carpet was all colours topped by a circular rug of emerald quite cheerful don’t you think. Joe Reed had to see specialist this week with lump in stomach. He lives opposite Bill Raine in that little cottage belonging to Cox whom he works for. 

Well I think this is all for now so will close with love to all Mum and Dad.

Picture Eva has drawn shows step ladder, bucket, paint brush, two pots of paint marked ‘top silver’ and ‘under silver grey’, a broom, a sponge, a scraper and a wallpapering brush.