Alec to his parents:
Dear Mum and Dad
Thanks once again for weekly letter. Glad the girls managed to get one in as well for you last week. The doll was very much appreciated, and although Carol wanted to have it at first they have now settled down to one each and no grumbles. The rock of course went down well. Ribbons duly appropriated. Glad you had a long letter from Susan – I saw it being composed, but she has named a couple of animals in the list that were not there (hippo and rhino) but she left out two others that were there (guess what*?).
It has been dreadfully cold here this last week. The first week of the year that the office heating has been turned off and did I noticed it. Of course this is the trouble of turning heating on and off according to the calendar. Have had no thunderstorms come up but yesterday the weather made a vast improvement and was very hot at times with a general level higher than for some time. I believe there was a forecast of thunder and it was almost impossible to hear anything on the radio last night due to atmospherics. Gather you were able to do some gardening despite the storms your end. I had a clear up in garden last weekend, but have not done anything since. No seeds through of course and I have now written them off.
Nothing much to report on the radio this week. Had contacts with Cheltenham and Hall Green, Birmingham in the week and this morning at about 8 am worked a portable radio station located near Birmingham.
So far as our old set is concerned, it was dismantled to make other sets at Devonia some many years ago, but the speaker was in use a long time after the main set went. It is just possible that the speaker is still lurking about in the shed. It was not a good one, having the cone manufactured of brown paper.
The sweet peas are in pots, and should be fairly well protected from the slugs, but main thing is to see that they do not dry out. Most of our garden shrubs etc. survived the winter o.k. We have had to retrain the honeysuckle as we took down the supporting wire and unfortunately had to cut much of the growth to get at it. There have been a number of cuttings planted out and in tubs and we have been successful with many of them.
No news from Brownies yet. We think you are right in that there are not enough adults to run more than one pack at this end. Too many counter-attractions.
No further trips to Retford although always a possibility. I would rather somewhere closer. That jaunt takes about three hours to get there from King’s Cross and it is an hour to that point from here.
Not too worried about the gas water heater. I had an idea it would be gone by now. June had an idea for it at number 17.
You really are having trouble with your TV. Good idea next time to have one from the rental people then you can get set attended to free, and also if not satisfied with set you can get it changed. Also when new features come out you can always have such changed for one that includes them. I know Donald Fortune. We went to school together (St. John’s) and I recall being at Clevedon once when you were at work and he turned up then to fix the set for you. I recognised him then.
Good luck to the sailors this weekend. Not bad about the 31st of June. Some one wants to go back to school.
Glad you got the mag okay. I have a number of old London Divisions News in the office, but they do not fold into so small a size as the mag and I shall have to look out for a larger envelope for them.
So Rodney Meadows turned up in the Belfry did he? I knew he did a bit of ringing. He is not married and as he has moved about the country bracket (on promotion etc) he has joined various bands on a part-time basis. As you say cannot think what he is doing down your way. He is now Traffic Costing Officer to the line manager (G.N.). I have not seen him since I have been with E.R. (which is now 8 months).
It does not matter much what they intend to put on the property (except factories) so long as they give you good price.
Your apple blossom must be a fine sight and it is a pity you cannot take a picture of it.
You are likely to get a cackle or two from next door then up to Christmas. Not very good idea putting house down the end of garden unless to minimise the noise. Pity you lost your chrysanths. We have not got any this end. The buddleia doing well and already the top leaves are near the top of fence at bottom.
Our office outing (Isle of Wight) took place last week. I gather they all had a good time with plenty of sunshine. I think that is a place I would like to go to one year. Not a bad trip by car and latter essential on the other side to get most of the views etc.** I understand that there were three outings on the train from Victoria, and there are murmurings against having any more. I think the things are out of date myself.
So the goods at Clevedon will close altogether. What happens to the coal wharves?
I understand that Canada is a good place to go to, especially if you are in any form of Engineering. Douglas Dugdale is out there (in Ottawa I believe) and his mother told me he is a production engineer of a large firm. Iris’s sister and family are also out there, but they make periodic visits home. They of course travel by air each time and have plenty of money.
Glad the pictures were approved by your neighbour in St. Andrew’s Drive. Have not done any more since, but may show the pictures on the wall tonight.
So Ruth was saved a fall then. If she is anything like our two she will have a fall or two to come on the stairs yet. They do not fall about on stairs much now, but we had a few scares in the past. They have both tumbled from top to bottom.
Well we must look forward to the heatwave in August as you say, but to be fair it is not too bad today. Doug is cleaning the windows next door so that shows. Well that’s all for this week so refer to mother’s letter for further news . Love from us all once again.
*Us. He meant us. Animals.
**Because of course the local people are so primitive that they’d never think of running buses/coaches for visitors, or anything like that.
A special letter to wish you Many Happy Returns of the day. Will get the letters all off today so that you can have this one on the date. Hope you also receive by the same post small parcel from us all. Latter posted yesterday should reach you okay. Hope you are able to sit out in the garden on the day and watch Dad do all the work. I should imagine that by now you have got the flower garden pretty shipshape.
Copious arrangements then for Geoff, Stella and family to get time off to come and see you. We have Eileen*** staying with us this weekend. It is the first time we have seen her for eighteen months. The girls had forgotten what she looked like. Eileen came on Friday night after work. Yesterday she and June and the girls went over to see Grandma Baker in the morning. (On train as I was cleaning the car****.) In the afternoon I took them all to Chorleywood in car and we watched the cricket and sat in the sun having a bit of a picnic. Roy was at a conference all day so we picked up Delph and Christopher as well. I suppose we set off at about 2:30 p.m. and got back at 6:30 p.m.. There were hundreds of police and people lining the Western Avenue, and we could not understand what it was all for, but it eventually clicked that this was in aid of the expected crowds for the Cup Final.
I do not know what pipes you are referring to which you are having put underground. I cannot recall any external pipes.
Plenty of Spring decoration going on in Avenue then. There is a man at the bottom who has a garden just about as small as ours and he has a motor mower working on his lawn. He has been at it for about half an hour so must be giving it a close shave.
Some game about the sugar. They were limiting people to 6 lbs each in Fine Foods during the week, and on Saturday they had none at all. June has got some lump sugar from somewhere, but that goes quicker than the other as the kids eat it like sweets. Auntie Eileen brought them some spearmint, and they are both at it now, their jaws jumping away.
I understand that Norman and Pauline are having lunch today with Roy and Delphine. This business blows hot and cold. No more news from number 17 except that like us the gas bill has arrived. Enough to frighten anyone. Ours this year was pretty stiff, but after all we had the water heater and gas fire extra, and did not use any coal. Also we must have used less electricity as did not heat the front room by that means this year.
Susan has written a special letter for you and it seems a good attempt at writing. I expect we will sit in the garden this afternoon*****. I must say I can do with it as cleaning the car yesterday was no joke. It really looks nice again now. Have to start on the inside now.
Well we shall be thinking of you tomorrow, so for the time being, love from us all. Alec
***Eileen Basham, June’s cousin, is the only member of that generation of the family still with us, and at the time of writing has recently turned 97. It’s a constant and enduring joy to have her in our lives.
****Naturally a priority – let two adults and two small children (a) walk to the station (b) take the Tube to Greenford (c) change to the push-me-pull-you to West Ealing and (d) walk from the station to Eccleston Road, which Rome2Rio reckons at something like two hours including the walking, and then do the whole thing in reverse at the end. That’s four hours of travelling time as opposed to potentially half an hour each way in the car. But you do you, Alec; clearly polishing the car is far more important than your family’s comfort. Have I ever mentioned that he was a selfish bugger and didn’t like children?
*****Alec’s ambition in a nutshell, just to ‘sit out in the garden’. Personally I can’t think of anything less interesting to do.