Alec to his parents:
Dear Mum and Dad
Well thank you very much for two letters, one received on Monday and the other on Friday. I will work through them in date order.
Glad you like the drawings from the girls. Susan’s pictures get better and better especially now she is able to put some titles to them. (How did you like Mr Krooschop – worked it all out herself, we did not know she had done it .) They are both pretty fit again now.
Regarding the weather, yes we have had ‘best mixed’ for a while now. At the moment it is raining lightly, but practically all yesterday it was a very heavy. If you have been able to go through the winter on 25 cwt of coal you must not have done so badly. Perhaps a few logs would help out. Must watch the river again in the summer for flotsam.
I would not have thought the east wind would have made a lot of difference to the inhabitants of the Swiss Valley, as it does not blow from that direction all that often. Note you comment on our house roof having come through the storms intact, but we have other troubles of which more later.
We are getting no trouble with the envelopes now – all arriving in one piece.
Should not have thought there was much future in the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Perhaps your neighbour knows better though.
I am not surprised that Mogg does not remember the incident of taking me around a corner in a gale. It was mid-day, and I do not think he was very pleased at being called from his dinner.
Have not touched the lawn since last writing, but shall have to do something pretty soon as the grass-growing weather is now arriving.
I think I know what caused the tyre to go flat. The Sunday before I tested all tyres to see if they wanted pumping up. All except that one were okay, but oddly enough that particular tyre was reading about 10 lbs more than it should have been, probably due to miss reading the airline meter at the filling station. I promptly let out some air to get pressure back to normal, and my guess is that the valve must have stuck open a little and let all the rest out gradually.
I have not been having any wine lately, but hope to resume shortly.
I agree about being only in the fringe of Work Study. It has a tremendous future and the great thing is to go with it for the time being.
Glad your hand is now better, and in good condition to use the new typewriter.
I do not know what is going on next door about moving but Dorothy was at Bristol again yesterday, and I think they are still looking for a suitable place.
No they still have not found that small boy who was missing from Hayes. When I came past the canal at Hayes on Friday afternoon (returning from Reading) I saw half a dozen police with a boat raking through the reeds etc.
I note all the comment on the improvements proposed for the seafront, but I do not understand why they have written off that part from the Pier to the Flagstaff as having no potential for improvement. I would have thought what that there was a long stretch on the pier side of the bandstand that could be improved.
Sorry about the box in the church. It must be the same person all the time, as cannot think there are many who would help themselves.
I did not hear that Dawlish Warren had been washed away again, but as we had trouble this week in the area I cannot think there can be much left now.
The tooth question so far as I am concerned is not serious. I try to go regularly, but six months is a bit too regular for me. Had not been for quite some time so as the girls and June were having theirs seen to I thought I would have mine done as well.
We have selected our gas heater, but it will be a few weeks before we order it. We ordered a water heater for the kitchen on Saturday and hope they will fix it in this week.
I would not be definite about the Esther Reeds as, although I have not seen them, they may well be rooted underground.
McDonald tells me that the Acton Yard Report has had an impact on all who have seen it. Remains to be seen what it provokes.
Had the car tested on Wednesday, and it passed okay. The man at the garage said the brakes were good, but had quite a bit of travel on them (same as last time) and they had to lower one of the headlamps. No extra charge.
Interesting about Bushell’s motorbike. Should have thought Puddy would have had the sense to keep his mouth shut.
Sounds as though your church party went off well despite the absence of the vicar and Curate. The new hall also sounds to be a good place. We must see it when next in Clevedon.
I saw the article about the man washed up at Clevedon in the Daily Telegraph towards the end of this week. I see that they have identified him.
It sounds as though you have got a good buy for your typewriter. For the price you certainly have not been robbed.
Well for news from this end. On Thursday having a heavy cold, and some trouble with my neck (more later) I did not go into work. By the time I had had my dinner I was not feeling too bad. Susan had gone to school, and June and Carol had gone out shopping when I heard a faint tap tap coming from somewhere. Rushed upstairs and found that water was pouring through the ceiling in our bedroom and cascading on the bed. It was also pouring through the ceiling of the landing and running down the wall of the little back bedroom. I rumbled that the cold water tank had burst, and nipped smartly down and turn off the main. This of course had no immediate effect and by the time I got up again with bucket etc. the lights have come on. Dragged the bed and bedding to one side, turned on the cold water taps in the bathroom and down again to turn off the electricity. Back with more buckets and swabs to mop up, then down again for the ladder out of the garage. By this time June had arrived home, and water was already downstairs in the front room, Carol started to cry and got the wind up properly so she had to be taken next door. I got a rag to jam in the cold water tank to stop the flow, and promptly put my fist through the bottom it was so rotten. Managed to stop the flow there, although by this time the whole of the floor of the loft was covered to a depth of about half an inch with dirty black water which was sleeping through at every crack. By the light of three candles and a dim torch we mopped this up, and the flow through the bedroom and landing ceilings gradually ceased. Of course everything was soaking wet, so put oil heaters on the landing to start drying things out. After a while I took a chance and switched on one of the electric circuits. The one I had put in. It held so we put a couple more electric heaters on. This also gave us some light as we could move your standard lamp up into the girls room, and had the TV lamp ourselves downstairs. June and I slept on the studio couch in the front room. Next morning the ceiling was sufficiently dry to chance putting on the other electrical circuits, and they were then alright. Plumber arrived at 8:15 a.m. and put in a new tank. Apart from stains on wallpaper that has to be replaced anyway, we have only the bedroom carpet that is the worse for wear. The insurance people will pay for them to be cleaned so we shall be only the price of the tank worse off. What a life.
Regarding my neck, for some two months I have had a swelling in a gland on the left side, and although I have been attending an ear nose and throat clinic they have been unable to do anything about it. They are not certain what is causing the trouble and I shall go into hospital later today for a minor operation on Monday for them to discover what it is. I have asked June to hold this letter over until Monday so that she may have some later news for you. it appears that the gland is inflamed due to some infection but they cannot find anything wrong with ear nose or throat yet. There is no pain, but it has become large enough to hinder turning the neck, and it looks a bit unsightly. We have told the children I am going to see the Station Master at Bristol, and they are going over to Grandma Bakers this afternoon while June and I go to the hospital.
By the way, while we were waiting for the plumber to ring on Thursday night, the man to do the work in our kitchen turned up. He is so-called starting this weekend but, but we did not see him yesterday.
Well there it is again for another week. Will leave a bit of space for June. Love from us all.