Sunday 18th February, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks again for weekly letter and newspaper. I am sorry to report that last week the envelope containing both had become open at both ends although the contents were intact, and again this week precisely the same thing happened. I suppose it is a bit of a risk if this happens regularly as contents may get a stray. It would seem that the Sellotape you put on the end is insufficient for the job.

Thought you would have a laugh over the bread and water bit. So far nothing further in that line thank goodness.

One thing about Fortifones, they have supplied a number of batteries to keep you going for a while. If you get stuck again do not hesitate to let me know if you want me to phone them. Something seems to have twisted their conscience for them to mark the latest packet no charge? Hope it is not no change.

Note you had some severe weather your way last week. I had a meeting at Southall last Monday, and during the proceedings had a message from Paddington to the effect that June had telephoned to say roof of garage had blown off, and neighbour had helped to fix it temporarily, and could I come home before dark to make sure all was secure. It was a garbled message in the event. When the meeting ended, instead of going to lunch, I caught the bus across to Ruislip, but found that all that had moved was the crown piece at the house end, and the piece next inside it which was secured only by the weight of the first piece. These pieces are about 6 ft long, and had been lifted off by the force of the wind coming in through the open door of the garage. I had taken the car to station, and left a half door wedged open. All should have been in order, but it appears that a short metal bar to which the end piece was originally secured had worked loose and fallen off. At least this bar could not be found, and as it should have dropped inside the garage, can only think it had been missing for some time. I know it was there when we put the garage up. It appears that Eric and June together put the pieces back, and when I got there I found that they there were locked in place with a strong piece of wire tied round the main crossbeams. Poor Eric could only use one arm as the other was in a bad state following the vaccination. Doctor would not let him drive his car for a day or so.

I well remember a similar strong wind occurring when I was going to St. John’s School. I got as far as Mogg’s place but could not get round the corner. Had to dig out Mr Mogg to get me into Tennyson Avenue.

Have not heard the latest in the housing situation – next door. I suppose they will tell us one day what they are going to do, but I suppose it is none of our business. So far they have not said definitely if they are going to have that plot or not. If not, of course, it’s throws the whole thing wide open again.

Nothing further in the lawn Improvements so far, but the “Surveyor” has informed me that the work must be completed by May. I think we shall have to have a go slow for a while to push the wages up.

I should imagine that some of the last year’s parsnips will find their way into wine. As you know the older the potato or parsnip is, the better for wine. Talking on that subject, I forgot to tell you that last week (probably after going to press) I started off some more wine. This lot was based on 2 lbs of old parsnips, to which were added 1 lb of currants, tinned lemon juice (pure) equal to about 10 lemons, one orange complete with peel (very juicy), the peel of a second, and two banana skins. This lot has 2 lbs of sugar in it and the liquid wine yeast (as given to you). As Jungle Juice has already been taken as a name, I think I will call this one Alec’s Anaesthetic and hope for the best.

The mileage when you passed LTA 259 over to me was  46286 so you did rather less than 26000 miles in it. This over a period of six years. The average to you would be about 4300 per year. It is about half as much again as our average, but I would say that the average length of your journey was longer.

I thought there was something the matter with Geoff’s face the last time I saw him, but I did not like to mention it. Saw him again on Friday, and noticed little change. Glad you told me that he had been having trouble with it or I would not have known.

I have no doubt that you will lose the Clevedon train service altogether eventually, unless more people travel by it. There is no likelihood of that however as people’s habits have altered in the last twenty years or so. Nearly all have cars, or access thereto, and the television keeps them in in the evenings anyway.

We can find a corner for the thornless loganberry if you care to bring it up. Thanks very much. I do not know how long it is before they fruit.

Did not hear of the bad business at Lyme Regis.

Things seem to be happening in the housing line in Clevedon now. All the vacant plot are going by the sound of things. Of course what was once an out of the way spot what is now accessible by car. I recall a number of such plots in Edward Road which hung fire for years mainly because it was so far out of the main part of the town.

Sorry to hear about Dad’s thumb. How long has that been giving trouble? Note no bones broken – good job.

Pauline came over yesterday and released us to go to the pictures. We think it is the first time we have been since we possessed the car. Quite something to come home and not have to wait for a bus.

I see the chap at the bottom is digging his garden, and I expect several others are at that game today, it is such a nice day. Quite spring-like weather, and the girls are out in the garden on the swing. Of course they cannot agree for more than two minutes and a squabble begins. I see the prams are also getting an airing.

Had several trips out last week including a trip to Swindon. There I met Mr Armand now assistant to C.M.E. Spent most of the day with him, including lunch, and he asked to be remembered to you. it appears he is also a homemade wine merchant, and says he has even made his own whiskey, but he did not say if he distilled it or not.

No news of our joiner yet, but expect him at any time now.

Well must report that we are all fairly well at this end, and hope that goes for you too. Looking forward to that typewritten stuff. Is Mother going to be allowed to use it? Distaff side is barred this end. *

Well there it is again for another week. Love from us all. 

*’Distaff side’, i.e. his wife, June, but the implication is that she isn’t allowed to use the typewriter because she’s female … and we’ll just allow the stupidity of that to sink in a little, shall we? Younger readers may never have encountered a ‘typing pool’ in real life, but they turn up occasionally in films and TV shows set in the past, and you would have to look a long time before you found anybody male working in a typing pool. Men were usually very good typists, many having learned during their time in the services, but they didn’t type for other people – only for themselves. This is Alec’s attitude to life summed up in a nutshell, really; what’s yours is mine and what’s mine’s my own. He and June were both textbook narcissists, and it’s really no wonder that they had such dreadful rows.

This image was found on, where it is unfortunately not credited.

Sunday 4th February, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks for weekly letter, duly received on Saturday morning. Glad to say we are all now over the worst as regards health. We all have the residue of colds, namely catarrh. This of course will pass in due time. 

Glad to hear that the batteries from Fortiphones have arrived at last, although you had to write them a snorter. As it so happened your letters crossed in the post. I shall be interested to learn what actually went wrong. 

We thought of you last Sunday going to Lyng, and as I recall I commented in my last letter on it being a fine day. You had a dull day apparently, which is a surprise to us considering the weather we had that day. 

Hope budget will stretch to the 6d stamp each week, as it is interesting to get the Mercuries reasonably up-to-date.  I would have liked to have had them before, but never mentioned it.

Incidentally I was glad to hear that Don is better, or appears so. Going in for poultry in a big way by the sound of it. 

I could not say if the Benns are interested in the local news or not. I have pushed the paper through the door after I finished with it, but so far there has been no comment. On Friday Mr and Mrs Benn and Janet went to Southampton where they spent the night, and were motoring to Clevedon on Saturday afternoon. This is to decide if Mrs B likes the site and is willing to live there. I am sure I do not know what the reaction will be, but little Michael missed his mum. We heard him in there late on Friday saying ‘Mummy gone away’ etc etc. We saw Mrs Benn (Grandma) down at the shops on Saturday morning, and invited them in for the afternoon. He played with the girls and did not seem very put out. He did not want to go home of course, and raised the roof for a bit. Grandma Benn was saying that it all depended on Dorothy as to approval or not of the site, but she said they were quite used to moving about and it did not worry them. 

Regarding our helpers – washing up et cetera – we had a continuation of the same this morning. Susan washed up, and Carol wiped the breakfast things, but they got a bit out of phase so had to step in and clear it all up. 

I saw some pencil or biro marks on the last paper you sent and wondered if you had marked it specially, that is why I asked for identification. It may be that the children had got to work with their crayons etc. 

So poor old Arthur has died. Nice to be able to think you were able to entertain him even for a short while before he went. 

We did not ask for an estimate for sliding doors, and will not now vary the conditions otherwise he may put up the estimate. Note the position on the typewriter. 

Should have thought that your greenhouse could have provided the regular warm temperature that you require for your lettuce plants, or is it a higher temperature than you normally have in there. Al three of our pot honeysuckle plants are growing well. I have them now on top of the coal bunker – still in their pots and they have had the benefit of regular rain. 

Nice to have company come round even if no assistance offered when digging trench. At least your assistants do not undo what you have already done. 

Have done nothing further about the lawn, but put in another electric point yesterday. This time it was on the landing, and involved much more fiddling about with floorboards than I have had hitherto. 

June and Carol have just come in with some tea for me, and Carol says that we are having tortoise for  dinner. Hope I don’t get the shell. 

Later on I hope to put a point in our bedroom, and possibly one in the small bedroom. After that at some time I must fit one in the hall, and perhaps some more in the dining and front rooms. 

Re: wine, it is surprising how much wine you can stow away in a small space – like the airing cupboard – if you have it stored in gallon jars or sweet jars. I have one gallon of fig and tangerine fermenting under lock in the top of our cupboard, and a further gallon jar and a sweet jar full of apple that has recently stopped fermenting. There is also a bottle of yeast and a spare one, and still room for more. 

I agree with you that Jungle Juice (Lyng version) is not very acceptable this time of year.

Taking a bit of a chance were you not in taking him down some grape wine? Pity to waste good wine if he does not drink it – better to have disposed of some of the elderflower. So far as the cherry wine is concerned we now have plenty, thanks to bringing  two bottles back from you, and finding some that had been overlooked. it is being reserved for medicinal purposes, but the last time it was used it had no apparent effect. Perhaps the virus is now immune? 

So far as last Monday’s strike is concerned, I was little affected as I had a meeting arranged for Maidenhead at 10 a.m.. Did this by going down by car. All right by going in the opposite direction to the flow of traffic. 

You may be interested to learn that the fellow who was prepared to be Work Studied at Morris Cowley was started on last week. The senior investigator is a clerical representative on Sectional Council and asked to have two days off to attend to such matters. In his absence I sent one of the Old Oak Common team to keep the pot boiling – as it were – but he telephoned on arrival to say that the individual to be studied had died the night before. You cannot win can you? 

Glad to hear that it is your turn this week to win the £5,000 on the Premium Bonds. Let me know when to call round. 

Sorry to hear that the T&G party is off. it would have been better if they had canvassed the members in advance before issuing invitations. Can Mrs H talk herself out of this one? 

The trouble with the Maidenhead scheme is not cleared up yet, and I had to leave it to others to sort out on Friday as I had other meetings to attend. We have started the Acton station negotiations and so far they are going well. On informal level we have cleared up all but four points, none of which is difficult so next meeting should produce the acceptance. 

Well have nothing more of interest to report this week, thanks for the paper etc. Hope you are both keeping well, and will comment on the holiday aspect next week. 

Love from us all. 

Sunday 21st January, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for the weekly letter, arrived on Saturday this time (with 19th Jan postmark). Thanks also for the paper and the enclosed cutting of the high tide. Do not understand why my envelope should have had Paddington 1:45 p.m. postmark on it. It was posted by June on the Tuesday at Ruislip.

We had no outward sign of damage to the house as a result of the gales last week. It was very severe at times, and to hear it rattle you would think that the roof would come off at anytime. The severity this end made me sure that you would be getting it even worse as generally there is no comparison so far as gales are concerned. There are a few trees reported down, but I did not see any. A fence or two looked rather sick though. I gather from the Mercury that some of the outlying farms had some bad flooding.

Susan thanks you for the letters, and no doubt you will find something from her enclosed. She was recounting about her holiday at Clevedon this morning. All about Punch etc and where you had taken her for walks. Carol did all the washing up yesterday after dinner. She insisted. I told her she could dry up but no, she wanted to wash up. She did it rather well including the pots and pans. Only the minimum of assistance was given on a couple of dirty saucepans. She kept me supplied with crocks etc. as fast as I could dry them. If this keeps up, I can see Woman’s Hour being extended.*

I will see if I can get up to Fortiphones in the week. We seem all to be fairly well again this week. no serious complaints to report. I dropped in to see the doctor on Wednesday, and while their saw that he was dishing out smallpox doses so I had one. So far no effect, and this is the fourth day.

Poor old Ted Caple, he does seem to attract trouble with that car of his.

I do not know if I shall be able to get enough hardcore from the field, but I have not yet exhausted that supply. I gather that it is pretty near never-ending as for years people have combed it for hardcore, and there is still plenty. Glad to know the Burnham loam is now in use. What have you started off in it?

There is practically no value in second-hand wireless sets these days. Everything is now transistorised, and only sure way to get rid of an unwanted set is to put it in dustbin. Ours is as you know in quite good condition. If you want it for the bedroom, well enough, it works well with the minimum of aerial.

Glad to hear you are well on with the typewriter hunt. Doubt if a can of water would do the trick, why not a can of beer?*

The plan for the kitchen is to extend  downwards the cupboard over the dresser. As you know on the right hand side (when entering from the hall), there is a cupboard up by the ceiling for storage etc., and about 2′ 6″ below is the dresser top. By extending the top cupboard downwards we hope to be able to enclose a couple of shelves, obtain more room, and hide away all the cups, plates etc. On the other side, we hope to have a level surface running from the gas stove to the end wall taking in the sink unit. In the gap between sink unit and wall on the one side, we shall have a new cupboard to take the washing machine. A swing door will be fitted, and the top will have Formica. We shall have the cupboard under the sink rebuilt and extended right back to the gas stove**. The gap between the stove and the sink will be bridged with Formica. Also we shall have the pipes behind the sink boxed in. We have been quoted £16 for the lot which seems reasonable enough to me.

I agree that your parsnip wine has not got much of an earthy taste. I noticed it particularly with mine, especially the lot made to Bravery’s formula. My latest mixture is going like a bomb now. I think the yeast must be very superior to the dried variety. The bubbles are so small that you cannot see them even when looking closely until they reach the top where they build up about half to 1-inch of froth. The wine below is as clear as a bell until you reach the grey yeast deposit at the bottom. Proof of the brewing will be in the drinking no doubt, but I am favorably impressed at the moment. I shall have to start giving some of my wine away, as the supplies are now mounting rapidly, and I shall have to find somewhere else to store it.

Eric Benn came in last night and told us that he has almost made up his mind to have a house built in Clevedon. It all depends on Dorothy now. She was to have gone down on Friday – I looked up a train for her – but Michael was poorly with suspected measles. Eric says he has chance of a plot on the Strawberry Hill part of Dial Hill. We looked on the street plan, and it seems to be accessible from Dial Hill Road, but the opposite way from the Cricket Field direction. Somewhere near where Bell lives it seems. He tells me the plot is 200 ft long on the longest side, and the end is bounded by a steep drop (direction of All Saints Church in the Swiss Valley) and the other side is bounded by an old quarry upon which they will be building later on. He says he can be in the BBC at Bristol (Clifton) within 20 minutes of leaving the house by going via the bridge. £8 – 10 – 0 per annum season ticket. I gather the house can be built within four months, but he did not say who were the builders. Left Clevedon at 3 p.m. yesterday and got here at 6:30 p.m..???. I am putting the Mercury through his door as soon as read.

Sorry to hear about Mr Palmer, but I should say that from your own experience, he should benefit.

Pity about the Violet, but there is no knowing with flowers. We have the worst possible luck with ours. Probably the lack of the proper attention. No work this week on the lawn?

As I look out of the window, I can see the rain pelting down. Your snowdrops (sorry Susan’s) out in flower, but I forgot to tell you that one of them had the cheek to flower in the first week in December. These seem strong and quite large for snowdrops.

See Welton Rovers caught a cold yesterday***. The locals must be really bad this year.

Susan going to and from school quite well now, but we do not hear much about what goes on there.

Not much from the work front, except that I have permission to go to reading as soon as possible to try to sell them my yard scheme. May go on Tuesday if I can fix it up. there is a special be going for assistant section leader and choice is not Lee or Bowden I think. I want Notley and have made it clear, but I think McDonald prefers Bowden. The new GM has cut all entertainment. No taking the L.D.C. for a pint, you won’t get your money back. I suppose he had to start somewhere. (What about Geoff’s circus)? They will feel the draught.

Car still in a dirty state. Hoping for better weather so that it can get cleaned. Nearing the three thousand mile mark since we had it.

What about coming up this way at Whitsun? Are you involved at that time or could you get away? Will leave the thought with you for the time being. Love from us all.

*Both these remarks are clearly intended to be humorous – or at least witty – but land like a lead balloon these days. “Arf arf women washing up” and “arf arf men drinking beer” are no longer funny in any context and just seem extremely sad indicators of a limited mindset.

**There were no such things as flatpack kitchen units then, of course, and in fact it was far more normal to have freestanding kitchen items – the stove/cooker would be in a corner on its own, the sink elsewhere, and the washing machine or fridge (if present at all) would just be shoved wherever there was a power point available to plug them into. Kitchen counters were also a bit hit and miss – Formica was the latest thing, no more scrubbing pine boards! – and a separate table was the usual work surface. Alec and June took out the built-in (brick) pantry and moved the cooker into its space, but even so the kitchen was still very small,

***A Somerset-based football team, Welton Rovers were not exactly local to Clevedon and there is no obvious connection; nor have I been able to trace what this refers to. However it is quite possible they’d made decent progress in the F.A. Amateur Cup that year, only to be soundly beaten by higher-rated opposition.

Tuesday 9th January, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec, June, Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter received this morning first post and enclosures from the girls – will see if I can write to them in capital letters. I’m glad our last letter reached you in good time as had visions of it turning up on the Monday. Seems as if correspondence to and from Ruislip misses the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office. Mum however is still waiting for her hearing set batteries to arrive from Formphones – should have been here beginning of month. Meanwhile she has to make do with some bought locally at Dunscombes and these are in short supply.

The cold spell is over for the present but on Wednesday of last week when it rain on top of frozen ice the road here were worse than ever and I had to fetch Mr and Mrs Hewitt at 4 p.m. and take them home at 10:15 p.m. I did not drive with higher than second gear and just crawled round the houses. Not much good cleaning car now – ours is pretty dirty but for time being I’m not bothering except for the glass. I called in Binding and Paynes for petrol yesterday and the place is full of cars requiring attention after accidents during the past fortnight – one or two complete “write-offs” and waiting insurance companies inspector. Failand was one very bad area and Kenn Moor another – on the latter one car turned over completely and landed (query right word) upside down in the ‘rhine‘. One car came into Tennyson Avenue and tried to turn outside our house. He drove towards our gate but after reversing gear car would not even rise to middle of road and help – by pushing – had to be given him. Even then it was several minutes before any movement took place. Today I see the water main has burst outside the house next beyond where Mrs Drewett used to live and water is running down the side of road to drain.

Yes we did feel sorry for Carol when you told us about her Christmas card but unfortunately these things will happen. Hope they enjoyed their Christmas party at the Sunday school that sounds as if they did. I’m sure they must have looked forward to it for days beforehand.

There was not a lot to tell you about the bellringers’ supper. The usual spread was available and four bottles of sherry disposed of (more bottles for homemade wine). No rough cider this time and I did not like to suggest parsnip wine. By the way I have tasted one of the bottles of blackberry wine and it is lovely – very sweet. Have plenty so there will be some for Ruislip. None of my wine here was affected by the frost and and fortunately both of the fermentation locks thawed out in greenhouse without breaking.

Noted Eric Benn now in possession of another car. Mum and I are not surprised they are inspecting a house at Backwell after his recent visit to Nailsea. Quite a lot of new places gone up there in recent years and the most modern Secondary School in Somerset was opened there last year. Did he tell you he had called on us?

Glad you were able to have Monday off before Susan started school again today job the weather is better or or however would June have got on? Stopped home I guess. incidentally the letter you had a fortnight ago was posted by our paper girl. She arrived with paper about 12 and was having an awful job to keep her feet. Mum and I had not been out and did not relish the idea so I gave the girl 6d [2022 equivalent = 55p] and she said she would put it in pillar box near Elfords on her way home.

We went out yesterday afternoon to library and do a bit of shopping and I called in Bell’s and paid an account (which only arrived that morning bracket) for T.V. repairs just before Christmas and after we got home switched on TV for 5:55 p.m. news. Nothing happened – no sound, no picture – so got Bell’s man up again this morning and he diagnosed a faulty “Mains dropper” whatever that is and had to take chassis back to to works for repair. We are hoping he will be here with the part earlier this evening to get things going again.

Today I’ve made my first effort on garden since Christmas. Tidied up greenhouse and preparing to disinfect the soil ready for this season’s crops. The broad beans are blackened a little with the frost but will recover. Some of the cabbages were frozen stiff and moisture inside had rotted some of the hearts, but taking things generally we have not done so badly so far.

Note your proposed activities re: Work Study at Morris Cowley and Acton Station.

Heels came home yesterday from their Christmas holiday in the Midlands – had very severe weather but having chains on two rear wheels of car enabled him to cover all the points programmed Including Coventry, Rugby and Derby.

Nothing further to report yet re: typewriter but I am in touch now with Tommy Houghton (Clevedon Football Club) who is in charge of a typewriter depot in Bristol – this should prove interesting.

Have you heard anything of the railway timetable changes which may come into operation some time in March?

So you hope to do some decorating later on in the year – well the best of luck to you. It’s a job I shall never like but the results are pleasing and of course last longer than the time it takes to complete if that is any consolation. I still have a bedroom to tackle but not for a week or two – plenty to do outside now I’ve got started.

Had one or two fellows with guns out on the flats behind us this last week after wild geese which have landed here owing to the adverse weather conditions at their usual winter quarters. I expect they would make a good meal for those lucky enough to get them.

No more this time – all our love to you both and lots of kisses for a little school girl and a little girl who will be  going to school soon.

Mum and Dad

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

Dear Alec June Susan Carrol,

Many thanks for letter of this week. Well we have just about thawed out again, but it was nippy while it lasted, hope there won’t be any more.

As Dad has said our T.V. is all in the air again. Bell said he would be up in the afternoon yesterday in fact he came just about 10 minutes after I got home in the morning, took the works away haven’t seen him yet. So another night without that or radio as that one has gone too.

You won’t need to book anywhere for your holiday you are always welcome here for as long as you want to stay. We shall not be expecting Arthur this year. Have heard no further.

Dad started with a flourish yesterday the only snag was that just as he got going Roy Hewett turned up and that was that. They both came indoors and as I had no fire lighted had to stop for that and then the T.V. man arrived. We are going to Mrs Marshall’s to tea today hope she puts on a good one.

Heels are back. Mrs brought a good cold with her.

You did not say if Susan liked her book or was it too old for her. The present Mrs R. left looks to be milk chocolate in a game similar I expect to what you have had before – a bit heavy.

Well no more now lots of love from Mum and Dad.

(P.S. Letter to Susan and Carol on back of Dad’s to them.)

Eva’s illustration: a string of sausages marked ‘pork 2/10d a pound*’, a piece of meat marked ‘Prime’, nine pork pies 8d* each, an oblong shape marked ‘Best Beef’ and two strange elongated fish and a cylinder marked ‘Best Salmon’.

*This translates to £3.23 in present-day parlance, whereas Sainsbury’s Butcher’s Choice Pork Sausages are £1.70 for the same weight, i.e. a fraction over half the cost. (See–large-x8-454g)

**This would translate to 76p per pie, whereas the nearest Sainsbury’s equivalent works out at roughly 46.5p per pie or a fraction over 60% of the 1962 cost. (See Of course there may be a number of variants in each case, but as a rule of thumb it would seem that the cost of pork and prepared pork products is objectively smaller in 2022 than it was in 1962.

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.

Tuesday 4th July, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for another long and newsy letter. Glad to hear birthday letters arrived safely and that you will find a good use for cash. 

Mum and I have just been up to Hill Road for a few odds and ends and recalled in at the new cafe on the front for an ice cream – hope your mouths won’t water. 

It is so hot here again today but Saturday night we had thunder and lightning and rain from about midnight until 3 a.m. – the rain continuing until about 11:30 a.m. since when until today it has been much cooler. It was a lovely drop of rain though and has done a lot of good. You apparently had the rain Sunday morning. Incidentally I expect you guessed it was Mum who got hold of birthday card for you but we both thought it was good.

Note your efforts with concrete posts for fence etc and Susan’s valiant struggle with the ‘oil can’ – she was only helping. Yes it is a messy and tedious job putting creosote on strips of wood – I suppose you got more on your hands and clothes than on the wood. Assume you eventually got posts upright with the 4×2 and cross pieces.

Have been having more trouble with pond. I noticed one morning last week the water level had gone down about 2 inches in shallow portion since the night before and the weed in places was high and dry. I put hose on and raised level so that all weed was floating again but next morning it was well down again. Then decided to take weed out and see how far water level would drop. The shallow part is now dry but deep portion full and holding. Looks as if the pressure of water has forced out loose filling somewhere and we have to start all over again to find leak. Noticed one live eel only and he has got much bigger assume he is now in deep portion. When weather properly settled again may have another try at sealing shallow apart. I imagine that when we feel cash when you were here dash and accumulation of dust dirt and leaves had got into the crevices and temporarily sealed same.

Have had one or two trips down to river but have never seen any more fish other than eels. nor more logs requiring rescuing.

Just been looking at Susan’s painting thank you very much Susan but don’t start using daddy’s creosote as paint or you will soon be in hot water.

The Drewett episode was given us practically verbatim by Roy and Mrs Hewitt who of course live about three doors from Iris.

Surprised you have not since heard from Geoff – query not even for the 28th ulto? Note you had a card from Lyng. Don is 60 on the 27th inst and we have asked them to come up to lunch either the Sunday before or the one after to celebrate – can always have a glass of cold water.

Yes it was bad luck to find coal dumped in yard but everything is in order now and we should – with what we had left over from last  winter – have enough coal to see us through the coming winter.

You are quite right about the Exeter to Clevedon trip in the first car they ever had dash query OD2280 – a hot dinner here waiting for four of them and they were stranded at Wellington. Well we had a lot to eat as a result for a couple of days but should like to have seen their faces when they realised Wellington was as far as they were going to get that day. The Dawlish episode though I think was scandalous. An engine will fail but to turn out another dud at Westbury which could only get to Patney & C* is terrible and I expect someone heard all about it.

Note your back garden now looking up and that at least one of the rose cuttings still survives. it has been a most difficult time for all garden plants. I’ve had to use hose nightly for about two hours to keep things going. the runner beans are beginning to form and it won’t be long now before can pick. Mum has been busy morning and again late afternoon picking raspberries – these two have had daily attention with hose. The cherries are turning quickly now and this morning I picked 6lbs for a brew. According to Bravery this quantity requires 4lbs of sugar which I’ve just covered with hot water into which I also put a bunch of lemon balm. The other mixture, blackcurrant and rhubarb, still working quietly and next week will go under fermentation lock. Note you have not yet tried the Elder Flower – awaiting your report on this before dishing it out here to my friends or enemies.

So your films generally speaking are pretty good – bound to have one or two not quite up to expectations. I like the sound of the one you took of group in front of greenhouse truly rural.

Mr Aston gone to a Bristol hospital today for X-ray and has to go in again next week to hear result, seems to be getting a lot of pain after meals. I still think it is only an ulcer but he will soon know for himself.

Not much local news this week – the place is fairly full of visitors and charabancs bring in the daily ones regularly. Too wet to go for our usual jaunt round the Hill on Sunday so had a rest instead.

I’m selling lettuces to Elford now at 4d each to sell again at 6d and have plenty in garden for him if he wants them – something like 130 and more seed in.

Heels visitors went home last Thursday having had a wonderful fortnight for weather. Our neighbours and next again (Mrs Drewetts) are still busy painting outside of houses and we hear Spencers are moving out shortly and Mrs Rees Barrett comes in on the 12th. New people have taken over the Triangle Post Office.**

No more now – all our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.  Hope you are all keeping well.  Mum and Dad

*After some head-scratching and consulting the invaluable British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas and Gazeteer Fourth Edition, published by Ian Allan, price 25/-, we were able to read this place name as Patney and Chirton. This suggests that the first engine on the train – which was presumably heading to Paddington – managed roughly 90 miles before being removed and replaced at Westbury, whereas the replacement keeled over after only 12. That being the case, it’s almost a miracle that the replacement engine had the strength to be shunted onto the consist in the first place!

**Clearly Mrs Rees Barrett was held personally responsible for (if not actually guilty of) the theft from the Triangle Post Office earlier in the year. See . Whether the door was left open accidentally or deliberately, and whether the money was stolen then or on another occasion, must be a matter for conjecture.

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

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter and drawing of red girl, quite coming on with portrait painting. 

Well here we are nearly roasted again. I went into Bristol yesterday (Wednesday) with Mrs Marshall who had to see a brother-in-law in St. Mary’s. You could hardly breathe In the city there was not a breath of air going.

Had a letter from Joe and Lydia yesterday as well.  They are going on a 6 day coach tour beginning August 5th to Blackpool (2 days) Buxton (2 days) the Peak District and back to Weston on the 10th when they would like to come here for weekend; they never make up their minds until the last minute.

John starts his holiday on Sat. they are going to Looe; I believe they did last year.  They go with his friend wife and baby. I believe Spensers are moving on Saturday.  I see Ian is home running about.

Mrs Clarke has gone to Weston again for a few days – doesn’t seem to be able to settle for long.

Have been busy washing curtains and blankets, ought to have done it before, and to make a bit more work last night I tipped over a cup of coffee in my lap so dress etc. had to be done.

Well I think this is all news just now so will close with best love from us all. 

Mum and Dad 

The letter from Eva is adorned with pen drawings of the sun, some gibbous moons, and a couple of smiling crescent moons (or possibly bananas?).

Sunday 2nd July, 1961

Dear Mum and Dad,

Firstly let me thank you very much for the Birthday presents, card, and good wishes. Can always find a use for the £.s.d. I thought the card was a good one – hand picked it would seem. Had a card from Don and Joan, to mark the occasion. It certainly does not seem like 19 years since coming to London. Like all other places it has its advantages and disadvantages. I would not like to stay here for good. The whole place is far too crowded whether in terms of houses, shops, or people.

Re your weekly letter, although we had difficulty in waking on the Saturday morning of the previous week, it was not due to late nights. Tiredness, yes, but have not had any festivities to keep us up lately. As you say the weather this end has been very oppressive, it broke at last thank goodness to-day, while I was in the middle of erecting the fence.

Have had quite a few trips out of Paddington but have none scheduled this week. I expect I shall go to Kensington, Acton and Maidenhead.

Note you have seen no sign of life in the pond lately. This was the case years ago when we had the fish. Initially the water was clear but after it clouded over the livestock could no longer be seen. If the eels are still there, and growing, I expect they will eat the other things in the course of time. Is the weed growing?

We bought the concrete posts yesterday, also the 4×2 and the 2×2. I gouged out the concrete path to a depth of 10 inches to admit the posts and then made a strong cement mix of cement and ashes, and dropped the post in. Both the posts have moved slightly from the upright, but this morning I attached the 4×2 to each, and then the cross-pieces of 2×2. Some cutting in was necessary due to the proximity of the coalbunker , but the weather board has now been attached along the full lenght of the fence. All that remains to be done now is to buy the 2×1 for the door/gate framework, and fit the weatherboard and the hinges to it. At the moment there is a door of sorts fitted, – this was the old fencing cut back, and hinged to the uprights. It will do to keep Carol in for the rest of the week, or until I can get the proper door made. I must acknowledge considerable help from the distaff side during the fitting of the framework. June was acting as fitters mate apart from cooking the dinner, etc,etc, and the girls had their hands and feet in everywhere. I asked Susan to bring out the oilcan so she struggled out with the gallon can of creosote. By the way that was a tedious job, annointing some 50 pieces of weather­board (both sides) with creosote apart from the uprights and cross-pieces. I think I have a permanent crick in the back now.

I am sure Susan and Carol would like to help with the birdscaring. Why not put Mothers chair on the path for her, and let her sit there, it is as good as any place to sit and doze off, and it is sure to scare the birds. It seems to be general that birds are great deal more of a nuisance this year than recently. They will soon have to put some of them on the derestricted list.

Note your latest wine, sounds good. Am inclined to think that, with the combination of fruit that you have picked, it could be helped by a couple of lemons. So far we have not tried the Elderflower, but I will do so soon and let you know what I think of it. At the moment I have two or three on the go and do not want to nave too many bottles in the part-consumed stage. I know the best way out of that one is to consume them all etc etc.

Forgot all about the Exmouth Guide book. It will not hurt to stay in the drawer until the next visit, I do not suppose we shall want it until another trip down there.

Unlucky for you to go out to the library only to find coal man had been. Might just as well get them to put it in the right place first time as to have to pick it up yourself.

Some goings on between the two families of Drewetts. Can only say that what Iris has already is plenty enough for her to get on with without Mrs D. as well. Not very pleasant though. How did you get to hear of it?

We have not seen or heard of Geoff since we took the ring back some time ago so did not hear about the Dawlish trip. Of course it could go either way – car trips have been known to finish earlier than expected to wit their first from Exeter to Clevedon that ended up in some park at Wellington.

Our back garden is now beginning to look a little bit more respectable. The alteration to the coal bunker, plus the fence and the resuscitated rock garden all help to give some tidiness that was not there before. The dahlias are growing fast, and some are in flower – mostly the small varieties. The one remaining rose cutting is growing well and seems to have established itself now. Some of the spireas are looking withered due to the lack of rain, I have even had to water them or they would have died long ago. Even such things as golden rod are dying from the heat and drought. The lawn is quite green, and to-days heavy rain will have done it good. It certainly has not been the best of weather for the kids to do much drawing indoors, but I gather there is something this week.

Nice to hear you are looking at fridges, expect you will have one. My advice for what it is worth is to get the biggest you can afford, because anything less than a three cubic foot fridge will not take all the food that you would like to store.

Had the second roll of films back this week but they are not quite up to the standard of the first. Most of them are all right but on the dark side, but there are a couple of failures. Have an excellent one of group in front of the green house which shows the whole of the building, and all the plants etc. that were growing in front at the time.

My rhubarb wine has stopped fermenting now but I have not racked it off. No time for any other yet.

Well there it is for the present, look forward to your next. Love from us all.

Thursday 29th June, 1961

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Thank you very much for another long and newsy letter to hand on Tuesday. You must be having some late nights to be so late rising on Saturdays. So far as we are concerned we are only too glad to get out – it is so hot nowadays. even a storm or two of rain is not sufficient to cool the atmosphere and surely it must be worse in your area. What about Susan and Carol aren’t they awake?

Note you have been getting out of Paddington quite a lot and more journeys in the offing. You will certainly have to watch John Snow – somewhat similar to John Saunders both out for number 1.

Yes pond still leaking and these last couple of days a big drop in level has been observed in spite of the fact fresh water has been put in with hose. A bit of a problem still. I’m told by building experts here the stuff Don gave me will be of no use until any cracks in the surface are filled in. There is no sign of any life in the pond at the moment but it could be that the minnows etc are out of sight under the weed or at the bottom of deep portion which the eye cannot penetrate now.

Your neighbour has evidently set you a standard to maintain in fixing their fence and gate. It will be worth it in the long run. Sorry to hear about the projector I had no idea what was involved and from particulars given should think they are somewhat expensive.

Yes the Clarkes were some of our customers Mrs Clarke was the lady who saw Susan and Carol in the field when Carol lost her tongue but wanted her biscuit from Susan when we got back into garden. We think Mrs Clarke will be stopping in bungalow at any rate for time being.

The Hewitts and Richings were not actually here together, we had about three hours to recover from the first visit before the second lot arrived. Richings’ car is a light blue, he wanted maroon but none available in that colour. Starts his holiday this coming weekend and going motoring.

Rita Garland was last home when she was wired for because her mother was seriously ill that was over Christmas 1959. Prior to that however both Mrs and Sheila had been over to America to see her – no free passes either.

Could give Susan and Carol a good job if they were here now bird scaring. Just up and down the path would do the trick. I went down to bottom of garden last night to potato patch and threw a lump of earth into nearest cherry tree and upwards of eighteen birds flew out and others just moved to another branch. They have been a bigger nuisance this season than any I can remember. Incidentally I picked remainder of blackcurrants Monday but as it was only one-and-a-half pounds I pulled the same weight of rhubarb and put the lot down for a wine brew – working quite satisfactorily at the moment. Have finished off your apple and plum wines and have about three parts of the carrot left. Have you tried the elderflower you took back? Should like your comments on same.

Sorry to hear June was under the weather again but glad to know she was alright for her visitors last Sunday. Carol too we hope all right again now. Noted sand still in evidence but not all in the washbowl.

We found your Exmouth Guidebook in sideboard drawer and will put it aside for you.  Expect you wondered what had happened to it. Sorry to know all the “Ivys” died off I will certainly try and get a few going for you here – perhaps it was too dry a time to take such cuttings during early part of June. The cacti then are managing to survive. A flowering bud thrown up by the lily in porch outside back door has reached the glass of the roof and is not open yet. Looks as if we shall have to stand it on the floor and support shoot with a bamboo cane. 

We understand the Ford – whose in-laws are said to have bought house at bottom of field – lives in Stroud Road. I remember a watch and clock repairer in Old Church Road but it was not Ford.

Your dahlias doing very nicely then we have not had any of this year.

Baynton Hughes gets B.E.M. well well what next?

We went up to library on Tuesday – only gone an hour – returning found a ton of coal dumped just outside shed so had to pick it all up and store in shed.  The men would have tipped in direct had we been there to ask them – just our luck.

Understand Mrs Drewett is back in Clevedon. The Swindon side of family (Margaret) brought her down on Sunday without notice to Iris’s home but her husband refused to have her there again so Margaret had to find lodgings for her mother in the vicinity. There was a pretty good row between Margaret’s and Iris’s husbands by all accounts. It is obvious Iris can do no more she has three children of her own – all very young.

Did Jeff tell you about the trip to Dawlish on Sunday the 18th? When owing to two engine failures on return journey they got home on Monday morning about 12:30 a.m. Who says it’s quicker by rail?

So you all had a good time with your visitors last Sunday and nice sunny weather – a day for the lawn. It was too hot to move here but front room cool.

Nothing much else to report from garden.  Pulled all shallots up last Friday and they are now nicely dried off. By well watering ground beforehand have managed to get out more cabbage and lettuce plants and of course I’m continuing to dig potatoes. Mother had the sprinkler going last Saturday morning on flower borders. The maidenhair fern June will do alright if you keep it in a shady place it does not like the sun or too much heat.

Well this must be the lot for this week. Once again all our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.

  • Hope your birthday letters arrived safely.

Mum and Dad

Eva to the family,.on the remaining half-sheet of Leonard’s writing paper.

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for both letters. Hope June is feeling more fit it’s this heat. They have just said thunderstorms tomorrow and I don’t mind if it pours. 

We had Mr and Mrs Newman yesterday to teai in the evening. She brought me a dozen Ruby carnations they were lovely. Mr Newman is not too good with his leg.

I have been chasing the loganberries today not a bad lot the birds leave them alone as they are too sour.  We only picked one pound of raspberries where we should have had pounds.

Next door have had some more bedroom furniture so their house will soon be fully furnished.

Enquired when I paid my electricity bill yesterday about Electrolux fridges so bought home some literature they are £49 or £59 electric or gas quite good value for money.

I expect the girls are too busy to draw.  How do they like the heat. 

I’ve got a cough too in the mornings. They say it’s the warm weather and the dust causing dryness of throat. No more now lots of love from Mum and Dad.

Sunday 25th June, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thanks once again for the weekly post. This together with newspaper arrived before we were up on Saturday, so you see we are getting later and later.

Journeys out of Paddington were the feature of last week and will also be of this week and succeeding weeks if I have anything to do with it. Apart from L.S.D. side of it, it seems to be the best way of getting any work done. To stay in the office is asking for trouble. Last week I managed to get to Acton, Kensington, Reading and Maidenhead, and I am committed to going to the last three again this week so business is brisk. Saw Snow at Reading but he is playing a bit of a game with us and so far he has had it all his own way. Shall have to spend a bit more time on him.

So the pond leak continues. Your daily hosing will do the trick for a bit. Pity no one told the fish about the date I agree. If your stock of fish has died off, there should be some evidence of it so expect they are all under the weed. You will have to drop some feed in for them and let them know that they are P.O.Ws.

Have done nothing more to the fence from garage to house yet. Have got the timber for the panelling but require to get the concrete posts ( two ) and the cross rails. It looks as though I shall have to get some decent wood for the gate and also some creosote for the whole lot. Doug and Ronnie put theirs up this week-end and it looks quite a good job.

Sorry you will not be shown this projector when you come up as it would be a waste of time. I am told that ordinary pearl bulbs are most unsuitable for reproducing the correct colours, also they are not equipped with reflecting mirrors as the proper ones are, and to purchase all the correct fittings and gadgets to build a workable machine would cost almost as much as a new projector itself, so I am planning to buy one in due course.

Susan does not tell us much about her school activities but occasionally something gets dropped out. I agree with you that she must have told the tale well enough after her holiday. Have just had to go upstairs to Susan who should have been in bed but was stomping across the floor. She was out attending to some dolls and bears she had tucked up in a large box. I ticked her off and told her I was writing to you and did she want me to pass a message. She said tell them I brought my dollies to bed. I said shall I tell them that you were a naughty girl and got out of bed to them? She said no, they do not want to know that.

Bad news about Mr Clarke. Was he one of the people to whom you sold your veg. etc.? Proper mecca for railwaymen now at Devonia. Fancy having the Hewitts and the Richings both together. Glad I am in London.

I am told the Anglia is very nice to drive, but I hate the design. I’ll bet they got a bright yellow one.

So Sheila Garland is married now. What is the latest news on Rita, does she ever get home to see Mum.

The birds are one up (or two up) on you with the currants this time. Can see you need Susan and Carol down there to put salt on their tails. Have to invent an electrical gadget to scare them off. Nice collection from Elford. A satisfactory mutual aid society.

We had our meeting at Transom House, The first time X had been there. It is very similar to Marland House at Cardiff. Very good by Railway standards. No hope of any new office for us yet.

It has been a glorious day to-day as was yesterday for that matter. As you wished for us, our friends had good weather. I picked them up at Wembley Central Station at 11-30am and took them back about 6-30pm.

Michael next door has whooping cough but as a result of injec­tions has only the cough without the whoop. Carol is coughing away up there now but we believe it to be due only to the dry weather. They have both had colds. June feeling very much off colour yesterday with bad headache. Managed to throw it off by evening, but was anything but 100%. All right to-day fortunately with guests to attend to.

The box of sand that came back soon found its way into the garage as did also the pebbles, They have been hiked out of there and now reside in what was once the washing up bowl. The sand surprisingly enough still half fills the bowl, but from the evidence on the lawn it will not last much longer. The ball was left intentionally. They have umpteen this end including one almost identical in size and colour. It will be there for next time.

We did not see Stella so assume she appreciated the return of the ring.

Re Mothers comments about Richings departure, should think he would need to give audible warning of approach. Would suggest he should have a man in front with a red flag. ( Lawrence.)

Note the one wedding on the Saturday had no remuneration for the ringers, but should not think they would mind that in view of Les Garlands connection. Do I gather that they are going to live with Mrs Garland. Did not know Ford the watchmender unless it was that place a couple of doors away from Cheesewrights place and Ewings. Opposite those houses at the fool of Hangstone Hill and between Goldings place and Strode Rd.

Dahlias continues to make progress. Have one in bloom and have had a few more given to me by a neighbour. One of the new plants is supposed to grow very tall. So far have managed to keep the children out of the square at the bottom and keep it in good shape. During the week we moved the flag stone leading onto the lawn and put them alongside the removed coal bunker. We now have a continuous path from the house to the foot of the garden. What was formerly a patch of hardened ash has now been hoed over and loosened. As yet there is nothing planted but have had some plants offered me and will find a home for some there. Front garden still in a mess. Had a mind to put out some dahlias there but had no dynamite.

Baynton Hughes got the B.E.M. on Birthday Honours list.* For services to the Air Cadet Corps in which he is Squadron Leader. Well there it is for the time being, hope it has not been too hot for you and that you are both keeping fit. Love from us all.

*This is incorrect. Acting Sq. L. Thomas Charles Baynton Hughes (148418) RAFVR (Training Branch) actually received the M.B.E. in the 1961 Birthday Honours. The B.E.M. is the British Empire Medal, for which he would not have been eligible; the M.B.E. is Member of the British Empire and is a far more routine decoration – the kind of gong that ‘came up with the rations’ in wartime!

Sunday 18th June, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thanks once again for weekly letter. It will be Interesting to learn what variations the A.A. give for the route back via Frome Radstock etc. We could have gone via Devizes and Marlborough but decided on Warminster as we liked the A.303. No doubt they will be able to give you a shorter route than the 152 miles we took. The road from Chew Stoke to West Harptree is very hilly and narrow but elsewhere the road is more than wide enough. No doubt you have both had a rest and recovered from our visit.

Work did not go so badly this week. It was apparent that the week would be disrupted so fitted in a visit or two. Must go to Maidenhead some time this week and have to go to Reading to see Snow. Looks like we shall start Kensington almost immediately, and that will be another of my pigeons so plenty on hand.

I heard that the traffic moving towards the West was heavy, and that there were jams at Honiton and the Exeter by-pass, but we had no real difficulty. Plenty going the other way though.

Most of the dahlias I put out seem to have taken. I can be certain of 33 from the 36, but as the others were only sprouting white shoots will have to wait a day or two for leaf to appear. Re deck chairs, I find that our other one is in order.

Glad to hear that the pond is keeping up. Perhaps it is in order, and the first filling was partially absorbed by the concrete. No doubt you will know for certain in a week or two. Glad to have tidings of the livestock. Any sign of the newt? I see that we were fishing illegally as the Coarse Fishing season did not open until Friday 16th June. Perhaps we deserve some leniency in view of the ‘catch’?

Some effort on the cinerarias, What happened to the other two? Our cacti are all in good condition and now bedeck the landing window.

June has been busy putting a lick or two of paint over the walls in the front room. We have quite a bit of the paint we used and a dab or two smartens things up a lot. My work on the T.V. cabinet had left a few marks. We also wanted to paint the hardboard surface of the T.V. shelf/cabinet but the paint has not taken well. Look as if it will have to have several coats.

Got our first film back from the dealers. Apart from the one blank that I knew about, there were no failures, and we have 21 good colour transparencies. Have looked at them through a viewer lent by Eric, and have since built a rough sort of projector. This throws the pictures on the wall in colour, but due to the low power of bulb, they are as yet only feint [sic]. A stronger bulb should do the trick. Still have about three shots left on our second film and no doubt we shall use It up next week-end when Junes friends Les and Barbara and their little girl call.

Cut the two back lawns yesterday and the grass looks very good. There is a lot of clover in it how so it is green enough.

Well you heard Beechings Pill too, did you He does not seem to gild the lily, and has good reasons for doing what he intends to do, but after all he is only reflecting Government Policy in the matter – could he do otherwise?

We have conveyed Stella’s ring to its proper address. Job was done yesterday when out on our usual shopping jaunt.

Note Mothers bath with the sprinkler. Expect that to be used regularly when the weather Is hot.

I saw Norman Allen at Bristol, and he told me of their new arrival.

Doug and I have ordered the wood for a respectable bit of side fencing each. He has set two concrete posts and a couple of uprights and intends to run his between his garage and the house, with a gate near the garage. Mine will ran from the garage along the back of the replaced coal bunker, then at a slight angle toward the house, with the gate next to the house. Arranged for him to order in bulk to get the cheaper rate, then ran into him in Eastcote Timber Supplies when he was placing the order. Doubt if I shall have much of mine done next week end in view of the guests coming, but we shall probably do his first. I have to get a couple of concrete posts first.

Saw Bob Hill again in the week. By the way I should hare passed on his kind regards when I came down, he mentioned it some time ago.

Ken Lay is looking for a house at Brighton in view of his retirement in four years. Everything is going fairly well except short of staff as ever. Well will close now and look forward to your next. Love from us all.