Saturday 27th June, 1959

Eva to Alec and family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for the letters sorry about Susan’s letter last time. I won’t forget this one.

Hope June’s backache better. I expect you try to do too much in one day & especially being up with Carol too, anyhow you will get a change if not all rest down here.

I booked your haircuts right away & it’s Friday at 9.30 a.m. We thought that would be the best time, the children are fresh then.

We have been very busy on preparing for another cement path. I have carried loads of stone to be cracked up & dad’s done the cracking. It is trying work but we had plenty of the stone about so we had to use it up. We have two paths done, don’t know if this third one will be completed before you come.

It has actually rained at last. Yesterday in Bristol they had violent thunderstorms but we didn’t have any. It was sweltering here. The lawn is going a nice shade of browny yellow.

I am going to get cracking on the cake this week end.

Cummings went out on Tuesday & we hear the house will be up for sale. Mr C. told us that a party were interested in it who are now living in a caravan. They lived in Yorkshire till recently when the husband got a job at Caperns Seed place. I think the girl worked in the booking office during the war, her father is Spencer in Knowles Road, however they may not have it, it is in a shocking condition inside & out. Alice Horsey’s old cottage has be[en] resold & we hear it is an elderly couple called Warwick are there parents of the girl Spencer’s husband. Moses have gone out of their bungalow they lived opposite Gardeners, well almost, they have gone back to Westward Ho.

I made a big bonfire yesterday morning and got it going nicely when there was a terrific bang from it which shot a big bird in the air. Turned out that I must have let one of my batteries fall in it and it burst.

Fancy Carol cutting four teeth at one go, she is trying to catch up. You may not want many times like that.

Well I think this is the lot now as I have to do Susan’s.

Love from Mum and Dad


Friday 26th June 1959

Leonard to Alec and family:

[On the reverse of timetable paper, table 61 – London, Reading, Didcot, Oxford, Swindon, Chippenham, Bath Spa, Bristol and Taunton, and table 62 – London, Reading, Newbury, Westbury, Frome, Yeovil, Dorchester West, Weymouth and Taunton.]

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

First of all Very Many Happy Returns of the Day on Sunday Alec and best wishes for another successful year ahead. Mother has sent off her parcel but am afraid to send mine through post for fear of damage or even breakage. Am waiting a reply from Norman as to whether Aubrey Mably [?] is going to Paddington on Monday for the bid meeting [?] and if so will try and get him to bring it. Both parcels (Mum’s and mine) are sent with best wishes and we hope the articles will prove useful.

Now to your letters. It is nice to hear from both of you and you give us all the news especially about the children and their little ways. Needless to say we are looking forward to July 9th. Very glad to hear Carol much better after her teething troubles. We both had a good laugh over Susan’s request at tea party & of incidents en route to Chessington last Sunday. Hope you are feeling better too June – your last letter said you had been having trouble with backache.

Your garden must be looking quite nice now with so many plants making headway. Have had to syringe the runner beans here owing to black fly which of course is directly due to the long spell of dry weather. Anyhow I think I can keep in reasonable condition. Broad beans are over now but in addition to what we had ourselves managed to sell 21lbs. Also doing well with sweet peas and Sweet Williams at 1/6 a bunch. The cherries are just ripening – not a good variety though unfortunately – so if we had some brandy we could make Cherry Brandy. The elderflower practically ceased fermentation after nine days and started to clear. It tastes ghastly at the moment but am hoping it will improve. Have sealed it off in two of the sweet jars June’s father let me have. Next brew will I expect be blackcurrant – ours ripening fast at present.

Staff changes noted Alec but I do not know Cecil Moore or John Allen. You will have to push your colleagues into something later on but I’m thinking there will be a lot of economising taking place with the Railways in such a bad financial position.

Mother says she will write separately in reply to June’s letter. And a letter from Lyng this morning in reply to one I wrote Monday (22nd) having had no reply to my previous effort written three weeks ago. I see you had a copy so you know position for Sunday July 12th. Incidentally we hope Pauline can make it and also get Monday morning off for return journey.

Concrete paths have dried out nicely and I’ve now prepared site for the second one to run parallel to greenhouse. This afternoon have had a go at pond as am trying to stop the leak. Found one crack right across it including the two sides measuring up to ½” wide – this I blocked up with cement and Compo Seal then brushed over the whole of the base of the shallow part with the same mixture. I wonder if it will put matters right.

Cummings moved out yesterday to house on end of Avenue where Croft the schoolmaster once lived. Am thinking the house vacant will remain so for some little time.

Our potatoes are not turning out quite so prolific as last year – dry weather somewhat responsible – but are just as nice. It is the same kind as those we brought up last September.

Well I think I’ve just about finished once more so will conclude with best wishes to you and all and lots of kisses for Susan & Carol.


PS. Up to time of posting this have not heard from Norman but if he can get parcel up by Aubrey Mably on Monday will phone you. Dad.

Thursday 25th June 1959

Eva to Alec:

[On the reverse of half a sheet of timetable paper advertising THE MERCHANT VENTURER Restaurant Car Service: London, Bath Spa, Bristol and Weston-super-Mare]

My Dear Alec

Just to wish you all the best for your birthday. We are sending a couple of days early as don’t know how post is on Saturday mornings. You will get dad’s on Monday as someone is bringing it up as rather awkward to send. Will answer June’s letter and yours anon.

Love from Mum

If you don’t like the colour it will come [in?] for the holidays but it’s a good quality one.

Wednesday 17th June 1959

Eva to Alec and family:

Clevedon , Wednesday 17th June 1959

Dear Alec, June, Susan and Carol

Many thanks for both your letters.

The vicar called up yesterday morning and said all set for Sunday 12th July at 3.30 p.m. and he is looking forward to it. We haven’t heard a word from Lyng although we invited them as well to be here.

Geoff and family duly arrived on Sunday for their flying visit. It was a grand day. After lunch we went for a stroll on the front which was crowded. After tea Dad took them back to Yatton to catch the 5.1 train which was running late, however not too late for Dad to go singing after he got back.

I hope Carol has got back to normal again. I should ask the doctor if you could give her a half or a quarter of an aspirin. Mrs Cummings used to, to keep Wendy quiet. Some of it might be the heat.

Dad and Norman at it now on the path. Hobbs delivered the cement at 9 a.m. so they ought to do the two paths in one day. It’s a grand day for it but we need rain badly. Birds are nipping off the buds of our dahlias and the strawberries are drying up. We have had several pounds though and made a little jam.

Mr and Mrs Saunders at Yatton are coming to tea on Thursday. He is still off but going on A1. We hear Mr Rust has a new job but what we don’t quite know as he applied for three posts. Cummings are going out on the 23rd so I don’t suppose anyone will be there when you arrive.

My leg has got alright again except for red mark.

Someone I know here had an operation for her leg for varicose veins. She had a boy and girl but didn’t have the operation until they were about 10 and 8. She walked with a stick for some time after but is A1 now rides bicycle etc.

Well I must stop now and have some dinner ready.



Leonard to Alec and family [handwritten on the reverse of Timetable 184: Whitchurch, Oswestry, Welshpool and Aberystwyth]

Dear Alec, June, Susan and Carol

Just a line or two to include with Mother’s letter – wish I had a typewriter to run it off as quickly as Alec can. My hands are very shaky after a big effort yesterday in putting down the concrete paths. Norman came round about 9.0 a.m. and the ‘ready mix’ arrived just afterwards and from then until 1.50 p.m. we were hard at it. Norman then went home and after only a fifteen minutes break for a quick dinner I started again and eventually finished at 4.30 p.m. Looks fairly well this morning but shall give it another day to harden. Very sorry to hear you are both having such a hectic time with Carol – it must be her teeth as June says for otherwise she is usually very happy and cheerful. Note you too have been busy in garden – it will be a great improvement but it’s all hard work to get it right. You ought to get a snapshot of Susan rolling the lawn. Never mind about her picking the flowers. Grandma Atkins used to tell me that when I was about Susan’s age I picked my grandfather’s prize pansies* which he had taken special care of in anticipation of an exhibition or rather flower show. He was apparently very cross. I do not think those dahlia tubers of Geoff’s will come to anything now – should unearth one and if no sign of growth uproot the lot and burn. The ‘witches brew’ (Elderflower) is still working but it tastes very bitter at the moment – may improve in due course. Hope it will be alright when you come down. Of course it is alright for Thursday July 9th and assume you will arrive by 1.15 from Paddington through to Yatton – have not checked with summer timetable. Will meet you at Yatton. Mother has told you christening arrangements now confirmed by Vicar. No news from Lyng now for nearly three weeks when we last wrote we extended invitation to lunch on either 5th or 12th July as case may be and are still waiting reply.

Will Pauline be down for the weekend? We hope so.

Flowers in garden now plentiful and the orange blossom is a picture. Have cut grass (scythe) in the field as far as the fruit trees are concerned but have not yet tackled the open space behind the potato plot except to cut a path alongside [Huls ? ] fence down to the river. Incidentally I fell into that hole you and Frank Hessel dug many years ago when going down to assist Hul in getting a cow out of his field about 9.45 p.m. one night.

Must close now – Mother waiting for me to take her into town and I want one or two items myself.

Cheerio for now and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.


*Leonard’s reference to his grandfather is interesting. He would never have known his grandfather on the Atkins side, as his father, Tom, was ‘born out of wedlock’ as they used to say in those days, so this can only refer to Emily’s father John Beacham. [IIRC!]