Sunday 8th May, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thanks for Dad’s letter which duly hit the mat just after breakfast on Saturday. Glad you liked the photo. We thought it was not too bad. Herewith is the other one of the group which was outstanding. This we think has also come out very well.

No falling downstairs to report this week thank goodness. Don’t worry about the Birthday card from the Church. I should imagine it is on the anniversary of the Baptism but we shall not be surprised if it fails to turn up.

Glad that Dad is making obvious progress and has been able to spare some energy for the bells. It has been a busy period in that line for you.

Yes Susan’s Birthday is almost upon us. It does not seem four years in some respects, but more like forty in others. She is quite a handful and I do not think Carol will be quite so bad. It is difficult to get through to Susan sometimes, and she has always been the same. It is rather different with Carol who responds more to us. I expect these things will sort themselves out eventually. When you come to think of it Susan will be due for school in a years time, and by that time Carol will probably be going to Sunday School.

It was the anniversary of the founding or building of the present Sunday School and parents were invited to attend. June and I went and took Carol with us, I enclose the form of the service. We all went in together and thought Susan would be sitting with us so overlooked to give her any collection. When the plate went round we saw a rather red-faced Susan standing up on the far side of the room saying “I have not got any, I shall have to ask my Daddy.” The last Hymn was accompanied by bells and klaxons etc etc.

We heard to-day that Iris’s Father returned home last Tuesday, Apparently they managed to dispose of the trouble without any operation. We do not know how he is but should imagine O.K.

Re golf: we had no intention of spending so long queueing but presumably neither did all the others who were there. It is a dead loss for a Sunday morning. We tried again to-day at a different course but was so bad that we had to revert to the former. It looks very much as if we shall have to scrub Sunday Golf and try to get a mid-week evening round in.

Some of your Chrysants are about a foot long now, I have pit them out of doors in their pots in a line across the garden, supported with strings. They cannot blow over and I shall repot as it becomes necessary. The plants tend to droop in the day and have to be watered every evening because of the very hot weather. Have also a pumpkin in bottom corner plot. Peas are growing, but somewhat sparse. No sign of the dwarf beans yet.

Hope Soole’s wedding went off according to plan. The other was quite a spectacle. The children saw it as it actually happened and were interested for a time but soon tired. June and I saw it at night, Eric next door was in the Abbey in Morning dress, (With television team).

Have not got round to my runner beans yet. In fact I forget where I put them. You seem to have quite a few in.

I have tried all you wine except the 2nd Plum. It is all very nice and I quite liked the Greengage but it is hard to say whether it is better than the Cherry which was very tasty. It is a good selection generally. I have all the ingredients for half gallon of apricot but have not got round to making it yet. There seems to be so much to do these days. Watering takes a deal of time each evening but I get a little assistance from Susan who waters the lettuce. I cut the two back lawns yesterday and would have done the front one but Carol was asleep and did not want to disturb her.

We went to Pinner yesterday to have a look round the shops. Was very dis­appointed with the town. We found our way into Pinner Park and it was delightful. They have a pond with Ducks on and Large Golden Carp swimming about. There is plenty of grass to play on and some cage birds in one corner. We were rather struck with the place and intend to go again. Today we went to West Drayton after the Service but did not stay very long as Carol was a bit tired. The traffic on the Western Avenue at about 3-30pm was tremendous. There were two lines going West and the cars were bumper to bumper as far as the eye could see. We crossed it from Swakeley’s Avenue and it took a minute or two to get over. When we returned the numbers had thinned out a bit. I expect the return about eight or nine o’clock will be just as bad. Can’t see the pleasure in motoring in those conditions.

Had not heard about the Match result on Easter Monday – you did not tell me. Am disgusted with the final result however. Talking about football I saw the end of the Cup Final ( and thought it a very poor match. Have not looked at the Amateur Gardeners yet but we have almost got through the Country Lifes.

Well that is all for this time. Hope you both continue to improve. A few weeks of this sunshine should do the trick ( with plenty of rain at night) Love for now from June, Susan, Carol and Alec


Thursday 5th May, 1960

Leonard to the family – on the reverse of Table 50 – READING, MAIDENHEAD, SLOUGH, EALING and LONDON and Table 51 – WEST DRAYTON & YIEWSLEY and STAINES WEST (Second class only)

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter duly received on Tuesday and we were so pleased to hear that both Susan & Carol had got rid of their colds. The photograph is lovely and we are delighted to have it – thanks very much.

So Carol takes a tumble down the stairs – she was lucky to get off so lightly. It will make her more careful in future but in any case she will soon be more sure of herself. As we have said before she has made wonderful progress since last July.

That reminds me I have not had a chance to speak to anyone yet re: birthday card from the Church but last Saturday I looked at the big notice near the Font containing the names of those christened in these last couple of years (since present vicar arrived) and Carol’s name is there alright and I should imagine the card is sent on anniversary of Christening – will try and confirm in due course. Now we have another young lady’s birthday very near – fancy four years old.

Am glad you managed to get polio injection Alec – what about June? Have you also been able to get round to it yet? It is a horrible scourge and something we heard nothing of – or very little – in our younger days.*

Note you have no further news of Iris’ father and assume therefore position going on satisfactorily.

You must take your pleasure very seriously to have to turn out so early for a game of golf and then have to wait your chance to start. Sounds a bit crowded to me.

So car has had some elbow grease and a spot of good luck from a bird but rain is something we have not had lately here and ground is like concrete. The chrysanths should break naturally and throw up a couple of shoots from the break – later when these secondary shoots get about 4 or 5 inches long they should break again – if not pinch them out and allow two shoots from each of these breaks to grow and bear flowers. When in bud there will be a lot of disbudding to do or you will have numerous small flowers instead of a few large sized ones. Can tell you more about this when you come down.

Got a bit of ringing to do this week – tonight at 7.0 p.m. a half muffled peal in memory of the Bishop of Bath and Wells who died suddenly last Sunday.** Tomorrow (Friday) at 11.30 a.m. for Soole’s wedding to Marjorie Richards and at 7.0 p.m. for the Royal Wedding. From this you will gather that I’m feeling much better than when I wrote last week but the cough is still a bit troublesome intermittently. This I hope will disappear sometime. Can do without that kind of flu in the future.

So far as garden concerned as mentioned above ground is still very dry and like concrete but I’ve put out – so far – 97 runner bean plants and something like 150 beans have been sown in boxes and in the garden for putting against the sticks of the second row. Had to go out late on Saturday evening last and cover up all the potatoes owing to frost warning given out on TV. The previous night I had two or three potatoes slightly frosted and was afraid of a more severe visitation. We did have another frost but no damage done.

Have found one blackbird’s nest in the hedge running across bottom of garden immediately behind runner beans.

Note Susan & Carol have heard the cuckoo (clock). I saw one a couple of days ago flying away from an attack by other birds.

Incidentally have you tried the greengage wine yet? I like it but Mum prefers the cherry because there is more bite in it.

Not much more to tell you this time – managed to cut all lawns again over the weekend but grass had got so long again that I had to keep box off. The flower borders on lawn are full of wallflowers at the moment but in any case I could not dig them over until we’ve had rain.

One more item – Clevedon lost replay in Somerset Amateur Cup Final to Radstock 1-0. Perhaps you had already heard. On Easter Monday it was a 1-1 draw.

All our love to you and we hope you are both feeling very much better now. Lots of kisses for our two little darlings.

Mum and Dad

*In this time of coronavirus it’s fascinating to hear of an earlier generation’s justifiable concern with polio, although it would be useful to know where they had to go for the vaccine and whether or not they had to pay. At any rate they would have been among the first wave of people able to take advantage of the Salk vaccine (, the game-changer in polio research.

** This would have been Harold Bradfield:

Sunday 24th January, 1960

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you both for your letters also crate of apples and onions duly received and collected. You sent off apples on the 20th also the letter same day and both arrived on the 21st. June handed me your letter when I arrived home on the Thursday and said that West Ruislip Station had telephoned to say they had arrived there. I was very surprised to see the charge was so high. Will get you back the 6/7 on the charge. If you send any more it will be much cheaper to send by freight and will get here quick enough. I must look up what parcels and freight facilities they have at Sudbury Hill and Northolt Park as those stations are quite near here and the rate would be less due to the shorter distances. The apples and onions arrived in good condition and very securely packed. I thought you had tacked on a couple of leaves out of the old dining room table. We picked up the consignment on our way to West Drayton on Saturday. I left June and the children at I55 while I went to see the match. It was quit a a good match up to half time and not much to choose. Hayes were the better side and were able to keep going on the thick mud better than Clevedon. They deserved to win but the score was just a little out of keeping with the relative skill of the teams. The locals seemed very impressed and there was much comment at the standard of play. It appears most people liked the game much better than the previous weeks match against Barnet. That appears to have been played in a most unsporting manner. We had a bit of trouble with Carol again last week-end and again last night. She stands up in her cot and bawls her head off. We had another session of it again to-night but June managed to get her off after a while. Hope she stays quiet as not in favour of changing to a cold bed at 1-Oam. We have got round to having a few thoughts on holidays etc to I960 and at the moment have this in mind. Easter leave plus odd days to make one week. Ten days towards the end of June, some odd days later in the Summer and balance to combine with Christmas leave to make the last week. If it is convenient, and you would like to come, perhaps you could come to us at Easter and Christmas, and we could go to Clevedon at the end of June, The last time you came at Easter you came on the Thursday for a week, and a similar arrangement would do this year. Stop longer if you like, but I shall have to return to work on the Thursday. Regarding the Summer, we have in mind something like Thursday to the following Monday week. We are thinking about having odd day trips out in the car later in the Summer and Christmas as previously stated. I think you said you preferred to cone up before the calls of the garden got too heavy. Will wait to hear your comments on these proposals before booking the dates. Susan again went to Sunday School to-day. She has been given a medal. (Badge) with S.R.M, on the outside and S.S. in the centre. Presume this means South Ruislip Methodist Sunday School. Apparently all children who have been attending for 16 weeks get one. Did not realise that she had been attending for so long. Nights beginning to get lighter now. It is just light at 5-Opm. The weather here over the week-end has been most depressing. I think it has rained solidly all the time. Fine driving rain with half a gale behind it which becomes heavy at times. Most of the hollows in the field are full with water but there is no great collection of it in the garden. Along the edges of the borders there is some though. Car still going well. Have not been out to-day but may go to Kensington next week and the week after as have a couple of 12 hour jobs to do involving getting up quite early and getting home quite late. From the road point of view, Kensington is not far from Shepherds Bush so should not take much more than half an hour. Carol is talking a lot now and said Grandma Atkins quite clearly this afternoon. When I came in from garden this morning in Wellingtons, she took one look, said “Slippers Daddy “and promptly brought them over. By the way, I saw Tom Houghton passing by on Saturday and gave him a shout*. There were a number of others there I recognised and quite a bit of local support. There two two’s and two one’s in W./Study on this week’s vacancy list and I understand there will be two more two’s in next week’s or the week after. If Norman is still keen he will not get a better chance. I will of course mention his name to Baynton-Hughes (Heir Apparent to Wilkinson). I shall only be in office Monday and Friday for the next two weeks so it may be a while before I can see him. Our crowd are doing Worcester Marshalling Yards and Swansea Carriage’ Cleaning’ and Passenger Stn. After that I understand they will be going to Bristol for C. Cleaning. Shall be interested to hear reactions of L.E. Well that must be all for this week. Hope you are both in the best of health. Love from June, Susan, Carol and Alec till next time.

*In later years he was firmly of the opinion that attending at football matches and actually shouting was something only lower-class people did; possibly because at different times both of his daughters exhibited a tendency to do this. [Double standards, dad? What a shock! Not.] I went to a match at Elland Road and saw a West Ham side which included Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, and probably Bobby Ferguson against the classic Leeds United line-up including Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner etc., but my real love was actually cricket.