Leonard to the family:
Dear Alec June Susan & Carol
Many thanks once again for your usual weekly letter which postman delivered first post Monday. Glad to hear you are all keeping up fairly well – the winter is gradually passing Into Spring and several nice days recently makes us realise the better weather is coming. Had a bit of another blow on Friday evening but not nearly as bad as on the previous Monday. Noticed this morning that about a dozen ridge tiles are missing from Mrs Drewitt’s old house and our new neighbours (Bushells) have lost a couple. Fortunately we had someone in about 18 months ago to reset our ridge tiles onto new cement and this has now paid off. Sorry about your garage roof and it is a good job it was not worse – could easily have lost the whole of the roof in wind like that. Presumably house roof all right or you would have mentioned it. Sheffield had it very badly – must have caught the worst of the gusts.
Note letters are reaching you with envelopes burst open. I thought the paper was weak hence the strengthening with Sellotape but shall have to try and seal over the ends altogether or else get stronger envelopes. It is a tight wad by the time we have got it all in.
Glad no further need of bread and water diet – may have had the desired effect as they are bound to think about it now and again. You can do without scares like that. I see up to time of writing the boy from Hayes is still missing after being taken off by a man. *
Mum says she remembers the incident when you could not get round the corner of the Avenue and had to ask Mogg to help you. I must have been at Bristol as knew nothing of this until you mentioned it in letter.
No further news of your neighbours then regarding their move to Bristol area. The Swiss Valley is not a locality I would like to live in but one must admit it is being opened up now by new houses and by the siting of the school at bottom of Holly Lane. Can see the Portishead Road beyond Holly Lane being built on in the future.
So you have had an ultimatum from your local “surveyor” to get a move on with lawn. It would certainly be nice to see the completed job when we come up at Whitsun or is this just a bit too much to expect? I’m afraid I have no improvements to report outdoors this winter – still want some concrete put down alongside green house and garage but other things must come first. Just at the moment – and for at least another week – and a bit handicapped by having left thumb tied up. This more or less means using right hand for most things including gardening and you can imagine the results. There is no pain in thumb but it has to be kept rigid for sinews to get back to normal.
Your mixture of wine sounds interesting but keep it out of garage or you may certainly lose the roof. My parsnips (stored) keep disappearing into the kitchen so may not have many left for wine making. Note you would like thornless loganberry and we’ll take care of It for you. If it is put into position in your garden this summer you may get an odd berry in 1963 but it should do well the following year and continue so afterwards. It is a good fruit to have in the garden and you can train it like honeysuckle.
Still no further news from Fortifones and it looks now as if they do not intend to write or send their representative.
Yes I saw in paper the 3% had been accepted by rail unions but I think the most significant remark was made by Beeching who said in regard to salaries and wages “the railwaymen were leading from behind”. How true this has been – perhaps things will improve in due course. Looks as if there will be another application for increases in the autumn.
Your details of mileage with LTA 259 very interesting. I certainly used that car far more than the present one for very obvious reasons. Mum and I went to Weston last Thursday the 14th inst at the invitation of Mr and Mrs Richings and had lunch with them. It was his half day so at about 2:30 p.m. we set off in car via Bridgwater and Saltford Cross and over the Mendips getting back to Station House about 5:15 p.m. where we dropped them and came on home. Total mileage covered from this house to back again 93 miles. Quite a nice day for motorway not too hot and a little sun in late afternoon. He told me he has to take over Weston Goods in the near future and will probably move from Special A to Special B for the extra responsibility.
No further news from Geoff since our last letter to you – noted you have seen him recently and not much change – if any – in condition of his face. Query could he have picked up a germ abroad? By the way he told us Stella’s sister and husband who have been stopping with them since returning from Tanganyika are moving to Hull** where the husband has secured an appointment with Reckitts.
Very nice of Pauline to come over and give you an opportunity for an evening out – hope she is keeping well. I expect the girls were delighted to see her.
Thanks for remembrance of Armand. He started coming to the freight train meetings a couple of years before I finished with them. He has certainly made progress if he is now assistant to C.M.E. Presumably your visit to Swindon had connection with Work Study.
No typewriter yet as you can see but when it does arrive mum hopes to type a few letters on it. Houghton was away last weekend when his son was married to a girl at Harrow-on-the-Hill -announcement in Mercury to you with this letter. I reckon Susan and Carol would just love to have a go at your machine – one of these days you will have to get them an old one to practice on.
Re: train services I see some union members at Bristol have themselves called a meeting to protest against the recent withdrawal of services and urging the public to protest also. About the only thing they are interested in I think is the possibility of redundancy of staff. Yes I am sure one of these days the Clevedon branch service will be a thing of the past – many other branches to will be closed down.
No more this time. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.
Mum and Dad
*The missing boy was 10 year old Billy Holloway who was a wolf cub from Hayes. There were organised searches, many by cubs and scout groups from across the area. He went missing on February 14th but sadly his body was found in the canal in Hayes a month later on March 14. At the inquest an open verdict was recorded and death was due to drowning.
Despite the reports of Billy ‘speaking to a man’ no one was ever traced that could be linked to Billy’s disappearance and an open verdict was recorded.
Information retrieved from British Newspaper Archive by Andy Gardner of the Ruislip Memories Facebook Group on 28 January 2022.
**I was not aware that Stella had a sister, but it turns out that she in fact originally had two – although the younger one had died unmarried in 1958. Stella’s older sister Nora married a man named Ronald Middleton, who seems to have been concerned in the oil business. I haven’t been able to trace whether or not they had any children, but as the letter doesn’t mention any perhaps they didn’t.
Eva to the family on the remaining ⅝ of a sheet of Leonard’s paper:
Dear Alec June Susan and Carol
Thank you for letter. Went to the Guild yesterday and four4 places for the proposed summer outing in June are Torquay, Windsor, Southsea or Isle of Wight. We have to let them know by next meeting. I would rather have one of the last two as shall be going Windsor way a fortnight before so it would be the same country and Torquay is is a washout. We got our money back for the party so I’m 5/- better off.
Mr and Mrs Hewitt are going to Norway for their holiday this year so excited she was holding forth yesterday. I suppose it all right in summer but would rather have somewhere a bit warmer.
Mr Gardiner had a stroke last week and [is] in the Clevedon hospital. Miss Weekes is moving after all these years, going next month to one of the old people’s homes around by Coleridge Estate. Mrs Bushell any day now for the Knoll nursing home.***
I think Michael Richings is going to have a go for a place in the new school as for certain they will want extra staff. It’s a lovely building and contains everything.
Dad progressing with his thumb has to go up next Wednesday by then the doctor won’t recognise the bandage as it’s black. I put a clean one outside when he goes out.
Love from Mum and Dad.
***At first I wondered if this was an older Mrs Bushell going into a care home, but it seems more likely to be the wife of the young couple next door who is due to give birth imminently.