Sunday 7th May, 1961

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thank you very much for your last letter duly arrived at breakfast as usual. Yes I heard about Phasey but did not know that you knew him or knew of him otherwise I would have mentioned it.

Susan still being taken to school, and this seems to be the rythm of things for the time being. The party duly took place last Saturday afternoon but there was no invitation for Carol so we had to run her over to see Grandma and Grandad Baker. When we dumped Susan off at the party Carol wanted to go but we managed to weather that storm.*

The weather yesterday was not too good but to-day it has been much better so that assume your week-end at Exmouth was similarly favoured.

Glad your horse is still surviving. The children are looking forward, to seeing him when they come down, While on the subject, it will not be very long now will it? Re horse it did not take him long to find out that the grass is always greener in the other field, Note we shall ave to make a circular tour when we visit the field or alternatively first find out which way the wind is blowing.

Most of the carpentry in the front room was completed to-day. The table-cum-platform-cum-cupboard is now fixed in position but we intend to get a sheet of hardboard to cover the top and then paint the whole thing. It does not look too bad although I say it myself.

No trouble since with the car, and this week-end it has had quite extensive use. It seems to lose about one pint of oil every 100 miles. Does this accord with the rate when you had it please?

Glad your decorating work has turned out to our satisfaction, I expect the electricians left the house in a bit of a mess. By the very nature of their work this must be so. At least it will give Mum a chance to get new curtains etc.etc.

Note you have cut your lawns but I am afraid those this end are still uncut. Torrential downpours during the week have left everything sodden but the drying wind overnight and to-day has improved things somewhat.

June likes broad beans and so do I. I cannot remember if the children do, but we can cope with any number available.

When we are with you, I am sure Susan and Carol would like to see some birds nests but if there are none there is not much you can do about it.

Our Elections passed off very quietly so far as we are concerned. When I was about to get the car out and go round to the school it started to pour so that was that.

There’s not much point in putting more yeast in a must that is already fermenting as you do not know how near it is to finishing. Best to put one oz. in right at the start. By the way my latest carrot whisky – made about end of first week in April has ceased to ferment and is now in a new gallon storage Jar – bought yesterday. I bought the packets of powdered yeast pellets from a firm in Harrow called “Heath and Heather Ltd”.

Last Sunday’s journey was quite interesting but there was not in awful lot of traffic on the roads. At the time we went there is not too much about.

Did not know that the Spencers house had a small kitchen, I supposed that it was the same size as yours was before the alterations.

I am not surprised that Weston is a bit fed up with the hooligans. We get a lot in London as you know. The latest craze is wearing leather jackets.

On Friday night we went over to Highgate to Norman’s flat. I drove over to Greenford from where we all went in Roy’s car. The route is the came as the one that I passed over the previous Sunday. It is not too difficult driving in London, it is a thing that you get used to doing. On Saturday we had an early trip out to get the meat then later to take the girls and June to a hair appointment in Eastcote. In the afternoon we went over to Yiewsley and this morning we went over to Pinner Park as the sun was shining. It was quite warm there first thing but it clouded over later and we returned home by 10-0am. This afternoon I went over to Hanwell to play a round of golf with Eric and Ted Rouse. Apart from one sharp shower of rain and a high wind it was most enjoyable.

Ken Lay and go to Maidenhead on Thursday to hold a consultation meeting for the purpose of introducing investigating staff into the goods there. I gather that I am intended to do this work. I seem to be collecting all the staff and now they are handing over all the work. I feel sorry for Lay as he is obviously unsuited to be the Assistant. He keeps saying that he wished he had not got the job and anyone can have it etc. Also says that he has only a few years to do and would prefer a quiet time.

Got the first two reports on the Parcels Office through McDonald on Friday and they are being typed this week. He seems to be quite pleased at the way things are going and so far we have managed to keep one jump ahead of him. We had a small strike at Kensington last week (which please do not publicise) over the Bonus scheme for cartage staff there. They were told they could not retain their vanguards if they wanted to retain the bonus scheme. They have since returned to work but were to have held a mass meeting to-day to decide what to do next. We have the parcels handling staff lined up for an appreciation course this week. Have started the handling staff at Acton a couple of weeks ago but will see the L.D.C. Staff Sec on Tuesday with a view to starting the Yard Staff. Have given an undertaking to do the O.O.O. Signalmen in about four weeks time so all in all shall look forward to my holiday.

Notley has been in Venice this last fortnight amongst other places. I had a card from him.

Well there is not much else I can think of at the moment so will end again for another week. Love from us all.

*Here we go again. There is a difference between treating children equally and treating them fairly; one of these options Alec and June managed, but not the other. For many years they were unable to distinguish between their daughters and did not allow anyone else to do so either, so everything had to be tailored to the lowest common denominator. When they finally learned how to tell the difference between us they decided they had one ‘useful’ and one ‘useless’ child, and proceeded accordingly.