Sunday 2nd December, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks once again for another weekly letter each. This week for some reason it did not arrive until Saturday morning, perhaps the pre-Christmas post is on the increase. Glad you got the magazine O.K. The Binding at the end held all right then. The mag was a little larger than the envelope.

Yes I am afraid I succumbed to flu or what-have-you, and I am afraid it is now down on the chest. It is many years since I recall having a cough, although colds have been frequent. Again it seems to be the fashion round here. Roy – Delph’s husband – has been pretty rough, and I gather it has been through the same cause.

You refer to the weather. Last night there was a severe white frost and this morning it is extremely cold. The sun is trying to come up and the frost is going. I would say it is a very fine morning if you can keep moving. Otherwise it is a good morning to spend indoors.

I think we were rather lucky to be watching the TV on the day the elephants went to the zoo as it was a most unusual thing to do and the children were very interested. Good thing to spot that torn roll of wallpaper. No point in having and paying for dud stuff. I imagine there are not many people floating around the Weston shops now. It was was a bit hectic in the summer when we were there. Will the people let you know when the balance of the wallpaper has arrived, or will you have to go there on spec?

Very interesting to hear about the Advanced Motoring course that Richings is undergoing. Shall be glad to have more details of the instruction given. What made him go for that?

I understand that you still cannot have a coal fire in your front room. You will bless us if you do not get that firebrick, as the really cold weather is about now. Your electric heater is a good one though and perhaps you are warm enough with it.

No Baynton-Hughes has a job with the B.T.C., he has had no connection with Birmingham since he was the Timebill Clerk Special B. This post he did not occupy effectively as he was away with us at Reading at the time. In fact he never took up his duties. This phenomenon has followed him around in most of his posts. While holding one post (for salary purposes) he has in fact been doing something else. Rumour has it that although he has the job at the B.T.C. he is in fact without specific work, and thus becomes ideal for one of the productivity posts. Why we think he may elect for Bristol is the fact that his home District (Worcester) is now incorporated in the Bristol Division. We gather that from 1st of January the Development Assistants (to be renamed Productivity Assistants) will take over Work Study Research and Traffic Costing. McDonald has informed Notley that he will therefore be working for him again as from January. The latter is not very pleased. There were about fifty officers’ jobs on the W.R. Officers’ list this week. Again this is largely a question of men having to apply for the jobs they are already holding. I can imagine some of them are going to be disappointed as Soole was last time. This is a move to get placed some of the men from the disbanded B.T.C. I am sure.

June declined to do any driving last Sunday, and we have not had much opportunity since to do any. I am still having trouble starting the car, and it needs to be taken in for attention. I am afraid it will have to wait till after Christmas. The result of course is that the car needs a little coaxing until it warms up.

Sorry to hear mum had to leave church. Should have told the Curate she did not like his sermon. Very interesting digs the Curate has got. Hope he has a sense of humour.

I understand that the builders have been working hard in number 17. They say the ceiling in the kitchen is unsafe and will have to be attended to – this after the electricians has said it was in order, and fixed strip lighting to it. It seems that, when wainscoting was taken down, fungus was found growing behind, and when floorboards were looked at they were found to be soggy with moisture. What the eventual bill will be for this one I dare not think. They still hope to go in on the agreed date.

It is very nice to have wines and spirits for Christmas, especially at reduced prices. However up to date we have not been in a position to spare much for that side of Christmas fare. There have always seemed to be more important things requiring the £.s.d. and as you know Christmas is a shockingly expensive time.

There is not a lot wrong with the type from your machine. Last week I switched over to the bottom half of the ribbon you gave me although I think there is a lot more in the top part.

Sorry to hear that Bray has died. He was a comical chap. I knew him first as head messenger at Bristol D.S.O. he preceded Hallard. During the war Sid Guy, who had previously been a messenger in the D.S.O., returned (I think from Steventon) to take over for a short time from Hallard.

Just want to give myself a bit of elbow room in the loft. Every time I go up there it is a messy business getting ladder up and groping about in the dark. In addition there is a lot of useful room there for storing various things, and even getting a workbench fixed out of the way of small meddlers. Perhaps there will even be more room for the car in the garage when some of the stuff has been moved out. The main joists in the loft are level, but where the support beams from the roof are brought down at an angle to thrust on the joints, additional pieces of four-by-two have been tacked onto the joists so that these downward-sloping beams can thrust against one another to give added support. If I were to take away these added pieces, all the joints would be level but it would weaken the main supports of the roof. What I have to do therefore is to make all joists up to the level of the highest. This is an easier job than it sounds, as the usable area in the loft is not as vast as all that, and I do not propose to floor in any part where I cannot stand almost upright.

No comment on the geraniums etc from Mum, but nothing to reply to in my case.

I am quite happy to stay where I am for the time being thank you. While the W.R. is in a state of turmoil it is more than ever a rat race. I had another session over at the Work Study School on Friday and among the staff who came for a rating check were a number from Sheffield. One of these had had contact with Budworth who used to work with me at Paddington and who has gone to the North Eastern region at York. I think I told you that John Belcher who worked with me at Reading had been caught on some large-scale fiddle with passing fake cheques in banks. He had been doing this for some time apparently and he was well and truly caught. We gather that he has had the sack from the railway and has returned to the Cardiff area, but what he is doing now we do not know.*

I get a call from Notley and others occasionally at Paddington. June and I hope to go to the Christmas party on 14th December. It is the counterpart to the one I helped to organise last year.

Note with interest the detail of the proposed lake. I expect they will build it eventually as there is no doubt the Portishead Pool has put the council’s nose out of joint.

I did not see the wine-making on T.V. but would have been very interested. Have not made any as you know for some time. Peter was round last night to act as babysitter with Brenda while June and I went to Delph’s for a meal. She threw a party and we had an enjoyable time. When I got back I gave Peter a drink of fig and tangerine (generally accepted as being a good wine) and he quite enjoyed it. He asked when I was going to make some more sloe gin. Had to remind him that it was your brew. He was very impressed with it and keeps talking about it. You will have to make some more.

Have been instructed by Susan to clear the table for lunch, so will have to pack this in it now, and comply. Anything I have missed will have to keep for next week now, so will say cheerio for now and love from us all once again. 

*This John Belcher is almost certainly the same man as the ex-M.P., formerly ‘a railway clerk’, who resigned from Parliament in 1949 after some undesirable connections were exposed. Wikipedia says that he ‘returned to his clerical job with the railways’ after this.


Wednesday 28th November, 1962

[Continued from Tuesday 27th November, 1962]

Still dry dull and cold here today. Did you see on TV last night just for a couple of minutes between 8:23 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. a demonstration on how to make wine? The individual concerned had a good earthenware jug (holding about 3 gallons) and put into same 3lbs chopped raisins. 1lb wheat, 4 grated potatoes, 3lbs demerara sugar and 1 gallon hot water. Then 1 oz dried yeast and mixed the whole lot together and said it would remain covered up for a month after which it would be strained and the juice put under fermentation lock for 3 or 4 months. Called it Christmas wine – whiskey type.

I thought I would try my elderberry brandy this morning and was not at all bad. Mum liked it so that speaks for itself. This was the concoction in which I put 12 Shredded Wheats.

In last night’s Bristol paper was a photograph of the two elephants so have cut it out for Susan and Carol – may be interested.

Brought in another hamper of Bramleys today and there are at least two more hamperfulls on the tree to come in. We have had a thrush singing away on the top of one of our fir trees on the lawn for several days now – surely he is not mistaking the time of year? It is most unusual because the birds are very quiet along now although there are plentiful enough when any food is thrown out to them.

Well I think this is about the lot for another week – have pretty well exhausted all available news although now Mum will find something to write about in a minute or two I expect.

All our love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls. Mum and Dad. 

Wednesday 14th of November

Leonard to the family (continued from Tuesday 13th November):

Continuing from yesterday have now finished off the runner bean sticks off the second row and leave them up against the hedge to dry off. Not such a nice day – no sun – but very warm around midday. Have now decided to go to Weston Thursday when shall try and get fire brick. Also have to get paper, paint etc. for sitting room although operations have been postponed until after Christmas.

A letter from Geoff this morning says the 6% increase is to be based on salaries and wages that were in operation before the last 3% rise. The B.T.C.C. save a few pounds by this arrangement. It seems that the 9% rise from the two Awards is calculated from the previous rates of pay. Anyhow I do not suppose anybody is going to make a fuss about that. Very pleased to see the Fords management are sticking to their guns and will not re-employ the 70 troublemakers.

Any further progress at number 17 Eccleston Road yet? Hope both Mr and Mrs Baker are keeping alright these days also Peter* and Pauline – sorry we did not see any of them on our last visit but time was rather short. Perhaps next visit we may see them at Eccleston Road.

Geoff sent on the usual wine list for us to have a go at for Christmas. Does E.R. do the same as W.R. in this respect? Quite a saving by getting a few bottles from that source.

Ted Caple told me the other day he had had a bit of fun with another motorist in the Stroud area. Apparently this other individual passed Caple by crossing a double white line on a bend and later on the journey he caught up with him at some restaurant and tackled him about it. The man whose wife was with him poo-pooed the incident so Caple said he would report him. He did so and after some weeks had a reply from the police thanking him for his public spirited action and saying they had interviewed the man traced by the car number who had denied the occurrence and was supported by his wife in the denial.  Police said they felt the man was in the wrong by the way his wife gave her information but it was not considered desirable to prosecute. The police finished up by saying that they thought the action taken would prevent another case arising by this individual. As a matter of fact some individual passed us over the double white line on our way back from Ruislip a fortnight ago but he was going so fast did not even get his number. He was lucky as there was nothing coming in the opposite direction at the time but there well could have been.

Well I think this is about the lot once more. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for our two dear little girls.

Mum and Dad. 

*In the course of preparing this blog post we learned of the death of Peter Baker on 1 March 2021 – yes, it took eighteen months to get this information. Peter was the last family member of his generation.

Wednesday 7th November, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letter received this morning with all the latest news. Expect weather was cause of late dispatch this week but yesterday (Tuesday) was the limit here. It rained continuously all day and the atmosphere was overpowering. Much better today and I felt able to do a little work in garage.

Yes we both enjoyed our visit to you and if not exactly restful it was certainly a change and of course nice to see you all again. Note you had another visitor almost immediately after our departure and I expect he was glad to see you and bring you up-to-date with the news from Weston. I’m surprised he is still called upon to deal with BBC matters in the London area but perhaps his successor is not yet in full control. I see in last night’s Bristol paper that a Bristol BBC engineer named Hawkes was killed in a car accident in Bristol a couple of nights ago.

Pauline too has visited you again. I’m sure the girls were pleased to have her there for a few hours – perhaps gave mother a bit of a break. Hope she is keeping well.

A really good idea for using the old tank – it will serve in turn as a collector for compost stuff. If I remember rightly the other container was practically worn out. All the tanks here as you may guess are full to capacity after so much rain.

Glad to hear June had an evening out with Delphine and hope they both enjoyed themselves. What did Carol think she was going to get then? Or was she really off colour? Susan too with an upset tummy after twisting herself around too many times. They will do it. So glad to hear how she took to the glasses. It could have been a most difficult time getting her initiated to them. Once taken to however she must realise herself she can see and read much better. It is going to make a tremendous difference to her at school to and I’m sure she will make headway now even more so then hitherto.

Yes June we are sure you must have been busy after our departure especially with the washing. Could you not get any help from Carol? And of course Susan as she was home for the week.

Plenty of bonfires and fireworks down here these last few nights and I understand there was a bit of a to-do along the prom Monday night when the police were involved. Teddy Boys were at the root of the trouble.

Glad the cherry-with-orange wine satisfactory – on your recommendation I tried some today and agree it is quite nice. Hope it does the trick with the catarrh this winter. By the way have you arranged for an anti-flu injection from your local doctor? June and told us on Tuesday before we left that the E.R. do not have their senior staff dealt with as on the W.R. but in your case I should certainly pay the doctor to give you one. Would help you through the winter.

The fire grate we brought back is a perfect fit for the front room but we are now up against a replacement for the fire brick that fits inside the front of the grate. Have tried three places in Clevedon without result and will try again when we go into Weston. If we light fire without the brick I fear the front of the grate will become permanently tarnished. Mum has cleaned it up now and it looks fine so it would be a pity to spoil it. Thank you very much for it, we must report further on our efforts to get firebrick.

I’m enclosing a cutting taken from last night’s Bristol Evening about screens for use in connection with projectors. Thought you would like to see it and maybe note suggestion for future information.

Well since writing last Tuesday week I have not done much about the place. For one thing the weather has been against outside work and it has been too cold to do much in the greenhouse or garage. Last Friday and Saturday I did manage to get in a couple of long rows of broad beans by using boards to stand on. At least half a dozen times I had to break off because of rain but eventually completed the job. Since then have picked most of the runner beans and shelled them for drying for seed. These are now spread out on the staging in greenhouse. All tomatoes have now been cleared out and both sets of staging reinstalled. Firewood to has had to be cut and chopped up. Impossible to cut lawns yet and grass is longer than I like to see it. Am wondering if shall be able to have another go at it this season.

Our next door neighbour (Bushell) is building a porch outside his French Windows. the framework was already there but he has had to fit glazing bars and renew cross pieces of wood and buy and fit glass. it will take some time yet to finish.

Not a lot of local news this week. I see Bill Raine has again secured the premier prize for chrysanthemums in the Clevedon Show. This is the second year running and he is up against experts like Mr Yandle whom I expect you remember at the Clevedon Hall Lodge some years ago. Bill I understand belongs to the Chrysanthemum Society but is only an amateur so far as growing is concerned. I saw the winning bloom last Sunday morning and it was a real beauty. Only grows one flower to a plant.

Mr Heel came round one morning when I was in garage (most unusual for him) and had a chat. Said he was feeling a lot better but still chesty following his recent illness. Have not seen Cornish (except at a distance) since we came back. Mrs Bush seems to be back in circulation again, none the worse for her drug taking incident. Had one morning in the field picking up fallers which are now spread out on floor of garage to dry off. A lot more down by now I expect.

Had to get TV people to look at set on Monday – the horizontal black line was creeping further up the picture and another had started to come down from the top. Required another valve. Now he has left the picture a little out of focus – elongated – and this can only be got up from the inside so I suppose he will have to come again.*

Good news today on the TV, Beeching has now offered 6% rise which has been accepted by the unions to date from Monday the 5th inst. No doubt it will come to the ‘Out of Categories’ later on. A letter from Geoff this morning says the reorganisation of timetables on W.R. expected to come into force for the winter of 1963.

Hope Susan and Carol enjoyed their fireworks on Monday night. We thought of them. Not bad weather here in the evening but heavy rain during morning and early afternoon.

No more this time. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for Susan and Carol.

Mum and Dad.

*For younger readers – this was even before the transistor revolution when both radios and TVs had glass valves inside. If you needed any evidence of exactly how much daily life has changed over the past sixty years, this should do the trick!

Eva to the family on the remaining half sheet of Leonard’s paper:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for letters. Glad you had no trouble with Susan I think left to themselves they take anything in their stride. The grate fits perfectly and needs no filling up with cement. We are going into Weston on Monday to see if we can get the fire bricks. I think it makes the room look better and certainly won’t take as much coal to keep warm as our Devon grate.

I have just made a funny mistake in the tomato chutney I’m making put in a whole lot of Pudding Spice instead of the other and later looked to see if I had all the ingredients and it said tie the spice up (I ask you) so as it was put on top of sliced apple. I managed to get most of it out.

We enjoyed the trip to Walls factory only another in the country at Acton where they do not have visitors. It was a scream we had to leave all our possessions in the coach and when we got inside had to put on a white coat and fancy silk scarf which latter we kept. Then around the building, it’s really all automation. They employ coloured men. They gave us a good tea cheese and ham sandwiches, fancy cakes and a special gateau the chef made for us then all sorts of ice cream. On leaving they presented each with a square box which rattled. On opening it at home it was another cold pack with 1/6 ice cream in it so Dad had his ice cream after all. It simply poured all the time.

Glad June had a change lots of love Mum and Dad 

Sunday 4th November, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks once again for a weekly letter. Soon back to routine again. Glad you enjoyed your holiday and had a good journey home. I gathered you had some hail etc your end. Nice to know you have some Long Life beer in the house. I have not heard the story of the bag of apples etc. I suppose the girls thought you would like something to eat on the journey. Hope you will be able to find suitable uses for the stuff you were able to take back. We certainly appreciated the stuff you brought this way. I have not tried your cherry and lemon wine yet, but will take a drop before ending this letter if remember to do so.

The tank presents quite a problem now as I tackled the Rag-and-Bone man yesterday and he did not want it as it is galvanised. I have since discovered that in the week June got the local lads to clear away the logs and old gate from the back of the garage also the old dustbin full of tree cuttings. As the dustbin itself is now on the field it can stay there, and I will put the tank in its place. It will be just as good for an incinerator.

Susan still has catarrh but it is very loose. On Thursday night June had an evening out with Delphine and Carol told me she was feeling sick. We had to go through all the motions of getting ready for the event, but I think it was only a stunt to get a bit of attention while Mummy was away*. She was alright and fit as a fiddle in the morning.

Susan had a silly turn one day in the week. She turned herself round and round in the middle of the room until she was very giddy. this after a good feed did the necessary. On the brighter side, her glasses arrived on Friday. June did not make any bones about it but just put them available for her and walked out of the room. Later she walked in (with a toy as excuse) and found Susan with them on, reading away at her comics in fine style. Since then we have hardly seen her without them. She even had them on in bed last night and I had to come to an arrangement with her to leave them on the side for the morning. First thing in the morning she is out of bed, the light goes on, so do the glasses and the comic gets read.

We have had Eric Benn living with us since Wednesday night. He has been in charge of the boxing match (England v Russia) and today he is covering the church service 10:30 a.m.. I think he may be going back later today although he has not said. it is possible that he may stay until tomorrow of course but that is o.k. with us.

Well we have not done an awful lot since you went back. We have drunk all the beer so you are one up on us (four up did you say?). I must do something about the parsley later today as it is still on the coal bunker although it has been well watered.

Well I have had a taste of your cherry wine and I find it even better than previous lots. It is probably among the best you have made. I think it will have a satisfactory effect on catarrh.

Our fire is proving a good buy. Even with it on half-full we are occasionally obliged to turn it off as the room is hot enough. I am sure that when the really cold weather sets in that we shall have enough heat there.

The bonfire builders are at work in the field so I suppose we shall have another good display here again this year. We have bought a lot of fireworks for the girls so they are stocked up and ready.

Well it must be a short letter from this end this week as I seem to have exhausted the available news. Hope you both have shaken off the effect of your colds.

Love from us all till next week.

*This kid is four years old, remember. That one would need ‘a stunt to get attention’ at that age seems to indicate a failure of parenting rather than Machiavellian behaviour by a manipulative child…

Sunday 14th October, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thank you for your letters received as usual on Friday. I must say the weather is good for your visit to Exmouth. It started today by being very cold, but it is clear and the sun is trying to get through.

I agree that the catamaran trip was a bit much, but I must say that they ask for all they get. Fancy going out in those conditions.

We have no further news of course re: Susan and her glasses. We have let her read a bit as it is a pity to spoil her interest. Interesting about your experience with the glasses. I believe mother had the same experience as she seldom used glasses when we first went to Clevedon although she had them at the time. I was not so lucky though and have never been able to leave them off.

Nothing further about number 17, we have not been over there this week. We do have to report however that the deal regarding number 155 High Street is off again. Mr Baker now has to look out for another purchaser. What went wrong we do not know, but although they get on the hook these people do not seem to want to be landed.

Fluorescent lighting is certainly cheaper to run. For equivalent amounts of power drawn from the supply, the light from the fluorescent lamp is brighter. I have no idea about the cost of installation, much doubt if it is all that much more. I think you can get a fluorescent strip for about fifty shillings [about £60 in 2022 money] whereas the bulb and lampshade for the conventional type would cost almost that*.

I am not surprised Don finds hard work heavy going these days. I think he tires particularly easily these days. It is a symptom of his complaint** coupled with advancing years. I wonder what he will be doing when the next strike takes place. There is a limit to the number of days required for apple picking. Next excuse will be nut picking no doubt.

I had an idea that George McLeod had died several years ago, but it seems I was wrong. Yes it was Houghton’s son who had polio, thank you for reminding me. I do not think that I had heard of his death though. Perhaps I have just forgotten. I do not think I can remember Sid Wilkins, although the name is familiar. As you say it was a gathering of the clans. A lot of people I have not seen in many years. Why did you go up by bus? Did you not feel up to driving up to Bristol, or is car having the servicing prior to your visits to Exmouth and Ruislip?

I see according to this week’s vacancy list that my job is on the slate. I am pretty sure who will get it. I have not yet got the October issue of the E.R. mag, but will be getting one when is due.

It is surprising you did not see anyone when you made your trip around the wall to collect blackberries. In the thirties a fine day would find many having a stroll around the wall especially as the tide was in.

I am afraid our tomatoes have just about reached the end of it by now. I took a look at them yesterday and they all looked a bit passé.

Certainly a carve-up for the Western Division. I think it will be several years before things settle down.

Peter is here again today. He is trying to finish the Snowcem job he started a few weeks ago. June and I have had a go at the kitchen this weekend, but we have now run out of paint so will have to finish the rest during the week.

I am amazed to hear you still have some of the Apricot left. Perhaps you do not like it so well. Have none left here. I’m now in the middle of a bottle of Apple October ’61. It is very good although only one year old. I am not surprised that Don did not want his cider back.

Sorry to hear you have a long dose of catarrh. It is difficult to shake off and sometimes persists for many months. I should think that the sea air (for a change) should do good. However it is the change of air that does it.

I’m now sampling the Apple and have given a drop to Peter. He is still up the ladder, so wait for the bang.

I agree that the strike was stupid, but not much point in individual N.U.R. members working. They could do no good in the long run, and only bring trouble on themselves for their pains.

Glad do you have fixed with Geoff for transport. I would have picked them up as you know, but only one car necessary.

You will have to remember to take something in a bottle to the next harvest supper.

Well I will cut it short this time as we shall be seeing you in the week***. Cheerio for now and love from us all. 

*An equivalent fitting on Amazon today would cost about £30 and it’s reasonable to think that if you had to pay someone to fit it the total could be roughly £60 altogether. Buying an ordinary pendant fitting plus bulb and shade would come to about £20 in total (again, using Amazon as the source), so even factoring in the same cost for labour it would still be a little bit cheaper in terms of installation.

**Don’s lungs were always weak and he was known to be ‘chesty’, not helped by having been seriously ill during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. In fact he was not expected to survive the latter and Leonard was given compassionate leave to return home from the Army on account of it – resulting in his being mistakenly arrested as a deserter and carted off to the glasshouse at Shepton Mallet before the true position could be established.

***The best-laid plans…

Tuesday 9th October, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for the budget of news and drawing from Carol duly received this morning by first post. Am again starting to reply on the same day to make sure letter will be finished in time for posting on Thursday. Getting a bit hectic down here at the moment as will appreciate as you read on. First your letter.

Expect you saw a report of adventure with the catamaran in the local paper (sorry it is this week’s copy to you). They must have had a pretty rough passage and a bit hair-raising. Lucky to get away with it.

Note the visit to specialist at Mount Vernon was a somewhat phoney one but no doubt a proper inspection will be made next time. Can understand your pessimism that it may be possible to dispense with glasses later on but I think it may be so. Actually although I wore glasses at school when I went into army in 1916 I left them off and it was at least two or three years after I returned to railway work that I found it necessary to take to them again. Anyhow one can only hope for the best and we sincerely hope the early use of glasses by Susan will improve the vision to such an extent that she may be able to do without them later. Moreover let’s hope Carol will escape the use of them.

So you were able to have a look round number 17 when in Ealing and found things progressing fairly satisfactorily. Fluorescent lighting is in fashion now and I believe it is costlier to install but cheaper to use than ordinary types of electricity. Is any date fixed for Mr and Mrs Baker to move out of 155?

Yes Don and Joan arrived about 11 a.m. Sunday and departed about 3:45 p.m. having made sure of the usual after-dinner nap. Both appeared to be keeping very well but Don said he had a job to get going mornings and he says he does not do very much hard work. Finds it too much nowadays. He had three days (including 3rd October) leave for apple-picking. Wonder how he will get on if another strike is called?

You were a bit out in the identity of the doctors. It is Dr George McLeod who died last week and was buried yesterday. He was 78 and you and I saw him together many years ago following a bout of flu. Alistair, his son, is now our doctor and quite a good one too. To my knowledge he never had polio. Are you thinking of Houghtons’ son – he had polio and eventually died from the complaint.

What a pity we are not with you this weekend with all that money in the bank. So your old job not advertised yet. It will be interesting to hear exactly what they do i.e. if it is eventually posted or if it is filled by a redundant unit.

As you may guess the church was practically full for the funeral service of Dr McLeod. Today I have been to Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, for the funeral services for Sydney Wilkins, one of my old colleagues in the control office. I do not think you would remember him. He was formerly Yardmaster’s Clerk at East Depot. Apparently he did his early turn of duty last Thursday but late that night collapsed and died of thrombosis. Was 55 years of age. Of course it was a gathering of the clans and quite a lot asked after you and wished to be remembered to you you including Griffith, Bill Williams, Vic Cox, Underwood, Doswell, Stairmand etc. I gather they are all fed up and in a state of “don’t care”, waiting for something to turn up. I did not go to the station – travelled up by bus and returned by the same means after Griffiths had taken me to the bus station.

Your E.R. magazine is now with Don who seemed very interested in same. Like you I wonder where it will go now. If you get an October issue keep it by you till we come up – save postage and in any case we shall be seeing you all in a few days time.

Yes Mr Aston and I had a morning on the sea wall last Wednesday picking blackberries. It was grand and the tide full in. Did not see a soul all the time we were out. managed to get about 10lbs of blackberries some of which I used for a brew of wine and Mum made jam and tarts with the rest. The elderberry brandy through is coming along nicely but will not be ready to bring up. it is still under fermentation lock and next week shall have to similarly treat the Blackberry. Later on must have a go at some apple. Plenty of this kind of fruit this season.

The trip out on the Old Coach Road the other day was only to make a change from Tennyson Avenue for an hour or do. The weather however has been very good recently and we have had some lovely afternoons although cold and dull in the mornings. Heavy dews and frosts have made the garden and grass very wet and no grass cutting has been done for a fortnight or more. Glad your tomatoes continue to form – they will turn red if you keep them warm. Mum must comment on the cacti.

Understand the new division at Plymouth is necessary to utilise up the new offices which were built over the new station. The Division will take the present Exeter and Plymouth District but will also include the line right up to and including Lavington*. The London division is to come to to Lavington so the Bristol division is shut right out of this section of line. Bristol division is so far as I can ascertain to take over the Gloucester and Worcester Districts which the break-up of the Birmingham division leaves stranded. The Chester area and Birmingham area apparently goes over to the L.M.R. What a carve-up.

Note Peter was with you again on Sunday – hope he survived the grape wine. I still have some of your apricot here. Too good to drink all at once. I offered Don his bottle of three-year-old cider when he was here but he was not very keen to take it away so it remains in the cupboard for the time when I have nothing else.

Sorry the girls have had such bad colds and coughs again. I seem to  have a a prolonged dose of catarrh on me – just cannot understand it. Perhaps a change of air at Tiverton and Exmouth may help matters. We shall go down to Tiverton Friday and on to Exmouth Saturday. Home again either on Monday or Tuesday. Will remember you all to them as we go the rounds. Note you are thinking of Exmouth as a holiday resort again. It is a nice place but not if it is cold as you experienced last year.

Where did Susan get her bread and cheese from? Did she help herself? You will have to tie a rope on her.**

Have written to Geoff and told him we will go over and fetch them on the Sunday and take them back again in the evening. Hope this arrangement is alright with you.

Marples put up a very poor show on TV but all the same the strike was crazy. At about 3:30 that day a knock on the door found Mr and Mrs Stacey outside. Told him I thought he would have been busy in office rearranging the coach working for the next day. Was very surprised to hear him say he was out and that all the Chief Inspectors were out and Charlie Rust on leave and not returning. I told you I did not think  much about that lot. I think it was a disgraceful show.

Heels are still away – a month tomorrow. Cornish has cut down the trees that formed the fence between his ground and Heels near the gates. Heel has been after this for years but Cornish would not do it. Now he has cut them down. How contrary can one get? Bushells went to Burnham-on-Sea (to friends) last Sunday and stopping until Thursday. His long weekend and a couple of extra days.

Yes the harvest supper was not a bad affair but something strong in a bottle would have gone down better although the coffee was excellent.

Roy and Mrs Hewitt are off to South Wales tomorrow for a week or so query their autumn holiday.

Incidentally how do you go about getting new spectacles nowadays? Have you to get a form from doctor before you are entitled to them on the National Health? Or what is the practice? I’m afraid I shall have to pay another visit to Pictons of Bristol as it is several years since I last had eyes tested and I know they want attention.

How do you like your salary paid into the bank direct? I thought it most convenient. What bank did you favour?

[Letter continues on Wednesday 10th October, 1962.]

*Assume the reference is to Market Lavington near Devizes.

**Yes, far easier than either watching or – heaven forbid! – interacting with an intelligent and resourceful child.

Sunday 7th October, 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad

Thanks once again for the weekly budget. Can’t say why the letter missed your usual post especially if postmarked the usual time from here.Time now 10:20 a.m. and weather pretty good. It is a bit cold, but no rain actually falling. It must have been pretty bad weather your end last week for you to have to go to church in the car. We could have done with that one a few years ago. Unlucky with the frames then to have five panes of glass go at once. No such problems this end.

I heard about the catamaran being lost in the Bristol Channel, but the news bulletin did not say where it had come from. Interesting to know that it set out from Clevedon and that the crew seem to be safe.

We took Susan to the specialist on Friday. I sat in car with Carol while June went inside. All he did was to have a quick look at her eyes and make a further appointment for a more detailed inspection in three weeks’ time. What a waste of time. I had the afternoon off to get that job done too*. It seems she has definitely something wrong but the specialist said that after wearing glasses for a year or two they should get better. I have heard that one before, and do not believe it.

So you have a lot of apples down. Good chance to make some apple wine. Could almost make cider with that lot.

We have not noticed Carol looking too closely at books although she does like to look at the pictures. It is a bit early yet as she has not learned to read. She does not know her alphabet yet either. She is well behind Susan in that respect.**

We went over to Ealing yesterday to hand in the form for my new pair of specs, and while over there we had a look in at number 17. The wiring for the electric light is well advanced although not all of the bulbs have been fitted. There is a fluorescent light in the kitchen-cum-parlour and certainly brightens things up a lot. A light in the scullery also improved things. There are power points in the three lower bedrooms but not one in the topmost room. The old gas piping has been ripped out insofar as gas lighting is concerned. Nothing else has been done, but I understand there is some talk of applying for a grant after all. The quotation for the building work has not been accepted – yet.

I see that Don and Joan are coming up to your place today to lunch. I hope it goes off o.k. and the usual undisturbed sleep follows after the meal. Sorry I do not seem to be able to type today – am getting all the words jumbled up. I remember that Don was a member of the N.U.R. If the T.S.S.A. are no good, I hesitate to describe the N.U.R. He wants the penny and the bun.

All your sick friends seem to be on the mend if somewhat slowly in some cases. I expect Mr Palmer was a bit exhausted after the anthem practice. I hope you are getting them all into a bit of shape now.

I missed the Marples v Green bout on TV as the programme was on the other channel. Some do to all accounts. It seems the strike was a bit of a flop. Green says it was satisfactory, and I suppose it was if it was to demonstrate unity among the Union, but it had little effect outside. It does not make much difference to me as suspicion or not, my work does not take me into much contact with the outside staff now. My work as told to you previously is mainly of a clerical nature and in the office all the time. They pay well so why should I grumble.

Had the first pay cheque into the bank on Friday. I had not expected any for about six weeks due to changing regions in the middle of the month. I was lucky as I was paid the difference in rate between the two jobs for two weeks, a full two weeks at the new rate, and back pay of 3% retrospective to July for the recent wage award. The total some came to approaching what I would have had for a full month so it was a welcome surprise. I gather that they have not advertised my job yet. Some rumor has it that they will not do so as there are so many redundant persons about.

I have not had the October mag. yet but will try to get it this week. I do not know which day it comes out. I wonder where the magazine will go from Don.

Sounds as if you have a lot on the go in the wine stakes. I think we should be visiting you rather than the other way round. Should think that Don could fiddle you a cheap barrel. If I recall he did actually let you have a small one many years ago which stayed out on the lawn getting rotten.

Peter arrived a few minutes ago to carry on with the Snowcem job. June at had a go at the surround to the front porch yesterday and has made a good job of it. There have been a few good days lately and your day to Weston was another such obviously. Makes up for the bad day you had at Burnham. Good idea to take the Coach Road*** as a new venue for your reading. Makes a change as you say. there are a number of nice spots one can visit for that purpose, and as you do not need to leave the car, a little cold weather does not make any difference.

Had a quick lick round the back garden yesterday and mowed a couple of lawns. The tomato stakes are still producing and the green ones do not seem to be getting any less. I have taken a number of the yellow ones and put them in the dark in the airing cupboard where there is a little heat – occasionally. By the way I am giving my cacti about two spoonsful of water a week now. Is this enough? Most of them seem to have suffered by bringing them indoors. The tall one with branches like a tree but speckled has flopped at the top while the other similar one with pairs of privet size leaves at alternate right angles has wilted somewhat and does not seem to pick up. They were all right when they were out of doors.

Have just given Peter a glass of the grape wine you brought up some time ago. it was about the last tot in the bottle but he seemed to like it.

Hope your weekend to Exmouth and Tiverton goes off well. If you see any of the family please give them my regards. June is interested in having another holiday at Exmouth so it is possible we may be seeing something of the Tiverton people next year.

I do not know about mushrooms, but we have had some evil looking black fungi come up in the garden – probably due to rotting wood. All the lawns have produced a lot of puffballs which come up from time to time.

I do not get much news about happenings on the W.R. and shall have to rely on you to tell me. There is some talk about a new Division at Plymouth, but how that comes about I do not know. What is to happen to the old Bristol division?

I agree with mother that we could write a book about Susan and her exploits. A bestseller too.

Glad the Parish supper went well. The food seems to be varied enough but the entertainment not so good then.

Dr McLeod is presumably the son of old Dr McLeod who attended me from time to time. I believe the old man died some years ago and this must be Alastair McLeod of who you write. I seem to remember that he had polio a few years ago.

I see from the letter to the girls that the blackberries have picked them. Another lot of wine to go with the elderberry brandy. That sounds real potent stuff.

Not much other news to report this week. The children have had awful coughs and catarrh again. We had a session or two at night during the week. Did not try the cherry wine this time as the jollop provided by the doctor did the trick.

Yesterday Susan decided she would go off for a picnic and packed her bag with bread and cheese and goodness knows what else. She put all this in her satchel and was about to go out so I stopped her. Later I found she had gone and as I was going down to Whitby Road to get some things there she was as large as life in the recreation ground with satchel still on her back going up and down the slide. I hied her out of that and found she had a bottle of milk as well. I should think it was nearly butter after that treatment.

Well I must close now as have run short of news. Hope you are both keeping well. Love from us all.

*How dare I have poor eyesight at him like that? What an imposition!

**At this point he promised me two shillings to teach her to read, only to renege on it later.

***In the absence of any definitive identification of the ‘Old Coach Road’ we believe it to have been Tickenham Road which runs out past Clevedon Court to pass Tyntesfield and, eventually, Ashton Court. The reason for suggesting this is that there is an ‘Old Coach House’ on Highdale Road in Clevedon, which meets the bottom of Tickenham Road at East Clevedon Triangle, and forms the basis of a coherent route from the middle of Clevedon to Bedminster which, in the pre-industrial age, would have been the easiest available place to cross the river Avon into the city.

Tuesday 2nd October, 1962

Leonard to the family:

Dear Alec June Susan and Carol

Many thanks for another long and interesting letter to hand this morning, second post, although the usual Ruislip postmark (6:45 p.m.) was on envelope. You started off with the weather so I will follow suit because it has been pretty awful. On Sunday morning I went over to the church for ringing just before 7:30 a.m. and had to take car due to the rain and wind being so heavy. We had had a very bad night too. Gale force wind and terrific rain. Some of my chrysanths in the frames were blown over carrying the top of the frames with them and one of the latter had five panes of glass broken. Many people complaining of damage to flowers, trees and property. Could pick up apples almost by the hundred. 

Did you see in paper of a catamaran being missing from Clevedon on the Saturday night? Apparently two men and two boys (latter about 11 years of age)  with others went out in catamarans and this particular one could not get back. Was missing all night and airplanes out searching early in the morning. Meanwhile the vessel had been blown across channel and on the Monmouthshire coast. Both men at different times had been blown overboard and almost at once washed back again. Understand all four are now all right again but what an experience. Yesterday and today it has been very oppressive but generally sunny periods with showers. 

Note the position re: glasses for Susan. It is a great pity she must have them but I’m sure she will understand later on it is for her good. Can quite understand her objection to them but it will wear off in time. Have not noticed that Carol looks at things closely but no doubt you have both been watching her. Also noted her escapade with the Italian paper money. Her brain must work like mad to think of all the possibilities and Carol being her sister is a willing victim*. 

Presumably no further information re: June’s leg as you did not mention this time. 

Yes it seems a lot of money for alterations at number 17 but not knowing the house cannot really judge. However if it is going to make the place more habitable for Mr and Mrs Baker then it will be worthwhile. Glad to hear your cup of tea was not too bad in spite of the dust flying about. These are dirty jobs and the dust and dirt seems to penetrate into the skin. 

You are fortunate then in regards to Saturday work at Liverpool Street. More or less it means every Saturday off – very nice. Had a letter from Don since I last wrote to you and he says ‘very pleased to hear of Alec’s promotion – he is certainly doing very well for himself with plenty of time to go yet further’. They are both coming up on Sunday next 7th inst for lunch. He is artful because he is having three days leave this week ostensibly for apple-picking**. He belongs to the N.U.R. says the T.S.S.A. no good at all. 

Yes Alec I suppose Watchet or Blue Anchor would be the next seaside places to Burnham but both are pretty poor.***

Sick visiting did you say – yes have done a bit of that recently but Bissix came home last Saturday and is now on a diet and has to take things easy for a while. Have heard indirectly that the hospital people did not locate the leak in the ulcer so what will be the outcome remains to be seen. I’m going over to his bungalow this evening to see him for a few minutes. Heels are still away (three weeks tomorrow – Wednesday) but Mr Palmer is in circulation again although by no means on top of the world. He told me after choir practice last Thursday that he was completely exhausted. We had a hard practice because of the harvest festival items for the Sunday. The choir is not what it was, the top line much too weak. Wants about sixteen boys to liven things up. Still no news of Richings and no doubt he has his hands full at the moment with the strike in the offing. 

Did you see Marples and Greene on TV last night? Marples did not come out of it very well. There is something lacking somewhere but certainly no justification for a strike. Note you will have an office at home for tomorrow (Wednesday). I’m very glad I am not mixed up with it this time. Have had to deal with several as you know including the general strike of 1926. It is bound to make things difficult for you afterwards in regards to Work Study. A lot of people will continue to be suspicious. 

Glad to hear you are getting on alright with your new colleagues and that most of them are helpful. I really think it is a wonderful opportunity of gaining experience of another organisation and its geography. A letter from Geoff to this week says you have done the right thing because the opportunity would not have arisen on W.R. where there are too many trainees waiting to be ‘slotted’.

Am going to pass on E.R. mag for Don to have a look at –  it is quite a good publication and Roy Hewitt has already favourably commented on it. 

What a run around your immediate senior has given you. 

So you have had no more driving yet June? Hope you soon will to keep your eye in as it were. 

Talking about cars I see in one paper a police sergeant and his wife resident in South Ruislip were both killed in a collision with another car last weekend at Eastcote. It must have been a terrific impact for such a tragedy to occur. Now I see Marples is proposing to penalise drivers who drive too slow. What next?  Perhaps those who don’t drive at all. The man’s mad and without doubt is the [n word] in the woodpile with the railway position. 

Noted you will not require any green tomatoes and we’ll cross them off the list. Some of the other items will have to remain in abeyance such as the Snowberry cuttings as to shift them now would be fatal. If they come on alright can have them next time when they should be well rooted. Still no blackberry-picking – weather too bad but I’ve now bottled up the cherry and the beetroot and today put the elderberry brandy under fermentation lock. If smell is anything to go by then it is some very strong stuff. Glad Peter liked the Blackberry. Sorry to hear though he is out of a job but hope this is only temporary. In the meantime it is nice for him to be able to do an odd job or two for you and presumably a little at number 17. A barrel did you say for wine? Such things are in the luxury class for Devonia****. Might treat myself to a saucepan from Woolworths one day. 

That enclosure I sent you was given me by Ern Cole (choir) wondering if I had seen it so I passed it onto you. 

Mum and I popped into Weston again last Thursday and it happened to be a lovely day. Had a look around the shops then sat in the car parked along the front for about an hour and a quarter then home. Last Saturday in the afternoon we went along the Old Coach Road and took our library books to read. Made a change from the garden. 

Apart from cleaning up the garden gradually have carried out no major operations since you were here. Stan James is going to look me out some suitable piping for running the water from garage roof to pond and this should keep the water level up in spite of a very small leak which I suspect. At the moment all tanks are full of water. 

Thanks for confirmation of date for our visit. It will definitely be the Friday as I shall be taking choir practises for a few weeks yet. Next weekend as you know we shall be going to Tiverton and Exmouth (i.e. Friday the 12th inst) so hope the weather is kind and no flooding as we experienced two years ago. We saw on TV the other night that Exton church (near Exmouth) (which collapsed under the floods two years ago) is now in course of being re-erected. This time of course with a proper roof and not a thatched one.

Mr Aston has just called and suggested a blackberrying trip tomorrow morning – weather forecast good. Have lent him E.R. Mag and asked for it again by Saturday. He said he went out mushrooming this morning and got about a pound.

Have started to take the tomato plants out of greenhouse they are practically over and and doubtful if shall have any to bring up but will do best. My records show that this year we have only picked about 80lbs of runner beans as against just over 2cwt last such is the season. Ironically now the waterworks people say we can now use hose pipes – presumably to drain the water away. 

You already know Mum and I are going to the Harvest Home at the New Hall tomorrow evening – feed starts at 7:45 p.m.. This is a new venture for the parish so anything may happen. 

Had a bit of a sensation last Sunday morning in church. One of the choir girls practically passed out immediately after the anthem in a faint but after fetching a glass of water for her she recovered gradually and remained for rest of service. Cannot remember when anything like this ever happened before. Mum has now completed her month’s flower decorations and someone else takes over for October. 

Speaking to a member of the account section at Bristol T.M. over the weekend (he retires on 1st December) he said that the original figure of about 120 redundant people in Divisional and District officers was now reduced to about 30 owing to retirements and vacancies not filled. This should make Norman Allen’s position a little easier. What about the proposed new Divisional Office at Plymouth? Must make use of the new station offices somehow. 

This is just about the lot for another week. Glad to hear the colds are getting better. All our love to you both and lots of kisses for the girls.

Mum and Dad. 

*The word he’s looking for here is ‘accomplice’.

**A good way of avoiding having to take sides over the proposed strike action.

***I have absolutely no idea why Alec could not just look this up on a map.

****The name of Leonard and Eva’s house.

Sunday 30th September 1962

Alec to his parents:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Many thanks for your latest letter. As I write this one it is pouring with rain after a very blowy and blustery night. Water is lying about on the grass and it is still teeming down. The temperature is a lot warmer now than a week or so ago. Time now 9:30 a.m..

No further news of the glasses for Susan except that we obtained a confirmation of the position from Dr Lambert on the Monday. He is our local doctor and has given us the phone number of specialist at Mount Vernon Hospital to whom Susan will have to go on Friday 5th October. It is a midday appointment and as it is an awkward trip I shall have to have the afternoon off from work to run them up in the car. At school she is not allowed to read as the other girls but is given odd jobs to do by the headmistress and others*. Susan is not taking very kindly to the idea and occasionally we get tearful bursts from her to the effect that there is nothing wrong with her eyes, it is just that the letters were too small and too far away for her to read. She has promised to take her glasses off and stamp on them etc etc. I have no doubt that it will turn out to be astigmatism and it is a question of one down and one to go.

We did not go to number 17 this week but Peter who we saw said he had been on the Friday. He did not say if much more have been done, but I should imagine that the electricians had just about finished by now. The builder wants £350 to carry out alterations and renovations. This I think to be a high figure in relation to the price of houses. It will probably be accepted though as no other estimates have been sought, and time is short. The tea by the way tasted quite normal apart from a mouthful of dust from the work in progress.

So far as Saturdays off is [sic] concerned on the E.R. we are supposed to work one in four, but I am told by the powers that be that they do not do so but it is understood that if there is any work uncompleted on a Friday one should come in on the Saturday and finish it. As like the proverbial woman our work is never finished, it does not seem as if we shall do many Saturdays.

I know that you would have had to go beyond Bridgwater had you gone further along the coast on your afternoon trip out, but where is the next point on the coast? Is it Blue Anchor?

You seem to qualify for a lot of of sick visiting lately what with Palmer, Heel and now Bissix. Good to know he is a bit better. Perhaps by now they have discovered what is wrong with him. Pity Richings did not make it, I wonder what happened to them.

Your visit is definitely on so far as we are concerned. You can make it a firm date. We shall expect you some time on the Friday. If for any reason you are released from the Thursday choir practice you can come on that day. I have not confirmed with Geoff but must do so when I think of it.

Re: your wine making activities, for a few coppers you could invest in a good sized saucepan and keep it for your wine. I am fortunate that I have an old one that holds about half a gallon. This is quite sufficient as it can be boiled twice, or even used in conjunction with a kettle which holds three pints. You certainly have more room for that activity (or any other for that matter) at your end, I wonder you have not gone in for a small barrel.

If you have been getting this weather your end then your pond must be back to the full height. Hope as you say that there is no leak. If there is, it looks to be a very small one though.

Yes I am getting on very well on the E.R. As I said previously the natives mostly are pretty friendly and seem a cut above the average to be found at Paddington. Generally speaking they seem to be better spoken, dressed, educated. It may just be coincidence of course. My immediate chief (one grade up) has taken the trouble to take me round the locality at lunch times, and in these jaunts (apart from the pubs – for lunch purposes of course) I have seen 1. The Bank 2. St. Paul’s 3. The Royal Exchange 4. Spitalfields Market 5. Petticoat Lane Market (Middlesex Street). Apart from these of course there have been a number of new streets and shops et cetera to be seen.

I have no idea what the mileage is on the W.R, and E.R. I think I have a book of statistics in the other room so will have a look. No luck with the book, it seems I have mislaid it or lost it. I should think the mileage is about the same. I thought the mag quite good (what I saw of it) and glad it is going the rounds.

I do not think there is much in this business of changing regions these days. After all you get in the train in the morning at the same time (almost) to get to the office the same time and leave at the same time. What goes on in between is the same for any region. I must say I find the change interesting from the point of view of new surroundings etc. Quite a change to wander around Liverpool Street Station instead of Paddington which I knew inside out.

No more driving yet for June. We thought about going out this morning early but after an interrupted night with the wind and rain we did not get up till about 8 a.m.. Maybe we will go out when the girls are at Sunday School.

If you can take the tank, it will give you another 40 gal (when mended) but if you cannot take it, we can give it to the junk man. If the boot remains open for only a couple of inches that should not matter much as the gap could be bridged by a piece of thick cord.

Interesting about your guttering arrangements. No doubt by now they have been rigorously tested. Note you will wait for the penny to drop (pennies from heaven?).

I agree that the Blackberry is a lovely wine. I tried some on Peter a few weeks ago, and he approved.

The colds are on the way out, and touch wood yours truly missed this lot. The girls still have a snivel [sic] or two but the worst is behind.

Regarding the strike, it is as I said we shall take some work home on the Tuesday and get it sorted out during the Wednesday. Of course the whole thing is a waste of time and energy. It is a useless protest so far as obtaining sympathy is concerned or even for improving their position in regards to the B.T.C. The only advantage the N.U.R. leaders will get out of it is a personal one. It cannot be said about them that they sat back and did nothing about the situation. This will count in their favour when looking for votes to retain their offices later on.

I had a go at the lawns at the back yesterday and good job to as could not have got on them today. The tomatoes are ripening very slowly and we have a lot of green ones which I doubt if will turn. Please do not bring any of the latter as we have enough thanks. I am not surprised that you have only half the proceeds of last year’s crop. The seasons have been bad. You did not get the rain when wanted. Thanks for the snowberry cuttings and the promise of the carnations.

Old Webber has feathered his nest, and so in a different context has Robens of the Coal Board.

Note your enclosure which I had already seen a time or two in the Press. Larkin the present holder of the post has become Assistant Director of B.R. workshops and it is confidently expected that this job will go to one of the imports from Shell Mex or I.C.I. (Shall be looking for a job with one of the other myself later on???)

We had a lot more trouble with Susan in the week on account of misbehaviour. She really is the limit. One example I returned from Austria in 1950 with some spare Italian lire. They were in notes, about 20 of them and all added up to about 3½d in value. During the week she carted Carol off to the shops, walked into the toy shop and they both selected the toy they wanted then tried to pay for them with these lire that they had got hold of. There was further trouble one day when she refused to go back to school, and nearly broke down the front door and the glass. Eventually she elected to go to school rather than to bed, but she was certainly het up to all accounts**.

Peter came over yesterday to Snowcem our top bricks. He is out of a regular job at the moment, and this dos us both a bit of good. He repointed some of the brickwork around the side and Snowcemmed the front with two coats. It will need another coat at least around the front to get that deep whiteness you expect. Of course it must be put on when the bricks are dry so that means the end of activity on that front for the time being. I expect we shall see him in the week if the weather relents.

Well that is about for this week. Hope your colds have receded and you are now fit again.

Love from us all. 


**Hmmm, be bullied at school or be bullied at home? Tough choice. Plus you may wonder where June was when her six- and four-year olds were off shopping on their own with worthless Italian banknotes? The answer is that housework was always, *always* more important to her than her children. In later life, when in the grip of Alzheimer’s, all June could think about was cleaning, She was, not to put too fine a point on it, a housework Nazi; she had nothing else in her life except bullying other people to do housework her way, and that deficiency didn’t seem to concern her in the slightest.