‘Braeside’ is in Church Street and the church was pivotal to my parent’s lives. Dad and Chris rang the bells and mum was constantly involved one way or another…making money for the bazaar, doing the alter flowers, cutting the grass on the graves. The church was a short distance away so the bells sounded loud and clear several times a week. When it was dad’s turn to host handbell practice night in our house the sound was almost unbearable.
In his letter dad comments on my restlessness. It was a constant… I was never at peace. I had next to no money but that didn’t hold me back…I just hitched everywhere. I had a full grant but it was never enough. Dad mentions the possibility of me working on the post at Christmas. I was always working. Occasionally I hitched home and after lunch on a Sunday walked along to the end of Church Street which joins the main road and stick out my thumb. Seeing me leave mum always said,’ Oh our Joy, you’ll drive me scranny,’ but it was only recently it occurred to me that not once did they offer to pay my fare. The £5 request was a once -off and I must have been desperate to ask. On reflection though £5 was what dad earned for a week’s mornings sweeping up in a factory after he retired.
Dad refers in the letter to cups of cocoa. When I was small I once asked him how much he loved me and he said something like,’A hundred cups of . cocoa.’ I then frequently asked if he loved me as much as two hundred, a thousand, a million cups and so on.
13…Saturday, Late November 1965
Lots of thanks for your very acceptable birthday gift. The novelty of the packaging itself amused us and set tongues wagging –if only you could have seen and heard us I’m sure you’d be tickled although I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess at what the postman thinks… ‘Queer customers at “Braeside, ’ , he’d no doubt surmise, ‘ And even queerer offspring.’
Both Chris and I sported our rings –yes, it was very sweet of you, and the honey pot was invitingly intriguing. At the moment I have placed it in the corner cupboard to feast my eyes-a present from my daughter.
And thanks for your letter this morning. You sound very tired and really I ought to be writing suggesting two whole days in bed-not an all night party. It’s rest you need. As you request I will be enclosing a letter to Mrs Burton. Also, further to your request we are enclosing a £5 note hoping that it will help you along till Xmas.
Let me thank you very much for your lovely designed and worked out birthday card. I can tell you I was very proud and thrilled and by the message too of of my health and umpteen thousand cups of cocoa . How they brought the memories back and I’m sure you’ll forgive me for once in indulging in a little wistful sentimentality. Well,! Here’s me well down the road with the letters OAP after my name, but after a good meal of life, never ungracious with any complaints or grouses. I hope I’ve still got one or two more courses left, but that’s as may be.
I had quite an excess of cards for this special occasion –and gifts of a very nice shirt from mam and a useful and much needed adjustable spanner from Chris , presumably to tighten up a loose nut! And bolt on this old crock and also two ounces of tobacco from the Ridgeways .
It has been a shocking week and bitter northeast winds for the first few days followed by miserable damp rainy days which didn’t improve the nasty tiresome cough which seemed to persist. I think Chris was a bit worried since he kept on to me for a visit to the doctor but I feel and hope that I have it at last under control. The winter seems to have made an early start and for your sake I do hope that you heeded my earlier appeal this week and decided to dismiss your Devon venture. For the Xmas season Mam and I both think it is time to pipe down-after all since you’ve had quite a slice of wanderlust lately and it isn’t wise to get carried away with it.
By the way have you completed and forwarded off your Post Office application? I see that the `Hinckley Office is advertising for temporary full-time workers for the Xmas season.
Mam and I put in a hard morning’s work at church today cleaning up the floors and aisles of the mess the plasterers have left behind. Everywhere was thick with plaster-enough to dismay the stoutest heart, but mam set to and gave the lead with a vengeance, and under her directions the thick sludge was cleared away. But my word! There were no half measures and didn’t she set about it-but it left behind a sense of pleasure –of something accomplished. George Newton coming into church later was amazed. ‘Good heavens’ he said ‘You must have worked damned hard.’
We have quite a few hand-bell entertainments coming off in the near future-not too many I hope for I ‘aint wot I uster wos! Although we haven’t heard anything further about appearing on television, I feel that there may be a strong possibility since the BBC seemed very interested . Anyway, in anticipation for this and other engagements we had the stiffest practice ever last week and another tomorrow (Sunday evening)
And that I think is as far as I can dig up for this week, but meantime always- Safe Keeping ever and Best Love, Dad.
PS What is the answer to “Not out” University Challenge telly last week between Oriel (Oxford) and Keele University…answer next week