Mam never stopped working for the church bazaar …she never stopped working. On Tuesday afternoons she organised the ‘old folks’ teas ( the weekly meeting at The Senior Citizens Centre catering for well over a hundred people|). This involved softening margarine and butter so that they could be spread thinly and ordering all the bread, fillings and cakes. Down at the centre she kept an eye on the other spreaders and invariably came home with stories about Mrs so and so who spread the butter or filling extravagantly. She watched everything, checking for waste and came home with leftover crusts and bread for bread pudding, stuffing and the like. I wonder what stories the other helpers took home. There were jumble sales to organise both for the church and ‘the old folks’ and these sometimes provided rich pickings …jumpers which could be unpicked and re-knitted and cotton dresses to be unpicked and made into aprons to sell for the church bazaar…there were coat hangers to cover, slippers to be crocheted…mam’s hands were never idle. On Friday evenings she called at houses down Church Street collecting money for The National Savings. When mam was in her thirties she almost died with Lichen Planus all over her body and was told she could never work in the factories again. She must have been lonely at home with a great need to find outlets for her fierce intelligence. She was a doer and I am too; I also find an outlet in work for my nervous energy. In Liverpool I was terribly sad about the abortion but channeled it into action.
Early November 73
My Dear Joy,
Quite a change from the last two weeks. Now it’s a time of swirling fog and with the altering of the clocks those dull-dark- days before Xmas are closing in fast. I’m just in from the garden but there’s little I can do except light a bonfire and do a little clearing to keep it going. Nature seems so still as if settling down for its long winter sleep. . Mine and Chris’s colds are much better but I’m afraid I miss the fresh air of the outdoors.
The last two evenings I have been busy with the bells-at the OAP’s Citizens Centre Wake Party on Tuesday and last night at The Cedars Community Centre. I can’t say I enjoyed Gran Cis’s family get-together at the bowls club last Saturday. In fact I felt really bored-party games and bingo etc. I’m afraid it is not my line of entertainment. Anyway, there was a fall-off in attendance of the previous two years so possibly it will lapse.
The Bazaar on Saturday will give us all plenty of work. No objective this time except to try and raise around £300 to get out of the red-the position is that bad and sad I’m sorry to say.
I called to see Gladys Pickering just now. She came home yesterday [Wednesday] after only being away ten days for an operation to remove a gall stone and appendix.. I found her looking marvellously bright, smiling and cheerful. Here’s you mam popping in with a huge string of aprons joined together like a line of washing after working away in your room for the Bazaar. There’s also a stack of coat hangers all ready too-what a worker she is.
And now here’s another cheery, breezy letter from you, a real tonic to us all. Off to a bang with a good start at university and even if the work comes in thick and fast, which you say, this is to be expected. Dedicated confidence will see you through this your final year. Afterwards the rewards will come for which you will be for ever thankful-looking back at all you have accomplished For one thing you’ve prepared your ground with a nice, cosy flat, nice and warm with all those gas fires and take a pew too No!. I don’t think there is anything sacrilegious in that. It was even that or to be broken up and that would be sacrilegious indeed whereas you’ve a useful addition to your layout and very nice it was of Ernie to give it to you. From what you say Ernie seems quite a lad. I liked what little I saw of him though I can’t say I’d like the tempest of his marital life-its me for the quiet, sequestered calm and always has been. Please to convey my best regards when next you see him.
Your ‘lotment acquisition made me sit up and whistle-never thought you’d range to that. But I’m sure you’ll grow to love it. It is great fun and a refreshing change-one is always learning.. A green house and a hut too-you’re in clover and that means tomatoes also. You’ll be having Chris getting jealous. We’ve just lost our ‘lotment and he used to spend hours delving into cultivation. He’s a perfectionist, not like his dad who just pushes on. If I was you I’d listen to the advice of the other old gaffers around the plot. That way you’ll learn quite a lot of useful hints.
The news and prospects for Mike are very heartening. The success of his brother in getting a head architect’s post in Cambridge is to be congratulated. There’s a means to an end in Mike’s future prospects under him and so achieving his true vocation. And that apart, in and around the Cambridge shire countryside is very beautiful. The best of luck in all your endeavours and, of course, safe keeping Dad, With love.