Dad and Chris share the same birthday, November 18th.
Mam, dad and Chris often played cards. We didn’t have a television at home till I was fourteen. For amusement in the evenings we read, listened to the radio or played cards. On winter Sunday evenings we sat around the fire and for a table placed a large piece of plywood over our knees. I usually had chilblains . I remember the companionable hiss when one or other of us spat into the fire. We played for matches or beans. A couple of years ago Chris soaked then cooked the beans for a stew!
Mid/late November 73
My Dear Joy
When mam came home from the Citizens Centre on Tuesday her exclamation was ,’Good Garden Stuff ! What have we got here? ’For there just inside the front door was a huge parcel all neatly secured and packaged. The undoing of the tape and binding was something of a major operation and the contents revealed a surprise assortment of birthday gifts for myself and Chris! Well love, all I can say –apart from the ntricate care you must have taken , which moved me very much, is a big Thankyou. The All-Bran bowls are in use already by both of us and the surprise packet, to be opened from December 1st onwards is intriguing, though I did look askance at the tin of cockles remembering the day I was ‘musselled’, thinking them to be the real thing…only to find out that they were harmless…nothing more than a variety of mints. You nearly had me though with the wrapped sweet in the bowl. I settled down for the evening and said to mam, ’Well, I’ll start off with Joy’s health,’ and had a near miss with a shot in the eye when I undid the wrapping foil…one for you!
I enjoyed a happy, quiet birthday just as I’d wished. Started the day by cycling up to the cottage to ask Gran Cis for dinner-evening. Sue Best arrived with a card just as I was going to ring then mam and I took communion together-it being Sunday. It was a beautiful, sunny day but bitterly cold. We soon stoked up with a good fire and warmed with a lovely chicken dinner and a goose-gog and strawberry pie for afters- Wish you’d been here as no doubt you did too. We all gathered round the fire in the evening and played American Rummy for a half pence a round and if Chris is unlucky in love he certainly isn’t at cards for he scooped the board both times. It was indeed a happy day-the mantelpiece a deck with cards. I liked yours very much though the text on Chris’s was rather pointed-but you never know. Mam bought me a case of assorted steel drills for my Black and Decker and Chris , a wire brush and an adapter for other attachments . We gave Chris a cosy pair of slippers. But above all material things is the love and thought which transcends everything and which means so much to me.
And now mam has left me on my own again for a third evening this week, surrounded by plum puddings for another Xmas.
Hope Mike’s cold has cleared and sorry he was disappointed about an expected distinction in his exam and his school appointment. But never fear, he is on the right trail and things will run his way. I have no fear if he is so dedicated with his outlook. And in your case, be not dismayed if your papers were short of your expectations. You won’t lose either-by such ways come experience and learning.
My word you and Mike mean real business in setting about your allotment. You must be almost clear of the rough stuff by now and it’ll all come in so much easier In the Sping. By the way, if you like broad beans now is the time to set them to avoid Black Fly later
Called to see Bill Jacques again yesterday He seemed better though still feeble. But droll as ever and some of his remarks, especially about money, had me smiling.
Whist drive tomorrow night and out to a concert in Whetstone with the choir on Saturday so that’s my weekend all lined up. Soon be Advent! And that means Xmas is very near. Oh dear, the season to me doesn’t have its old time appeal-its me for the quiet life nowadays.
Thanks again for the wonderful parcel and the love that came with it. Safe keeping always Dad