I think that dad married someone similar to his mother, She was a very dominant and controlling woman. Dad was always anxious to please mam and she certainly was the boss. The power balance seemed to suit them both. It was tacitly agreed that he was useless at almost all things practical but he gave her the emotional support she so badly needed. In this letter he seems to be genuinely afraid of her reaction to him flooding the kitchen.
Dad is now seventy -four and I find it amazing that he cycled to Enderby and back on his ancient three gear bike.
Late April early May 1974 [Cup final was May 4th]
Chris went to work an hour earlier today and here mam and I sit round the fire-a real Derby and Joan old pair and we’ve both had a snooze. The weather has been quite good this week until today and I thought we’d turned the corner for better weather at last. But it has turned overcast and quite cold again. Although we had a little welcome rain in the night-nothing like enough-we need loads of it to get things really moving in the garden and April was the driest month for a decade. Despite the unfavourable conditions we’ve put in quite a bit of preparatory work. I’ve dug all of Aunt Win’s side . Potatoes are popping through and I hope the late frosts don’t catch them. I gave them a good hosing down with water and then thought afterwards that I had made a mistake not reckoning with the frost. Chris has got four rows of peas in but the first two seem a bit sparse from the dryness and havoc with the birds but he has filled them up again. Strawberry bed has been cleared and manured and peat –moss laid in. Couldn’t get brussel seed anywhere and almost despaired until Chris managed to get some from Hinckley so together with white sprouting broccoli I set two rows. Thing is people are suddenly aware of gold in the soil and with the ever rocketing prices are really going to town and as a result the seed stockists are in urgent demand for their requirements. Yesterday I fetched my tomatoes from a friend down the road and put them in the frame . Lovely sturdy plants they were and he only charged me 50 P. I queried the price thinking he’d made a mistake –‘Oh, that’s alright, ‘ he said and gave me one more. Yesterday it was too that I got into hot-or rather cold water. I had connected the hose to the tap to fill the tub down the garden when it shot off in full jet. In an instant I was absolutely drenched and the kitchen was all aswim. Feeling like a drowned rat I set to work mopping up –mam was out shopping and I was frantic at her coming back and the resultant dressing down. But I couldn’t escape her and she caught me –so you can imagine the tirade which followed. Funny maybe but certainly not at the time.-you would have laughed.
Saturday evening I cycled over to Enderby to see our local football club play in the final of the Leicestershire Senior Cup. Although I suspected a hard ride but nothing like the ordeal I had to face. I found myself head in the teeth of a bitter nor-easter and had to fight every inch of the way. It was better coming back, of course but then after standing in the ground I was perished through and through and I had to do a miniature pub crawl for a rest and it was a worried mam who met me when I rolled in at half nine.
Tonight it is the fortnightly whist –drive and tomorrow, of course, is the Cup Final. Day.- a day always set aside for an epoch occasion. I feel that it has to be Liverpool but ‘Tynesiders’ Newcastle are also a side to be reckoned with.
Well, I haven’t got round to you yet and its rather late in my script. We hope things are still perky and chirpy with you all and that you enjoy a welcome stay with Mike’s dad. One thing, your visit should help to bring a little cheer to soften the very sad blow he suffered. One wonders how he is facing up to the almost certain emptiness her passing left and we hope that provision in the future will be there for him to face it all bravely-but it must certainly be a trial for him.
Later Saturday morning.
Here’s your welcome letter to cheer a bleak and blustery morning. Like yourselves we too look forward to your letters which mean so much to our everyday structure. And now on your last month at university your approach to the finals reads very heartening indeed with you in good shape and purpose gives the impression of an optimistic outlook – and so we hope it will be and all our best wishes.
Congrats to Mike too on his progress-he has made excellent headway towards a firm establishment. Your agreeing to open up a joint account pleased me much-which seeing as we did just that ourselves and found that for happy home economics one just can’t go wrong.
Quite an honour wasn’t it being appointed collector for Professor Muir’s retirement with the possibility of making the presentation yourself. I bet you felt proud and high up in the university circles. Oh yes! I think in the years to come you’ll look back wistfully on your university days –with all its smiles and gladdening hearts , with all its hopes and fears –so ‘gather ye rose buds while ye may.’
One thing that pleased me above all else was that you appear in good health and strength-and I must admit that that was the one factor which really had us dubious and worried. To see my loved ones in good health and strength is all I ask. And now I must away to get ready for that Liverpool/Newcastle final. Love and safekeeping once again. Dad