Originals in P38ó08
Most of these letters are very difficult to read, so transcription has not been too easy or accurate!
The majority were written on air-mail letters, but a few were in the form of air-graphs which are printed out on photographic paper about 4Ē x 5Ē. Used by British troops serving in the Middle East from 1941, photography was used to copy a letter and the negatives carried by air to the appropriate Post Office where it was developed and enlarged. This results in faster mail than the normal 6 to 8 weeks by sea. The enlarged print, officially termed an ďAir GraphĒ was placed in a special envelope and delivered.
Friday Feb 19 1943
I am writing this from the Tregunna Castle, St Ives where Daddy and I have come for a week. We are having a very happy and lazy time. The weather is just too lovely, so mild, camellias in full bloom. We saw in a garden in Penzance masses of daffodils too though they are not being grown in any great profusion owing to war limitations. The garden at the Manor House is showing definite signs of life. We've had quite a lot of snow drops and now all the crocuses are out. It is very early you know. The bulbs are showing well,† but of course nothing is out yet. We felt very sad to leave Bertie, he seems so lonely when we are both away. Butters is very good to them all I'm sure, Tom and Whek?[i] are very flourishing, we do so miss you my pet. It seems so strange not to be able to talk to you on the phone. Of course we were a bit sick when we came up that Sunday and found you had gone! Our consolation was that you were doing what you wanted to do! Your two letters from the boat came about 2 weeks after you had left, the second one written arriving first! We are now just longing to hear again from you. We hope that some thing might be collected and sent on from Freetown or wherever the boat calls. I only hope that you will have called at Durban where you can be welcomed by the people we know. I'm glad you had comfortable quarters on board, hope it remained so throughout the trip. We were so afraid you might be rather crowded together. How lovely to be having oranges etc. I should imagine there is no fresh fruit to be bought here. Fortunately we have a few apples we brought some away with us. Also our own marmalade! Food in hotels is definitely becoming more retracted. In fact we shan't be at all sad to get back to Ma J's catering and cooking. We are killing a pig at the beginning of March. Wish you could be here to help as last time, remember? Hilda killed a pig a few days† before we left and gave me a pie so I sent it to Bunch. I know she and Peter would enjoy it. I also sent her a cockerel and some ham. She has been having a few days off in Aberdeen and such like. Peter has been around giving lectures and so he went with her. Mrs Ball looked after Carol A who I hear is getting large and going on a diet at the age of 6 months! I am knitting a sweet pink coat for her. Wool is becoming rather difficult to get. They hope to have leave in April but donít know what is happening after that, I shall try to go up to them before they leave, but Daddy hasnít wanted me to go as yet. He thought It rather too far, particularly of the weather turned bad! Bunch wants me to go tho, and I should like to. Pa Maitland rang us up a few days ago and asked us if we couldnít call there on our way here, but it couldnít be done as Daddy only wanted to be away just the week, but we shall go in a few weeks time. Well my precious, I hope you are well and happy and will be very soon seeing your Donald. I hope the job will be to your liking and that you will have a comfortable billet. I hope too they will hurry on with your promotion because that will add to your comforts. Oh, Colin[ii] and Bunty have a son!
Wednesday March 10 1943
We were all delighted to get letters from you "at sea" on Sat last March 6, our first ???? since the letters written on board posted I imagine before the ship sailed. I have been a long time waiting but am glad we were here? I'm sure you had a stormy time in the Atlantic, have you been ill, you generally can stand up to it. We were very relieved to know that you had comfy quarters on board and were not crowded out. We have thought so much about you, wondering how you were faring. We had hoped to get a cable from the Cape before this to say you are there. I had a letter from Donald written on Jan 31st. It arrived two days ago. He had heard from you saying you were ?? way? So I know how he will be on the look out and just waiting for the minute when you can meet. Of course we are longing to hear from you again and to know more about what is happening to you. I hope and pray you will be comfortably billeted and will be well and happy. That is the best I can wish you. I hope too that your promotion will progress so that you can soon get a commission. I am anxious for this so that you will have more privileges so you must fight your way on. We are all very well. Daddy and I have had a week in St Joe. Very nice and peaceful, lovely weather. We have had a most remarkably mild winter, everything is very forward. We have had masses of snowdrops and crocus's. The garden is now ablaze with "??" and the daffodils are coming out. It all looks very gay and springlike. How I wish you were with us to see it. Bunch and Peter have been down for the weekend for Joy's 21st Birthday (the 8th). They left Carol Ann with Mrs B???. She's very ??? and weighs 17 1/2 lbs! They expect to be leaving Scotland in April. Peter hasn't heard yet what his next job will be. It was lovely having them just for the two nights. Mrs J did them proud in the food line!! Joy had an after dinner party on the Sat night. All the usual people were there plus the Cosford crowd[iii]. It was all very jolly. She had a few nice presents, a ??? from Cyril & B, suitcase from Jacks and from Tim?? Those were the chief things. Daddy and I and you gave her a most beautiful French enamelled clock, slightly larger than the bracket clock in Daddy's room. She was very pleased with it. Bunch gave her that Elizabeth Arden pocket case like yours, remember it came in handy.
Joan White's baby arrived yesterday am, a boy. She rang us at 5.30 am! and Daddy took her off to the Nursing Home. All well. Tell me darling the best and quickest way to send my letters. Do you want anything?
March 16 1943
We were glad to get your letter posted at sea which arrived on March 6. Sorry you had a stormy passage, hope it did not last too long. We were glad you had a comf. cabin. We wonder daily where and how you are. We are longing to hear you have arrived and have met Donald, then I know all will be well. I wrote an airmail to you care of him last week. Let me know which letters arrive in the shortest time. Bunch came for the weekend and Peter for Joy's 21st. They all come to us in April for leave. Peter definitely leaves Scotland then, but knows no places yet. Daddy and I had had a week in Cornwall too. We are having a lovely spring, garden lovely, masses of flowers, we miss you so very much.
Wed March 24 1943
It was great to get an airgraph letter from Mrs Byron two days ago saying how well and happy you looked. Of course we ?? longing to hear from you yourself. The cable came from you but that just said overseas weren't you allowed to send letters from Durban. I'm wondering if you saw the Henwoods and Nelsons!
Well we are all very well here, especially the most marvellous spring. The garden is a mass of daffodils. We are well in the throes of spring cleaning. We were able to begin early as the weather was so good. Nannie and Mrs J ???? Beattie are really "Well away" all good tempered like? We have packed all your things away in your trunk, how I hated doing it. Had cleaned what was necessary all ready for you to come back to. I hope the time will not be too far distant. Did you take your crepe de chine and lace away with you to sew because we have not come across that, only that roll of satin. We shall give Carol Ann that room when they come down if you have no objection! They should be here April. Peter does not know where he will be sent yet. Have had an ATA girl ferry pilot here, an American. She was so nice. unfortunately she has crashed and injured her spine. It doesn't look as if she will fly again. Am sorry. She was an American. The week you went away you were sent for by the ATA people in London to go for an interview. Daddy wrote to them saying you were overseas. I feel you are safer almost where you are. How are you really a little fatter I hope. I'm imagining you will now be seeing Donald any day. I ?? know how long letters take to come to you. Write as ?? as you can. I miss you so very much. I had an airgraph from John Bradcoat? saying he had received the bag I sent out at Xmas. Has Donald? What would you like for your birthday? Darling poor Daphne Goode has lost her husband killed in Tunisia I think. He was a paratroop. I am very sad. I am going to write to her. Bertie is very well and very much my devoted follower. I must get him shingled. I have had Jennifer staying here, she has just got over pneumonia.
We were delighted to get your airgraph yesterday written from Durban on March 5. We also had one from Norman Henwood telling us how well you looked. How kind they had been to you. I am so glad you were able to stay in Durban for a few days. I loved it when I was there. We are all very well just longing to get a fat letter from you. I am sending out Woman's Journal and other papers to Donald, I hope he will pass them on to you. What a very joyous reunion you will have. Will you tell me if you want anything sending out. Would you like to have them sent direct. Tell me as much of your life as is permissible. We do so long to know how you're getting on. Poor Mrs Goode has lost her husband.
April 12 1943
Daddy and I are feeling very pleased with life. We have had 4 air mail letters from you today, dated Ap 11 15 19 also one for Bunch and Nannie needless to say. We are continually dying for new of you. We are hoping for air mail letter cards soon so that you can tell us your news in more detail. They are a little more personal. We are delighted you had such a happy time in Durban. Norman Henwood wrote saying he would look after you and "finance" you. We felt you would be short of money. Hope you are alright now. Do tell us as much as you are able about your life in Egypt, whether you have good billets etc. We are so anxious that you should be happy and comf as possible. Of course when you have contacted with Donald, I know all will be well. If I were you dearest, I should find out as soon as you can what are the chances of your commission because if you donít make an effort the power that be won't! You will be thankful I know to be settled not having to pack and unpack! Did you buy a suitcase in Durban? I only hope the remainder of your voyage up the coast will have been comfortable. I wonder if you have travelled in any of the ships we went in. Do tell me how exactly you want your letters addressed and where to send them for the quickest. Heard from B also today. They come here at the end of this month. Carol Twentyman is being married on Easter Wed. We are invited to the wedding. I have got another ferry pilot (woman) billeted here. Quite a nice girl. Said what a pity you couldnít have done it!! They want more women now you know. We are very well, Tom W?? and Bertie are well. Bert by the way is going to be shingled tomorrow! Shelagh Jacks and her children are expected home any day. They have landed at Lisbon, I think and are flying from there. Joan White is still in Auntie Emily's cottage. The baby was christened last week -† Matthew. Papa was godfather. We are hoping to go to the Maitlands the week after Easter.
Ap 19 '43
Daddy and I were thrilled to have your two cables saying you had arrived, how wonderful to have met Donald so soon. I am hoping you will soon get a few days leave so that you can really be together. We are expecting Bunch home next week. Margaret has been staying with us and is thrilled with Carol Ann. Write to us as often as you can. We feel we want to know so much about you. We were so glad you could enjoy Durban. Various people have written to us about you. We are all very well and everybody is thrilled to hear that you have at last arrived. Let me know how long these letters take. Daddy is cabling you today, too.
Easter Monday April 26† (43)
We have been thinking of you a great deal this weekend. I wonder if you thought of us yesterday. Daddy and I went to Church in the morning. It was a very nice service and the Church was crowded. We did so miss you and wished you could have been at home. I always like Easter so much. Daddy and I have been up to a very quiet communion service this a.m. at 12 noon. There were only about 12 people al told there so that we enjoyed the service very much indeed. We just sat in the Chancel. I do not like crowded communion services. Bunch rang up on Sat saying she had arrived at Lytham, got sleepers of course! The baby apparently "cooed" all the night. She must be a good little thing. B says she can hardly wait for the days to pass until she can come home with the child. She knows we shall adore her. It was sweet of you to send the clothes. Bunch was thrilled with them, especially the sleeping bag. I sent them to Lytham, along with the sweetest coat I'd knitted for Carol A. Also stockings for Bunchie so that they could have them for Easter. I always like to have some new "clo" however small to wear! ĎFraid I didnít manage it this year. We didnít give presents -† Daddy and I - but I wore a newly washed pair of gloves instead!! Darling it was so good of you to send us the sugar and dried fruit. We were thrilled with it. The other parcel has also arrived for Bunch, but she said keep it until she came down at the end of this week. You will picture us together again, Darling. We shall think of you for we do miss you so very much - God bless you both. Oh the joy it was to get your cable saying you had actually met Donald. I should think you were both over come with joy and thankfulness!† We're longing to hear all about your meeting. I do hope you will soon get some leave. Hoping my letters get through all safely to you. I am sending magazines when we get them, but they have mostly gone to Donald. We are all very well, every one says how much better I look! D??? is home having been torpedoed, practically no lives lost though. He didnít seem at all perturbed. The Billfeets(?) family have arrived back from Canada. WE had your letter written on board, and I imagine posted when you landed, last Friday. Hope your swollen tummy is better, donít neglect yourself.
April 29 (43)
Daddy and I were thrilled to get your first airmail letters this morning telling of your meeting of Donald. How to marvellous, up we are so happy about it all. Will you date your letters so that we can know how long they take to come. Carol had a very nice little wedding yesterday. She wore ice-blue, a large frock and veil, looked very pretty, her bridesmaids in deep purple! Pa and I dined with the general at Danescourt last night, had some good bridge too, a very jolly party. Swansons there and Pat Hawkins and her mother both looking very pretty. Delighted to know you are a little fatter, you needed it! But don't emulate Aunt G. she is larger and larger but better on the whole. Bunch and Carol Ann came on March something for a month, Peter's doing a course.
May 4 1943
Your airmail letter card of April 17 arrived today, the second one we have had! Sorry to hear you are having to battle with insects, knowing your great aversion to such things! I'm afraid it is inevitable in your part of the world! Bunch and Carol Ann are here. The latter is marvellous, so good and full of the joy of life, but oh she's hefty, 21 lbs! She is so amusing, work in a house ceases when she's indoors. Ma J. is all over the idea of doing her cooking, so far so good! Bertie is very suspect about her but he has just been shingled and is looking very spruce. Daddy and I are well. Of course we miss you and terribly but are so relieved that you have Donald near you.
May 10 1943
Jo Ann Tabrum has a son!
I hope you have thoroughly "deloused" your abode for good and all! You say you are in an unfurnished flat. What equipment hove you other than a bed and linen. I do so hope you are more of less comf. Have you anywhere to put your clothes. I'm wondering if you are ever allowed to get into mufti. I fell there is so much we want to know about your life out there. I know it is impossible for you to tell us anything much and I should hate you to ??? ??. We had a note from Donald two days ago, been on the way since April 4 - very slow. You hadn't arrived when he wrote that. I do hope you are able to see a fair amount of each other. Wa are all going strong, enjoying a bit of baby worship. Carol A really is adorable. She is so happy and gay. I do wish you could see her, you would be so amused. She tries to talk and pulls all sorts of queer faces. I never knew a child so happy. Bunch has been in London for a day or so, so we have had her on her own. I assure though we are not spoiling her. She sleeps practically the whole of the day in her pram, either in the garden or the summer house. Plays a bit after tea on the rug thatís about all. She's very interested in everybody. Bertie is a bit solemn! He doesnít quite like me giving so much attention to somebody else! We have been having a spell of windy, very and stormy weather. I only hope it won't damage the fruit. The plum tree on the wall is absolutely crowded with tiny plums. I've never seen so many. The lilac is now full out. I've just arranged a huge bowl full on the hearth here in the hall. It looks so lovely and the smell is delicious. The lilies of the valley are just out too, but not really so good as other years. I donít know wny. Oh, the old mare we had in the paddock has just had another foal. itís the sweetest little thing, smaller than the one she had a year ago, do you remember? We have got three new little pigs. We ate the first of our last seasons hams this weekend, delicious. I only wish you were here to enjoy it. What is the food like with you. We think so often about you and wondering what you are doing over in Cairo, and have you been to Shepherd's[iv] yet? When you get a decent leave do go to Jerusalem. I shall send you money for your birthday, so will Daddy. Is there anything I can send out to you. I am sending a parcel of magazines off this week to you.
May 17 (43)
An airmail letter from you today dated 3rd May not bad coming! Hope we are not finding the heat too trying. We are just to having our first spell of summer weather. Carol Ann is loving it lying in her pram in the garden with very scanty clothes on. How I wish you could see her, she is an enormous child. She is so very contented and placid. We are all very well. Bunch I think looks much thinner which rather pleases her. Hope your foot is better, do take care of your precious self, we all miss you so very much. I shall send an airmail to you tomorrow in which I can be a little more newsy. Bunch's birthday parcel just arrived.
18 May 1943 (To 5 Intelligence School).
Hope you have a good leave, I shall think of you. We are getting your mail very well just now:- No 3 airmail last Friday, No 4 yesterday, No 5 today. Bunch also had one, yesterday and today from you so we are feeling very well supplied. How we do long for your letters, but not more than you long for ours I know. I am sorry mine have not been getting thro to you. I sent you an airgraph yesterday but to "7 I.S." We can't make out quite where Donald is so that we can't address letters direct to him as we did at Ismailia. I'll address one to you tho' care of Donald in a day or so and see if it arrives any quicker. We were thrilled with the parcel of Peggy Saga? nail polish which came yesterday. I thought it so sweet and thoughtful of you to send Daddy and me the "Altoid?" of course Bunch is delighted with the parcel she has had from you. Carol Ann looks adorable in her "bag"! I know B. has written to you telling you they have arrived. I've not yet had my second parcel from Durban but I've no doubt it will be coming along, but look here dearest you must not spend your poor bit of money on us, you need it for your own comfort. I am aghast at the price of things. They are pretty bad here in all conscience. How I wish you could pop over to be with us. The house looks so jolly with the sun streaming in and all the lovely smell of flowers, lily of the valley in every room. Bowls of peonies, lupins and lilac about, just as you would love to see it. We have had a hectic weekend - Home Guard celebrations, the 3rd anniversary. Colonel Joseph gave a big sherry party on Sat. We went and met lots of people. Daddy's battalion paraded as a whole for the first time on Sunday, gave a demonstration in a field at Danescourt. It was a very impressive "show". D. addressed them thro' the microphone. He spoke very well. Then we all went out to a sherry party at Dilys's; everyone enquired about you. Peter hasnít arrived here yet. He is still in Scotland. There's a chance that he may be posted to War Office.
May 24 1943
Wish we could have written whilst you are on leave to send our greetings. Hope it has surpassed all expectations! I had your second parcel from Durban the other day most welcome, will be a great celebration to the jam-making. There is a very good promise of fruit. That Vickie plum on wall is absolutely laden, wish I could send you some! When they are ready. Still your are scoring over us with fruit! Betty James baby arrived last week, a son. Poor Betty was indulging in an attack of jaundice at the time, however they are both all right and very pleased with life. Teddy her husband is still in hospital, his leg refuses to heal. Send the Tabrums an airgraph some time. Joan and her something Timothy are there. Ma T is very pleased about it all. Marg and something came over on Sat, she had quite a shock when she saw Carol A, had no idea Bunch had a daughter. She and done nice to see them. Tell me how long this takes to get to you.
May 24 1943
I am afraid it has been nearly a week since I last wrote. Life has been somewhat hectic having Carol Ann here. She really does take up so much of our time, for she is so very fascinating and amusing. We all waste no end of time on her, Peter has been here for a day or two but he and Bunch went off to Lytham yesterday (Sunday) so we have the baby on our own. Nannie seems to love "doing for her". Beattie does her washing and occasionally takes her for a walk in the pram. Poor old Beattie should have been ??? for she adores babies. Well I am imagining you enjoying your leave at Alex. How lovely for you, hope you had plenty of sailing and bathing. I hope your foot is better and that the flies etc are not worrying you too badly, cos I know how you hate them. We went to the Geoffrey Manders† for sherry last might. He enquired about you. He was entertaining all sorts of "big wigs" of the Air Force. It was quite a small more or less official party because of course so few people can get anywhere because of transport. Daddy seems to be getting more absorbed with Home Guard work. He has time for little else. We haven't been able to fix to go to the Maitlands yet. All his week ends seem so very full up, but we are hoping to pop down for a day or so in the middle of the week. Bunch has at last got her new coat and skirt from Mrs James. It is a check very similar to that one of Joy's and made with a half belt at the back. Very nice indeed. She has gone off to Lytham in it. I'm going to have one from her too, but not until August, she's "full up" to that date of course she has so little help. I've not bought a rag of any sort since you left I really miss not being?. I always wear that frock I wore for your wedding when we do go to a function and the blue hat. Pa has invested in a Jaeger coat - camel hair! He's wanted one for ages! He really looks so sweet in it. Now he is "hard up" for coupons! I'll have to come forward I suppose! He's a killer about them!! Dearest Daddy has asked Mr Lloyd Jones to cable some money to you at Barclays D.C. Bank in Cairo for your birthday. I'll tell you the amount in what I hope will be your birthday letter. But please do not spend your money on us. It simply is not worth it with things so fantastically expensive. They are bad enough at home in all conscience. Sand an airgraph or postcard to Mrs Jones, will you. I know you feel it easy to write letters. Have you a sitting room of any sort at your billet. Try to tell me all you are doing, not the work I mean, rather how you are living. Keep well and take care of yourself.
May 30 1943
A very happy birthday to you, we have cabled money out to you, you collect it from Barclays Bank in Cairo. I do hope Donald will manage to get you, then I know you will have a happy day. On 18th June I'm going to Devil's Bridge Hotel for a week with Mrs Hazel, Twentymans and Mrs Lankester. Am quite a looking forward to it. I am sure it will be good fun. They are all hard walkers and are in need of a little change! Aunt Gladys was very glad to hear from you. She has also asked her bank manager to send you out a "fiver" so do get something you would like for yourself with it. We are having good weather at home here. Carol Ann is out all day long and is looking so brown and pretty.
Sunday May 30 (1943) Manor House Oaken
A fortnight to your birthday. Daddy and I will be thinking of you a very great deal and feeling rather sick and sad that we can't be with you. Isn't this the first time we have not been able to actually say a happy birthday. Usually we have helped you to celebrate even when you were at school! Any way lets hope and devoutly pray that we shall be altogether for your next celebration. Darling I wish you all the good wishes that a mummy can wish her very loved daughter and pray God that he will take care of you and give you the best that life holds! We were sorry to hear yesterday - your air mail of May 18th - no 6) that you were in hospital with a throat. I do hope that its quite better and that it hasnít pulled you down too badly for sore throat surely a sign of bad condition. I know you would hate being in hospital. I only hope you were well enough to go on you r week's leave with Donald. I am very thankful that he could get over to you. It makes things a little more bearable! Darling I hope you donít feel that the sacrifice you have made to get out has been more than you had bargained for. I am sure you would enjoy Egypt a little more if you lived under better conditions. Try not to let being an A.T. get you down. You yourself should be able to create a better impression on people of "the corps". There are after all's said and done some nice people in it. Think of your dear self. I saw in the Times the other day that A.T.S. had a right to ask their officers for an interview for a commission. I should really have a shot at it if I were you. I'm sure you would feel happier if your position were better, but please. please don't in any way get an inferiority complex. Stick your nose up in the air. You are doing your stuff in all conscience. Darling we are sending magazines to you. Bunch is sending you books for your birthday and she ahs written lots I know.
Daddy has asked Lloyd Jones of the NP Bank to cable you £25 for your birthday. I have given £10 of it and Daddy the rest. Spend it on yourself. and do not think of sending us things. They are too expensive. I hope you managed to get blue linen for the cot and skirt. You do look so nice in it. Very very happy day dear one. hope Donald can get to you.
Monday 7 June 1943
We had your letter today sent the day before you were off on leave. I hope it came up to all expectations - weather, sailing and what not. You did not say how you are so I gather that your throat is better, hope so at any rate. Have sent you off a birthday cable today, hoping I will arrive on the 14th. Unfortunately I have just remembered I didnít put your number on it. So I do hope it will arrive. How I do long to see you and have you here with us again! Its very nice having Bunch and the babe here. It seems they will be here for sometime as B thinks she will not be able to live with Peter now that he has gone back to Brigade in South Wales. Its very nice for me of course. We had a gala day on Sat. Eric Champeace? wedding in the aft. quite a nice little affair though not a great many people there we knew. Dibbens and a few such like! In the evening the Bill Jack's had a nice sherry party, their "house warming" on their return home. It was very jolly all the usual crowd there - many enquiries after you darling. We are having a small party on Sunday evening (what ???) for the Jack's really. Dr Hastings was there - he's coming and his wife to us on Sunday. They were both very interested in all your doings! Romie, Len Wesson - you know who I mean - Auntie Waedes? friends - is a Captain in the Intelligence Corps in Cairo. Make yourself known to him if you can. He may be able to help you as to how you can set about getting a commission. I am anxious that you should be getting one as soon as you can† so that you can live a little more comfortably and have more privileges. I love you so much. I hope your money £35 will have arrived. Tell me how you use it. Did you get your linen for coat and skirt? How is Donald. He must be thrilled to have you near to him. It must be dreadful for husbands and wives to be parted for two or three years on end! Well you have managed to avoid that! We are undergoing rather a cold snap of weather, not like June. I think I must stop.
Monday June 14 (43)
It is your birthday and we are all thinking of you and I am afraid I feel just a little tearful, not to be with my loved one on this day - Nannie, Mrs J and Beattie all are thinking of you and wish specially to be remembered. They too feel very sentimental about you and I know have all written you birthday letters. I do so hope you have got all our messages. How lovely of they happened to come on the day! Bless you my precious and may all the very best come your way for you deserve it. I miss you most frantically. Daddy and I will quietly just together give you a little "silent toast" tonight and wish you all that you would wish yourself and more. Well now then, it is a Whit Monday. Pa has had a hectic weekend with Home Guard. On Sat he was in Radnor Forest to watch a very large scale mock battle with the regular army. They were using live ammunition. He had a very thrilling day, getting back late at night. On Sunday am he went early to the camp at Patshull getting back for tea. Then we had masses of people in for sherry - Dr and Mrs Hastings who talked a lot about you - Bill Jacks, Hazels, Wood (from Gorsty High?) Whites Sheltons Norman Bayliss "The Girls" (they stayed for supper) and another odd one or two! We were hoping to be in the garden, but it decided to rain se we packed into the dining room where we sit at weekends! It was fun. Of course the garden is not looking smart. None of the grass except the new tennis court and pit[v] has been cut. We are waiting for a little more growth on it before it is scythed. The Edwards are cutting hay in a couple of fields adjoining us. By the way, how is your hay fever, have you lost it or does the dust irritate you. At the moment we have got masses of those big fat white pinks out in the beds leading to the pit, the smell is delicious. We have had marvellous peonies as usual and not too bad delphiniums and lupins - Carol Ann uses the summerhouse quite a lot to sleep in if it is at all showery. Oh she is a good little soul. I think Nanny loves doing for her and so does Beattie - Bunch is at Carmarthen at the moment for a few days with Peter. He's gone back to Brigade Signals† to the division thatís stationed there.
Sat June 19 1943
I was more than pleased to have your letter card the day I came away which was two days ago. I am now at the Devil's Bridge Hotel near Aberystwyth for about 10 days with Ma Hazel, Miss Lankester[vi] and Mrs Allan Twentyman. It is really great fun. We walk about the hills during the day and bridge at night. Excellent! I donít know if you remember, there are gorgeous waterfalls near here. They are at the moment very full. We've ??? all round this am a marvellous sight. There are about 6 other people staying here so it is all very nice. Food good with real cream on our puddings, unheard of these days. We were so pleased to know what a marvellous time you had had in Alexandria. You must now look forward to the next. I hope Donald manages to get to you every week. Are you quite well again. You must be a most glorious "??". I'm glad you are able to wear mufti. It must be such a relief. Did you ever get the lemon coat and skirt. I hope by this time you have received our money. Aunt G sent £5 too from her bank, so you won't feel quite so bankrupt. I hear from everybody how frantically expensive everything is in your part of the world. I think Bunch is settled with us for a time now. It is lovely for me. Carol Ann is so fascinating, a really model baby, but oh how she does enjoy her food, such an appetite. I really hate leaving her. I rang up Daddy last night as usual he said when are you coming home! I've only been here 3 days! I think he's going over to Ireland shortly H.G. that absorbs all his thoughts and time! Denny Beddoes and David Lewis are being married on Tuesday. We were all asked. Bunch and Pa will go, sorry this is such a scrawl, but I'm writing on my knee in the silly room here.
Monday June 21st (43)
We are still here at Devils Bridge having a very happy time, unfortunately the weather isn't too good but that doesn't detract from our enjoyment. We walk in the hills, it is glorious country. At night we have very good bridge, great fun. Pa rang me up this morning. He's off to Ireland for a few days on Friday. Tomorrow they go to Denny Beddoes wedding at Acleton sharing a taxi with the Cyril's. I am sending Denny a travelling rug from here, Welsh wool. They really are very nice. I hear Carol A it is progressing every day, is now beginning to pull herself up her bed, far too fat to attempt it so far, she's adorable.
July 4† (43)
I am afraid I have not written to you for a few days, for some reason or other. I just seemed not to have got down to it. I think I must pace my days very badly! Its Sunday afternoon Daddy went off this morning to Patshull and has not yet returned. H.G. plays a big part in his life and I think he enjoys it. Last night the Smith family (not Kenneth, he's away once ??) and Joy came for dinner. We were a tablefull as the bellet(?) elected to be in for a change. Mrs J did us well - salmon peas new potatoes preceded by a very good hors d'oeuvres all home produced except the sardines -† then a lovely summer pudding of mixed fruits. Which you would not have appreciated. The raspberries are now in full swing and we are being c?? as far as our sugar rations (plus an extra little bit which is diminishing!) will allow. I feel so sick everytime we have them that you are not sharing them because you do so love them. Of course I know you are better off with fruit than we are now. Oh, we've had quite a lot of strawberries from Mrs Shelton again. We talked of you on 14th of June for that is the day we really had our first feast of them. Ever since you were a little girl (By the way you never mention food. I hope it isn't too bad with you. We were very sketchily fed at the hotel at Devil's Bridge. Very little meat indeed. and Fed too. Still one can't grumble, but really living in the country as we do has tremendous advantages. We have 3 new pigs on the go "one for Butters and two for us. Oh we too have delicious broad beans and peas as you like them. I feel you like to know what we are doing and to hear bits about the garden etc donít you. Your letters telling us about your birthday celebrations came this week two together (11 & 12) and then one written the next day which had taken only 6 days to come wonderful. You really are a marvellous letter writer darling. How we do enjoy reading them also the long budget you wrote on board going up the coast from Durban arrived this week, so did Bunch's. I'm sorry it was such an awful voyage. How appalling having coloured troops on board.
Monday July 5th 1943
I seemed to re?? my note to you yesterday so here's another wad. We were so glad you had such a happy birthday, what a thrill celebrating with Otis and his friends. I should think you were worn out, especially as you weren't feeling too good. By the way I hope your throat is better, that is the second you have had. Surely your tonsils are all right! Itís a† nuisance, bad throats are so lowering. Anyway I hope you won't get another attack. I'm glad you are getting your room a "bit ship shape". It will be so much more comf for you. I've often wondered how you managed for fixtures and if you had anywhere to put your clothes. Have you anything you can "lock up" because you have many things with you That you'd hate to lose. What about your pearls etc. have you managed to hang onto them; your engagement ring I know you always wear. How lovely that Donald managed to get you and aquamarine. You hoped he would. Darling, if there is anything we can send out to you let me know and I will gladly anything to you. I suppose it would take two or three months to get a parcel out. So if you need things start thinking about them soon and you shall have them. Are there any crepe de chines or silks to be had at anything like reasonable prices. A few pearl button for Pa's shirts and Carol Ann's frocks would be acceptable, but not if they cost the earth, Tiny ones for Carol Ann. By the way Suzzer is coming out next week sometime to take her photograph and you shall have one as soon as possible. She is lovely. Bunch's out at the tennis club today, so I am looking after her. How I wish you could be here to see her! Next week Daddy may be going on business to the South Coast. Of course I shall have another try to arrange to go to Byfleet. Pa ?? to know he's not been able to manage it. I do so want to see them. I know we shall talk of nothing else but you and Donald. Did you enjoy your little trip over to see him? The cucumbers are just coming in the greenhouse. I shall always think of you stringing them on to your "poppa bike" to take back to Bletchley! I can't believe you have been an A.T. for over a year. Surely it is time you were getting promotion. Are you silently† and persistently plodding on about a commission? I hope Otis will be able to pull a string or two! We are sending you off magazines at intervals. We have sent several lots to you and Donald. I will send you Punch. Nanny too has sent her papers. Do write to Ma J. & Beattie when you can. Lots of people wrote for your birthday.
July 14 1943
I really am at last going to Byfleet. Catching the 8 tomorrow am then the 3.30 from Waterloo. Mrs Maitland is meeting me at B. Daddy has gone off to do business on the South Coast. He's calling for me there on Friday and we return Sat am. He can't stay longer. As ??? is there so we feel we oughtn't to impose them for longer. I'm so disappointed tho that I shall not see Peggy and her little boys. They have gone away for 3 weeks. Still perhaps I shall be able to go again. I shall deposit my bag at Waterloo, take a taxi to Debenham's try and do a bit of shopping and get a lunch there. ?? twice I shall have been up to London only once except that day I came up to meet you. How I long to meet you again dearest. I hope you are all keeping fit and that the "heat" isn't entirely "doing you in". Bunchie returned from Catterick this am. She and Peter travelled by night, arriving at B'ham at 2 am. They went to the ?? Hotel on the station there and spent the night or what was left of it. She has had the weekend up with Peter, He goes on to Carmarthen tomorrow, I believe. Carol Ann now sits in a little "buffer?" chair. She can't quite manage to "hare" round in it yet. Of course Peter is absolutely potty about her. He hadn't seen her for more than a month. She's now beginning to look intelligent! How is Donald, alright I hope. Have you had your ???? "set" yet. Oh Mrs Hazel had a postcard from Dick the other day. She was overjoyed. He just said he was a prisoner in Japanese hands. Not wounded and quite fit. Mrs Wall in the village also had one from her son. I don't think there is any local news. Betty James came over for the day last week and brought her small son, a dear little chap.† We are all very well dearest. Mrs J. goes off on her week's holiday on Sat. We are being ?? with raspberries at the moment, jam etc. I collected a nice heap of them for Peter, didn't he enjoy them! What fruit are you having mow. do you get crystalised fruits? Well I must fly. I'll write again in a day or so.
July 20th 1943
Daddy and I had a very pleasant visit to the Maitlands last week - two nights. Pa joining me there after having spent a few days on the South coast with Fowler. They went to Dover, Folkestone, Brighton, Southampton etc. ??? He found it all very interesting seeing exactly what damage had been done. He has many times said he'd like to go and at last has managed it! Ella's[vii] mother was also at Frandon. The Hazelwoods[viii] came over one night for a drink, so it was a regular gathering of "in-laws"! Peggy was apparently very sorry to have missed me, perhaps I may be able to go again sometime. Of course we talked a lot of you and Donald. Emily[ix] was very sweet, she's apparently very attached to you. I'm very glad to have been. It was a nice change, but all too short. Your ordinary airmail letter arrived on Sat last. It had taken about 16 days. The official ones of course take much less than that. We had one once in 6 days! Am very interested to hear about the "Musky". I remember it well. How thrilled we were about it all - I do love sightseeing. If you remember we told you how appalled we were at the filth in Cairo in those days! We were struck by the squalor amongst such wealth(?)! because of course there were so many very rich folk living there then. Have you been to the Pyramids yet? Shall be interested to hear your impression. I'm sure the heat is getting you down - even you. We have been enjoying a week of lovely summer weather - the greenhouses full of tomatoes and "cucs". I think of you every time I look at the latter. Bunch has filled the ?? in the hall with those lovely lilies. Those pretty dainty blue campanulas are out on the terrace. It all looks very pleasant in spite of the fact that the garden has not been "kept up" so to speak. No mowing done except the new tennis court. Mr Edwards has had a load of hay off the lawns. Butters[x] scythed them. Mrs J[xi] has gone to Aberystwyth for a week so we are having fun and games!!
August 3 1943 Part 1
I am afraid I haven't written to you for some days. I can't think what I do, but really life seems very full. I think it might be Carol Ann who absorbs so much of it. She is really very fascinating and attractive. It is very hard that you cannot see her. Today she has had a little pad(?). Mildred and her two little girls and Joan brought Samuel & Matthew. The latter is really a very lovely little boy. He is so forward and bright for only 4 months old. Carol Ann was very impressed! We all gathered in the summer house and had tea there. She - Carol Ann -sat in the bed between the two little girls looking very large. She occasionally one of them a "biff"! She was interested in the frocks they were wearing because they were gay and colourful! Fancy she is nearly a year. How the time does fly. But Darling it does seem such an age since I saw you and simply daren't let myself think of how long it might be because you know how I miss you very very much. Auntie Mildred told me that you had contacted with Len Wesson. What is his wife[xii] like, have you met her yet. Do tell me, Leonard is most anxious to know. I saw Mrs Timmins(?) this am, she said Betty was thrilled to have a letter from you. I must say it was very nice and thoughtful of you to write to her. By the way, Ma J. hasnít heard from you yet. Beattie was thrilled with her airgraph. Have you written to Aunt Bee. She and Uncle Cyril had their silver wedding in July. Daddy and I gave them a† most beautiful Georgian coffee pot which† seemed to please them very much. They had 10 candelabra. Auntie Bee had one of her moods on about it!! Joy came over for tea from Cosford (It was a Sunday) then we all went over to Hetty(?) House with Daddy in the car and walked across to Danesmoor[xiii], had drinks of course. Uncle Cyril was pleased to see us and so was Auntie Bee for the matter of that and Joy came back with us for safety and cycled back to Cosford. But do write them if you haven't already written. It was Bank Holiday you know last Monday. We had the fete in the Carr's field this year. It was a great success as it was such a lovely day.
Continuing on following letter.
Aug 3 1943 Thursday
I'm following on from the letter I've just written - Yes the fete was a very good show. As usual I helped with teas. I must have poured hundreds and hundreds of cups. Do you remember the year Derek and Cedric (Wilde?) came over and helped? We were most unfortunate having ?? ?? year in our garden - the weather I mean. I believe we took nearly £200 on the one day. Gosh we were all tired at the end of the day. B. took Carol Ann down for a short while, she was duly admired. Did you know that Joy has ad her tonsils out? Aunt Bee has just rung up and tells me that she is better and comes home on Sat for 3 weeks. She has had it done at Cosford. How are you by the way. I hope you are better. What is a "gippy tummy" is it a form of dysentery? I do hope you are not neglecting yourself. Shall be thankful when you are back home again. Have been hoping you would send me a photograph. I do want to see how you look. We are sending magazines, what we can collect to you. B. sent a parcel off last week, there are some more to be sent off in a few days. She also enclosed rough prints(?) in a letter the other day but I'm afraid they will be a bit slower arriving. I asked Nannie to post them air mail but I don't think that she did. I also got you a dozen packets of "lamposc??". B. has already posted 1/2 doz and shall post the next lot next week. We still have a nice lot of "colour" in the garden in spite of the very dry weather. We've got some exquisite big white poppies as well. I donít know if you remember them. They have really "got going" this year. They have a deep yellow "centre" ad smell delicious! The corn is being cut all round and Daddy was helping the Edwards in the big field near us. It all looks so beautiful. Oh - we had a fancy dress parade at the fete. I had to judge! most amusing, all very amateurish as you can imagine. Bunch and Carol Ann go off to Lytham on Monday for a fortnight. We shall quite miss them. Tomorrow I've got the "Devil Bridge Four" for a lunch and a spot of bridge. We've killed an old hen! We've a delicious ham in cut? so we shall have a tasty lunch.
Monday Aug 16 1943
We were so pleased to know that Donald had been made a flight lieutenant ?? that we a bit of good cheer for you and also that the job he has is now once more to his liking. Its so hard to have been on one's own. Oh if it is not a congenial one. Of course I know you can't say a word about your job but I only hope that it gives you some scope as I know you hate doing donkey work. So you should with your capacity which I know you have. I'm sorry the man you work for is so ill mannered. I'm surprised, what about a word to Len Wesson when you get the opportunity. Isn't Mrs Player still with you - you never mention her. I thought she always championed your cause. Please do tell us all your worries and perplexities as Daddy and I would far rather you did. I know we can't do much about things but we might write helpful suggestions. What a good thing you have Donald near.† Well we are getting a bit "autumny" here. Yesterday the clocks were put forward[xiv] one hour. I simply dread the dark nights again - they seem so long. Of course it will make all the diff having Bunch and C-A here. At the moment they are at Lytham until Aug 23. bunch and Peter have actually gone to the Isle of Man for 5 days, leaving the child with Mrs Waddell. They felt they wanted a little trip on their own! and rather thought that would be fun!! B. hoped it would be rough![xv] We are enjoying the Victoria Plums. We've had a most magnificent crop from that tree on the wall. Never had so many. We are bottling, making jam of them. Mrs Shelton sent round a basket of peaches on Sat. Huge things and perfectly delicious. Daddy and I went out to the Sun for supper last night. Jyce Brown was there. She is staying with Mrs Healy(?) for a week. Everybody makes many enquiries about you. I hope you are feeling a little more cheery now. Do see as much of the country as you are able. We are only too glad to help you to do that. Oh, Pauline B?? had her daughter yesterday - and 10 lbs!! Hair Backers[xvi] has a son!!
Having or rather Bank has telegraphed £5 to Donald for his birthday to Barclay's Bank, Cairo.
Monday Aug 30† (43)
Your telegram to Carol Ann and me arrived this am. How very nice of you to send it, your birthday letter to me arrived last Wed, it was a lovely week because we also had two other letters, 25 and 26 from you. Oh, they are a joy to receive, I hope your tummy has settled down, is it a sort off fever you get, perhaps conditions won't be so trying with the cooler weather coming on. How I wish it were possible for you to become an officer for I feel that your living conditions would be so much better. It does seem so wrong that your name can't be put forward, especially considering your qualifications in life. It makes me wild. I do hope you're working conditions are not too bad and that you see very little of the decidedly uncouth officer (man) for whom you were working. Have you seen any more of Len Wesson? I do hope the man (Cooper) from Edgbaston rings us up. It would be grand to hear of you first-hand! Darling how we are longing to see you and for the time when you will be home again. Of course we think of you a lot in Cairo, for we had such a marvellous time there. I used to adore poking around the Musky looking at all the interesting sites. Have you been to the Pyramids yet? I hope you will plan to go to Jerusalem before you do come home. I will help you with the expense! The lilies are at last out in the garden, we've a lovely lot. Bunch arranged a big show of them in that white stone vase. Also we've† got lots of pots of† cannas out. I don't know if you saw them in S Africa. A Kind of yellow and gold arum lily. Butters has been growing them for about six years or so it in the green house. They are rather lovely. The anemones are all flourishing. I'm sure Bertie well remembers, you† - Tom is very large and still plays with a ping pong ball. Whisk has been very poorly but is now better. She is very old you know.
Monday Sep 6 1943
I can't remember if I wrote to you after 1st September. (lots of love to Donald, ask him to write). Anyway your last letter of 22.8.43 arrived on the day of my birthday. It was very sweet of you to send a cable and a birthday letter. I did think about you a lot and I know you would be thinking of me. I miss you more and more, never mind, perhaps it won't be so long before we are together again. I don't think I shall never want you to live abroad, still that is selfish of me. You have your lives in front of ?? and "to make". Daddy said there will always be a position for Donald at one of the works! We look forward to a rosy future, we must. I was interested to hear out of your passion for mangoes. Daddy and I love them. Don't risk anything in the eating of not good fruit. Are you pretty well now. How much do you weigh? Hasn't anybody a camera to take shots of you. I want a little one to carry it in my bag so that I always have you with me. The baby gets more captivating every day, her birthday was a great success. I'm afraid mine at must pass now eclipsed!!! Daddy and I put her in her playpen for the first time yesterday. She was a bit mystified. She's just beginning to stand you know. You shall have her picture has immediately Suzzer sends them. I rather hoped parcels would travel quicker now and not go round the Cape. By the way what can we send you for Xmas. Such a horrible thought, but tell me in your next letter Darling. I am horrified at the price of wool in Cairo. Can we send Donald some socks what kind and colour? Daddy thought he would be able to buy uniform things at a reasonable price from their own store. Do tell me and I will see what can be done about it. I know clothing coupons begin this month 40 only, for a year! Horrid and shoes now cost seven far too much. I have a pair of brown on order. I'm quite well-off but clothes no! Do you know I have not bought a rag since you went away. I am really going to try to get a couple of frocks and probably some woolies. I simply keep on putting it off! Daddy and I are off to London on Wednesday for two or three days staying at Grosvenor House. I may look round for a few clothe there but shopping with a man is not too easy. I am much looking forward to going.
Monday Sep 6 afternoon (43)
Continuing my letter of this morning:
The Percy Bayliss's are coming up and joining us at Grosvenor House on Thursday. They couldnít get a room for Wed. They are going to see Pauline. Her baby is now nearly three weeks old, she's to be called Susan. I don't know P.'s address. Send her airgraph c/o "The Field" Wergs Road. Her name is Mrs Paul Ashner. It is most mysterious that Ma J hasn't heard from you yet, her address is 5 New Cottages Oaken. Nanny was very glad to get her airgraph last Friday. She seems all right but looks so tired at times. She persists that she is well; of course she adores C-A. I was talking to Mrs Warner the other day about the "insect life" of Cairo! She said that was always a real battle to keep them under. She said that her children always had the legs of their cots standing in little pans of disinfectant so that the wretched bugs couldnít crawl up. It is disgusting. I am so sorry for you but I hope you're not finding them too bad now. Well they will be less frequent as the weather cools off. Mrs C-B is staying over with Sheelagh Jacks. She came to tea on Sat and wanted to know all about you. She was most anxious that you should make yourself known to Kathleen Marsh, who she believes has just had a baby. ?? did give you her address. Mrs C B says she's sure she would welcome you. It would be so nice for you to have some one to visit. I know how you must long to have a meal in a home and to get away from routine life. We cut the first grapes last week. They are delicious. We have about 20 or 30 bunches this year. Shouldn't I love to be able to send you some, for I know the one from home would be so much nicer!!! Did I tell you what magnificent lillies roseamum?) we've got. They a stand-up like small trees in that border the other side of the tennis court! And do you remember the yellow green plums in the fowl pen. This year there are not so many on. They are about as big as an apricot and just delicious a glorified greengage! Tomorrow we are taking C-A to tea with the MacGeoch's. Margaret is potty about her. Bunch is having her hair "permed" this aft. Have you had yours done again. How is it behaving. About a fortnight ago Bertie and the Hazels dog had a fight: I separate them and got bitten. Mickey tore my middle finger rather badly had to have three stitches but thank goodness its better, rather nearly better now.
Monday Sep 13 (43)
Daddy and I have had a couple of nights in London Wed and Thurs. We stayed at Grosvenor House. The† Percy Bayliss's joined us for one night. We had a most pleasant time lovely weather. I donít know, thing this just went all the right way. We saw a play "Arsenic and Old Lace" (Laughton Wallie, William Braithwaite, Mary Jeavons etc) most amusing. The two women were "bats" and invited as they said lonely old men to their house and helped them to end their days peacefully by poisoning them, their equally batty brother disposing of their bodies by burying them down an old cellar. Layton Wallie, their nephew meets? them and is horrified to find out what is happening and naturally gets there put away in a home. It is all a terribly amusing Thrill. I'm afraid I can't ?? anything to you on paper. You might have seen a ?? of it in Punch. We also saw Bernard Shaws ?? House, very clever. Isabel Jeans, Edith Evans and Roland Donet, most excellent. I didn't do much shopping, bought one or two oddments for Carol Ann. Oh, I left my pearls to be re strung at Parkes - you know Joan White's people's concern. It's the most lovely little shop at the top of Burlington Arcade, Vigo Street. Daddy is giving me two new pearls for my birthday! They are old ones so no purchase tax but a terrible price, let me see, are you having them? Things are a pretty ghastly price, clothes I mean, a blouse which would have been about three or four Guineas is now seven or nine! We had lunch at Fortnum's one day, very good jugged hare and dinner one night at Maurice - delicious salad. I remember at Shepherds we had the most gorgeous meals of Shell Fish! How are your financial affairs getting on. Can I be of any assistance! I do so want you to be as comf. and happy as possible. No darling I don't think we have had any parcel from you since you left Durban. Uncle Cyril sent you out some books the other day. I hope they will arrive in due course. Do ask for anything you want, I wish you would. Oh Ma Jay was thrilled with your letter. She wrote to you by return.† How we all do long to see you. But perhaps the time is not too far distant because the news is certainly good. Just take care of your precious self. The man Cooper has not rung up. I hope he will. I should like first-hand news of you. Bye-bye my very precious one. I'm just going to have tea with Dick Fellows. she has been ill for some time. Marg is now a major in the ATS.
Monday Sep 28 43
Your photographs arrived last Friday (sent by you Aug 8) needless to say we are just delighted to have them. Though I know they could be a little more flattering. I just would like a good one of you in uniform. I am very proud of you and so is Daddy. He carries one photograph in his pocket and I am having one for myself. Bunch has one and one for Nanny which they have on their mantelpiece in the sitting room. The other one is off to "Mrs Matty". How very much thinner Donald looks and you look rather lean. Try Darling to eat as much as you can even though food is not too palatable. I hate telling you this. We had duck for lunch yesterday. Nobody really had the full pleasure out of it because we all, kitchen as well felt you should be here to enjoy it. It is the only one that we've had since Mrs Curtis sent us one about a year ago. I think you must have been home then to enjoy it. My dear it had to serve seven people, for Peter was here for the night on his way to London. He's taken Bunchie with him just for two nights. Had to go to the War Office.
I went to lunch with Shelagh Jenks and Mrs CB on Friday, the latter said she would have write to a Wuff re Kathleen Marsh. She is most anxious you should meet, she said that you two were such dear souls and would have things in common. She says Peter Marsh is at GHQ but doesn't know in what! What a nuisance about your books getting lost at Durban. You must be wild. Would you like some of your books sent out to read again. I bought Cecil Beaton's book about Middle East. Daddy has sent it to you, very good. Can I send you anything out. Do tell me because you know what a lot of pleasure I should get doing things for you. Are you all right for money, because I will send you some. Have you sent us any parcels at all from Cairo. The dress length sounds very inviting but not if it cost the earth. Do ask Donald to write, did he collect my £5. Afraid this is scrappy as I have got to keep my eye on the child. She's here in the smoke room with me babbling away. Beattie has had her out for a walk. She's very good with her. Adieu for the present. I'll try to write again in a day or so.
Thursday September 30 1943
You lovely parcel arrived yesterday. I sent you a cable, by the way acknowledging it. It's very kind and generous of you. The stockings are most acceptable, of course I know that they are not of the peace time standard. But then one does not wear real silk now except for very special occasions. I am most glad to have them. The Turkish Delight is delicious. I have great pleasure at giving people a lump, because one can't be very generous with ones sweets these days. However we always seem to have a bit in hand, you see we have Carol Ann and Bunch's and I seldom have more than two or three pieces of choc. at most a day. At the moment we are getting some of Cadbury's called blended choc. which is very nearly like old time milk chocolate. Do you get an army ration? or how do you manage. Darling my fingers are getting on quite well of course it's all healed but there is rather large lump still on inside of my middle joint and is still tender but it has made an excellent recovery. Oh, the pearl buttons etc are just what we want so please don't bother any more about us.
We have been so busy getting on storing apples, we have never had so much quite a few Coxes too, only wish you could share them. Do you get apples at all? By the way we heard on the wireless the other day that we might be getting oranges and lemons again from Sicily. Wish we could, we miss them very much. Jim Swanson came in last night. He has just returned from Canada. Nearly got his wings, he went away when you did your, remember. He looks much the same but thinner. I am so glad you and Donald are able to spend a night sometimes in your friend's flat. Its such a nice change for you and it will be so nice if you can have the advantages of the Sporting Club and use their library. I have asked you if I can send you any more books about. I hope the magazines arrive which we sent and you haven't† told me what you and Donald would like for Xmas. I don't think I told you that Brenda Hunt - the youngest girl is being married on Saturday week. She can't be more than 19 think. Oh darling, Les has just passed to her second officer I think it is and is posted to Cosford so she has done it quite well.
Sunday Oct 10th† (43)
We, Bunch and I, just finished lunch on the trolley in the hall as Daddy is out doing H.G. - the usual lunch, roast beef, York's pudding and apple tart. How Ma Jay does enjoy this ritual! And we are so bored with it. Actually though you would love to be having it for a change I'm sure. We are having the most gorgeous autumn weather bright and "sharp", the sunsets and evenings are glorious. The Michaelmas daisies in the garden are a sight! Darling we were thrilled to receive the parcel of fruit (sultanas, butter and icing sugar) which was sent off by you in April! You are too generous and kind. I'm afraid you spend too much on us. I have not yet open the butter but intend to this weekend. It was a lovely parcel. Of course is was beautifully packed in a calico coel? wich you had addressed and arrived intact. Am sorry you are so troubled with people who pilfer, its horrid. It such a worry all time you have always to be on the "qui vivre" so to speak. How are all clothes undies and stockings etc you took out getting on. Are you managing to keep them secure! I wonder often if you have worn your pretty things out or have they got lost. Tell me when you write. I think I shall have to save what few pretty things I have for you for when you come home, pray it will be soon. I was interested to hear about the tweed Donald got you for a coat. I have wondered what you would do about warm clothes because I know you will need some. Do you have to provide coupons out there for clothes. I hope it will be a success when it is made up. I still have not bought myself a new garments, suppose I shall one day. In fact I need but one has so little opportunity to wear best clothes now. Daddy and I went to Brenda Hunts wedding yesterday. She looked quite nice in white taffeta. I'd no idea who the man was. I believe he has a job at Courtaulds and his years older I should say. She's just 20, not many people there we knew. Bunch had to stay at home and look after Carol Ann too. We had all the Sankeys for tea, so it was a bit of a rush, we dashed home ??? after the wedding.
Continuing Sunday 10 Oct.† (44)
Maurice Hunt was there with his wife he's the twin who went to Malaga. He married out there, she seemed quite a nice girl and pretty, they are coming to tea today. Pat Hawkins married her Dutchman in London last week I am sending an Express and Star with the account of it in the magazines which we are sending this week by the way. How long do the magazines take to come to you now. I wonder if they come now through the Mediterranean. Romie Darling, we do so look forward to your letters you really are marvellous the way you write. I'm sorry they are such a wild price, it is so tantalising for you. I'll send you some toothpaste, brush etc also some "S.T.s" (did you ever get the last half dozen packets we sent). I'll try and get some off this week. I wish you would say anything we can send because nothing would be too much trouble. By the way Daddy spoke to my bank manager the other day and he said that £5 (Donald's Xmas present last year) was sent to Ismailia last nov and is waiting for him to collect it, will you tell him. When are you next having leave and where will you go. Do try to get to Jerusalem before you come home. I will help you with the expenses!! Nanny had an airgraph from you yesterday. Ma. J also heard. By the way Eunice is dancing in the Wolverhampton pantomime at a salary of £3 per week. They are very bucked! Today is simply perfect, the same sort of day as when you were married; we shall think you both Darling on Nov 8. Oh, another engagement, Dick Wilcock is engaged again to Nancy Cooper and he hoped itt will materialise as he has broken off two engagements. Oh there is something I didn't know until yesterday, Teddy Maclean Jones is married - a young widow. He met her while he was at Salisbury. Think his people are a bit vexed as he has taken on rather a lot of responsibility. He's abroad somewhere now. Mrs Wilcock was at the wedding, she seemed a bit sad about it. Well I think I must stop now and go to have my "little rest"!
Monday Oct 18 1943
I'm wondering of you've got your new coat made up yet. What nice material it sounds. Feel quite envious. Bunch has a new one too, in Royal Blue tweed - I know you'll be needing something. The W?? said the nights were cool from now onwards. Can I send you anything ?? you know. Are you managing to keep what clothes you took out in fair condition. I've really no idea what you did take. I've often meant to ask you about your hay fever and asthma. Well are you I hope ?? that they have left you altogether. Is Mrs Player with you, you never mention her. How I do wish you could apply for a commission. I feel you ???? Please never bottle anything up, just tell me all your trials and tribulations! We shall be sending Carol Ann's photograph this week. I'll speak to Suzzer about yours he sent ours about 2 months ago. I gave the one you asked for. C-A is busy playing in her play pen. She stands up very freely, but shows no sign of walking yet. Tom is very sweet with her, he continually rubs up against her. She though I am afraid is inclined to be rough with him Bertie ignores her altogether!! He has been plucked and is looking† sweet. Bunchie was delighted to get your telegram of good wishes for today[xvii]. I shall be thinking of you and Donald tree weeks today. I think B sometimes feels rather lonely. She misses people of her own age I think. She and I went to the pictures on Sat to see Dear???, it was marvellous, better than the play I think. I'm off to Bristol on Wednesday for two or three days and stay with Edith P. her mother - 89 - has just had an operation. I felt I should like to go and see them. It will be a little change. What fun seeing Otis, can't he pull the strings a bit for you?
To 5 Intelligence School, MI8, MEF. (post 6d = 72p in 2006)
Bristol Oct 22 (43)
We had three letters from you the week last! The latest being "41" Oct 10. You'd just been to see Donald at Ismailia. What a journey, I am so sorry he has been so unwell but I do hope he is now quite recovered. Give him my fond love. Poor old Donald, he certainly looks very thin in that photograph you sent us. Suppose it is the continual heat added to the poor quality of the food. Itís a shame, but I do hope he will pick up again, which I am sure he will do, especially if he can get near you for a bit. Romie, it was to a bank in Ismailia that I've sent the £5 to Donald for last Xmas - can he do anything about it? Darling, don't worry too badly about Donald being so low? and depressed. ??? ??? says the M&B tablet lowers ones mood? frightfully. I am sure he will pick up again. Wish I'd got you both to look after and spoil a bit. I do miss you. I have come here for 3 nights. Mrs Phipps whose nearly 90 has had an operation for gall stones but is recovering now. I thought I should like to see her. Pops ?? he's away though as you know so I am firstly back early in the morning in order to see him before he goes off for 6 days to a Home Guard School at Liverpool!!
Mrs Webb was telling me the other day that John had been in Cairo. He'd sent Jill a length of grey flannel for a suite and some stuff for a frock. It would be fun if you could bump up against some of your old friends! You did ?? about sending stuff for dresses home, doesn't it cost the earth. I'll let you have some money. I do so hope you will be able to get a fortnight's leave with Donald over Xmas. It would be grand. Are there any special books you would like. I'm glad you can join a library, that will ease things a bit. I do hope all the magazines arrived safely. They are very difficult to get now you know far worse than when you were at home. Edith sends lots of love to you. They are all interested to hear about you.
Monday Oct 25 1943
I came back from Bristol Sat. Pops met me at B'ham. He was hurrying off to do some training with the HG at Liverpool and waited to see me before he left! I had a very pleasant 3 days stay. The other members of the family came to see me and all thought I looked extremely well. So ?? good. I hadn't seen them since I was ill[xviii]. Poor old Bristol has suffered frightfully. It is too sad. It was such a picturesque place I always thought. Met most of the atypes?? "non est". It made me feel very sick. How the people have stood up to it I don't know! Mrs Sheffer? is doing very well, itís a big thing to have an operation at 90!
Bunchie and I went onto Wolverhampton this a.m. and met Joy at Pattisons? She had a night off. She is on night duty at present. She and B had a great deal of chatting. She's a very nice child. Her friend Joan Bradshaw is being married in January and Joy is going to be bridesmaid! Itís a most perfect autumn day here. It began by being very foggy and about 11 o'clock broke out into glorious sunshine. I've taken the child for a walk this afternoon, round the lanes. It seemed such a pity for her to be just sitting in the summerhouse. She's a good little thing though she shows her "paddy" when they put her to bed! Romie I do hope Donald is better. I feel quite worried about him. I don't like him getting so thin. I am sure the climate must be very trying together with the not too good food. There have been two or three comments in the papers about the excessively hot days you have been having just lately. It gave the "temps". Noel Coward who has just returned from the Middle East been ?? troops etc. Gave a most delightful "talk" after the news last night. He says what gratitude we owe all you people. I donít think he has been with "Ensa" but on some official mission. It was lovely to hear him. No mistaking his voice, he might have been on the stage! We saw Denise Beddows this a.m. She has blossomed out since she was married - very nicely turned out! She is home on sick leave, Jon Beddows too is back from the Middle East. I bought 5 doz "Tampax" for you which we are forwarding. The baby's photograph was dispatched last week. Hope it will arrive safely. Afraid this is not a very newsy letter, but I wanted to send you a line. I think of you so much.
Nov 1st 1943
We had two ?? letters from you yesterday of Oct 19 & 21, how you must have loved having Donald with you for the few days. I do hope it did him good and that the next time you meet you would see an improvement in him. I really feel quite worried for he oughtn't to get so thin. I know you must be both longing for your fortnight leave. I hope it will come off. Its wonderful for you to see the country as much as you can. Of course I know it is all very expensive getting around. We are sending you a little money for Xmas so that will help. I am anxious for you to see and much as you can. On Sat I sent off an Xmas parcel to you, just bits of this and that I hope it will arrive safely. I got a ??? thrill - though - a little sad - packing it up. Yesterday we the ??? ???? for posting parcels. I know you will love it even thought the gifts are tiny and practical. I simply didn't know what to send you. I decided money would be the most useful. I also sent a book to Donald in which I enclosed a cheque for £5 so I hope he will get that. I snt it direct to him, not in your parcel. I do hope the photograph of C.A. will reach you. They are so excellent. She's a lovely little thing. Ma J. is absolutely "crackers" about her, not to mention Nanny and ?? Pop. There never was such a baby. We miss her very much. The house is so quiet. I believe they propose staying at Lytham for about 3 weeks. We got to Bournemouth - "Branksome Towers[xix]! on the 10th just for a week. I am looking forward to it. Guess we'll see Dot Hill. I think she has quite recovered now. What a blessing. Write sometime if you can. I should send Aunt Bee a bit of print? I know she would so appreciate. As you know I will make up any expenses for you. What about material have you seen any we would like? It was ?? on the wireless the other day that huge lot of boxes of fruits etc were being sent home by the troops! You must not though feel you must spend your money on us, because I know you have so little to play with! Bee and Uncle Cyril have gone off to Rhos for 10 days with the Trevor Jones. Poor old Bee's had a bad time with her new† ?? . We went to a cocktail party at the Norman B's on Sat. Everybody asked about you. Think I must stop now.
November 8 1943
Today is your wedding day. I hope it has been a happy one for you. I suppose it would be too good to think of Donald being with you. Daddy and I wish you both darlings all happiness and hope that the time is not too far distant when you can begin your careers together. I thought of you the first ting this morning. It was beautifully bright and sunny. Do you remember what a lovely day yours was! I can't believe it is two years ago. I do hope Donald is getting better again and putting on weight. I donít like to think him getting so thin. I am sitting in the smoke room before the fire writing this tho' its after dinner. Daddy is out and I have had a somewhat hectic day. Went on the 1130 bus to have a little "do" with my feet at Mrs Stanley's than I had lunch at Reynolds, did a speck of shopping then went out to Windridge? for Ernest to "perm" (a horrid word!) my hair, getting back home at 6 - Butters met me at Tettenhall. And was I glad to have it done! Did we tell you that Bertie "gave us the slip" the other day - we had taken Di to the Tettenhall bus, we'd got Bertie in the car and didnít know that he had sneaked out. Any way we didnít miss him until some hours later. I rang up the police early the next morning, a phone call came from the local office at Tettenhall saying they had him. Apparently he ha been backwards and forwards to town on the bus!! Poor little chap, he was glad to get home again. He's sitting tucked up at the moment on the little chesterfield. He'll be for it when Pa comes in!! He's a dear little chap. Tom[xx] and Whesk? seem very hale and hearty!! Darling I do hope your leave will all work out according to plan! Mr Spinney's brother has a store in Jerusalem. He† told me tell you to be sure and call on him and make yourself know, perhaps it is worth trying! Oh, Phillippa Read may be coming out I will give her your address - I suppose she's a ??? clerk! Are you sure there is nothing I can send out to you in the way of clothes. Your letters sent to Bunch by ordinary airmail arrived this evening. I will send it on to her to Lytham. I hope to hear from you before we go off to Bournemouth in Wednesday. Daddy is need looking forward to a few days rest I think. The Cyrils have been at Rhos Abbeg for 10 days with the Trevor Jones. What a place, you wouldnít relish going there would you?! We celebrated "Poppy Day" this week end. On Sat held a house warmer and I had a stall at the bus stop sold vegetables etc and made over £17, marvellous. We, Daddy and I went to church yesterday, a very nice service at he War Memorial too. I've often meant to ask how your hair is getting on. Have you had it "permed" again?
Sunday Nov 14 '43
This is from Branksome Towers where we are very comfortably settled. A most glorious bedroom overlooking sea. Our own bathroom and very luxurious but very expensive!! The food too is better than we have had for many a long day but all within? the rations I think. It is well prepared and cooked which makes all the difference. Game is in season which is a tremendous help to the meat ration! Mrs Hazel came down with us. She wanted to see and old uncle who lives down here, she's staying only 5 days though. Your letter which came ordinary airmail explaining all about the people you refer to arrived yesterday. Darling we are only too interested and anxious to know about the people you associate with even if we donít know them personally. It very good of you to explain all about them. We are having simply beautiful spring-like weather here so much milder than at home. I think Pops is thoroughly enjoying it, he needs the rest for he is working very hard with H.G. He has even brought a lot of work to do down here! Your letter of Oct 26 arrived the morning we left. It is very, very good of you to have sent us parcels. I hope they will arrive, so will mine to you! But we are sending you money so that you can have extra pleasures. Pa as sent you a cheque by ordinary mail and I shall cable you a lit as well so spend it on yourself. By the way, has your camel hair coat been made yet? Daddy bought himself a Jaeger one in the summer, a light coloured one; he really looks very sweet in it, and between you and me rather fancies himself in it!!! Oh what a curse the coupons are, they do cramp ones style, not that one has many occasions on which to wear smart clothes. I've just bought a new red (dark) felt hat and have had a white blouse edged to match it so that I can wear them with my grey suit! The raisins etc you have sent us from time to time have been a tremendous help because we can only get them in rather small diameters (1/2 lbs) at a time, so thanks to you we have got a nice little bit in stock. There are ??? but we are to get more oranges and lemons. I do hope we get the latter! too. Think of lemon cheese tart on Sunday night!!! But please donít spend your money on us. You need all you have I am sure. Is it worth sending you out more mufti warmer clothes, I mean. DO say if you need anything.
Sunday Nov 21† (43)
I donít seem to have written to you for a few days. We got back from Bournemouth on Wed. having had a very pleasant week. The house has been shut up. Nanny looks well for the rest. Of course the animals were more than pleased to see us, poor old Bertie has got rather a lot of bald patches on his back, like those Tom gets at times. He's rather sorry for himself, but not off his food! Of course the house is very quiet without B and C-A. They have gone up to Scotland for three weeks. Butters and the maids donít like parting with the baby at all! Anyway they will be back for Xmas. I'm contemplating asking the Waddells to come down. I hate to think of it tho without you. I'd rather just skip it. I told Joan White we should expect her for dinner, she expects to be on her own! I also told the Chalks Reade if they were left high and dry to let me know and they could come out to us - if they could get out. (Philippa is expecting to come to Cairo any moment. You remember the job she was doing. Secretary† or clerk to some official person! I'm telling you all this now because I heard today that tomorrow is the last day for posting airmail letter cards for delivery before Xmas. But of course I shall go on sending them just the same, hoping that they won't be too long on the way!
I rather imagine the Cyrils won't come out for Xmas day because of transport. They† didnít last year so I think I shall ask them for Dinner the night of Daddy's birthday. By the way, your birthday letter to him arrived yesterday, a little early! I am saving it for him. I am going to give a little painted miniature of CaedClun?. I do hope the photograph we sent to you arrives safely, also your Xmas parcel. It contains a bit of fudge made out of the butter you sent home. It was delicious stuff. I only hope it will be eatable when you get it! I went to Church this morning and then afterwards Daddy took me over to the Wiles for sherry. They had a very nice party. It was jolly seeing everybody. We donít often get to these things nowadays. Itís a little difficult. People asked about you. Cedric and Derek were not there, they were at work! They belong to the Home Guard you know now.
Monday Nov 22 1943
Thought I would dash of a note to you since we have had two very interesting letters from you this morning, Nov 7 & 12 - good going. Well at last they are thinking of doing something about commissions for some of your people. I sincerely hope yours goes through for your own dear sake. It certainly makes some little difference to the extra privileges etc which are afforded to officers. Of course I know you are not the "goods" for training soldiers but I know you could do executive or administrative work. Well so hope you will pull it off alright. You deserve it for the pluck you have had. Darling the photographs arrived a couple of days ago. I like the one full face very much indeed. I am going to send one to B in Scotland. I shall try to get a few more done from the negatives to give to the M and Aunt Bee etc. I am very proud of you. How very nice your camel hair coat sounds. I shall be very interested to see a small sketch of it. Fancy the weather turning so cold - it is the winds I suppose. I always understood that the nights were cold and at this time of year but that the days were still pleasantly warm. How are you managing about your serge uniform since you have become so enormous!! I think I too have put on a lb or two, round the tummy of course!
How amusing your meeting the elegant Jerry, of course I remember him quite well. I've meant to ask you several times; have you had your hair permed since youíve been out. I suppose hair dressing is just as expensive as everything else out there. Oh did I tell you the American sent me a lovely box of truffles and pralines the other day, nice of her. Oh David Smith has got his wings and the commission. I'm so glad. They are rather expecting him back again. He sent them some stockings, lip stick etc the other day. They were all very bucked. Barbara is growing up - she smokes and does herself up a bit!! She is just about to sit for school cert again! Hope she will get through. She still has ideas of being a doctor!
Thursday Dec 2† (43)
Your letter (53) of Nov 20 arrived this morning. It I such a joy to hear from you because I do so miss you and I donít dare think of when I shall see you again. As long as you are well and happy That is all that matters. I hope your commission will come through alright, you definitely must press for it, darling its not for our sakes that I wish it but for your own dear self - for the added privileges you would get to make your life a little more comfortable and easy. Well I hope it will all go smoothly. We were talking to ??? Fellows and she is a Major now! She said you certainly ought to and there was no doubt about your getting one! Bunch is still away. I am forwarding your letters which arrived at the same time on to her. Edith Phipps is still here - she seems to be thoroughly enjoying the rest and the change. Unfortunately your car has been out of order for the past week so we have to foot slog it to the bus everytime, a little tiresome! Tomorrow is Uncle Cyril's birthday. We are going for dinner. I am going to take one of the photographs you sent for Aunt Bee. I know she would like and appreciate one. Romie I am wondering if Donald would like us to send out some cigarettes. I'll ask Daddy to order some - you are not smoking are you - I sent a book with a cheque for £5 inside. Pa has also sent you a cheque and I am cabling you £5 to buy something for yourself. Would it buy a dress length of silk. If not I will send you more. Really? Daddy and I are only too glad to help with your expenses to enable you to see the country, but Pa just didnít want you not to make the most of it. One has to curb ones desires in the way of luxurious things these days, so donít spend your money on us. You always are so very generous and I donít want you to be out of pocket - you know Bunch has always wanted a shoulder bag like your pig skin one. Well I went a beast? and bought one from Fennigans, at least I have written for it. She doesnít know of course. Do you remember we bought that zip suit case from there. Afraid I'll use it sometime if your donít get away for Xmas. I'm very glad you have been asked to the flat to stay. You well be happy if you are together I know. We shall hate not having you with us.
Tuesday Dec 7 1943
I donít know how quickly letters are getting out to you but yours up to date come through very quickly. I imagined there would be a terrible hold up somehow preparing for the Xmas rush. I am wondering if you have received my parcel (Xmas) per John Bradstreet? who has just returned last weekend from the middle east wrote me saying he had received my Xmas card, sent by surface mail, before he left!! Seems to me that was very quick. I sent you a card and Donald too by the same mail, but I rather think that he came from Sicily. I think we've told you that Harry Wile has returned to do a job at the War Office. Isn't it splendid, I haven't seen him yet. He is with Jeanette up in Scotland, they come down on Friday so I have asked the whole bang lot of them here for dinner this Saturday night - what a party. Bunch will be down here by then. We shall miss you, we'll think of you dear one and give you a toast, a very poor substitute! We went to Uncle Cyril's birthday. The Ernest Jenks, Debbens and us. Joy also got over for dinner with two of her hospital friends. They left about 9 o'clock though headlong?? back. We had roast turkey, very nice. They are scarce I think. I understand there will be one for us at Xmas so Charters[xxi] tell me. Anyway he's finding me a boiling one for dinner on Sat night - I didnít quite know what I was going to give them to eat, so that problem is solved. Think we'll have a ice pudding too as itís a special occasion - soup and thatís all, a very sumptuous wartime dinner!
Ma J has finished the mincemeat today made with the fruit you sent direct from South Africa. We couldnít possibly have got together so much but for you. We are very grateful. I gave it a final stir after putting in a drop of this and a drop of that! and wished you the best of everything. I have rung up my bank manager today and asked him to cable you out some money for a present for yourself, if you need it because of your expenses. I donít mind!
Paul Henwood's wife Priscilla came for the day on Saturday, a very nice girl flying officer in the WAAF. Paul is in S.A. He joined the Navy here and transferred to the S.A. navy. She'd heard lots about you. She's stationed near here, got a job as adjutant. Think you'd like her. I'll write again in a day or so.
Wednesday Dec 15† (43)
I'm afraid I haven't written for a few days. life somehow has been somewhat full. Bunch and Carol A arrived on Friday. 3 hrs and some late! The child has stood up to the journey well, thought they both ad colds and C.A. has not been out since. She's not poorly, but the weather is so bitter, very frosty and foggy, so she's better indoors. She's a dear little girl and had grown up quite a lot since we saw her last. Well we are all getting "Xmasy" tho why I donít know for we none of us feel at all like it, shopping - presents really is most trying, things are scarce and and what we can find ??? expensive. To Daddy I am giving a little miniature colourised of the baby. Unfortunately Suzzer has been down with flu and can't get it done for his birthday but has promised it for certain for Xmas! I think I shall give Aunt G[xxii]. money for Bee I have bought a pretty painted tray. These are the principal ones! B & I had a day in B'ham on Monday. She bought the child a couple of pretty Vyella frocks and is now denuded of coupons! What a game it all is! I think I told you we were having a party for Jeanette and Harry Wile on Sat last. Well they all came and very jolly it was too. We had booked turkey and ice pudding with chocolate sauce, very good. The Wiles had a big sherry party for them on Sunday night. It too was great fun, we all had a piece of their wedding cake, now nearly 4 years ago. It too most excellent. I saw Phyllis Goode there she has left Bletchley, she wasnít happy there. Poor girl she looks very sad. She wanted to know all about you. Ginny has now got an admin job. Still at Bletchley I think. Do you hear from her? We are having another ferry pilot, but only for a month, just to oblige as the saying is! I couldnít refuse. The bank have cabled you £5 from me to Barclays D.C. Bank, you'd better enquire about it. Possibly they will credit your account with it. Its for you to buy something you specially want, not to spend on us. You are so generous. Bunch got her stockings yesterday from you, She's thrilled with them. Oh we shall so miss you on Xmas day. A glorious 1944 from you beloved. May everything go well for you.
Christmas Greetings 1943.
The happiest Xmas possible to you darling. I only hope you and Donald will be able to be together. We shall all think of you here at home though I know we shall be only a very small party. We hope to have a tiny Christmas trea for Carol Ann. Ralph Mair is making her a dobby horse and push and I have bought a tiny truck for her to pull about.
Sunday Aft, Boxing Day 26 Dec 1943
I really planned to write a note to you yesterday, but it couldnít be done. As usual, the day was hectic to a degree. The usual rather late brekker, rapidly scrambling over presents, pig skin gloves from Daddy, a lovely log basket from Bunch between us. (By the way, Pa wasnít supposed to give me anything as he went a bit? on too biggish pearls for my birthday) an exotic workbag from Aunt Bee, a rather gorgeous bit of china (a little house) from Gladys, photograph of herself from Joy, and several oddments - then we went to the 11 o'clock service. Church was crowded, very nice. Many of us progressed on to the Manby's for sherry afterwards. Joan Fullerton and Reece? Manby who has just got his divorce thro' have announced their engagement! I'm glad for Joan Fullerton's sake. I have always liked her. They are to be married on Jan 7. Your greetings cable darlings, both of you, arrived on Xmas morning. We were so thrilled to have it and stick it right in the middle of the mantel piece in the present drawing room. We endeavoured to have short "P" & "Q"!! after lunch but it somehow didnít quite work. Of course Daddy and B and I listened to the King and wondered if you would be doing it too. We all thought of you. Then we swanned? about doing odd bit of packing up and went to the Smiths for tea. Nannie and Beattie looked after C-A who by the way thoroughly enjoyed her Xmas and was good as gold. Thrilled to the marrow with the baby "Xmas tree" which she didnít see until it was lighted up. She can't get over it and makes an effort to get to it continually. Joan White, Aunt Emily, Tim and Jennifer came for dinner. Hot which they had provided a goose, one of their own rearing and jolly good it was too. We had a bit of pork with it for Tim as you know doesnít enjoy anything to with fur or feathers! It was luck Butters had killed his pig a few days before Xmas and gave us the pork, so it came in handy. The usual sumptuous pudding and Manor House mince pies! Daddy passed round the ?? and port, asked us all to stand and drink to you darling and Donald, then Peter and Peter White followed by a general toast to the Parkes family, all very nicely done. I think I can safely say the evening was "enjoyed by all"!! that's the way to express it I believe! Tonight we are going to sherry with the Skeltons.
Continued on next airmail.
Boxing Day Aft. continued (1943)
Richard Skelton is home and Bunch is going on to Mildred's. Tomorrow I have asked a few of the locals here for sherry in the evening. Aunt Bee and Uncle Cyril and Joy I hope are coming another night for dinner. Yes of course we were lucky enough to have a turkey. Its still there to be eaten. We really are rather crowded out with food at the moment. look here, donít think we are short of food here because we are not so please please donít worry about us. All that fruit (two lots of parcels) has been more than welcome. Thank you very much for it the syrup icing sugar brown sugar etc. Bunch was thrilled with the baby's shoes, just right. Nannie's Turkish Delight and Aunt Gladys' arrived Xmas a.m., wasnít that nice. Daddy's plate and Turkish Delight arrived absolutely intact, he seemed very pleased about it. Its jolly good stuff. If you haven't sent Aunt Bee any fruit, send her some. I shouldnít send any more fruit at the moment, if I were you. It is so fantastically expensive and now we have a good stock. I do hope my £8 which was cabled to Barclays D.C. Bank arrived also Daddy's money. I must send you some to pay for all the things you have sent. I am so wondering if the parcel arrived and C.A.'s photograph. I gave Daddy a wee painted miniature for his birthday and a rather "twee" silver, old, hot water jug for his Xmas present. Darling everybody seemed so pleased to have had your Xmas card. It was so nice of you to remember everybody. We are having the most gorgeous spring like weather, not at al Xmasy but most pleasant! I've no doubt Bunch will have told you about all the bits I have missed. I do hope you will get through your OCTU pleasantly and soon get a commission to make things easier for you. May be they will select you for a job for which you are fitted. I think they do put the "square pegs in the square holes" now! I'm so wondering how and where you spent Xmas. I hope you have managed to get up to Jerusalem. Pug Adshead is now in Cairo in the Civil Affairs branch. He is a Colonel, so try to find him out. He'd be so glad to see you again. Rang Bryan Willcock (home after 3 1/2 years) getting engaged to Helen Nicholls. I know Mrs Willcock will be pleased. Well I think I had better round up. Darling, all the very best to you for 1944. May we have you home then.
Tuesday Jan 4 1944
The very happiest of happy new years to you both.
We've been thinking a lot about you lately. how youíve been enjoying Palestine. I hope you get as far as Jerusalem. I rather gather you wouldnít "make it" for Xmas day. We had an airgraph "no 60" written Dec 16 on Sat. So glad you have got the photograph of Bunch and child. Yes it is excellent. I had a tiny miniature of her done for Daddy, he was very pleased. Darling I am hoping by this time our parcel to you has arrived also money I sent. Uncle C and Gladys sent you money I believe also. I wish there were more things I could send you, do give me a hint if there is anything. The cake also arrived on Sat in a most perfect condition, just a bit of icing off the sides, thatís all. Its glorious, we were all so excited to open it. Ma J. simply couldnít wait. We were just off out to drinks at the Jack Hills when it arrived but I had to go back and undo the parcel! You have been most generous. Simply everybody has appreciated what you have sent them no end and the various people seemd so glad to have Xmas cards from you too. Well what do you think about Bunch's expected "arrival". Pa is thrilled. So am I in a way, but honestly I do feel it is a lot of responsibility for her. She is young and Peter expects to be going off during the next few months. I believe the Waddells too are pleased. They didnít want C-A to be an only child. My hat she is getting a handful! Poor little soul, she has been rather poorly so that has made her some what irritable, she is usually so full of smiles! I hope you have had a good leave together and that you will soon get you OCTU, may be it will be decent? Hope for the bast. I am sure that it will be better and easier or rather more pleasant for you! Philippa Reade has already left and wondered if you will contact her! She said how much she missed you. She's heard nothing of her family for a very long time. Peter White is here on a week's leave - he and Joan are coming in tonight but not to dinner. We just couldnít cope, so they are coming at about 8.30. The ?? has had two or three days in bed with flue, but is well again now. We've done very well this Xmas really. The Cyrils came for dinner last Thursday - we had our turkey than. We also had turkey when Harry and Jeanette etc came, so we've fared well. Really it is amazing how well fed we are when you consider all the difficulties. Our hens too are very patriotic at the moment. We are killing the second pig on a fortnight?. How I wish I could send you a piece. Do tell me what the fudge I sent to you was like. Hope it hadn't gone mouldy!
Thursday Jan 14 '44
It seems ages since we last heard from you. Your letter posted in arrival at Haifa! I do hope you have had a good leave. We are dying to hear all about it. Your cake is being very much appreciated. It is delicious. We are panning? it out as long as we can. Many people have been to tea and enjoyed it. I'm terribly glad our parcel arrived to you. I know there was very little of account in it but thought you would enjoy opening all the small packages. Money I know is acceptable to you, perhaps when you get a commission you will be a bit "better off"! We sent off a bundle of magazines yesterday, there will be a few more in another day or so of course. Bunch has gone off to see Peter, so we are rather occupied with the child. She is rapidly growing up. Her brain seems to get quicker then her capacity to get about. She wants to be "on the go" all the time. She is really very fascinating but very "wilful" Cedric Wile and party are giving a small entertainment for the Home Guard. We went to the first one on Monday night. It was really excellent. I have enclosed a programme in the magazines. Tonight there is the Home Guard Ball at the Clock Hall. Daddy wishes me to go so I suppose I must. An awful bore! Joan White came up this morning with her cousin, a very nice woman. We had a drink together. Peter has just gone back from leave, They came up here one night. By the way, Bunch has faced up to have the nurse Joan had. She seemed a very nice bright girl. She hasnít seen C??t? yet. I hope she will when she comes back. I'm afraid there is little news in this but I seem to be in such a hurry. What news of your OCTU. You'll be glad to get it through. I am sure Donald is alright again I hope.
21 Jan 1944
I am so longing to get a letter from you. It has been just more than three weeks since we heard from you - your airmail posted directly you arrived in Haifa! As a matter of fact Bunch had two letters from you yesterday, but she has not yet told us any news contained in them. I am dying to hear all about your leave, where you went to etc. We rather expected to hear from you whilst you were in Palestine. what about your parcels, were the contents all right? Did you get ?? and did Donald get a box, containing a cheque from here? Harold Black called last week he's been in the Middle East for two or three years. He brought home a box of oranges and a box of lemons I hear!! Were the Jaffas[xxiii] ripe in Palestine. I remember when we were there just before Xmas they were just getting ripe, weren't they good too! We killed our second pig last week and a fearful calamity happened. It had all to be destroyed, it had tuberculosis! What a blow it was, we'd been so looking forward to the pork and what not, not to mention the awful loss of the hams and the bacon! Hope I didn't tell you all of this in my last letter forgive me if I did. We have just finished eating your Xmas cake. Such good icing too. I am afraid you have spent far too much of your little on us all. When the time comes for you to come home - hope it be soon! I should endeavour to collect silk if possible and what not for clothes, spoil for yourself - anything here that is at all nice is a fantastic price. And Bunch has paid sixteen or eighteen guineas for her leo?? coat, which is quite ordinary! Pa and Pa Maitland had been having correspondence with regard to after the prospects for Donald. Won't it be good when you can have your own home. Next week I hope to go over and ?? with Joan White for a couple of nights. She went and Rooms for at them this summer! We've really had no winter yet. It's just been a dull and dark. Thank goodness the afternoons are getting much lighter. But the mornings are yet very dark. Do you have the extra hour in Cairo and is there blackout? A bit of news Gordon and Marg[xxiv] are in for a family!
Wednesday Jan 26 (44)
We were absolutely thrilled to get your 4 air mail letter cards which all arrived together two days ago telling us all about your leave. What a very interesting trip it must have been. You'll be getting like a prize pig with all that amount of food you seem to be getting! I'm sorry you didn't manage to get up to Jerusalem. It's a wonderful place, though to my mind spoiled because it's all so much commercialised! Still you seem to have had a marvellous leave and that's everything! Rather hard to settle down to routine life again I imagine. You'll be surprised to note I am writing this from Aberdovey.I came yesterday with Joan White and we're staying two nights at the Penhellig Arms which is most comfortable. Joan asked me a while ago if I would help her to fix up rooms for the family for the summer so here we are. It still has a very great "pull" on me, it really is a sweet village. I took her up to the Terrace to look for rooms. Our old† Mrs Dan? has "passed on"† so has dear Mrs Williams from the paper shop. Mrs Thomas at the chemist shop nearly jumped over the counter when she saw me in the shop. Nice to come back where one is so well known! Unfortunately it is pouring with rain or I was going to wander about this morning. Joan has done to look at Garth (I can't help her there) and this afternoon we're going to Llyngorel. Oh, Howard Phillips blew in on Saturday afternoon and stayed for tea, just back from North Africa. He went a few days before you did. Wanted to know all about you. He never got to Cairo or he would have looked you up. He is absolutely insistent about you getting a commission. He says you must press and then when you have got through, you will with the little tact and skill get the sort of job you want to, have a good try. Can't† otis do anything about putting your name forward. We are sending on your wonderful letters to the Maitlands to read. Thought they would be so interested. Bunch seems very well. She's very clever the way she looks so very trim and tidy whilst she is having a baby. Of course Carol Ann is now a handful, struggling to walk. Think she will manage it soon there. My hat she has got a paddy when she can't get her way, but she is very fascinating. B.'s trying to get a nursemaid which will be very necessary. Your Tom is sweet with her he doesn't get a bit older and looks so big and large and struggles with a ball like a kitten! He's a dear thing.
Tuesday Feb 1 1944
We have had your letter this morning saying you have seen Reg. I am so glad. How very interesting, I'm sure he was delighted to see you. I hope you have lots more meetings with him. Ask him about your commission. I know he would help you if it is at all possible because you are so capable if you get the right job and I do so want you to be as happy and comfortable as possible. As you know, Daddy and I have every confidence in your capacity, so donít you be discouraged or put off! I am appalled that you have had no mail from me for a fortnight being sure letters have been sent to you. Anyway, I hope you are getting them regularly now. We have had sheets from you up to no 71 I think it is. You really are a very, very good daughter. We missed your letters so much when you were on leave, but really we simple haven't ceased to marvel at the wonderful letters you wrote describing your trip. They are a joy to read, you really should have taken up journalism, I mean it! We are very proud of you. I also had a parcel this morning from S Africa. The Boustreds of Johannesburg sent us two rather large boxes of chocolates, which I am afraid are somewhat stale. I think they must have been on the way for a very long time. It is sad! Now everything you have sent has arrived in perfect condition. There was also an Xmas pudding in the parcel which we are having tonight. It looks and smells good. We had an American Colonel (doctor) to dinner last night. He has just arrived here. A very nice type. We asked Joan White in. Peter and Bunch are here so we were a nice little party - a good dinner, turkey, mixed fruit ?? ??? pudding, tomato soup, all very well cooked! He was very impressed! Sorry my writing seems to be getting bigger and bigger, I must "control it"! How I wish it were possible for you and Donald to live together. I know you must be very lonely at times. Oh I went to Mrs D. ??? for tea yesterday. Minnie and Mrs Reade were there. Philippa has arrived your place and everything sounds very rosy!!
Sat Feb 5 1944
We've done very well in letters from you this week, airgraph a few days ago airmail yesterday and again today No. 74, imagine dated 27-1-44, good going that! Well you've had your selection board by now I gather, I hope all went well and that your time in the Kashi barracks won't be too bad. Once you can get your commission through I am sure life won't be quite so irksome in the A.T.S. because for one thing you won't be quite so restricted. So Darling make the best of it. After all your are and will be doing a wonderful job and we all do so want to get this dreadful war over, so look at it like that. You are doing your share towards it and its marvellous that you haven't had to be separated from Donald for a longer period of years, though I know it has been more than rough going to have achieved what you wanted to do. So do struggle hard to be an efficient officer, I don't mean of course of the "drilling type" - because I know people who know you like you tremendously. So that you can be a good influence and help others along. I sound as if I am preaching but dearest I am so anxious to help you and do all I can for your happiness. Get as much out of your life as you can, see and learn all you can. Pug Adshead wrote to us, he thought you looked awfully well and seemed delighted to have seen you. He was very impressed with Donald and said how well matched you were. They do hope you will see more of him. We have sent more magazines off you today, is there anything else I can send you, toilet requisites or the like? Nanny is away for a few days, poor old nanny, she seems to be getting rapidly older. I asked her to stay at home for a while but she refuses. We are having most glorious spring like weather, masses of snowdrops and crocuses out. I do hope we shan't suffer for it later on. We've had a very mild winter so far. What bad luck Donald having his fountain pen stolen, I'd send him one but they are not procurable now. By the way did he get my book and cheque at Xmas.
I know Romie you will be very shocked and distressed to hear this. Dick Hazel has died in his prison camp. It apparently happened in Jan 1943 and those beasts never let us know that until now. Mrs Hazel had the telegram telling her only two days ago. It's too awful. You see she lost her husband at the end of the last war. I have been down to see her this morning. She's not wanting to meet people yet. We want her to go away if she will. She and Joan and Joanna, the girl who lives with them are coming to lunch quietly tomorrow Sunday. I am going to send for them it will be a break it's been a great shock to Marjorie.
Tuesday after dinner Feb 8 (44)
I'm all on my own, Ma J and Beattie gone and Daddy of to H G, so thought I would have a chat with you. I've just been ringing up Bunch at Lytham. She seems all well and has been busy buying C-A a few clothes from Marshalls and son in Manchester. She's staying a little longer away them we had expected so Daddy "on his own bat" telegraphed to the Tregunna Castle to see if they could have us. They have wired "yes" so we go on Feb 16 until the 23rd. We shall go up to London on the 15th, stay the night at the Paddington and go down to St Ives by the morning train. I think Pops likes a little change as well as Ma!! I think perhaps you had better send your letters here because the times they take to come over vary. We had two airgraphs of Jan 24 (74) this a.m. but we had your airmail of Jan 27 yesterday!! Marvellous. I do so hope you get on alright in your sort of pre-OCTU course. I hope it wasn't as bad as you were anticipating, you must think more of your own capacities. Couldn't you possibly wangle a job in the I.S. I do so want you to go through well with it all. Daddy and I want you and Donald to be happy and make a go of life. Darling don't fall into the temptations of people who live out East cos you know I always hold you in such very high regard. Reg in his letter spoke so nicely of you both. Darling I hope your tummy is better. I'm sorry you still get the bad tummies. What did the doctor say. Can he give you anything to relieve the pain, its so hellish I know. Do take care of yourself and don't injure your constitution by overdoing things, be abstemious, you are so very precious you know. You must take care. The letters containing the patterns of your coat and your frock which you sent off in Nov arrived this morning too. So we've done well. What a warm coat it must be. Are you pleased with it, it's lovely. I like the pink frock too. Does it look nice, the colour suits you I am sure. It's lovely material too. Can you get it in blue or other colours, the dress materials I mean. I'm sorry you have such trouble in getting hot baths etc it's too bad. Will it be any easier for you when you become an officer, surely it is a necessity to you all out there. Are you all right for soap etc, do tell me because I have plenty. Oh, Bunch told me that Nancy-Mary is engaged. I'm so glad, to somebody Peter knew at school! I had a parcel from Mrs Biden today, one pound of tea and 1 lb of sugar, isn't it kind of her. Frances wrote to us at Christmas. Do you know I've seen the first daffodil buds in the garden today. Things are all very forward owing to the mild winter. Poor old Bertie has been at the vets for 10 days, he has got some skin trouble, we do miss him and Tom is very flourishing and brisk so "whisk" really.
Tuesday Feb 15 1944
I am writing this to you at the Park Lane Hotel. We are here just for the night getting the early train in the morning down to St Ives. It's a gorgeous spring like day. Hope we'll get similar weather down there! The house is shut up, poor Bertie he will hate it especially as he returned from the vets only a couple of days ago, he's been there a fortnight getting treatment for his skin. Butters has promised to look after the animals well. We've not done much this aft just went round to collect my watch from parks? at the top of Burlington Arcade, came back here for tea. Well we're going to the theatre. Jack Hulbert and C. Courtneidge[xxv] at 6-15, so there isn't a lot of time. We hoped to get a letter from you before we left but no luck. We're wondering so much how you are getting on with your course. I do hope it pans out alright. I feel confident it will, I do so want you to live as comfortable as possible whilst you're out there. Daddy and I went to a dance given by the Americans at Danescourt last Saturday. They look a tough crowd, of course their entertaining wasn't on the same scale as the Dutch, did their best though, they have hardly had time to settle in yet and things now are not so easy to get. However it was quite jolly. Minnie and Dilys etc were there, Minnie asked us to a party on Sunday to meet Mrs Hazlet's brother who is a general and has just come over. However I couldn't make it as Poppa had an all day excise on. Poor old Joy is at home with German measles, it's her leave too and they were doing all sorts of things, it is bad luck. She's been very poorly too, had such a very sore mouth apparently. I left her a lovely big raspberry soufflť which Ma Jay had made for her. Oh, I bought rather pretty dress egg blue or green(?) crepe frock last week. Think you would approve, a Vivienne Porter quite plain with a rather high square neck capped by enormous buttons on either side. Thought I might as well have it to bring away, it will do for summer too. I've also got rather a nice deepish red hat, service cap style, think it is quite becoming! My coat and skirt it isn't finished, it's too much fag going over to B'ham to cope with it!! I'll get down to it though when I get back.
Later 11 o'clock
We just had supper here at Park Lane good soup Chicken done up with rice? etc and a delicious sweet; the show was excellent, the Hulberts really are a wonderful pair.
Monday Feb 22 (44)
At Tregunna Castle and simply bitterly cold it is, a strong at north-east wind has been blowing for the past few days. However it is fairly bright and probably the weather is much worse at home!! Anyway it is a very nice change and rest for Pops, he flew over to the Scilly Isles on Sat and stayed the night there. He's always wanted to do it so his wish has been satisfied, I didn't go and I don't think he particularly wanted me to as he thought I might be sick or something! We have had two airgraphs from you today Feb and we had two letter cards on Friday last. The latter came quicker than airgraphs. I'm very glad darling you have got through your selection board. I shall be thinking of you at the weekend when you're about due to go to your OCTU, maybe it won't be quite as bad as you are anticipating. Don't despise the A.T.S. too badly because there are some very nice ones really not forgetting yourself! Any old way, give them a good impression for it will make such a difference to the sort of job you get afterwards. I think such a lot about you and do what you to have a good job and be happy. I wonder where you are going to be stationed, how long does the course take? I'm sure Donald will keep in touch with you if it is humanly possible!! By the way do ask him to write to us. You never said if he got the Xmas presents, a book and a cheque! You'll have quite a number of treasures to bring home won't you, only hope you'll be able to keep them all intact. Your brooch and pendant you bought the other day seemed very thrilling, and I think I should like one or two nice aquamarine as if the prices are not too terrific! But I'm afraid the days of picking up things cheaply is a thing of the past isn't it, too many people after them! I'm writing this in my bedroom with a bowl of violets under my nose smelling deliciously, Cornish violets are heavenly. I think we are disappointed not to see more bulbs out but these cold winds have rather checked them. Oh, Marg Oliver, you remember the Olivers, friends Tim and D. has a flat here. She came to lunch yesterday, and we go there tomorrow, she and her husband have parted company, isn't it sad, he has gone off with somebody very gay and well-off. I never believed it of him. I am awfully sorry for her, Tim asked us to look her up! Well dearest one, I must go for our morning walk down to St Ives where we drink chocolate! Do we still write to you at the same address. You are so good the way you write to us. I just live for your letters.
Friday Feb 25 (44)
It was grand to find your letter No. 79 of the 11/2.44 waiting for us when we arrived on Wednesday night, got here about 10-30. It's a long journey, we were travelling from 9am the whole time and only caught the 6-10 from Paddington here by the skin of our teeth. We didn't particularly want to stay in London for the night as the evening is a bit busy there just at present! Pauline Bayliss has come bustling home with her baby, London is not a good place at the moment. The hotel at Paddington court it on Tuesday night "incendiaries" damaging the two top floors, we had fixed to stay there the night but I believe they closed up for a day or so because of the mess made by water. I don't think it's damaged any further than that. We have wondered why they haven't gone for us before when you consider what we are doing over in Germany. It is very nice to be home so much more comf. than anywhere else. We had a good welcome from Bert, between you and me I believe Daddy is a bit jealous the way Bertie just pounces on me. He never left my side all day yesterday. The cat looked a little thin and I thought, we'll feed them up! Tom made a great fuss when Nanny came back, she said. I really do hate leaving them. It was very pleasant at Tregunna, we met some nice people (horrid expression)! Had a bridge with them, the food was bad as it was cold, the hotel, I mean, a north-east wind blowing all the time. However in spite of all these grumbles we enjoyed it. We had lunch with Marg Oliver on Tuesday, she has got a heavenly flat, a sort of "part house", it was bathed in sunshine that day and so warm. She gave us a lovely lunch too, casserole consisting of boiled fish, and cauliflower all covered over with cheese sauce, delicious. Then her best tart lovely pastry, then coffee. I'm sorry they have parted company, he's gone off with a girl of about 38, very well-off and very gay I believe. Marg, naturally was very bitter about it all, she said, she'd never dreamed of anything like that happening.
Well so you are now at your OCTU, I do hope it will not be so bad as you're anticipating. You have done very very well dearest to get their, I'm so devoutly thankful for your sake, so go steady and I am sure you will in the end get the job you want. Wouldn't it be to marvellous if you could work for Pug. Let them see all best of your character. No. 80 letter arrived this am sent from Jerusalem, glad you had a jolly weekend with Donald before we went off. I'm sure he'll get to see you "by hook or by crook" where ever you are! We met one or two nice A.T.S. officers away, there are some very nice ones you known, so still hold your head up high!! By the way one of them wore a very nice greatcoat, more of the British warm type. You should try for that kind if I were you. Is it possible to send you out anything from here. It seems such pity you have to buy luggage when we have so much at home.
Tuesday Feb 28 (44)
I'm wondering how you're getting, on nothing further from you since your airmail card the day you left for the OCTU. I suppose we shall have to wait a bit before we hear from you. A letter takes considerably longer to Palestine, ours to you will be somewhat delayed I am afraid. At any rate until we know your new address. We are now covered in snow, two go downfalls Sat and Sunday, the weather is gloriously bright and sunny in spite of being so cold. Actually when one can be in the sun it is beautifully warm. Everywhere looks enchanting! We've struggler out with Carol Ann in the pram and I took her by myself yesterday aft. but it was hard going. They returned on Sat you know. C-A much altered, she is quite a little girl and can now walk, poor wee soul our polished floors were a nightmare to begin with but she seems to be getting used to them now. She is wearing a rather hefty pair of brown shoes with rubber heels, they help, though she looks so quaint with her legs stuck wide apart and she stumps round. She manages the little step into the morning? sitting room quite well. B. has bought her some nice new clothes, three warm coats in various shades of blue, proper little lace bordered ones and the most heavenly blue dressing-gown, a thin Jaeger one! A very pretty Muslim frock bedroom slippers and I know not what. Used nearly all her coupons I should think! She's a dear little thing affectionate but so doesn't like to be a kissed. Romie she loathes feathers the same as you did, most amusing. She makes such queer faces and something when she sees them she discovered them in Daddy's pipe drawer! Every drawer and cupboard she goes for!! Brian Wilcock and Helen Nicoll were married yesterday at Belbroughton, an all white wedding I hear. Joy came to tea on Sat, she has just recovered from German measles, been really poorly. Aunt Bee isn't at all well either, and she's got a tired heart I think, nothing serious but of course she's doing so much more than ever she had to do in her life! Bunchie seems quite well but gets tired naturally. I shall be glad when we have found a young girl to help her because really C-A takes one's whole time. I hope daily you are alright and finding things more pleasant than you anticipated. Tonight we're having Lord Dartmouth for dinner he and Pa and going off to a meeting together on 14th March. I believe Pop is going to Peter's Brigade for a week's training or rather observation! He's looking forward to it. Shall you remember to send a letter to Joy for her birthday on 8th March. I'm sorry my writing seem so bad my hands seemed unsteady.
Sunday March 5 (44)
I've just had five minutes nod before a nice roaring fire in the dining room. B. has gone to her room, and C-A is in bed and Daddy is away on an all-day exercise with the Home Guard. It is still very cold and snow lying on the ground, we had two heavy falls last weekend. We will all be thankful when it has gone now. The north-east wind which we've had for some time gets on one's nerves, still it's very bright and sunny. Bunchie seems to have a bad cough, it bothers her at night which is a nuisance. CA too as a cold and cough, but she's busy cutting more teeth which may account for it. She's a scream and now she trot all over the place and has conquered the polished floors, they were a nightmare for a day or so. She's a terrific little flirt! She coquets with any man who comes along. Yesterday we had two American officer for tea, she was a scream the way she played up to them, they were terribly impressed. When she is at all shy or embarrassed she puts her little hands over her ears and sort of† bends her head on one side, it is most amusing! You'd adore her in her little heavenly blue dressing-gown she has, she looks like a miniature monk stumping about, all round and her tummy well pushed forward! Well that's enough for rambling. A tin of gorgeous raisins arrived from Donald on Friday. Thank you both very much. I'll write to him. He's never told me yet if he got my cheque!!! We haven't heard from you for about 12 days, that is because you have moved I suppose. We're longing to hear how it is all going.
We are feeling very thrilled. I had a present of 14 lemons yesterday. I don't idea a lemon was such an exotic fruit!! Also Mrs Jack sent us 12 Seville oranges, we haven't had them here but they have in Scotland so now we're all in the throes of making our delicious marmalade. Daddy is nearly potty about it. I've made, lemons into an something something (we've still a drop of the latter left) for Bunch and the baby who laps it up too. She is potty about Choc now we daren't leave a bit of sweet about. She gobbles it up in a jiffy, all drawers and cupboards are delved into and the contents scattered! I'm hoping when we hear from you, you will be able to give us an address so that we can write you direct. Aunt B rang up for your new address this am. Tonight we're going over to have a cocktail with Dilys and Norman if is Pop isn't too tired. He's off to Peter's Brigade today week for a few days. Well bye-bye dearest hope you're all right.
Monday March 10 (44)
Two letters this week from you, 82 and 83, which have each taken 10 days to come judging by the date on them, not bad at all. How long do our letters take to come to you? Well I hope you are not absolutely laid flat with all the drilling etc you are having to do, you poor child. It always been the one thing you really hated, I feared you might have to have a spell of it. However I hope by this time it is becoming a little less strenuous. I hate saying to you "stick to it" because I know there is nothing else but that for you must get your commission for your own sake. I know in everything else you will give a good "show down" and create a good impression. I only hope you will get a congenial job at the end of it all, but I know you will. Sorry you had been having trouble with your teeth but hope all is well now. Take care of them there are very precious! I always did think you brushed them too hard. Sorry Donald has not been too good either, but hope he is better again. Romie, disinfect your brush, when you think of it. I've heard people in this country getting things wrong with their gums, some germ or other. Are you requiring more toothpaste yet or toilet requisites? Bunch sent you a lovely parcel from Lizzie Arden which he was in London. Hope it arrived safely. I should tell people at 5.I.S to a look after it for you. Bunch happened to see the advert in Vogue and took advantage of it! I know you'll be thrilled when you get it. C-A is rapidly developing. She walked halfway upstairs on her own yesterday, but had no idea what ever how to get down!! We're getting a gate made. We are most thrilled and interested the hear your description of Jerusalem, are you stationed near there? Bunch tells us you had a trying journey from Cairo and the place you are at now, we've no idea where it is. I do hope you'll be able to meet some people in Jerusalem and are able to see a bit more the place while still there. Of course we are just longing and longing to see you and have you with us again.
Wednesday March 15 (44)
Bunch and I are having a few days our own whilst Pop is "doing his stuff" with Peter at Lowestoft. I think he's enjoying it, though it is hard work! As I have said many times before, an army life it seems more suited to Daddy them that of a company director!! They both return latish tomorrow night. Peter is staying for the weekend here. What a change he will see in his daughter, he has never seen her walk properly! It seems such a shame Darling you can't see her and laugh with Bunch about her funny little ways. Oh, how I do long to have you with us. Aunt Bee came over for the day yesterday, she was very impressed I think, and told Bunch on a way back to the bus how well she thought she was bringing her up. The little lady was certainly on her best behaviour. She's got a "paddy" tho' believe me! The stairs are the latest attraction, she is forever trying to get up, wouldn't matter if she'd any idea of getting down, but she hasn't yet. It will come though I suppose!
Well how are you, I do hope you're not too weary and that at least you have one or two to congenial people there with whom you can share your "trials"!! I think so very very often about you and wonder how you. What the weather like now, is it warmer, we've had rather a spell cold winds but today it is better, Bunch tells me. I've had rather coughs so stayed in, it really isn't bad but it has affected my voice so that I "croak"! Of course we should be in the throes of spring cleaning but I'm afraid this year for the first time it won't be done. Ma J and Nanny just seem as if they don't want to tackle it. We can't possibly get it done before the new baby arrives and then it will be hopeless to think of it. We'll just do only what is necessary, smoke room and dining room and hall and kitchen. I've just had that big old comfortable chair in the drawing room covered in a most heavenly Silk tapestry, a sort of pale fawn background and all sorts of pastel shades woven into it in the form of flowers and medieval figures. I should say it is a copy of a goblin tapestry. It has only come back this morning, Bunch was thrilled when she saw it, says it is like the things they had at Hatton! Well I have rambled on all about nothing. I sent magazines last week and will sent more tomorrow.
Tuesday March 28 (44)
A most extraordinary air mail from you this am postmark dated March 19 but you'd forgotten to write on it all, simply a blank airmail, other than our address. You evidently posted the wrong one, most disappointing, however the real one I've no doubt will be arriving later! Well your course I suppose is nearing its end. I hope it has all ended up well. We are longing to know more about it. You'll get this for Easter I imagine all my loving thoughts come with it, dear one. You are very precious to me, you know. I hope Donald has now recovered it must be so worrying for you. I wish it could be managed for you to actually live together in a flat or something. I do what you both to be happy. We are having the most glorious spring like weather, it really has been quite warm in the middle of the day for the past few days. The daffodils are all coming out in the garden. We've done very well for flowers this winter had such good anemones? and primulas so the house has always been quite gay with colour now the Arum lilies are coming out. As you will have heard Bunch went up to London on Sunday for the night to go to Nancy-Mary's wedding. It was a very nice little wedding I hear and they were very glad to see Bunch. She spent your £2 at Lizzie Arden and so you look you will be getting the stuff in due course I have no doubt. I hope you got the other parcel she sent you from Arden a week or so ago. How long do parcels take now? I want to know because of your birthday, what can we send you? Any suggestions? The nurse Bunch is having has been to lunch today. Very nice and pleasant quite different from the last one, she's called Olive Williams, about 35 pretty and bright! Am sure she will be a success so I hope all will go well. I'm very well except my skin is rather bad. Curtis is giving me another course of† injections. Tom made a tremendous fuss of nurse Williams, I never saw him so fussy, perhaps that a good omen. My dear he is bigger and stronger than ever are! So by his claws, when he calls up you!! I've been busy these last few days collecting for the NSPCC, how I hate asking people for money and still it's a good cause
March 22 1944
Nanny and Bunch and I have just finished tea together in the smoke room, Ma J's day out! Carol Ann †is out for a walk with the Speakes??. They sometimes take her. Eunice loves to Push †the pram apparently and when I've finished this I'm going to make a bit of fudge, only half a pound though, taking the opportunity of doing it while Mrs J E is out! Bunch has been out to lunch at the Hilton's. Margaret's home on leave. We had your 86th airmail last night undated though. You'd just had an interview with the C.O. something very daily. I can't help feeling you will come out all right. After "all's said and done" all officers require many qualifications other than knowing how to drill and play games. So† just plug away getting in their good books, that's the great thing! You must make them realise that you would do your best as an officer and raise the standard of the A.T.S.. I know you do for your own sake want to get a commission it would make life considerably more congenial for you. Bunch and I think it isn't diplomatic to say too much about Donald to your "superiors" or they will feel your mind won't (be) sufficiently on your work. I am very sorry he is so unwell but I do hope he is better again by the time you get this. I will write to him. Something he send a grand! Now dearest don't let things get you down, you always got "het up" at school[xxvi]. I know it will all come out all right. How I wish I'd got you here! Peter is very well, getting fat. He doesn't anticipate going away at present. Pa and Ma Waddell came for the night on Sat. They were of course very taken up with the child. You're be sad to hear that Colonel Champion died suddenly at the golf club on Saturday. He'd been suffering from "a heart" for some time. It was a great shock. Well I don't seem to have said much, though I must stop now. It's very nice of you to suggest sending marmalade. We're very well in hand at the moment, made quite a lot. Bye bye now precious. Think of us on Easter Sunday, we'll be thinking of you.
Wed April 5 (44)
We were terribly glad to get your letter this a.m. No. 85. You see we actually haven't had heard from you for three weeks. The last one you sent was just a blank inside as I told you. I think we do get all your letters quite regularly and at the moment we haven't had 85 or 87, naturally we are wondering how the results have turned out. All OK I hope for your sake. Actually you haven't something have you, but we shall wait until we know your permanent address again before we post to you. Could you buy yourself a couple of you cottons, or are they too, too expensive, but I will send you £10 for your birthday present so perhaps you could use it in that way. I should have thought you might get some gingham and even and have them made. Would you like me to send you one from here, we can quite easily manage seven coupons. We hear from everybody who comes home from the Middle East how expensive everything is. Dr McGeoch has just come back after being away nine months, been to Bombay. He's he still on the same job. The Hook? girl (Wren) who lives in Alex is been married this month, a doctor with 2 grown-up children! Oh, Pat Hickman is marrying his something on 13th April. Donald is better I hope, give him our love. Wouldn't it be marvellous for you both to get home early next year. I shall save the orange gin we have made for you! Mrs Hazel told me how to do it with Seville oranges, actually just the rid of 4 and one pound of sugar added to a bottle of gin. It has to stand for ages. Should be good! Bunch seem very well but gets a bit tired of course, I shall send you a cable when the event takes place. Let us know all the news how you are etc etc.
Sunday April 16 (44)
I don't seem to have written to you for a few days. Life seems to very full, what with one thing and another, so many little jobs to do in the House. I take Carol Ann for walks very frequently, it helps Bunch and I love taking her out. It will be a good thing now when the new baby arrives, Bunch is very well on the whole but gets very fatigued. She was delighted to get your cable yesterday. So glad the Lizzie Arden parcel arrived, were the things to your liking. Another one was sent you with £2 you sent to B. We haven't heard from you since Easter Monday, we thought of you a lot at Easter. What you would be doing etc. We seemed to have a hectic weekend going out for drinks and people coming here. The Woods at ??? had a very big party on Easter Monday. Pa and I went. Bunch feels now she can't accept social engagements. Daddy and I also went to a dance last Friday at the Civic Hall given by the American doctors who are now stationed at Wightwick. We thought it rather dull, though there were quite a few people there we knew. I don't consider the Americans are good hosts, their parties are nothing to be compared with those the Dutch people used to give. They seem to pick up "such queer young women"!! We seem to be very lacking in news as far as you're concerned, the last was 89 we're still missing 87 and 84. I do hope the OCTU has all been successful. Your letters don't seem to come through so well, for a long time we seemed to get a letter at the beginning of each week and then another at the end and often two together, but I 'spect it isn't so easy now that you don't see Donald so often. I do do hope you are seeing him still. Bunch is hoping and praying that Peter will still be here when the child arrives. I hope so too, cos it would be very hard for her otherwise. Carol Ann is adorable, she now wears those delicious pink and white shoes you sent from Cairo and, my hat, she does fancy herself in them! The little nurse maid arrives tomorrow, I hope she will "answer"! The daffodils in the garden are perfectly gorgeous, such wonderful varieties. They are just at their best this weekend. Daddy and I are thinking of going to London for a night at the end of the week to see the blossom at Kew. I'll try and write again tomorrow.
Monday April 24 (44)
We were very relieved to get your letters 90 and 91 and 85 (sent ordinary mail) altogether this am. It had been over a fortnight since we had any news of you and we miss it so much for we are so cut off. Well very dear one, we are naturally distressed that you didn't pull off the OCTU, but of course only that you must have been so upset and neither Daddy or I are there to give you a comforting word. I know Donald would be a tower of strength to you. Try not to feel bitter about it, I know it is a bitter disappointment. We were so anxious that you should get a commission. I'm afraid mainly to help you yourself. I know in your present position there are so many petty restrictions which rather limit your mode of life so I think if I were you I should just keep your thoughts and ideas of the A.T.S. to yourself and have another shot at it. Be hearty with them for the time being. It is awfully difficult for me to advise you because I know that their type is so opposed to anybody you have had dealings with. I considered it a most disgraceful business that your capacity and character haven't been the dominant factor of your getting a commission. Darling I know the next three months are going to be very unpalatable for you being in that crowd. I hope there are a few remaining people in the vicinity who can help you and whom you can meet. Don't fret or worry, Their blindness in seeing what a nice character you are simply astounds me. I only hope somebody can do something for you to help you along. I do think they might have told you where you failed so that you can remedy it the next time. I am sure you will want to get it through now. You never have failed before in achieving what you want. Forget it dearest, and have another crack. Just go at it with a little more bluff. Am afraid that's the only thing. We just felt so sick for you, that's all, don't worry about us. All our thoughts and wishes are for your welfare happiness.
Bye bye for now. Cheer up and don't take it too badly.
Monday May 1st (44)
I hope the pangs of disappointment are now a little less keen. I know what a bitter blow it must have been, but I'm confident that you will get through the next time. It was not a failure so don't think of it as such, I'm only sorry you have the period to go through with a crowd of people with whom you have so little in common. Just try to bear it for a little longer. Donald will feel happier about you when you are commissioned I know. Pug has been a brick hasn't he. He wrote a very nice letter to Daddy about you and seemed anxious for you to see Mrs Chitty to have a talk with her. He felt it might help. He said she would be specially watching your progress in A.T. administration, apparently all A.T. officers must now be efficient in that line no matter what their job may be. Then perhaps you will be able to get work you are really interested in. Anyway it will put one in the position to pick and choose a little more. Bunch heard from you this am, saying you had had your Lizzie Arden parcel and also that Pug had sent you out to dinner with some young Captain or other and we are very grateful to him for the interest he takes in you. Bunch is very well, nothing happening just yet. I do hope it won't be very overdue, for I feel she's getting weary, things upset her. She is marvellous about it all though really. I shall be most devoutly thankful when it is all over. Carol Ann goes off to Lytham tomorrow, she's being taken by Beattie. The little nurse girl Bunt?? is† a great success so far. The child likes her which is a great thing. How I wish daily you could be home with us. I pray the time won't be too far distant. I 'spect Daddy told you he and I went to London for a night last weekend. Saw Llyn Fontaine and Alfred Lunt in "There shall be no night". Simply wonderful, a lot of the women? of Greece. How we did enjoy it for their acting was superb. We went to Kew and to Wisley. Daddy hadn't been there before. The gardens are wonderful. Of course we were near Byfleet, but we had only just the Saturday morning there and had to be back in London by 3 o'clock to get back here. Connie rang up and said you'd seen John, she seemed very pleased. Take care of your precious self. Let us know all news. I couldn't bear you to keep anything back.
Tuesday May 7th 1944
I'm sorry my writing seemed to be going from bad to worse. I haven't written to you for a few days. Bunchie still going strong. Nurse, who we all like very much arrived last Friday, but at the moment there are no signs of the child. I wish he would come. B is getting agitated for naturally she wants it to happen before Peter goes, not that there are any immediate signs of his going. Leave though has been cancelled for some time. It was so nice to have a typed letter from you last week. It was that privilege a mail card. The first we've had, it took only nine days to come! Fancy I can't think of you gruelling in the heat! The weather here is definitely on the chilly side though fine. Do type your letters when you can. Didn't you borrow Donald's at one time perhaps you haven't the convenience to have it where you are? I hope life isn't too bad and that the jobs or work you are doing isn't too boring. We want you to be successful. I sent off a parcel to you a week ago with some fudge it and a book which I think you'll enjoy. We are all reading it. I hope it will arrive somewhere near your birthday. Glad you're getting the magazines we sent. I try to scrounge as many as I can for you. I shall telegraph some money to you later on. The ordinary cheap telegrams which we have been able to send to the forces had been suspended for a time. I presume they want all lines of communication kept as free as possible. Bunch and nurse and I went to the Drumhead Service for the 4th celebration of the Home Guard last Sunday afternoon. The actual service took place in a field opposite something House and the "March Past" was on the Upper Green where "Daddy" took the salute. We went out to tea with Aunt Bee and o the way called at the Swansons, and had a drink with them. Glad you've seen John Webb. It must be grand meeting people from home. Hope the Norman girl is still able to contact you, still you'll probably be an officer soon I hope. She's mad about tennis isn't she. I've talked to Ma Hazel about her. I went into town this am to get a little hat (black)† tam shape with wings of various colours arranged round it held together by a fine net. It's rather smart. It's to wear with my grey suit. It's very small and I think you'd like it. Well I have come to the end Tuns and lots of love.
Tuesday May 16 1944
Darling - We're still here waiting. I think Bunchie must have got a little wrong with her calculations. She's well but bored, naturally. Its all very† worrying for her with the uncertainty of Peter. He rings up daily. Carol Ann seems to be very happy at Lytham. We like the nurse has arrived. She's about 40. Very attractive I think. She has travelled a good deal. Unfortunately she is booked for June 9. We think of by then to get someone else for about a week or so, but its very doubtful nurses are so scarce now. Mrs Nicholls (Belbroughton) rang me last might about nurses for Helen and Bryan are having a baby in November. She (Mrs Nichols) is absolutely thrilled. Hopes it will be twins!!! I think we are wishing we could have a bit of your warm weather. Its freezing here. Literally, we had a ground frost of 11 degrees yesterday. I ??? hope it wonít damage the fruit prospects! At the moment we are having our asparagus. Masses of it. Its delicious. Gooseberries will soon be ready. But then you never did crave for them did you? You make our ??? water lolly of strawberries and cream. Darling how lovely you ear rings sound. We shall snatch them off you when you come home. How are managing to safeguard your bits of jewellery and other precious things? Can you lock anything up. How are things going. Hope you had a satisfactory interview with Mrs Chitty and that they will hurry you through a bit. Oh by the way, Johnnie Webb has broken his jaw. Connie said could you go and see him and tell us all about it. Oh you will be sad to hear that Mrs Greene (Hilda's mother) passed on yesterday. Very peacefully. She has been ill, here, at Hilda's for weeks. They will all miss her. ?????? a great bunch of lilac. Its simply beautiful this year. The whole lot? Full and large. I'm hoping to get a photo of it?
My dearest love precious and to Donald.
Sunday am May 21 1944
It is a frigidly cold morning not at all like May. We have had rather a lot of frost lately which I am sad to say will have damaged the early fruit crop - stone fruit mostly - tiresome still perhaps we'll get a good crop of apples, so far they are all right. Today is the opening of "Salute the Soldier" week in Codsall. It is being held all over the country. There is a big parade and march past in the square. Daddy is taking the salute at 2.45 -we are having early lunch in order that Ma J can go!! Peter is here for 48 hours arrived at 4 o'clock yesterday a.m. Poor old B. is still waiting, must have calculated all wrong! However she seems very well at the moment. Last week she had rather a bad go of "heart burn" which made her rather uncomf. I shall be thankful when its all over, she is marvellously brave about it all. Of course we miss Carol Ann no end, but I honestly feel Bunch was very glad to be relieved of responsibility of her for a while as she found her rather tiring. She's a sweet child, but naturally needs constant attention and what not and really Bunch does not like to do everything for her herself.
Oh we had the photograph of you and Donald yesterday. Darling we all feel it makes look† too old but we love to have it. I wish we could get a really good one of you. I always carry that one of you and Donald† you sent before in my handbag. I like it very much. I do hope Donald is responding to treatment, it is so very worrying for him. I feel quite worried about him too, Perhaps the M.O. will see to it that he has a more comfortable billet and realise that he should have suitable food. Why are you getting boils, hope you are better too. Take care of your precious self. Hope the interview with Mrs Chitty went off satisfactorily and that she will help you on a bit. I feel sure you will come out all right. They must realise what a very nice person you are. Interesting about Philippa Reade! I haven't heard anything from her mother so will wait until I do. Fondest love etc.
May 23rd Tuesday (44)
Of course you will have heard that Angela Rosemary arrived on Sunday. We sent you a cable yesterday. They are both doing very well. She's a dear wee mite 7 lb 5† ounces, not in the least like her sister! Very much paler in colour and quite unwrinkled to date, as good as gold! She was born at 9 o'clock in the evening. Bunch had had a very good day and wasn't very troubled until about 7 o'clock. Peter was with her up till then, when things were a bit uncomfortable, something I believe she was joking until about half-an-hour before the child was born. She was very plucky. It was helpful to have Peter near and to know that she would be able see him. He should have returned on Sunday evening, but got a further 24 hours. B. seems very happy about it even though she's not interested in very wee babies. She thinks they will grow up to be grand champions as you two were or rather are.
Your parcel to B. (dress material aquamarine and a little jacket) arrived yesterday am. She is simply delighted with them all. Curtis was awfully good to Bunch. He arrived at 5 o'clock and stayed all time. We like the nurse too so very much. This is only a hurried note just to tell you "the bits"! I do hope Donald is better you pour dear. I know how worried you are up. How funny he must look with a beard. It must be so awfully painful for him having such a bad rash poor lad.
My dearest love to you both
May 29 1944
This is Whit Monday, 'spect it passes unobserved by you people! However it is a glorious weekend - hot the first summer weather we have had. I'm so glad for I think most of the works are closing down for two days. People can't travel very much so that I think it must be awful to be penned up in back streets in very tiny houses all these lovely days. Folk can at least get out in the country for walks or bicycles. We had a Home Guard sherry party on Sat, all H G about 100 officers and their wives. They apparently enjoyed it very much. Ma Jay made most wonderful eats and they consumed masses of cocktails. Connolly's had allocated Daddy 6 or 8 bottles of gin for the occasion. So I should say "a good time was had by all"!!! of course there were not many people I knew. We all had our photographs taken in front of the hedge on the tennis court. How I loath been took. However I am trying to get one done to send you! Bunchie was delighted to get your cable this morning. She is a dear little baby, not a scrap like CA to look at. She seems so far very contented. Do you like her name Angela Rosemary. Peter registered her while he was here. Bunch hasn't felt like writing letters yet. She's a bit limp, naturally, but she has really done very well. I think the nurse is excellent. I've no doubt she will give you all the "lit bits" when she writes. Joan White came to see her for a few minutes yesterday and Joy came over from Cosford and was allowed to be with her for a little while. Those are her only visitors. Daddy and I went to have supper with Hilda and Kenneth last week. Quite a change to go out! Oh Philippa's engagement was announced at the golf club so I heard. I didn't ring Mrs Reade up, think I will do now. I rang up Mrs Webb about John, she seemed rather worried. How did it happen do you know. Darling I am cabling you £10 for your birthday. Daddy is also putting a cheque in your bank. We don't want it to be short of money. Do do ask me to send what ever I can. It such a pleasure to do anything I can for you.
June 5 (44)
This Is Your birthday letter I hope you will have a very happy day I shall think of you a lot as you imagine. Of course it would be too wonderful if Donald could be with you. I suppose otherwise it will just pass unobserved especially as you are not with any of your friends. I imagine by the time you get this your training at the barracks will be nearly at an end. I hope so. You said nothing about it in your letter (100) which arrived this am I. Have you seen Mrs Chitty yet. I do hope things are going all right for you and that it won't be long before you can get commissioned and really get a job after your own heart! If such a thing is possible under the present conditions. Do tell us all about your difficulties and what not, for Daddy and I just want to know everything, we want to help you all we can. I have just rung up the bank manager, he is cabling you out £10 from me at least, Aunt Gladys has given me £2 towards it. Daddy has also cabled you out a very nice cheque for £25, I think it is. He has also told the bank manager to arrange for a further credit for you at the DC Bank in Cairo. Apparently you are very well on the right side of the Bank here, quite a lot in credit, but he will have explained all that. We can't bear to feel you can't get cash when you need it. I know Donald wouldn't like it either. Darling what ever you send to me I shall remit to you. I was interested hear about the club where you can buy things at a more reasonable rate. Of course things here now are fantastically expensive. My coat and skirt has just come, a huge success. I wish you could see it, it has a maroon velvet collar, now the job is to get a hat, you know how difficult it is for me. I always hate them. by the way the coat and skirt is £23!! Tell it not in Garth! I feel ashamed, still I do not have many clothes. I'll save it for when you come home. My grey one is still going strong and looks nice. It hasn't been cleaned yet, so little opportunity to wear smart clothes really. I shall have to get a couple of warm frocks for next winter. I believe they cost about £20, horrid isn't it? I hope my little parcel will have arrived in time for your birthday. So glad you're getting the magazines we send, up also the last Lizzie Arden parcel it. So glad Donald is better hope he will keep so!
Monday June 19 (44)
Darling a word with you. The house is very quiet without Bunchie. She still at Lytham. I spoke to her this morning because two letters arrived from Peter, we hadn't heard for about a fortnight. I imagine he has "gone over". She promised to ring me up directly she had the letters. I expect she will let you know too. Poor little Bunch she's very brave. She was marvellous over having the last baby because I know all the time she was worrying about Peter. May God bless and take care of him. I am glad for her to have the change at Lytham, though it hasn't been in quite it as pleasant as it might have been for C-A had tonsillitis when she arrived and what's more didn't really recognise her Mummy, which is very hard. It was a great blow to B for she is just devoted to the child. She really is a very capable little mother. I am amazed at the way she handles the new baby, as she said she can't enthuse over a new born baby, but she really likes looking after and caring for them, but when a child is six months or so then she adores them. Angela is a dear little good little thing. Am longing to see what Carolann thinks of her. What a housefull we shall be. Still it's lovely for us having Bunch and her babies though perhaps not so ideal for her. She gets very lonely at times, yet she never appears to want to do things with other a young people. She's very attached to Joan White, it's a great pity they are leaving. B. will so miss her, she always finds her so stimulating. I feel naturally that I'm rather too old, it worries me sometimes. She of course misses you frantically. Your her something, both of you are very lucky to have married such loyal and devoted girls(!). Jolly hope these 2 little girls will be to each other what you and Bunchie had been (badly expressed I'm sorry). Of course I hate Bunch being away, I miss her very much. I've been in to see Nanny this am, she was very glad to have your letter. I also called to see Mrs While, who has had an operation for "piles". She's getting over it quite well. Nanny is much better too, she's quite happy, the rest is doing her good and the sister says there is no reason at all for her not to make a complete recovery. She will have to go away to her sister for a bit. I shall be glad to have her home again, if it is only just to do sewing and what not. She must give up doing so much. I suppose you have heard of the pilotless planes that are coming over now. Nobody is scared of them. I think we shall soon cope with them too.
Friday June 16 (44)
Your 103 letters (5th June) came yesterday. We also heard from you too on Monday. We all thought of you on Wednesday, your birthday. I hope it was a good day for you and that you got a message of various eats, also a parcel. I'm so glad you realise your financial affairs are not as bad as they appeared to you. I can't bear you to be worried about money whilst you're so far away from us. You are still my child, you know it. I am thankful that Donald is really getting better I very hope he won't get any more setbacks. Glad you had a night with him at Ismailia. It makes such a nice change for you. Look here would you like me to send you out your plum coloured evening frock, or that white one. I hope the big dance you went to was a success, Donald isn't wild about dancing is he? still you need keep him up to scratch you enjoy it I know. Nanny hasn't been too well for some time, she has had a skin eruption, Curtis has been treating it without success. I took her to Dr Mitchell about 10 days ago and now she's being treated in hospital. She is much better in herself and they tell me that there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't all clear-up. On the day of your birthday, Bunch gave her a lovely silver and blue enamel trinket box from you both and we gave her a cheque for £25 to celebrate her having been with us for 25 years, she was very pleased. I took your letters to her. Bunch went off to Lytham the same day to collect Carol Ann. She B. has made very good progress, and is staying there for a few days while we have the nurse to look after Angela, she's a pet. I expect Bunch has told you all her news. Have you contacted Philippa yet. Daddy and I went there for dinner the other night to talk about her engagement. They seemed very pleased and would like to know if you have seen her. Let me know will you so the I can tell them. How about John Webb is he better and what happened to him? Poor old Bunch is worried about Peter. She hasn't heard from him for nearly three weeks, she imagines he has gone. I do hope he will have the very best of luck and that he will be spared. Peter White evidently went with one of the early batches. Joan had a letter from him written on the boat. She said he sounded very full of optimism and hope. Darling I'm sorry your interview wasn't too helpful with Mrs C. It makes me boil. You'll come out on top in the end I feel sure.
Oh Gordon and Marg have a son three days ago. Bunch had a letter from her on the very day it was born. He was hoping for a daughter.
I think things are going well in Normandy but of course we can't expect to go on without setbacks. I sent you Sunday's papers to read about it all. Bye bye for now very very precious one.
I'm so sorry this letter I discovered in my bag today I19th June) so I'll send it late now. As I've written to you today we're all very well, having our first strawberries from Mrs S tonight! Afraid they are going to be scarce very late frosts. We had five degrees (ground frost) today!
June 28 (44)
I'm afraid I have neglected you for Some days! Truth is life has been somewhat hectic, Nanny being away. She's really almost well I am sure, and looks like her old self again. I suppose she got absolutely run and then the spots like large blisters started on her arms and in her groins. They looked just like scald blisters. Well Curtis treated her for months, they seem to get better for a time, then they got worse, so as I told you she went to see Dr Mitchell and he is treating her now. There is nothing more to it than that, but skin things take such ages to clear-up. She said on Monday that she really felt absolutely fine in herself but they are still trying to get it completely cured and they say she is responding very well. When she leaves hospital she will go home for a bit, we of course are longing to have her back again. I know quite well how very worried you must feel. I sent her a letter card today by Mrs Jones who has done to see her and asked her to write to you. She was delighted with your letter which came yesterday, Daddy took it in. We heard from you too and again today your letter of the 16. The snaps also arrived and something how interesting they are all I love the little ones of you taking the garden of YW. What a nice creature Marion looks! I'm relieved that there is a least one girl you can talk and unburden your soul to. The idea of you teaching geography sounds rather good, do you think would enjoy it. I really think you could manage it. It would be great if you could leave under happier conditions and feel that you were using your talents of which I know you have abundance.
Darling I have such confidence in you, you know. Aren't you supposed to be going on an OCTU about now? I'm so very aggravating for you that you could not have been put to better use in the job you set out to do. Never mind, I'm sure it will work out all right. I shall have to try and write you in a day also and tell you our news. Carol Ann is terrific, grown beyond all recognition so adorable. Nurse left yesterday. Bunch copes with the two of them magnificently, Angela is sweet. Two letters from Peter today all is well B naturally is anxious. He had a wonderful trip over.
Sunday July 2nd (44)
A real July Sunday, pouring with rain. Daddy has been at the camp for lunch at. It's disappointing for them to have such wet camps. I'm sitting in the dining room not the drawing room at the moment! Carol Ann is in bed above jumping about in her cot she's actually sleeping in the visitors' room now. She's supposed to be asleep (3:30pm) but evidently has decided against it this afternoon for I have heard her babbling the whole afternoon. Still she has to stay there until we're ready to have her rampaging about. Aunt Bee and Cyril came for tea yesterday to see the children, there were very impressed with CA and the thought the baby sweet. She really is goodness itself and I think so pretty. She's really coming on and shuttles so very nicely. Bunch's girl Margaret goes off for Sunday afternoon. It's pretty lonely for her to be stuck indoors at all on her own, for CA always sleeps in bed until about 3.45! David Smith might be coming out to Cairo to do some course. He's home on embarkation leave at the moment. goes back today but he imagines he would get a further seven days to get his kit together. If he comes could he bring anything out to you. Let me know by return and I'll tell you later if he is definitely coming. I suppose Meg hasn't come back to Cairo yet.
If you do get the job at the school do you have to live in, it is a boarding school? What about your commission are you not considering it any further. The A.T.S. have certainly mucked up and wasted you. It is all most unfortunate and sickening. Something Thomson that friend of Joy's has just got commissioned and Dilys Jones is just getting one in the Wrens so Aunt B. told me yesterday. Joy and her friend Faith (such a nice girl) cycled over from Cosford the other† night. They are a bit fed up as they have so little to do. So far no wounded have been sent to Cosford, though there are a number at the Royal and New Cross. They "detrain" them at that little station at Tettenhall. Thank heaven the "P-planes" do not get yet as far as the Midlands. They have not created havoc the Huns intended they should! Have you seen Philippa's a young man. They intended to marry in September or October, Mrs Reade tells me. I think Nanny is really improving the rest is doing a good. We shall do all we can you know I couldn't bear to be without her altogether.
Friday July 7 44
A letter from you written 1st July this morning, a pretty good that! We're wondering how things are progressing re the school job. Hope you will really like it, if you should be offered the post, it binds you until next June do I understand. Supposing Donald returned here in Jan how will you feel about it then? There was a bit in the Sketch about Mrs Chitty the other day her photograph saying 47 year-old Chitty has left ME command in order to be deputy director of A.T.S. in the Western Command. Daddy wondered if he will try and get an interview with her as he knows people in that area. We thought he could talk about you and see what he has to say in case the other job doesn't come off! Don't know yet of course if he will manage it. Daddy had a letter from Frank Boustred of Johannesburg the other day. He said if you should by any chance go anywhere near you must contact him and he'd see you were all right. Thought I'd mention it while I thought of it. They visited us once. And they were so kind to me I was there. Daddy's appointment as "D.L[xxvii]." has been in the papers so he has had a lot of congratulations which naturally has pleased him. We took Carol A into Town this am, she fascinates everybody. We had coffee at Beatties she just bobbed about talking to people, sweet. Bunch manages them both very well, but she has her hands full and if she doesn't write as much as usual you understand. I know she writes to Peter two or three times a week. He appears to be all right but working very hard as he says 24 hours a day, it's a worrying time for her, she's very good and brave. She's going to have dinner with Joan White tonight, I'm glad for her to go. I very often bath Carol Ann for her at night so that's a help. The little girl goes at about 6.30. B. went to see Nanny this a.m. She is better, my word. I shall be glad to have her back, life is a little hectic, but we're all glad to be busy. I'm very thankful we live here and not in the South it is more or less peaceful if one can use such a word these days. Yes we've had masses of strawberries from Mrs Shelton. Now our own raspberries are coming on. I think we shall have a fairly good crop, but of course no cream which we do so miss. Still are very fortunate our garden is very productive not to mention the hens and pigs. We have got 10 ducklings too.
I'm afraid I haven't given you much news.
Wednesday July 12 44
Thought I must write and tell you that once that Pa shall Mrs Chitty yesterday. She's at Chester. He had a Home Guard job to do so he fitted it in. He found her extremely pleasant, she said of course she remembered you and that you were very charming girl. She said it was merely a matter of leadership that you didn't get through the OCTU. She is anxious for you to have another shot and told Daddy that she thought you would get through this time. He also said that she would write to her successor about you. Though if I were you, I should not mention it to anybody. She said, once you get your commission they would make you a staff Lieutenant, but she said even for that you must be able to command other people. From what I gather she was much impressed by you yourself, so don't you think it worth trying again. I feel your social position will be so much better. Daddy was very much impressed by Mrs Chitty. I didn't see her, felt it would be better for Pa to see her alone.
I'm all on my own with Angela. Bunch and CarolA have gone to the Smiths for tea, and Beattie and Nanny have gone to see Nanny, who by the way is much better. They take in all sorts of things jam cake flowers etc. Skin diseases as you know are very slow clearing up. I have got to dash out and pick redcurrents and blackcurrants whilst they are dry, for we have had a frightful lot of rain all this month, practically no summer. The raspberries too of very good and the cucumbers are very plentiful. I shall always think of you taking them back to Bletchley!! I suppose you do have them in salad in Cairo do you. If I remember when we were there we were warned about eating soft fruits. I don't like the idea of watching them in permanganate! Bunch hears very frequency from Peter. In today's letters which came through today's he says the mess has acquired a cow some geese and a sheep, which had been hurt, so they have some good meals to look forward to! I hope you are well How I long to see you.
Friday July 21 (44)
I've begun this letter well by putting Pa's HG telephone number for yours hence the crossing out! Am ashamed to say this is the first letter I've written to you this week, as it has been hectic, we've been so busy with the fruit such masses of raspberries and red and blackcurrants not to mention gooseberries. I always think if you when I'm picking rasps! They had been very abundant this year so we bottled or jammed a great many. I'm also doing some for Aunt G it's a pity there is not more sugar, still we're better off than many people for we are quite a big household which all helps when there is additional sugar. We never take jam from our ration, always one pound of sugar instead. Any way,† I have still have e bit in hand which I want to cling on to, I couldn't bear not to have a little reserve however small.
Of course we miss Nanny so much, she still hospital but I think the trouble is abating. She has had all sorts of examinations, she seems quite happy and contented. I dashed in this morning, when I go to see her of course I can do no shopping, when I haven't the car as it takes up all the time. Life is very full as you can imagine the news is good, so that helps. We heard on the news today of the attempted assassination of Hitler by some of his own "gang", so it doesn't seem as if things up too happy in Germany. How I do wish they could be brought to heel. I think we're all weary. I wrote to the Maitlands the other day to tell them if they had to make a dash from Byfleet to come here but I think that we are coping with these wretched Bombs. I only hope the brutes haven't got a bigger one, or one that can go longer distances up their sleeves! Am wondering how school business is progressing, but of course you'll have heard by this time of our meeting with Mrs C. David Smith is not now in this country, they don't really know if he's coming your way, so I couldn't send anything to you. If it he does he will find you out by hook or by crook. Bunch it seems quite well and very occupied, oh the babies seem so pretty. We are hoping to have some photographs taken soon for you. By the way nannies parcel hasn't arrived yet. Am sure it will though. We all like Turkish Delight!!! Sorry writing get bigger and bigger.
Tuesday July 25† (44)
Your letter of 19th July arrived this am. I am sorry to hear you are suffering from boils, you must be thoroughly out-of-sorts. How I wish I could do something for you. We feel so very impotent here. It is all so† wretched and sordid for you. I must say now that the sooner you can get out of the A.T.S. the better. I hope you will be successful in getting the school job for you have had absolutely no kick out of your job so far. As I say it has been a bad deal and I do consider they have let you down badly. Is there nothing Donald or Otis can do? Pulling strings etc. By the way we had a letter from June Adshead the other day, Margie and she are coming to live in Cairo. Reg has been able to get a flat for them and that will be nice. I know Margie will always be glad to have you there. I do so wish you could live under happier conditions. I'd no idea the A.T.S. were looked down upon to such an extent, never mind nobody can look down on you darling. I'm sorry I couldn't send out anything to you by David. He just didn't come again. I did hint that I'd like him to bring you something. Do you still want me to send out that white dinner dress and the black one (isn't the latter a little shabby and out of date?) If you do succeed in getting out the A.T.S. you'll want more mufti won't you. If you have any friends coming on leave couldn't you ask them to bring your things back with them? They could easily get in touch any time by phone. It seems such a shame that you are not able to enjoy Cairo whilst you are there. When are you due for more leave and were are you going to spend it? Daddy at the moment is away, he has gone down to Exeter and Plymouth for a few days, on works business for a change! We shall try to get away for a week or so later on so that Ma J and Beattie can have a holiday. Bunch and the babies will go to Lytham. We have had a horde of children for tea on Sunday and Monday. "Beet" is just beginning to be interested in other children now. Oh she is a hoot! Of course Bunch worships the ground and she walks on. She has been wearing her muslin frocks lately and looks like a large big fat fairy!! She is as strong and tough as can be. Angela is getting pretty.
I do hope you are better again and out hospital.
Friday Aug 4 (44)
Yours of 27th July arrived yesterday (114) we're only missing 113 touch wood. It's splendid how they all do arrive. Well there is a very holiday atmosphere in the air. August Bank holiday on Monday you know! It's a gloriously sunny day, a change for we have had a very sunless summer. I do hope it keeps fine over the weekend, most works are closed "holidays at home" is advocated, but masses seem to be travelling. We are having the usual fete on Monday in the Roger Carr's field. We're busy making lashings of cake for the tea. It will be a hectic day I know. There are crowds of evacuees in Codsall from London. We have managed not to have any. I feel something about it, but it is a little difficult with the two babies. I don't want any children in the garden with Carol Ann she would so very soon pick up the wrong things, words and habits I mean. There are "no flies on her"! I took her to the village is a.m., they make great fuss of her at the post office always. She really is very charming to people, a very fetching smile! Bunch went to get home hair washed. I'm going tomorrow to get my undone!
Mary Oliver has been here for a few days. She has just divorced her husband. He became entangled with the wife of his late chief. It's such a pity, Mary is very cut up. She said they were so happy and can't understand it. My word, I do hope you and a Bunch won't have any knocks like that. I do long and hope that you will always be happy. How I am longing for you to be settled in your own homes. Of course it will be grand if Donald comes to the works so that you won't be living too far away from us. But of course not on our doorstep!!!! Well I do hope that you can get released from the A.T.S. it would be just grand if you and Donald managed to share a flat with Kit and Derek. It would just make your life. We are all going to the Percy B's after dinner, Daisy from the cottage coming to sit in the house to look after babies. On Sunday the Trevor Jones's are having a party. I think it is Dilys's 21st birthday. I seem to spend all my odd hours fruit-picking. We never had so much soft fruit, of course we miss Nannie so much. We are expecting she might leave the hospital soon and go home for a time, then I hope she will come back.
Saturday Aug 12 (44)
I'm afraid I have neglected you this week, I don't seem to have been able to get down to writing. Daddy has been home all week, Holiday you see. The days seem to have been all "awry", - late brek and what not. Well there's this to be said for it, we've had a whole week of a real summer weather, which is something to be thankful for since practically all works have been shut and all sorts of fun and games have been organised in various places. Holidays at home idea! Our show on Monday it in the Carr's field was a crashing success over 2000 people. I poured out tea without ceasing from 3:15 until about six! And a jolly good tea we gave them masses and masses of glorious home-made cakes. The ingredients were supplied to us for making same by the Food Office as it was this special occasion. Made about £260 for charities of which you are a beneficiary!! A postal order for seven and sixpence has been sent to you. Would you acknowledge same in your best proper language to Secretary British Legion Codsall. It's rather sweet, I don't know what Pops did with the postal order! I believe it comes under the auspices of the Comfort Fund! Well Nanny came out of hospital on Tuesday and Daddy and I took her by car to Malpas on Friday. She looks very frail but I'm hoping she will pick up now. We miss her very much for she has done so much in the House that I can't do.
Your parcel arrived yesterday for her, she was thrilled and went away wearing the brooch, it is very pretty. Some time darling I wish you would send Mrs Jones a few sweets. She would so very much appreciate your thought. Of course I will stump up. I don't think she's ever had a parcel from you. Also if you see any dried apricots about, we'd like some for jam, and not more than a couple of pounds. They make very good jam. Thank you yes we do get plenty of milk. Well everything really, it is amazing after five years of war how well fed we are. I promise not to worry about you but I do want you to be happy you are very precious.
August 17 Thursday† (44)
Had your letter of the 8 (117) 2 days ago. You ask how long they take, well anything from seven days and to 12 days, usually about 10! They probably don't get posted as soon as you hand them in! Well I'm glad you had such a good weekend at Ismailia. The good times do compensate a wee along for the drear times you have otherwise. Its marvellous that you can be with Donald sometimes. I'm wondering where you will spend your weeks leave. If I were you I should go up the Nile if it is at all possible before you leave the country. We always regret that we didn't go up to Luxor etc, still perhaps we shall someday. I shall write to Donald for his birthday, but Daddy and I want you to spend £5 on a present for him. Pa will credit your account with that amount. We thought that possibly you could buy something in the Musky that you could keep for when you come home! Also we wish you to spend about 40 or 50 shillings for Phillipa Reade. Will you get a present and let her have it. We will also let you have the money for that. Its rather difficult to send out a small present for her. Not more than £2.10. Will you do that for us please, this is her address
Her mother told us to send their rather than to her lodging address. So we you fathom that? She may be married in September so contact with her. By the way Margie Adshead arrived yesterday. June said how much they were looking forward to coming. I feel it will be somewhere for you to go. Well I only hope your plans will turn out as you wish them to. It is everything to Daddy and me to know that you and B. are happy. Peter writes very cheerfully and very often. Bunch hopes to go to Lytham in Sep for a week or two. What a journey with those two babies! Daddy and I will try a to get away for a week so that the house can be closed. Ma J has really been marvellous all the time, but she needs a holiday, she seems happy and well enough though. Bunch has taken Carol A tea at the Percy Bayliss's. Pauline is there with her child it's her first birthday. Angela is still out in the pram (5: 30) she's as good as gold. So pretty too. Darling, what exactly is the matter with your tummy, is it from lack of exercise. I need to stop.
Tuesday August 29 1944
We've been thinking of you very much the past few days, wondering how you're enjoying Port Said! I 'spect the place counts very little as long as you are together! Daddy cabled you suggesting you should choose a more beautiful spot and, but I felt you wouldn't be able to change your plans at the last moment. Anyway if you have enjoyed yourselves that is everything. I'll never forget my arrival at Port Said, it was our first real contact with the East. The excitement and bustle it was in those days! I sent Donald a birthday telegram to your hotel. I hope he got it. Well though I remember Simon Artz[xxviii] (Arzt?), we had a huge something party there the morning of our arrival. We berthed at about 6am! I don't think we bought much there though. I hope you have managed to find something for Donald and for Philippa. I will send her a cable. You will try to go to her wedding of course. Mrs Reade I know would be glad to hear about it from somebody she really knows. We are now getting ready for CA's birthday on Thursday and Angela's christening. C-A has a chocolate cake with 2 candles and Angela a white iced cake. I bought 2 lbs of icing sugar. Of course it meant giving up 2 pounds of our ration sugar, still we can easily manage that. I still have a little left!! We've made lots of jam and bottle no end of the raspberries and plums, we've damsons yet to do. We get an allowance for jam. It isn't very much but it all helps! Aunt Bee has been out for tea today, she seemed the impressed by her great-niece!! She is coming over to the christening of course. We are all also making plans for going away. Daddy and I go on Monday 4th September to the Black Horse, Torrington, Devon for about 10 days, so if you write at once we might just about get a letter direct there. I do so look forward to your letters. We shall miss you most frantically on Thursday. It is so sad that you can't see the children. Bunchie misses you frantically, there is no one who can come up you for her! She's gone off to sit with Mildred this evening. She, Mildred, I think hates being alone. Peter is in Normandy. I shall have to stop my writing is awkward, I've got a sore thumb.
Friday Sept 1st 1944
I have had a very happy birthday, Your telegram and letter arrived yesterday. Yes we do miss you so very much, more so on festival occasions, I long to be all together again. Though of course I realise it can never be as it was before the war. You and Bunch have naturally got to steer your own courses. It's difficult for a mother to realise that she's no longer so vital to her children, of course it will be just too wonderful if you and Donald come back and live near to us. I promise I won't "live on your doorstep"! Aren't things going wonderfully well. Today Dieppe has fallen, I am sure the end can't be far off, so perhaps if you're teaching job doesn't come off, you won't have to stick the A.T.S. much longer. I am heartily sorry for you! I can imagine a bit how horrid it must be, particularly now that you have left the crowd you set out with. What a welcome we shall give you when you come home! Well today, I went into the shops this am and had a snatch of lunch and met Daddy also and we went see the film "Fanny by Gaslight", excellent, did you see the play? We got home in time for tea, tatted about with the children a bit. Curtis came in, Angela has been vaccinated, doing very nicely, not at all bad. He wanted to inject Beat against diphtheria, but she'd gone out with Margaret so that's got to be done tomorrow. Oh Daddy gave me a new frock, a very pretty drill sort of green, chose it himself. Bunch a set a table mats - painted wood -† Aunt Bee† very nice collar and cuffs, Joy a scarf, Nell Fallows ditto, Dick Fellows??, all very nice, Bunch is up at the Smiths. Daddy had to go out, so I made a bit of fudge with some rather rancid butter we had, it tastes very good in spite of that. (It's about 10:15pm now). We all have a passion for it, Bunch will take part of it to Lytham. They go Sunday and Pop and me Monday, so now until we all get away it will be hectic. I tell you, still life on the whole is very full. We had a very happy birthday and a christening yesterday, expect B. will tell you all about it. Beat had lots of presents. She behaved very well and looked adorable. She wore a white frock smock with blue, the one she wore in the photo, which she will receive in due course. The proof came to day. (Oh she wore the white shoes you sent.) You'll be thrilled when you get one. I'm afraid it won't be through for many weeks. We want thm to let us have a proof to send you, don't know if he will though. Darling we quite understand about leave, we just want you to see as many interesting places as possible. I told Daddy I felt it was not the right season for Luxor. So glad you have contacted Philippa. Hope you will all have a happy time at the wedding. Thank you for getting a present for her.
Sep 15 Friday (44)
We are back home again, in a very empty house. BT comes in and "does" as Ma J is still on holiday. We had a ghastly journey up to London, but very comf. from there home. We stayed two nights at Browns in Dover Street, very comf. and nice. The Dartmouths were there, funny bumping into them; we were struck how very quiet and empty London seemed when we arrived on Monday, so very so few taxis and buses about but when we left on Wednesday afternoon there seemed to be surprisingly more traffic and what not about. Lots of evacuees are returning much against the wish of the government, though they do seem to have coped very well with the "doodlebug". Let's hope we shall hear no more about it. The news really is excellent, though I'm sure there is a stiff time ahead. I hope Peter will be all right. I'm afraid selfishly we always think of our own first of all. I've just this instant rung up Lytham to know how they all are. Unfortunately the family were all out May spoke to me, what a nice girl she seems. She said Bunch had heard from Peter this morning, so that's good! Bunch has unfortunately had a bad cold so I think May has coped with Angela. I'm sure B. needs a complete rest from the children. In October her nurse Olive Williams is coming for a week and I want B. to get away on her own, it would do her all the good in the world. Well darling how are things going with you. I do hope it has all come through satisfactory and that you will be really happy in your new job. It's bound to be very strange to begin with, but I'm sure you will surmount all obstacles once you are in congenial company. The very best to you my Darling. We were very interested to hear about Philippa. I'm sorry for Mrs Reade she has felt it very much not being able to be at the wedding. She is so hoping that you might write to her and tell her all about it and your impressions of the new husband. I must say I should have hated not to have seen you and B. married. I'm glad you had a happy time at Port Said.. How well I remember it. Sorry Simon Artz had nothing to offer you for Donald, my impression of the store was that it was darned expensive. Now will you let me know at once what you want sending out to you, because very soon it will be time for the Xmas parcel mail. I've seen notices about it in the papers. I will send whatever you want in two or three different lots. I think that would be better. How shall address things to you, as I have done on this card or simply address just to Donald. So glad he is better by the way, I do hope you will manage to live together now. Look here please don't run any risks if you are not allowed to send airmail letter cards. I thought we could send them anywhere in Africa and the same with you now. It has just lately been allowed I believe.
Sep 14 1944
My dear Donald,
I'm afraid I'm not a very dutiful "ma in law" as regards letter-writing, forgive me. Anyway I did send you a birthday card to the hotel you should have stayed at in Port Said. Hope it eventually found you! Also I hope Romie has managed to find something you would like us to give you costing about tuppence!! I'm glad you had a happy time together anyway. It's too much to hope that you will be nearer to us for your next birthday. How we are looking forward to having you home again. Pa and I have just come back from 10 days in Devon, a place called Torrington. We stayed as a real little village pub. We were very comf. and very well fed indeed, but no Devonshire Cream, alas! We simply had to close the house up for a bit in order to give Ma J a holiday. You see Nanny isn't back yet, so we are just on our own for the first time ever since we've been married. Anyway she will be back in a day also and then we're going to do a bit delayed spring cleaning while Bunch and the children are away. I think you will quite like your two small nieces. We shall be quite glad to have them back in. Carol Ann is great fun, the little one is an absolute pet very like Peter. I've addressed a card Romie care of you, is that in order. By the way I'm sorry I have made such a boggle this address! Well are you pleased that R. is now free of the A.T.S.. I do hope the job will go well, I know how she dislikes the environment of the other job. I hope that all will be well for you both. I haven't heard anything of your something sorry! people just lately, but any rate I don't think they have been troubled by the flying bombs. I asked them a while ago if they would come up to us for a respite, touch wood we are very fortunate is situated here. We have had very much to be thankful for. How people in the bad district have faced up to it I don't know. Everybody at home feels cheery now I think. The relaxation of blackout has heartened people no end. We are beginning to take down that horrible black lining to the curtains. I don't know yet quite how much street lighting we are to have them. At any rate we never do get much here. I shall have to pop up to London to see the lights up!! I think. Would you let Romie have the other card please a soon as you can. Lots of love to you your very affectionately, Ma
Is there anything you would like me to send for Xmas?
Saturday Sep 21 (44)
Darling your parcel arrived this morning. I am really thrilled with the dress length it such a nice soft material and colour I must something around for somebody local to make it up. We see people in London advertising "we make-up ladies own materials" but I'm afraid I can't quite manage that. Thank you very very much and for the Turkish light which is very very good of you. We have posted Bunch's parcel off to her at Lytham. She is due back here in about a week's time. We haven't heard from you for some time I hope the job is going well now that you are back in civilian life. I meant to tell you quite frequently your air mail cards have been opened by base censor but never anything deleted! You'll just have to write to us ordinary airmail won't† you. Don't use the cards you have used before if it is out of order! Daddy had a letter this am asking him if he would consent to be appointed a magistrate in the Tettenhall Division. I'm very glad I think he is too. He has gone off with some people shooting this afternoon. His first experience I believe. Hope he will bring back some game. We have been lucky this week had three brace of partridges sent to us also a most exotic basket of peaches grapes and pears from something sent a whole lot of them to Bunch also a couple of large bunches of our own grapes which are super this year. It is the harvest festival tomorow. I've been helping to "do up" the Church this a.m.. Took down masses of flowers and vegetables also grapes. Babe Swanson is 21 on 30th September, we are all bidden to her party. I don't know if B. will be back in time. Mrs Swanson hopes she will. Both Jim and Gordon hope to be home. The latter has a job in London instructing I think, Jim is going spotting[xxix]. Do let us know what life is like now and whether you are living in the school or not. We feel we know so little. Off to the Smiths for a glass of sherry this evening. Barbara's birthday, 20 I think.
Oct 2 1944.
Such a joy, we have heard from you both this morning each letter taking about seven days to get here! I think it is about the first of yours you have not number (23.10.44). I'd been thinking a lot about you in these past few days. Wondering about your going to the school and how you must be feeling about it all. Well I'm very glad for your sake that you're as you put it a free woman again. I just hope from now on life won't be so complicated and to put it mildly unpleasant for you. The very best of luck Darling in your new job and may all go well with you. You are bound to find it trying to begin with but I'm sure you will soon take up the threads. I'm most terribly sorry for these ink blots, my pen went queer, but I can't possibly waste the letter card! I am glad you were able to have a holiday in Ismailia, very nice before settling down to your job. I don't think you will feel so lonely now that you are in happier surroundings. We sent off your mufti at last week. I hope it will arrive safely. I'm afraid the things will look terrible mess, but then they have been packed away for nearly two years. I should get a tailor if I were you to press your suits. I'm very sad to say these are two small moth holes in your Scotch frock, but in nothing else. I should have had it repaired for you, but they kept mine and Bunches a matter of 4 months. I feel sure you will be able to find someone in Cairo who does that sort of mending. It is down in London, you know, by foreign people, olive skinned girls you've probably seen them sitting in shop windows doing their repairs. You didn't ask for your wedding coat and skirt did you. That crepe de chine blouse you were with it. Did you take that out? I can't see it. The little collared blouse you asked for I can't find just now. I saw that some time ago but when B. comes back we'll hunt together. Daddy spoke on the phone to her this am, she's staying there another fortnight. Mrs Waddell apparently wants her to and I know she likes being there and somehow I think she finds it rather dull been here. She's given me that impression for some time. She says she's sorry to miss the garden. It certainly has looked lovely the Michaelmas daisies are gorgeous just now.
To continue† Oct 2nd (44)
I always think the second crop of roses are nice the foliage always seems to be so healthy somehow. Then of course one can cut them a little more ruthlessly. I meant to ask you, didn't you get a clothes allowance when you left the Army. They do here I know, a certain amount of coupons and money with which to buy clothes in lieu of having ready-made coat and skirts or what not given to them. Well so I read in the papers you had better see into that.
On Saturday we went to Wergs Hall, it was Babe's 21st
birthday. They had a big sherry party. They were sorry B. wasn't there. The
young people stayed on to supper. Gordon was there but not Marg, she wasn't
well. He proudly showed me a photograph of his son. Jim couldn't be there he
was home about a fortnight ago. He is going spotting. The landing in Holland
has been an anxious time. Poor Brian Wilcox is posted as missing. Helen is
having a baby too in December. I am so sorry for her. Those Wilcock boys have
done their stuff, Mike is in hospital in something got smashed up in a car
accident. Maily? was married about 10 days ago. They came to spend they leave
with Mrs Wilcock to be near her in their trying time. It is bad luck! Oh and I
saw too in the Times that Colin Bibby is posted as missing. He is RAF too. I
must find the papers so that I can send a line to Mrs Bibby. I think Darling my
writing gets wilder and wilder[xxx].
I'm sorry. Pa says I write too quickly but if I write slowly he gets even more
confused! I hope you don't find it too difficult to read. I had a very nice
letter from Philippa, she was very pleased with the things you got for her. Is
there any else I can send you, let me know at once because parcels will be
getting slow now I feel because of the Xmas Mail. Oh darling we shall be so glad
to have you home again. I miss you more and more, I've already begun to ask
people if they hear of a little house going to let us know. What you'll put in
it I can't think, for furniture like everything else is scarce, damnably so! We
shall have to share out the Manor House I think. I'm going to have the drawing
room decorated. I'm sick to death of seeing it in such a mess all the baggage
and junk is in their you know. Where will put I can't think. I must really wind
Sunday October 8 1944
Sunday afternoon drizzling and rather wretched. Pop is working in the garden. I am in the dining room having just finished Noel Coward's diary of his last tour in the Middle East, quite interesting. He seems to have toured the hospitals mostly. You didn't hear him at all did you, he's an amazing fellow. Well you have had a week at the school now. I am wondering so much how it has "gone down". I do hope you are going to be happy there. Mildred cycled up after dinner last night, she's rather lonely poor child, and naturally worried about Peter. He is in Holland, she was so hoping she would be able to get over there by Xmas. Things have not moved quite as quickly as we supposed they would. She misses Joan I think because she depended on her a great deal - too all the Americans and the Dutch have gone from the district so I think she misses her various male escorts. Oh, Pat Hawkins, who married a Dutch officer, a charming lad is having a baby in December. I think Mildred and Pat see quite a lot of each other. Cherry Hunt is engaged to one Stott (a friend of the Wiles) I'm so glad I do hope it will all work out well, you see the man she was engaged to was killed and you remember she broke off her first engagement to that Dr. She lives with the Fred Bayliss's, such a nice girl isn't she? I am looking forward to having Bunch than the baby back on Wed. It is so very quiet without them. Nanny too is expected back in about a week. I do hope she will be all right. It will be so nice to have her back.
Ma J was delighted to have your letter and of course thrilled at the thought of the Turkish Delight. Darling could you possibly send Aunt Bee some I know she would very much appreciate it. I do hope your clothes will arrive safely. They were sent off nearly a fortnight ago. We have to send your Xmas parcel by 16th October, is there anything you need, do tell me. I must send you a bit of money to pay for the things, you are so very generous. Am sorry not to have seen Mrs Wilcox nephew. We were away when he came
Pa is now a magistrate.
Monday Oct 23 1944.
We were relieved to get a cable from you today giving an explanation about your letters and the addresses of your school. I feel there must be one or two letters missing for you have not sent your school address before. Two days ago, a cable came from Donald saying "don't worry letters sent love Donald Maitland" we couldn't make "top nor tail" of it. So we cabled him asking what it meant and if you were all right, so now all is well. I asked at the Post Office if these letter cards could be sent to civilians, yes they can and to South Africa or Australia etc so perhaps it applies also to you. Anyway now I will send letters to you at the school and parcels c/o Donald. Let me know how long they take and I'll tell you how long yours take. I wondered if I could send an ordinary airmail, but was told "no". Well darling how are you getting into the routine of your new life. I hope you are feeling happy. I can't bear you to be so far away from us and to know that life is unpleasant, but please, please never keep anything back from me. I feel sure though now you will be all right. The children I know will be fond of you. Of course it must be a tremendous change and all so different for you. I hope the other teachers are nice and that you have lots in common with them. Darling the loveliest parcel of the demi sugar and letters arrived last week from you. We are so grateful and hope it won't have cost you too much money. I'll be sending you some bye and bye to help you out. I do so want you to send Aunt Bee some Turkish Delight. She would so appreciate it, perhaps Donald can arrange to do it if it is easier through the military post. We sent off the Xmas parcel to him last Monday. Books for him and Books etc etc in the bigger parcel for you. I hope you will both get them before you go away on leave. It would be nice for you to have them before Xmas. There isn't anything much but do let me know if I can send anything. Have your clothes arrived yet! I do feel you ought to have got something out of the army. I suppose you don't want that striped winter suit. It looks as good as new and there is a nice black frock (woolen). Oh, I heard from Dorothy Edwards that Imogen and June have arrived in Cairo. I do so hope you will see lot of them. Chloe Williams has arrived today (she was B's nurse) back after the baby's for about 10 days to give B. a rest. B & I are going up to London for a couple of nights and then I hope she (B) will go down to see Joan White for a few days.
October 30 44.
Yours of the 22nd (132) arrived this am, thatís good going isn't it? And what an interesting letter it is. I am glad you feel satisfied with the job you're doing and that you really are at last able to use your abilities with which we all feel you are so well-endowed. You're bound to feel very tired I know until you have got well into the routine but I hope it won't be too exacting for you. I'm a bit worried about your wardrobe, I do so hope the parcels will have got to you safely by this time. Don't you think I had better send on some more things for you, what about your maroon evening frock and that nice black woollen one. If you would care to have it, I will send that little black crepe short frock of mine. It has a lace yoke over pink and buttons up to the neck with a dressy down collar if you remember. I think it would do for you. It's really too juvenile for me - a Susan Small model, what you think? I will also get off some gloves to you. If you don't want to buy a hat, I suppose you can always make a turban with a scarf to wear on Sundays to church. Darling don't worry about things too much. I can't bear the thought of your having nightmares, I so long to be with you and help you over your difficulties. We are perfectly all right here so much more fortunate than most people. We have all the amenities of living in country. Nanny really seems better on the whole, but we feel we must take care of her. I tell her she must keep fit to welcome you all when you come home. Yes I think Bunch is better, she's staying with Joan White until tomorrow when I meet her in London. I go in the morning with Uncle C and Aunt Bee and Joy for two nights. I am looking forward to it so is Bunchie. I hope to do a bit of shopping, I have some coupons! Too I hope to find little things for Xmas, presents are hopeless so little choice and prices are really outrageous. I don't know if I told you, my coat and skirt was 23 guineas! A very different state of affairs from when you left the country! Still one just doesn't buy much that's all, hats too are fantastic. Mildred I believe has just paid seven guineas for one, ridiculous! It is very, very good of you to have sent a cake again. I hope you will get our parcel all right. Do you see anything of the A.T.S. girls whom you liked.
I believe Daddy is sending off photographs today to you. I look awful. Anyway it will be nice to see the children. I must stop now, it's lunch time.
Wednesday Nov 1 10 am.
Thought I would have a word with you here at the Park Lane Hotel were Bunch and I are spending two nights with the Cyril's and Joy. I've just got ready to go out, having had my breky in bed. It is sad you're not with us. Bunch and Joy appear to be thoroughly enjoying it and being together - they never stop talking. They've dashed off out. They are having lunch with Gordon and Marg who have a flat up here. Gordon is working in London at present. Then I believe they are going to a matinee and tonight again to see the Cartridges? in their show. Last night we saw "Tomorrow the World" a wonderfully cast play, the story of a young nazi boy who has got away to America and spread his "creed". He was a marvellous lad of about 12 or maybe younger. He portrayed these young creatures just what can we imagine them to be. We all enjoyed it. I'm going with Aunt Bee to, at any rate look at the shops as a matter-of-fact, I do want to buy in a presy and about something for Carol-ann. the Maitlands came up to have lunch with me here at Park Lane just Bunch and me. The others were off doing other things. It was so very nice to see them. Tell Donald they both looked remarkably well, and were so happy to talk about you and Donald. Mrs was very worried about Otis she said they themselves had not had a letter from him in for about 18 months it is very hard! So see that Donald doesn't neglect them. Darlings both of you. It will hoped about your wedding day when you get this. I simply cannot realise you have been married for three years. My proudest love and wishes to you both. I hope next year we shall be able to celebrate it all for an famille. Daddy I are very happy about you and Donald we are both terribly fond of him. My great wish is that you will have many happy years together. Yours was one of the happiest weddings I've ever been to and I've been to "some". I am so longing to see you together in England again! Yesterday I saw Monnie Mander, she knew I was going to be up here and asked me to have lunch with her here at the Park Lane, but I couldn't fix it as I wanted to be with the Maitlands. However, I had a few words with her after they had gone. Oh she has so altered, you remember how pretty she was. She's not been well for some time. She asked about you. I think I told you Tony had died as a result of wounds and his wife is expecting a baby any moment, the very sad. But I am going off now. Think Aunt Bee is waiting for me. It was very nice of them to ask me to come up here with them.
Thursday Nov 9 (44)
We don't seem to have heard from you for about 10 days though Bunch heard yesterday saying you were all well and cheery. Yes I have sent off the gloves or rather Daddy did, a week yesterday while we were in London. I'm afraid Nanny got them out of your trunk and she included your proper fur gloves in the parcel. She did send those lambskin ones. I hope they will arrive soon, also it is time your clothes had arrived. I'm hoping every day to hear they have got to you, for I know you must be needing them. We thought about you and Donald yesterday your wedding day, did you manage to contact each other, all my love ?? again to you both. We are just beginning really chilly weather, a smattering of snow this morning and a biting wind. How I do dread the winter. It seems so long after a very brief summer, sorry for the smudge, Carol Ann has just leaned over it with her great fists! Poor old Bunch she finds her a handful. Well to goodness she could have a real nannie for I know she finds the two of them and very exhausting. I'm afraid poor old nanny has had to go home again. I think she came back perhaps too soon and. Her skin is better certainly bad she got so very breathless when she did anything. I know she didn't want go away for good. But at any rate she must rest for a little longer. Maybe she can come back in the New Year. We miss her very much. There were so many things she did for me. We are having a hectic week with poppy day, whist drives, bring-and-buy sale, a stall in the square on Sat so life seems a little full. I do hope things are going well with you at the school and I can't imagine you being strict, we love to hear about all your doings, Daddy is sorting all your letters out and having them put into folios. Think he must start on the Newnham ones now. I've kept them all. Oh, Ma Jay was thrilled with her Turkish Delight. It is good of you. Eunice gave a dancing display in Codsall last night very good.
Tuesday Nov 14 (44)
I think your letters are now nearly all up to date - 133 of Oct 30 arrived on Friday last. I am relieved that your clothes have arrived safely, guess you have been putting them "to rights". They certainly looked a little jaded when we packed them up, but a good pressing and what not would soon alter that. Look, Bunch and I still regard those suits we had when you had your grey as best!! Mrs James really does tailor well. I am hoping to have a black one in the spring if I can afford coupons and her price guess it won't be far off 25 guineas, horrid thought! I bought a couple of new hats when I was in London, a black and brown felt - six guineas each!! Yes we notice you are somewhat fatter! Mrs Reade sent us the photographs to see of Philippa's wedding. How very nice everybody looked. I should think it was jolly. I'm glad you like the husband. I am very interested to hear about the Adseads. I always thought June would be a pretty girl, it's nice for you to be able to see them. Are you a member of the club at Gazira, I remember we went there a few times and thought it rather jolly place. Of course know you will need a pretty clothes. I wish I could send you more, still perhaps you will gradually get together a good "wardrobe". How have things turned out you have been having made? The native people do as a rule copy well. Wouldn't you like that maroon evening frock and any other things you have, for after all they will only get very out of date. We can really send you something new if you say what you would like. Bunch could be your model. We can manage the coupons quite well, it is only seven for an afternoon or evening frock providing it's not wool. So do let me know, I'd love to send you something.
We've got the Seymour's coming for lunch tomorrow, we happen to have a brace of pheasants in the larder!! Cou is in Durban, been there 18 months a Vette D? and I told ahoy Dick is a prisoner in Japan poor lad. We've had rather sad news today, Jim Swanson is missing. Still we hope and pray he will turn up. Mrs Swanson rang up this morning, she said she just had a letter saying that he'd met Bunch's Peter in Antwerp, and how fit he seemed. Poor June, they only heard on Sat that he'd not returned from his job. He's doing "recce" I think. We had a very nice armistice service.
Tuesday Nov 22 (1944)
Darling, your letter written the half-term weekend came through in six days good! I try it to picture you in charge of your frock, somehow can't really. Don't be too hard on the little blighters!!! I only hope you are not finding it all to exacting and trying, are the rest of the staff very stereotyped, is there anyone your age you can be really friendly with? Are they people from England. What a lot of questions! We feel we are so far away and know so little about it all. How is the play progressing - you should have some idea about that sort of thing after your experience at Lawnside, you ought to drop a line to Winifred Burrows someday, guess though it is as much as you can manage to keep up with all your family mail! I suppose you are now getting near the end of term and will appreciate the much earned holiday. When do you break up and for how long? I suppose you will spend part of it with Donald at Ismailia after you return from your trip up the Nile. Please God you will be home with us next year. We are going to open up the drawing room again. I am sick to death of seeing it as a ?? up. It really looks dreadful. Things are positively oozing out of it. Beardmore has promised to come and decorate it before Christmas. The Chesterfield and chairs are at Philip's and Jones being done up and re-covered, you remember I had the material at the beginning of war, a green ground cretonne. I'm so looking forward to using it again. I don't want tho' to make the dining room into a dumping ground again, but where we shall pack all the things I do not know. We have been having the most drear wet weather lately but however today is better bright, frosty for a change, makes one feel so much better. I think I told you the babies have had lots of winter clothes. C-A has been really very poorly for about six days simply wouldn't eat anything, thank goodness she's better again and or nearly. It has been very trying for B. for the child has been very irritable and wanted only her mother except occasionally when she wanted me and I needed her. This is the job I can really do. She is an intelligent person, her memory is astounding! Tell us do these letters get censored? We are now able to send these letter cards to civilians anywhere in the Dominions, so much easier than airgraphs in peace time. You can only get them through the army! Tea trolley just come, led by Tom and Whiz?!. Tom is still very beautiful and lays wonderful "eggs". We are a roomful with them all over hearth!
Monday Nov 27† (44)
Yours of the 20 arrived at this a.m., also an airmail letter from Margie, who says you look very fit and attractive! She says how lovely it was to see you. Of course it means "a touch of home" to her! as she does dislike Cairo. Try and see as much of them as you can. Perhaps you and Donald could go and meet and entertain them to dinner sometime. I did ask you if you were members of the club at Gazira, because I presume you can invite people to meals there, or is it to "spensive"? Margie says it is the only place to go to, I suppose she means for social life. Fancy it is Xmas day a month today, we have made mincemeat, currents you sent have been a tremendous asset. We still have a couple of puddings left made the first year of the war! And they are perfectly good! They wouldn't have lasted with the present day ingredients. I'm afraid we shan't do much in the way of present-giving for things are not plentiful and such as they are, a frightful a price. What to get Pop for his birthday, I don't know. It is Uncle C.'s on Sunday so we go there for dinner on Sat night. Bunch and CA are at the Smiths for tea. I've got Angela just kicking on a rug while I am writing this. I can't tell you how adorable she is, I wish we could get a nice photograph of her, hope we shall some day soon. I hope Darling that your passport is duly through and in order. I should have imagined that the army would have automatically given you one as they took you out of the country. Don't you come in for a† gratuity? We are continually sending you magazines, Woman's Journal and etc etc every month. I do hope you get them we send off a least two bundles a month. I'm sorry my pen has run out. B has put the ink somewhere I can't find it. (change to green ink). To go back to passports, didn't you apply to the A.T.S. for one when you left. I suppose you hated asking them for anything is that it? I do hope your leave for Xmas will come off, but more important still that Donald will get a good billet right near to you. I hope it will be possible for you to live together. It won't be for the want of trying will it? Of course I am living for next summer when I hope it will be possible for you to get home. Yes I have told Nanny she must get well and be here when you get back. I haven't heard from her just lately. Ma J is doing very well for us, but dear me life is a little full. Still we are very fortunate to have the help we've got, bye for now.
December 1 Friday† (44)
Darling a word to you, I don't know if this is going to get to you for Xmas as Ma J. told me yesterday was the last day for posting but I rather feel it is those airgraph things which I have not sent you. Still I have sent you very good ?? And I've no doubt we shall rise to a cable for Xmas. I do hope the parcels arrived or will arrive, do tell Donald the big one is for you. Tell me do you get all magazines, you never mention Woman's Journal which we send you every month. At any rate whatever happens you will be able to have Christmas together won't you. It will be marvellous if Donald does get the posting he wants and a very good C.O. to work under, because it just must make all the difference. Bunch and I went to see Mrs Swanson the other morning. She is naturally very cut up about Jim. I'm afraid it's quite hopeless to expect him to turn up alive in view of the fact that he was seen to crash after having been hit twice. We all feel very sick about old June. He was such a pet. You will write to Mrs Swanson won't you. This afternoon we're going to Mildred's for tea. She's leaving the cottage next week and going to live near the park in Wolverhampton so she's having a farewell tea-party. I think she is sorry to go, but the Sharpes are coming back to the cottage. Mr Boustred from Johannesburg is coming here today for the weekend. I am so looking forward to seeing him again. I stayed with them for a few days when we were in Africa. I'm sorry we are not moved back into the drawing Room. We are in the throes of changing over. I have been busy cleaning out Boxes etc etc ready for Mr Beardmore to come in on Friday and decorating it and we are having a new covers made for the furniture. I am longing to get it straight again. What a week we've had pig killing, you know the excitement it causes! I've had several pies made to give away. It's rather fun. Old Ma J. does love it. Polly was here all day yesterday. Poor old Nanny used to enjoy those days too, I've sent her off some pork etc yesterday. On Sunday Daddy is having the final parade - at Tettenhall church of the Home Guard. Bunch and I are hoping to go to the service. Daddy is going to address the troops. I've no doubt he'll feel rather sad about it, but I honestly feel it has been a strain for him all the long time. Oh did I tell you Pa?? Send me to half-bottles made off syllabub stuff they are quite good. sorry I have had to end abruptly.
Sunday 10 Dec. (44)
Darling it seems a very long time since we heard from you, certainly 10 days or so. We so look forward to your letters as I know you do ours. We are huddled round at the fire, Pa, Bunch and I, it is bitterly cold, trying to snow, how I do hate the Sundays like this. We went to church and picked up Mrs Wilcock, Michael is home from India. He had a bad crash in a "jeep", and went down a precipice, smashed both legs, broke jaw etc. He's wonderfully patched-up and will be out of things for a bit I imagine. Bunch and I had a great day in Birmingham on Thursday, she will tell you about it. There is a Christmas feeling everywhere, but shopping is too hopeless, things are such a frantic price and really shoddy when you get down to them. I'm thinking we shan't give much in the way of presents. Mr Boustred from Johannesburg and was here last weekend and is coming to spend it with us and bringing his sailor son. Twill be rather fun having somebody to stay and we like him so much. I shall be thinking of you so very much I know, especially when we are sitting listening to the King's broadcaster, if he speaks to us again this year. I hope he will. How I do hope and pray that it will be the last Xmas you will be away. Of course Bunchie is getting very excited at the prospect of Peter's having a weeks leave early in the new year. Won't it be marvellous if he does. He'll be beside himself when he sees his two small children. They are so lovely.
Now take note of this, Mr Boustred, we call him Frank, is flying back to Africa† early in the New Year. He hopes to be in Cairo and will make every effort to see you. I have given him yours and Donald's addresses. Is it possible for you to leave any message at the school, so that he can find you. Am rather wondering if you will be on leave. We will send the photographs by him. He's a pet and, I stayed with them at Johannesburg and they came here to see me when I was ill. I can't very well send you anything as he has limited to luggage coming by air. He flew over to the States and has come here on his way back. He is head of a trade mission from South Africa, a very important man! I am having a sherry party on Xmas Eve. The Cyril's won't be coming as taxis are so uncertain on days like Sunday. Mrs Makes and her daughter will come for dinner. Daddy is crediting your account to £25 say you will be able to treat yourself. I am longed to know what is happening to you. I fear letters are a little slowed up just now. A very happy Xmas Darling and may we be together next year.
Sunday Dec 17th 3.30 pm (44)
Daddy's birthday. It is a lovely sunny day to, so he is happy pottering in the garden for which we are thankful as he does so hate being penned indoors at the weekend. It has been rather a mild week, and lots of rain. I have spent it all indoors as I've had a touch of bronchitis, all is well now. (Dr.) Curtis came today and signing me off. I am most distressed in here about your boils, you do get them in such uncompf. places. It simply all points to the fact that you have been out East long enough and should come home! I hope you will be able to get some treatment under the RAF. I do hope your better by now. It is so wretched for you when you have got to be working all time. We were very interested to hear all about your staff, it is a great relief to us that your life is under happier conditions and that at least you do get a certain amount of comfort. You seem to have to work very hard there. All the same we shall be thinking so much about you all next week Xmas and I know feel you're being away very badly, especially on Xmas day. It's a little comfort to us to know that you will be with Donald. How I do so long for us all to be together again, because we were or are such a very happy family and I do so always want you with me - Darling, Daddy was so pleased with his lovely birthday letter which arrived yesterday, couldn't have been better timed, we are both so very proud of you and I still personally miss you so much, all my love and blessings my dear one.
Bunchie at the moment is packing a parcel of bits - little? things - to Peter. I got up yesterday so was able to make a bit of fudge for him, there is so little one can send really. Daddy and I are not giving very much in the way of presents, instead we have bought between us, I paying a half, a gilt espere sort of settee. It's very pretty. I think it will eventually settle in the hall, but at the moment it will have to go in the drawing room, our Chesterfield etc haven't come back from being recovered. The drawing room looks so nice we shall be in there all being well next week and. Joy!!! I am thrilled. I gave Daddy a gorgeous pair of hog skin gloves, just to mark the occasion. Mrs Hall managed to produce them, they are ungettable really. I think it should drop you note to Ismailia as well so bye bye.
Sunday Dec 17th (1944) (recd 3/1/45)
Darlings both of you, thought I would send this note in the hope that you will get it somewhere near Xmas whilst you are both together, I know you will be having a very happy time, but how we shall miss you both. I think we shall be quite a little party on Xmas night. Frank Boustred who is coming to see you, Romie, early in the New Year and his sailor son will be with us and Mrs Mateen and her daughter come in for dinner. On Xmas Eve we shall have a sherry party here, so that will be fun, I'm afraid we can't have the usual family party, transport, taxis are so are reliable and simply daren't take my car out - no legitimate excuse.
Still after the war we hope will resume our normal habits. I hate breaking up old customs. We of course are centred on making little pleasures for Carol-Ann. We've managed to get a second hand doll's pram and Bunch has got out her white doll's cot, which Beardmore has painted. I'm longing to see the surprise on her little face when she sees them and the Xmas tree lighted up. It's impossible to buy toys here now. They are not allowed to make good ones and the ones they make a too shoddy for words.
I have just written a long letter to you Romie and posted it to the school, I do hope the play and the "breaking up" was a success. By the way I found that little blue and white blouse of yours, Bunch posted it to you unfortunately she sent it to the school. I hope you will get it. I think she must have forgotten. They can't make you pay much on it, as it is not a new one. I can't think why she sent it that way. I hope it won't be too small for you!!!! I think I must stop now. It's teatime, and no staff here. Uncle C and Aunt Bee a coming in for supper. Tons of love to you both and all best of things for you for 1945.
Xmas Afternoon (1944)
We are sitting round the fire, Daddy Bunch, Mr Boustred and his young son. We are back in the drawing room, it has been painted again and looks very nice. You can picture I know. Daddy sitting in the big chair facing the G-window, Mr B. opposite and we three opposite the fire all snug, we have just this second finished listening to the King's speech, full of strength I think. I wonder if you have been able to listen too. Of course we thought of you and felt your not been with us very keenly. I suppose it does not a matter much if you feel very full at the moment. Last night (Xmas Eve) we had such a jolly sherry party, Ma J. made wonderful bits. The Tettenhall contingent all had trekked out, I think everybody enjoyed it, quite a lot of gin was consumed!! Its such fun being in the drawing room again. Well this morning we went to church as we said and went to some RAF people called Pearce for sherry, the Condsall crowd there. Mrs Manley usually has a party but she's ill with pneumonia, but is making good progress. Darling we are more than delighted and thrilled with all your parcels. The cigarette box is just too marvellous, thank you very much and the Xmas cake it is just too wonderful for words, absolutely intact, we are eating it today. We've asked the Malcolm Thompson's to come for tea, we gave them a lift up to church, and discovered they were all alone, so I said come along. The Shenton family are all coming in after dinner. They haven't done to Stanley this year. Aunt Emily and Tim[xxxi] were to come for dinner, he has just rung up to say his mother is poorly. Still we are quite a little party on our own and I know we shall enjoy a the turkey - we shall drink to you my dearest one and Donald and Peter hope you will be with us next year. The school magazine arrived this morning and that photograph (group at a wedding) it's excellent we are thrilled to have it - it is stuck in middle of the drawing room mantelpiece. Carol Ann's horse arrived yesterday, she just adores - it from Auntie "Lomie"!! that's what she calls you! You have been far too generous, I only hope you are not bankrupt!! Still daddy is giving you a nice cheque. Bee gave me a lovely bedroom slippers, Bunch gave me a lovely piece of old glass, Daddy a luxurious pair of gloves, Hilda a nice cameo for the wall, Di and Joy, bits of china, Kenneth a very nice old silver gravy ladle. The children are just inundated with things, people have been most kind. I will write again tomorrow.
Sunday Afternoon, Dec 31st. (44)
Xmas over, we're all straightened up once again!!
It has been a much pleasanter Xmas than we had it anticipated. It has been so nice having the Boustreds with us. Bunch liked him very much and Carol Ann simply attached herself to both of them. We seem to have had several sherry parties, so it has all passed very well. Your Xmas cake was delicious and has been sampled by many people. The crystalised fruit too were† lovely, you have been most generous to us. I hope by the time you get this letter you will have contacted Mr Boustred, who leaves in a few days' time. He is bringing photographs with him for you and our dearest love and all first-hand news. I know you'll be glad to meet someone who has just been with us. This is the last day of the old year. May 1945 bring to you and Donald all that you wish for yourselves and above all Peace. My very loving wishes to you dearest one. Am longing for the day when I shall have you with us again, of course we are so delighted that you and Donald can be together. It will just be grand if that flat materialises at your price.
Marjorie Adshead wrote saying they were trying to get one, but they found the rents so high, but of course they will need a bigger one than you and Donald. I do hope you will find a congenial man to share one with you. Bunch is now getting all excited at the thought of Peter coming home. He hopes the here at the end of the month (Jan). She and the babies go off to Lytham for about two months. My hat, how we shall miss them. Daddy will really find it very lonely without C-A, especially now that he is at home so much more and has no other diversions at the moment. It's rather cold for gardening etc, still we shall go away for a bit I think, can't fix a date yet because of Peter. We go down to the Hazels tonight for a little party. Fondest love darlings and a very happy 1945.
Thursday Jan 4 1945
Darling I'm sitting by the smoke room fire just having finished tea, all cosy like!! Bunch and C-A have gone off to have tea with Gladys, she wanted to see her before she goes away on Sunday. It a bit of a treck but still! She does adore Carol Ann but I'm afraid is not possible for her to see her very often. We had three glorious letters written by you on Boxing Day. I'm glad you had an enjoyable Christmas. The Weekes? and Mrs Hazel said they were sure you would spend Xmas night at Shepherd's, they always did. It still seems??! Well darling we were terribly interested to hear all about the flat and I'm trying to picture you there because I imagine you have moved in by now. Can't I send you some things. Couldn't you possibly get round your landlord to lend you some linen as he's the father of one your pupils!! I'm afraid you will find it not too easy getting things will you. I should certainly buy only things to last you whilst you are there. I know will be just a question of "making do". Of course it will be grand for you to be just living quietly together. May I give you a little advice, go easy on the entertaining because it does run away with a frightful lot of money. Of course you must be hospitable to people who had been good to you. You see Daddy and I get a bit nervous about drinks and what not. You know Daddy and I even feel that we can't afford to have the best at hotels and what not only on odd occasions. I do so hope you will be able to manage the expenses of it all for it is so ideal for you if the you can get some one really congenial to share with you, then you should be able to manage. One thing which concerns me will you be able to manage to keep it clean and do the cooking or can you get a bit of help. I don't want you to be quite worn out. You'll manage it though I know. You seem to be able to tackle things you really want, - Oh Parkes credited your account with £25. I wanted them to cable it out but you see since that £5 (the first one) I sent to Donald never turned up he doesn't seem to like the idea. I think they must send you a new year gift between you because I know he you will be needing a bit extra. I wish I could stock you up out of my cupboard but there you are. Do let us know if I can send you anything thing.
Did you send Aunt Bee anything? Peter has his leave the middle of Feb. We go to "Ferry Boat Inn", Helford Passage near Falmouth Cornwall on Jan 23 for about a week or 10 days whilst B. is away. You'll be glad to know Colin Bibby is a prisoner and not missing in the Times today.
Sunday Evening (7 Jan?) (45)
Thought I would just send you off a note, first, I must apologise for the addressing of the letter card as your see I've had to do a hell of crossing out, it's just all I have at the moment and I had an urge to send you a letter. I'm sitting in the drawing room at my desk, can you just picture it. It's lovely being in the room again. It's a bitterly cold day, snow and more to come! Bunchie and the children went off at 1230 in a blizzard! Daddy took them Harry (something) following with the luggage on lorry! What amount it was. Beattie went with them as Margaret has sprained her ankle. It so unfortunate, I want B. to keep B. for a few days, but she says it's actually easier to be without Margaret at Lytham than it is here because of course there is a far less to do there. If you can understand. The house just seems dead, and Daddy and I feel quite lost. It's lovely for us being able to have them. I know of course that it is not at all ideal for Bunch but I really do try to make things as pleasant and easy for her as I can. I sometimes feel she doesn't think I do, still there you are. I think both Daddy an I are not looking forward to being without either of you, still I hope someday you and Donald will live somewhere near us at any rate. You'd like to wouldn't you. It's too much to expect that Bunch will too, I suppose. If Peter does get a job with an oil company. Still he's all in the picture! I shall be very lonely without her, though of course Daddy isn't out nearly so much.
Mr Boustred is off tomorrow so perhaps by the time you get this, you will have seen him and hear all the latest news. Darling tomorrow I am asking the Bank to cable you £10 to Barclays DC Bank in Cairo. A little New Year present. You will be glad of it and buy it oddments I am sure. Tell me, can you get all the groceries and things you require at the NAAFI. Are you able to get coffee? And tea. I can possibly send you coffee from time to time, because I hear that some places it is very difficult to get only at black-market prices. I also can send you lots of soap etc, anything that isn't rationed. We had a man to tea yesterday Major, who has just come back from leave in Holland, a Dutchman. Things are pretty bad there, for civilians I mean, but he says they are so happy in spite of it all. I suppose because we have liberating them. His home is at Breda in the south, of course he didn't go to the north, Peter writes very regularly, Bunch hears nearly every day. Poor child she is just living for leave. I hope all will go well, that the children will be fit etc etc. Sorry have gone crooked! Well how's the cooking getting on? We've been thinking so much about you both, sorry Pip B. was such an embarrassment. He always was queer - can't understand it.
Tuesday 15 Jan (1945)
Thought I would send this c/o of Donald to see if it arrived more speedily! Tell me how long. Well now I suppose you are quite established in your flat and just adoring it. I am longing to hear a bit more about it, what is your servant like. I do hope he won't try to "do" you. Does he do all dusting shopping and what not, what do you have to pay him. Afraid I've asked you a frightful lot of questions but we just want to know all about your life. How I long of course to see you. I'm imagining by this time the you have seen Frank Boustred and heard all our news. So I shall eagerly await your mail. Joe ?? is so sweet, he always says here is the letter you want. When it is one from you. Have you seen anything of the Addsheads over Xmas. Poor Margaret is not enamoured with Cairo, she says the club at Gezira is her only outlet. Are you and Donald members? Hope you have received my bit of money (£10) which I sent out to Barclays DC Bank. Of course we are very quiet and lonely without B. and the babies. Ma J and Beattie are in the throes of spring cleaning. They have about done all our bedrooms, only the spare room to be done. It is an opportunity while they are away. I'd rather have them here though.
Daddy and I go off today week, two nights in London, we're going to see Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine in their new play, Love in Idleness by Terence Rattigan, we're very lucky to get in and then to see Bobby Howe in Cinderella, what a difference. It has had a great write up. I think it will be fun. Daddy and I are much looking forward to it all. We shall stay at Browns and then on the Thursday (25) go off to Ferry Boat in at Helston near Falmouth for a week or 10 days. I'd have liked to take Bunchie with us. I wish she could get a holiday on her own. Its most unfortunate Margaret has sprained her ankle and couldn't go with them. However she will follow on later, what a busy time for Bunch, she simply can't have a minute. We speak to each other every day or so on the phone.
Carol Ann of course fascinates everybody, she has any amount of character. It will be good for her when the dear little Angela can take her share of the adoration. They are lovely pair. Heard from Nanny the other day poor old thing, I'm afraid she isn't very grand. I afraid she will not be able to come back permanently. Still when the better weather comes she might feel different. If only she could come back periodically for a month or so at a time to sew and what not. Let's hope she will, we miss her very much. Tell her when you write she must be ready to come back when you come home!
Wednesday (23rd Jan?)
Darling, I'm afraid this will be a very scrappy note, we've just had lunch and I'm scribbling this in front of a fire in the lounge. It's so very frigid everywhere, we're having a long spell of cold weather. Snow here in London, the shops are very empty and cold as ice boxes. We saw a terrific show last night. Lyn Fontaine and Alfred Lunt in Love in Idleness. It was a tour much?? They are a unique couple superb acting. I took Pa to see L Olivier in Henry V (a film) in the aft. Didn't know what else to do with him as it too cold to wander about. A very good film in the technicolour. We were lunching with Joan White at Crowborough today. They are really snowed up. The taxi can't meet us at Tonbridge, so we can't go, she's very disappointed. Her Peter arrives on Feb 7.
So very glad you were able to see Mr Boustred, he is a dear, had a cable from him on Monday saying he'd seen you and how well and happy you both seemed. I'm looking forward to going to South Africa again in the not too far distant future. I hope do entertain the Addsheads. If you can remember it! You must just adore having somewhere of your very own. Can't I send you something out, what about coffee, I could perhaps include some in a parcel, because I know in some countries it is ungettable or prohibitive in price. It was very nice of Donald to write to us, we're very fond of him you know. So there's a hope if he comes home this year. Of course I'm just living on the hope that you and he will come when you have finished your year's contract at school. That's what I am building on. I bought a sweet frock for CA this a.m., a white striped red and beautifully smocked in red rather like the one in her photograph. Sorry they are so bad of Daddy and I, think we really look better than that in real life. Bye-bye dearest all fond love to you both.
Monday 29 Jan (1945)
Darling, Here we are at the Ferry Boat Inn. Pa has sent you a booklet about it but you'll have to wait for that, it certainly is the most comf. spot we have struck since the war. It is very well run and so warm. The central heating is most efficient. It's a small place perhaps 12 or 14 people here, all wed! Food excellent. I expect you've heard the whole country is practically shivering with cold, for us staying here, they have had nothing like it for 50 years, certainly there is practically no snow but a sharp frost in the mornings. Yesterday and Sat we had excellent sunshine and it just poured into the place, you see it is all tucked away and sheltered from winds. It's at the bottom of a steep hill in the harbour. Directly one gets out of the sheltered spot, it is bitingly cold. I've never seen the country so enveloped in snow as it was coming down. We are only hoping Butters is coping at the Manor House. We've told them to keep the boiler going. Of course you'll have seen that there whole country is suffering from a shortage of coal, which seems all wrong when it is here in the country for the getting. Fortunately we have our stock at home and we burn masses of wood. They have terrific fires in this place so it is all very cosy, I hope Bunch is all right though Margaret was to go up to her last week but whether she managed it I don't know. I made all arrangements about taxis etc before I came here. Darling don't get too worried about the Manor House[xxxii]. Daddy and I are stopping a night in London on our way home to see Bicker the Shelton's lawyers and trustee. Honestly I don't think S.'s themselves have much authority about the property. It's all "in trust". It is all very tiresome, but I think Pa would really like to own the property. You know he's thought we'd like to go further South but now that idea seems to have gone since he has all his local activities which he would have to give up, so that's that. Its most kind of you do save sugar for us, but please, please don't in any way make yourself short for we manage very well. You know Ma J. does love a bit of extra sugar. We have just managed to get some Seville oranges. There was a delivery in the London area so Adcock from the works got us some and we've made marmalade, Daddy's passion!! Have you sent Aunt Bee a little parcel, I know she'd adore some sweets sometime, if you see any Indian or Valencia almonds or ground almonds, I'd like some but you must never pay black market prices. Couldn't bear to think of you spending your precious money on us. Romie what are your chances of coming home this summer Aug?? I'm just longing for the day when we see you both. Bunchie will go just potty I know, she does adore you so just as she did when she was a little girl. Poor child she's longing for the moment when Peter arrives. She's got some delicious clothes with which to greet him!! I shall be glad to have them back at home again. I have babbled on but I don't seem to have said much bye bye Darling.
Feb 1st 1945
Here we are at the Paddington hotel. Came up from Falmouth on the 10.30 arriving here at 5.30. We've just had dinner and are now up in that big lounge, do you remember it? I shall always associate this place with your being in Sussex Gardens and that beastly weekend when you didn't turn up! We've got a most palatial room at in the new part, it really is beautifully done it! We are feeling lazy and not wanting to turn out to pictures or the like. You see all theatres begin at six or thereabouts. Anyway I do so hate groping about in the dark. Daddy is seeing Bikker in the morning. I shall do a bit of shopping and go down by the 2.10. We've had a very pleasant week, so warm and comf. and marvellous food. We shall go again soon I hope. It was remarkably cheap to, only about 15/- a day. We've had a letter from Pug Addshead whilst we were there, he said they caught a glimpse of you in the pictures a few days ago, but they couldn't get to speak you. There is an dim possibility that he might be coming home for a bit, only on some business at the War Office, guess he hopes it comes off. He hasn't seen John for over five years and of course is dying to see him before he (John) get posted overseas. The news is very cheering at the moment, the Russians pushing on to Berlin, 42 miles away is the latest today, I wonder! Spect you will have heard of the awful weather we've had. The worst cold for 50 years, and Cheers we escaped the worst of it for there was no snow at Helston and the last day or two it has been positively spring-like. However the great thaw is setting up all over the country, I think. I am only hoping that when we get home we shan't find that they are burst pipes. From the papers we see that the poor wretched plumbers are absolutely snowed under with calls.
Did I tell you I had bought a rather nice hat in London from that place in Maddox Street, a black, very smart, and a brown one. 6 gns each horrible. I hate telling you still might I have bought very much this winter. I'm just about to order another coat and skirt, it seems the most practical thing to have these days. I don't seem have much interesting news to tell you. Did I ever tell you that Suzanne Jenks had just lately produced a son! Diana Beau has just married a Webb, brother of Brenda's husband. Had quite a swell wedding in London, poor Derrick While's very last hope gone I should think! They Cedric and Derek are busy doing shoes for the Red Cross. Tom James is looking after the financial side of it and he hopes to make £1,000!! They are giving several concerts and Mr James is asking people for donations, Isn't it ambitious. The Whiles are really very clever with their electricals a think. The one is so well put on, nobody we know there, except Shonier Champion. I think I need to stop. I'm writing in rather an uncomfortable position.
Monday Feb 12 1945
† Yours of the 5th (154) today, excellent work that. You seem very cheery and breezy! Donald will have to have a job as a chef if all else fails! Have you to come round to soup, as far as I can remember you used only to like a tomato soup[xxxiii]! Aj well, will grow something as we grow older! I spoke to Bunch the other night, the children had not been well, but had recovered when she spoke to me. She send an SOS for potatoes, they couldn't get any in their part to the world, so we sent a small sack up per Margaret, who had it been down for two days to see her brother could is bound Burmah. The potato crop has been very bad all over the country, due to too much wet when they should have been got up last autumn and many have got frosted, you see they couldn't open up the "beuries" during that bad spell, however that is all over. Today it is positively mild. Daddy and I have been to Mrs Evelyn Twentyman's funeral. It's very tragic, she went over to the Christening of Rice's last baby, somewhere Sussex and had a seizure. I think it was on the station on her way back last Friday it was. It's all very sad. She never regained consciousness, still it was a good way to go out though it leaves the ones left rather numbed. She had hated to be ill though, she was so very energetic. She's had that little stall in the Square[xxxiv] every Saturday morning, wet or fine, selling their vegetables for the Red Cross. She had made well over £300, excellent isn't it? I'm sorry for Joan, she appears such a lonely reserved sort of girl. Carol and her husband live at their cottage, you know at Gailey Pool. Did I tell you that Pam Bayliss is engaged to Lesley Brett. You possibly remember he's a captain the Navy, scores of? A very suitable match. I'll enclose a cutting in the next lot of magazines I sent.
Daddy and I went to see Mrs Swanson yesterday am, she asked about you. Babe was home on leave too. She has developed into a most delightful girl. Pa was most impressed. Mrs S had been poorly for some time, kidney trouble, she looked very bad. Tim's "going" has been a most terrible blow. She looks positively ravaged. I'm so sorry for her, Jim came over for supper last night. Jennifer is going up to quite young lady, very like her mother!
Please don't worry about Manor House. Pa has practically decided to buy it. Is already planning alterations in the garden, to Butters Cottage etc. One of the first things we'll do if we're allowed, will be to have central heating in the House, we are in the throws of spring cleaning. Mrs Mac is here happily, did I tell you that nannie's† room is going to be turned to a day nursery for the children. We really seemed full in a way so much "clutter" but one can't throw anything away these days.
Monday Feb 19 (45)
Darling, I must apologise for addressing this so badly. I don't know where the 'unit' should be added, I've none of the typed ones left, so here goes. I hope it will arrive safely. I intended writing to you yesterday, we had such a hectic day, church in the a.m. onto Hedges afterwards, then Tug Cullweck? came for lunch, by the way he and his wife have parted company. I hope that it will be only temporarily! I know very little about it! No sooner had he gone than one Captain Matheson (a former adjutant of Daddy's) arrived along with Olive Williams, B's nurse, at 2.45! They stayed until 9.30!! He gardened until it was dark, so that was good. I gave them some magazines to look at so we did have a did have a bit of quiet between tea and dinner, or rather supper! Still Pa and I would glad to have a little relaxation on our own. We heard from you on Friday and Sat of last week. How we do enjoy your letters. They both came through in five days, a record. I'm most interesting hear about your cooking experiments. To think of you dressing a fowl is really more than I can take in, you always shuddered at the sight of Ma J. doing them even. Ah well it is surprising what one can do if put to the test. I saw Mrs Reade the other day, she said that Phillippa was either coming or had been to dinner with you. I'm so glad you asked them. She by the way was off with some friends to Luxor. Romie, Daddy and I are most anxious you should go before you come home, because it might be years before you get another opportunity. We were so very sick that we didn't go, a time too so short as you remember. Oh yes we did see all the Tutankhamen treasure and were very impressed mainly because of their very wonderful state of preservation! Glad you have seen them, it's amazing to think that so many years ago they were skilled enough to do all these things. When the war is over and things are settled. I truly hope we shall be able to travel again, you can look after the Manor house while we see the world a bit, when! The garden is beginning to show signs of life, lots of snowdrops and crocuses out. Yesterday was a heavenly spring day! Daddy said it reminded him of the early spring weather of the year I was ill. I'm very glad you have sent Nanny another parcel. She will so like it. But she said she hadn't had a letter from you for some time. Doubtless you will have written by now. I've applied for petrol to go over to see her. I'll write you directly I had been. I still hope that after some months real rest, she might pick up and will be fit enough to come to visit us. It's all very sad. I spoke to Bunch the other night they all seemed well. I shall be very glad to have her back with us. I sometime wonder if she prefers to be at Lytham, you don't think she does do you? I couldn't bear that. I know Mrs Waddell makes a great fuss of her. Anyway while they have been away a perfect frenzy of spring-cleaning has gone on. The house does look nice. Ma J has been splendid. It's so lovely having the drawing room again even it is only at weekends. Mr & Mrs Swanson are coming to dinner tomorrow night. She's been very poorly. Oh Aunt Bee received a parcel from you - was very pleased.
Saturday Feb 24† (45)
Those perfectly heavenly little buttons arrived on Thursday as are several letters unopened too! Thank you very much indeed. They are most attractive. I haven't sent them on to Bunch as I thought when she comes here she can then choose which she would like, then we can decide how to use them. I rather fancy them on a frock. Mrs Hilton is making up that material you sent me. I wandering if we could use them on that. I nearly took the stuff up to London to be made after keeping it for some time they wrote saying that there wasn't sufficient material for the style I chose. I was wild. I couldn't go again. However Mrs Hilton will make it very nicely in the style I want, a plain one which will be all fresh for the spring. She only obliged me because I pleaded and said you had sent it. We have often have had anything made by her for ages and I always liked the things she does, so perhaps she'll take me on again now. Everybody is so busy and short handed. I shall love wearing it, it is such a nice soft colour and material, you are a very kind nice daughter! Tonight we are going to the Swansons and for dinner. I think I told you they were here the other night, she is very sad. I shall ask her if she'd like to see Peter when he comes, though I'm afraid he will be here only for one night. I should think it will be Sunday or Monday, March 3 or 4, so think of us. We shall think you and Donald when we are together. Poor old Bunch, she is feeling all "keyed up" I'm sure. I only hope the babies will be at their best and live up to all he has heard about them. I know he'll be more than thrilled. Then when he has gone back I presume they will all come here again and my shan't I be pleased, not to mention Daddy.
Do you remember Peggy Hunt, she married for a second time, she's just had a son. ?? has got a packet of grandchildren. I believe the young Brenda has got a child too. David is slowly recovering mentally from his awful burns he had when he baled out. He's doing quite well at an executive job. Peter their youngest boy was lost at sea, he was a sub Lieutenant in the Navy, sad that was. The Smiths Maude has got to go home and look after her mother. It's an awful blow for Hilda, she's been with them so long and you see Hilda has two lodgers. Dear me this domestic problem is the limit. This is a hurried note to thank you for the buttons are dearest love to both
Sunday Aft March 4† (45)
Well we are all set ready to welcome Peter when he arrives here which at the moment I understand will be Tuesday. Poor little Bunch, she is waiting now I presume, he is due in London at 5:00pm. I still can imagine how she must be feeling. I hope all their plans will go without a single hitch so that she can have the happiest leave possible, how thrilled he must be feeling at the prospect of seeing the children too. Carol A will flirt with him I know. I wonder if Otis has arrived. I hope truly we shall be able to meet him. Think I must suggest to the Maitlands they ask us down for the night! The garden is beginning to look very pretty, masses of crocuses out and something and daffodils are getting ready to burst out to. We've had a nice lot of snowdrops. It is so lovely to realise the spring is coming and hope of better things, certainly the war news is really more cheery now. I am looking forward with all my heart to seeing you at the end of the summer so shall you try to come for the summer holidays if you and Donald are not coming home for good. Would it be possible to do that.
I wonder if you have remembered that it is Joy's birthday on March 8th. I haven't bought her anything yet, I must go out and look round tomorrow. We've made all sorts of preparations for Peter, duck for dinner and salmon for lunch, I hope and of course an ice pudding. Oh too, I've saved a tin of grapefruit for him! By the way we have had a consignment of grapefruit, I managed to get hold off eight. A great treat, for we haven't had them for ages. We too have had Seville oranges, Charters does me well, also a man in the wholesale market who supplies the potatoes for the pigs. I occasioning give him the "odd gift"!!!
Of course 'they' would move Donald's job, just when you have got settled in your flat. Tell me where shall we address letters now. Daddy has had a batch of these typed for me, is the address correctly written and would you rather I sent them to the school, which is the quicker. Have you ever seen or heard anything of John ?? again? How very kind of you to send Aunt Bee that grocery parcel. She will be very grateful I know when it arrives. Had you all getting the magazines while B has been at Lytham, I have sent them to her first and then she was to send them on to you. I shall be glad to have her back with us. Do you think she wants to come? She's going to feel it frantically as you know only too well when Peter goes back, but we're hoping it won't be for long, because the separation will be easier to bear when it isn't fraught with danger. I shall be thankful to have you all safely gathered in England again. Did I tell you that petrol to go to see Nanny was refused, however when the weather is a little warmer I shall go somehow. Write to her will you, she loves your letters. Think I must go off to post this. Pa and Captain Matheson who came to lunch on Sunday are cutting the holly hedge.
Wednesday March 7 12 noon. (45)
Well they have been and gone! Bunch and Peter by mean! Came on the 2.10 from Paddington yesterday and have caught the 1230 this a.m.. It has all been very brief but very happy. Peter looked remarkably fit. He apparently hasn't had too uncomfortable a time, always managed to get adequate food, and as a rule get into pyjamas at night!! I felt somehow he looked a little pale, may have been all excitement and what not. What pleased Pa, he didn't seem to mind "talking" about things out there, apparently he can discuss anything that is not less than a fortnight old as regards their position and what not. So you may guess Pa was very interested. Well Bunch look very smart in her shining? new coat, she will doubtless have told you all about it. I'm very glad she's pleased with it, for she didn't seem to get much for her 21st coming so soon after her wedding. She has used her 21st money! It really is very nice indeed. They seem to have had a very happy two days at the Savoy and now of course Peter is just aching to see his children. Bunch is absolutely "all over Angela", I can see now I shall have to champion Carol-Ann!!! I to do want to see them again. Well we gave them a very nice dinner, tomato soup, salmon and ice with choc sauce, and grapefruit for breakfast. Tim came for dinner, and Hilda and Diana came afterwards. There simply wasn't time to ask other people because of course we wanted some time together on our own. Tim tho' seemed so pleased to come.
Is Donald liking his new job, I hope this letter will arrive safely with all crossings out! We were most interested to read your interesting description of the funeral of the Egyptian P.M. All those things will be very interesting to look back upon in future years. We're very pleased you are going to Luxor for your next leave. I am very envious! Do you know the Princess Elizabeth becomes an A.T. she is made a second subaltern and is training somewhere in the South as a driver and is apparently living with the people she is training with. I'm very glad they didn't go through the farce of making her "go through the ranks"! well as a hurried note but I thought I'd just send you would, I thought of you. Won't it be lovely when we all celebrate.
Monday 12 March
It was very nice to have a typed letter from you on Saturday last. That sounded rude. Your writing is very pretty but I don't find it easy to read. Well nor do I anybody else's really. I'll endeavour to write legibly for I feel mine is very bad nowadays! Well I suppose Peter returns tonight. Poor dear B., she will be feeling pretty sick. I'm afraid we haven't heard from them since they left here. It of course was a very rushed visit. It was lovely to see them together again. At the moment we are having the most glorious spring weather. Unfortunately I have been stuck in for about a week, in return of my cough. It's better again, so I shall be able to get out happily tomorrow. I let Mrs J. go home for the week end. I felt she looked rather tired. She has been so occupied getting the spring-cleaning down, before the family returned. I felt a little rest would be good for her, not that I suppose for one moment she does nothing at home. Spect she'll be doing a lot of cleaning there, still that's nothing to do with me! Yesterday was quite hectic, we had people for tea, then the Percy Bayliss's came for supper. We had just boiled a piece of ham, so that we had a little extra in hand in case. We had a game of bridge, and then they went about 1030. Pa seems to like to have people in on Sundays. It sent me something to grumble. I do the work myself so what matters it? It's about 12 o'clock noon. I'm sitting in the hall in the sun, I've sent Beattie off, there seemed nothing much for her to stay for, she too has a cold, so now I've got the house to myself, its rather nice sometimes. Ma J. will be back in time to get dinner tonight. It's a very good of you to be sending us tea and sugar and what not, but please do not go short yourselves for we do very well. Of course parcels are very very nice, but I don't want it to be a burden for you. I do hope too you are not finding housekeeping too much, on top of your other work. I presume you have still got your "boy". Is he satisfactory in his work. I'm sorry, all the girls you originally went out with are all being dispersed, you must miss the ones you liked and saw pretty often. I have asked you once or twice if you would like me to send Donald some Players No 3 cigarettes. I can so easily, if he still smokes. I presume you will be off for your short trip to Luxor soon after you get this. I do hope you will have felt it worthwhile. We feel you will, when you look back on it. How long Easter hols do you get. You will enjoy the rest I know.
Monday March 19 1945.
Darling we were in luck's way as far as you are concerned last week for we heard from you on Friday and Saturday (160 and 161) taken a five or six days to come. How we do love your letters. Also the sugar and raisins that arrived on Saturday. It is most most kind and thoughtful of you, but I am so very appalled at the cost of the raisins. I believe here we pay about one shilling or less a pound for them. So please darling don't send us any more. I can't bear to think of your hard earned money being spent on us like that. If we get short then we can send an SOS for some. At the moment there seems to be a fair amount in the shops. Of course at Xmas time the demand for them is greater, so that one, then† can't get quite so many. Ma J's eyes popped out of her head at the sight of the sugar. She is such a one for having plenty and that one can't get other than the ration we always take sugar instead of jam or marmalade, 4 lb per head per month when all family is at home. We don't do too badly, we save it all for the fruit you see. You poor child I can't think how you manage with prices as they are. Don't English prices exist in the NAAFI. How very thrilling your undies seemed. I wish I could get a piece of silk out to you for a nightie for me. I'm told hankies particularly linen ones are practically unbuyable in this country now. All go to America I suppose so see that you keep your stock up. Would the something do some for me. Of course I'd pay for anything you can get done. What would you like for your birthday, don't hesitate to say, you see next month I'll have to think about sending to you. Has Otis come home yet. I do hope we shall see him. I very much hope too I shall get an opportunity of meeting Marion, I shall make inquiries from it Mrs Aldridge about her. We had a very amusing letter from David Smith today. He's a good letter-writer. He said he'd heard from you. We have bought a very nice silver flask for him for his 21st, but am not sending it out to him. Forgotten if I told you Rosemary Tabrum is being married this month. Her young man has returned from India. Bunchie is due back this week, we are so looking forward to seeing them. We had a hectic weekend. The prospective Conservative candidate has been with us, very pleasant chap (37) so we have done a bit of entertaining, tea-party, people in to drinks and what not. We were quite glad to be quiet last night, he returned to London at midday yesterday. Darling we are very well off for food compared with most people, you see we have our own bacon and etc, plenty of eggs I think the food situation has been marvellously dealt with really. Nobody has had to starve! I've made some orange gin. It's grand stuff! It starts with the peel of Seville oranges. Yes we made marmalade too. It's an obsession of Pa's!! Oh do hope you will enjoy your trip to Luxor and will have felt it has been worthwhile. You will be getting Blackwood's direct from the publishers, we have managed to get you are on their list.
Monday March 26 (45)
Just had your letter of the 17th you sound very tired ,I am sure you must really need a holiday for it is not like you to ever even admit to feeling tired. I hope you will be thoroughly refreshed after the rest, take it easy! A fortnight seems very little for the Easter hols, usually had at least a month at Lawnside! Anyway I hope you will have a thoroughly happy and restful time. Guess the trip to Luxor though will be a little strenuous. As I feel we are rather responsible for it hope you will have thought it worthwhile. Are you making any plans ahead as regards the possibility of you coming home, you've finished your contract at the school at the end of next term haven't you? We're all so looking forward to seeing you both. I hear Philippa and her brood are expected home too this summer. Well the family are back and we are very, very happy to have them, C-A is a most fascinating creature. When she saw Daddy and me at the station she shrieked with joy, it was lovely. Bunchie hadn't spotted us, she was busy with luggage. She (C-A)† remembered all about her home as she calls it. Angela is very sweet, quiet and shy very like Peter really yet there is a great look of† C-A in her, in fact "of the Parkes"! Dorothy Edward came over to see us the day they got back, she hadn't seen B. since she was married. Was very impressed with the children. She also said how very much Pug and Margie like you! I told you Reg was happy to get home for a few weeks. He does so want see John. He hasn't seen him for six years and he J. is about to go over seas. It very hard on them. Am sorry for John! He has so missed his father. I hope to go and stay for a few days with Dorothy at Llyngorel in May. Oh, Bunch has brought us back a most delicious cushion for a gilt Louis XV settee we have. It's an "arty" shade of green silk velvet and brocade ,bit of real old stuff. It's really a lovely thing. I was very touched I think they and to be back.
Here is the recipe (best I can read it - am)
2 oz Plain choc
1/4 pt milk
1/2 oz gelatine - not more
3 oz sugar
white of 4 eggs
1/4 pint of cream
a little vanilla essence
1/3 pint of sherry or wine if possible
Dissolve choc in milk, soak gelatine in wine to dissolve it whisk yolk of eggs with sugar over boiling water until thick and light - add vanilla essence and chocolate and gelatine (melted in milk). When quite cool fold in well whipped cream, otherwise stirring cream, should be whipped stiff - lastly stir very lightly the well whipped white of eggs. Set in a soufflť case having fastened a† piece of greaseproof paper around the outside to come about three inches above the top of the dish. When ice cold and set carefully remove paper using hot knife to separate soufflť from paper. Decorate with pistachio nuts, cream etc,† and serve pretty case or entrťe dish or what not. I hope you will be able to work this out! Have copied it from Ma J's book. The wine of course isn't absolutely necessary but it gives flavour. You can dissolved gelatine in water use only three yolks of eggs but 4 whites, the cream is "non est" we don't indulge nowadays! Still we have good substitute. Ma J makes a good ice with evaporated tinned milk[xxxv].
Sunday Aft April 1st (45)
Easter Sunday. We all thought of you this morning not particularly sunny day rather blustery. Bunch made an effort to get to church. It's a bit of a scream? for her, but she made it and enjoyed it I think. The church was very full and really looked lovely. It had been so "tastefully" decorated. We took a large basket of daffodils, some cut lilies for the altar and a big plant of lilies for the chancel, which were very gratefully received. The children of course had lunch with us in the hall. Angela in one of those small nursery chairs and thoroughly does justice to her meal, she is an adorable baby. They both had their best frocks on. C-A the one in which her photograph was taken, white smocked with blue. And Angela a white crepe de chine smocked with blue, one of those which Mrs Waddell originally gave to Carol Ann and which she never wore. Bunch had saved them for her until she could wear them effectively and then found she'd grown to big, so she's not doing the same with this child. Poor B. isn't too good, got a cold, she was rotten yesterday but really seems better today, not bad enough to be in bed tho'! Holiday weekends are hectic, no staff here after lunch you see, still we don't mind. After tea we're all three going to Barratts to a party. Peter is at home with his bride! rather effort for Pa go!! Still suppose we must. Daisy from the cottages is coming to sit in the house. B. will have put the infants to bed before we go of course. You are enjoying a well-earned holiday I know. We get rather worried about you, wondering if you're doing too much so take it easy whilst you can. I hope your "boys" are satisfactory in the house, domestics can be such a pest! Is Harry[xxxvi] the man who lives with you, I'm glad you like him and that you all fit in. On Friday I went to a lunch party at Minnies! It's about the first for the last four years or so. It was very jolly we had a lovely tea to, Madeleine Reid was there. They are greatly looking forward to Philippa coming home. Derek has already started from Burma. When shell you and Donald start making plans? Isn't the news good, I feel it will end any time. Bunch gets lots of letters from Peter, she had six last week.
Later at 10pm. We've just finished supper and cleared up! B. has taken herself off to bed and I'm just going to knit a little while (a jumper for CA) before I retire. We put the clocks on one hour tonight. Well we'd been to the Barrats party, such a crowd, the whole of Tettenhall their. Peter's wife seemed a very nice girl. He'll be a very worthy husband have no doubt. Brenda wasn't there, she seems to come home very rarely, I haven't seen her for about two or three years. Uncle C said he sent you £5 (telegraphed) at Xmas and that you have not acknowledged getting it - cope will you?
Wednesday April 3 (45)
We had your letter on the 22nd and Donald's of the 27th yesterday. We are very distressed to hear that Donald is in hospital, but I do hope that he is really making good progress and that the attack was really very slight. It will make him feel pretty "cheap" I know for quite some time, poor old Donald. I guess he's thoroughly run-down or he wouldn't have succumbed. It is high time he got home and you too to get your blood in good condition again. I do hope you will soon start agitating. It is all very unfortunate that it has happened just now because a holiday away might have done you both good. Poor old Donald. You must see that he takes life easy and quietly for a bit, of course everybody here thinks how marvellous it is that you have both managed to be together and now that you deserved whatever luck came your way for you had taken such chances. Well the war news looks better and better, really the European war can't last much longer so your chance of getting split up again are more and more remote. I should think. We were interested here you had seen John Oliver, yes he certainly has a good deal of charm. It's a great pity his marriage cracked though. I haven't heard of Mary Oliver for long time. Betty James is going back to Australia did I tell you, her little boy has got something the matter with his legs and until he's operated on he has no hope of walking even so the risk is great I believe, so she is taking him and is having it done when she gets there. It's very sad. What is so vexing too, she isn't allowed to travel on the same ship as Tony husband, doesn't it sound stupid, suppose there are reasons though.
Bunch and I hope to go over to see Nanny on Friday aft. I'll let you know all about her. She said in her last note that she felt a little better. How I wish she were here she did so much for us. We are anxiously waiting to hear more news from you and to hear.† Am sorry this is such a brief note. B. waiting for post.
Monday April 9 (45)
I was hoping to hear from you today to know how Donald is. It's just a week ago since we heard he was in hospital. I do hope he is sufficiently well to come back to the flat. He'll need to take care for some time. I am busy at the moment getting subs for the NSPCC, afraid I don't do as well as I should, I hate collecting. Anyway Eunice Speaks? is doing a dancing display for me in the new school at the end of the month. She has about 40 pupils you know so that will rake in a bit. Dear Eunice has come on, you never saw anything so glamorous. She's done very well tho' as far as her dancing is concerned, passed all sorts exams. She has a class now at Wolverhampton. I admire their perseverance. She must be collecting quite a lot of money too. It's very good of her to do this for me too, it will be good advertisement for her. Shelah Jenks is having a bring-and-buy sale at her house for the friends too in May. At the moment Shelah is in bed with measles rather badly. They were having rather a big cocktail party on Sat but it has had to be postponed. By the way Daddy and I will have been married 30 years on that day too, I can hardly believe it!
I sent Rose Tabrum a lamp for her wedding present. It has a very pretty hand-painted shade. Present buying is beyond a joke now, things are so fantastically expensive.
By the way have you acknowledged the £5 the Cyril's sent to you at Xmas. Bunch is away at Lytham for two nights, seeing the skin man in Manchester. The children are very good, I was a bit nervous lest they should wake up in the night, but all is well,† CA said where is Mummy. I told her she would be back soon and she said 'Oh' and no further comment. Of course she does adore Bunch and won't let anyone do anything for her if B is about, but perfectly all right and adaptable when she knows B, is not. This sounds a muddle but you know what I mean. I must apologise for the corrections on the outside of this card but since they are stamped we must use them up. Am hoping soon to hear good news of Donald. I hope you to all right dearest. It is very sad your holiday plans were upset. I hope we will have enjoyed the rest anyway.
Sunday Aft April 15 (45)
We were glad to hear that Donald had sufficiently recovered to leave hospital. I hope now that he will soon be absolutely fit again. It has been a very worrying time for you I'm sure. Just before lunch today Marion rang up, she had been visiting her mother-in-law, only for a couple of nights I imagine. What a nice creature she sounds. She has promised to come and see us the next time she's down here, which she said may not be very long. Her husband has been on leave from Germany. He arrived in the country on Good Friday, she, on Easter Sunday. Of course he has now gone back. She I gather has not been posted yet, but think she'll be going to London to do a job in the A.T.S.. It was grand having a little chat about you Darling. I called Bunch to speak to her too. Also C-A said hello Marion! I had a card from Dorothy Edwards yesterday she's expecting, Margie in fact has cabled money out to her to fly home, presumably it's to see John who has now joined the Indian Army and will be going out East in the near future. I'm very sorry for both Pug and Margie, it's too dreadful to think they haven't seen their boy for 5 1/2 years. John is just about 22 in June I think. He must so have missed his parents. Of course we have all been mortified by the death of President Roosevelt, what a wonderful man he was. He has certainly put his all into life, he is an example to the whole world. Mr Spinney in church this am referred to him so very nicely and only a few words but well-chosen and well expressed. We stood for a moment and then he made two or three very nice prayers. Poor Mr Churchill, it must have been a blow to him too. As he says he has lost a real friend. The court has gone into mourning for a week, isn't the news sad. We are all waiting to hear that hostilities have ceased on the Western Front. Tis very sad that Mr Roosevelt couldn't have actually seen the end of the struggle he has really given his life for, for people think that he has just really worn himself out. I only hope Churchill won't do likewise. We are enjoying a spell of the most heavily weather, well since Easter it has been so bright and sunny and really warm in the sun. The garden is coming on apace. Am afraid the daffodils are nearly over. They have been so lovely this year, we seem to have got such a wonderful variety. Last Sunday we had new potatoes out of the greenhouse, of course and now we're looking forward to asparagus as a matter-of-fact we had some last night (from Mrs Shelton) it was heavenly ours isn't quite ready. We had a very special bottle of wine too for dinner as a celebration 30 years for Daddy and me! He gave me the sweetest wee broach, a circle of pearls interpressed with four rather nice diamonds. It's just the thing to wear on the front of a hat. It was† second hand one. Something something to buy new jewellery is quite out of the question, prices prohibitive. I gave Pa a little old French clock, awfully pretty thing. It isn't going properly yet though. He's very pleased with it. Bunch and I went over to see Nanny on Friday, she looks very poorly still and was so glad to see us. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride and I was granted petrol to go.
Also what would you like your birthday? I have asked you once or twice about cigarettes if you would like some for Donald also about that cheque from the Cyril's.† What is happening about your school. Are you staying on after you have completed the year. We're just waiting for the day when we hear you will both come home.
Tuesday April 24 (45)
This must be a hurried note to you. Just finished tea, been out most of the aft as I went into Wolverhampton to have lunch with Gladys. two letters from you today or rather one and the photographs. delighted to have them, I like the shape of you and how very attractive the flat looks. I am sure you must be happy there. Am very sorry you been so seedy, mumps must be wretched. I do hope you are better again and Donald too, what a couple you are. We are just tense with excitement!! Margie Adshead rang up this am, she arrived in Wolverhampton last night, she's coming over for dinner tonight. B and I are going to meet her in Tettenhall. We are waiting to hear first-hand news of you darling. I can hardly wait until she comes! She goes off to somewhere tomorrow and John arrives tonight. She must be frantic to see him. It's really rather pathetic they haven't seen him for so long. Darling how long I do long to see you. Bunchie misses you such a lot too, no other female appeals to her in the way you do. She's off to London with Joy tomorrow just for the day. Am so glad for it does her good to have a change and she has her nose pretty were glued to the children you know. Unfortunately Carolann seem to have got a bit of tonsillitis at the moment and isn't too easy but you will be so proud of them both when you see them.
The woman has been out today to put on the new covers in the drawing room. They do look nice. You remember I had the cretonne before war, a green ground with big pink roses. I must endeavour to keep them all fresh until you come home! I'm sorry this is so little, I'll write you will I have seen Marjorie.
Monday May 7 45
Everybody here is just waiting for the announcement that hostilities have ceased in Germany. They said on a† news flash this a.m. that it might come in time now, and so we all feel we don't want to miss the actual announcement because naturally there will be a thrill to hear it pronounced, though actually I don't see how anybody can go mad with excitement when there is the Far East to think of, also there is so much misery and suffering been caused by it all. Nevertheless I suppose we can't help but celebrate our relief that at last one phase of the war is ended and that so many prisoners are being liberated. Wuff? heard yesterday that her Peter has been released, she was working for the Americans in Paris. They flew her to London when she heard, she arrived at 4am yesterday and is awaiting his arrival. They are being flown home by the thousands, literally. Isn't it wonderful for them all, no news of Dick Stuff? yet. We are all to foregather at the Cyril's when it is announced. She's apparently giving us all a meal there at night, cold of course, just falling back on "her tins"! Actually they're coming here tonight for dinner. It isn't likely that we will hear the news today as it is now 4:00pm. Sorry to bother you, but have you told them whether you received their cheques at Xmas or not. At the moment life seems one round of cocktail parties. We went to a large one at the Bill Jenks on Saturday. They had asked 120 people, all the Tettenhall crowd were there. It was a crush. Margie and John came out on Saturday for tea. John has developed and is in the Rifle Brigade and looks so nice in his uniform. I am hoping to go back with Margie to Llwyngorel today week for a few days. Dorothy has wanted me to go for some time. It will be nice change. Bunchie is relieved to a certain extent about Peter, he has got through the European part safely at any event. Let's hope and pray he won't be sent to the Far East and that he gets a job in the occupation zone. She took the children to Suzanne Lloyd yesterday. They both behaved perfectly I understand. They are an attractive couple, you will adore them. Angela is a lamb, so like Peter. We seem to have ended our cold spell. The weather at the moment is glorious. Hope you are† not feeling the heat too much and that you're both really well again. Mary Bell is down with German measles! Derek Reade came to see us the other day, he looks much older. They are expecting Philippa. Do look up Daphne Mander.
Sunday May 13 1945
What very exciting news your last letter contained. We are more than pleased that your wishes are going to be realised! I know that you have wanted to have a baby, though I'm afraid I've never sort of discussed it with you. I'm only sorry it has been such a bad beginning, but I'm glad to know that you have really recovered from mumps, you must now contrive to live a normal sort of life. The only thing is not to overdo things and get fagged and what not. I quite realise that it is only natural that you should want to stay out in Cairo to have your baby so that you can be with Donald. I know he will look after you. Have you booked a nurse yet. I should prefer you to have one to yourself for the month so as to give you a good start. It makes such a difference too if the child is well handled from the very beginning. Can you see a gynaecologist if necessary. Have the best attention you can, no matter the cost especially as it will be your first. You know Daddy and I would only be too glad and proud to do anything we can for you.
Needless to say Bunch was more than thrilled when she got your letter. As a matter-of-fact she'd read hers before I'd time to get to mine! and just shouted 'Mummy', my first thought was it was to say you and Donald were coming home. I never dreamt it was to say we were to have another grandchild. It will be marvellous. Bunch is already planning how you will all have holidays and what not together. I shall have to begin finding a furnished house again! You will let us know in due course what you would like sending out from home. Would you like me to try and squeeze some baby wool for you. I know it is difficult to get and I know the woman at the top of Darlington St would let me have some when I tell her what it is for. Strictly speaking it is only doled out on maternity coupons, but I know she'd let me have a bit on ordinary coupons. So make a list and say what you require. Is there anybody returning from leave who could bring things out to you. Bunch can provide a few garments for you I know which will all help. Life has been very thrilling in the past week with the cessation of hostilities in Europe. The whole country seems to have adopted a holiday feeling. Now I suppose they will get back to business and speed up the end of the Japanese war. Brian Wilcock is back, also Diana Thomson's young man, but she poor child is in Italy a VAD there. I presume she'll get home at something.
We went to church on VE night, it was more than packed, crowds outside too. Did I tell you I am hoping to go to LL something(Welsh name) with Margie on about the 23rd of the month. I am looking forward to it. John has so grown up in a nice way, lots of charm.
Tuesday May 31 1945
Your letter of the 23rd arrived on Tuesday, six days so that isn't too bad. The snaps haven't arrived yet though. We're interested to hear about the lunch party, what food, however do you cope when the weather is so hot? You quite make all our mouths water!!! But do not please think we don't get enough, we do masses. The difficulty is perhaps our diet is rather unvaried but here we are so very fortunate in being able to supplement the rations with pigs, eggs etc! As a matter-of-fact I haven't bought any little pigs this year, the idea is to try and buy bigger ones in about August or September. At the moment potatoes are very very scarce owing to the failure of the crop last year and this year we have had rather bad frosts which have very much retarded the early potatoes. However when the autumn comes I hope we shall be all right and be able to buy them for feeding the pigs and fowls. That's why I haven't bought young ones for they consume so many potatoes. I'm sure some people will notice the meat cut quite a bit, but as you know, Daddy and I are not terrific meat-eaters. We certainly enjoy a bit every day and manage to pan it out like that. Salmon too has been rather scarce so far this year. It always expensive but then it does make it a jolly good and satisfying meal when one can get it. Daddy went out fishing last night with Uncle C. and brought home a dish? of trout which we are having tonight and also a young rabbit which would do very well for Carol Ann and Angela. I do hate the things, anyway it's only a tiny one. Margie and John were with us for the day again yesterday and Margie comes to me tomorrow for a few days. John rejoins his unit today and is off to India in a day also. He had a cable from his father asking him to try it and fly to Cairo and pick up his ship at Port Said. I only hope it can be fixed. It so hard if Pug can't see him, he is the most delightful boy, such nice manners, very good-looking and tall. Pug I know will be so proud of him. He is having difficulty getting something. Bunch has given him a few things belonging to Peter, Daddy has given him a new tin uniform case to bring overseas. He is very pleased with it. Do see Pug if you can and tell him about John. It is simply lovely seeing Marg and having her here to stay with us. Of course John is simply dying to get overseas.
Before I forget, how much to I owe you for the Silk let me know at once and I will send a cheque by return. I send off your birthday parcel about three weeks or so ago, just some bits, which I hope you will like. We are really buying you a piece of furniture I think that's the best thing to do. I only hope will be able to find a house for year. Of course I shall be terribly grateful to have one or two tins of tongue and a little sugar if it isn't robbing you and† Donald, anything else you can send. I of course will pay for anything you send. Send me a letter to "Red Roofs Hotel" Bournemouth I go on 7th June for one week with Ma Hazel. Do tell me all about yourself I do hope you are keeping well. What ban I send you. B. sent off clothes last week. I can get as much wool as you require. Shall you be able to get baby blankets and what not or shall we try here for them. If you will tell us we would get what we can. B and I went to Birmingham yesterday. I bought rather a nice green lemon frock and a new skirt, a dark brown with a white fleck in it, won't get it for six months. Think I need to book a place for one for you. B. has ordered one for next spring!!
Thursday June 7 1945
This is your birthday letter and wish you all the best. A very happy birthday. I hope next year to say it to you by "word of mouth"! I send you off a parcel of three weeks ago. I trust it has arrived. I am telegraphing you 80 new money to Barclays DC Bank which had no doubt will come in useful especially just now. 0 which she would let me know what we can get for you. I couldn't undertake get a hold Meggitt??? because of coupons. Feel they must be lots of things you on needing which I can so easily send. True I am always a few coupons in hand to don't worry about that. Heavy being able and breezy in living couldn't I know you don't took us buying more than essential because other cartage home again but did he suggest anything you know we can send out you. Daddy is going to help you both with your expenses of course. Which has just you have a bit of furniture per birthday, my hat you need all you can scrounge! How or why you keeping we hadn't heard for about a week. I do hope there will be delivered tomorrow as I go off to Bournemouth the next day for a week. We had Hazel and J are spending a night in London at the Park Lane and going to see "No Medals" at night, though often the ones Saturday-morning. It should be rather fun and a change! Large it has been here all week and John for a night or two. I believe the actually now has left the country. He's hoping to get off the port side in order to see his father. Whether it can be done amazed we seen. He's a very nice play. I am sad for Margie chief critic very much. I made fun of her, she is very pleasant to have in the house. She's done our bit of sewing for us, my close work her needle! How has your hair settle down. I believe they did much better abroad than here. I had mine permanently waved a fortnight ago, I had been dressing it a bit differently. A few curls on top! Oh how I am longing to see you. Will you please let me know what I owe you a . I will write you a cheque in a day or so. Had the† something tea-party here on Tuesday, 22 people but it poured, so disappointing cos the do but the Capri that it like to go round the garden etc by the way Ma J. gave them a good tea and they all seemed to enjoy it
Bournemouth 16 June 1945
Your birthday. I have thought of you several times. Wonder what you are doing and how you are. It was very nice to get two letters here from you yesterday. Very good going. I'm afraid you will be rather tired now that you have finished school. It must have been very hectic for you correcting so many papers, doing reports etc. I'd love to see you at the prize giving, all dressed up for the occasion. Shall look forward to seeing the photographs of you. The next best thing. Yes, I'll take care of the school magazine when it arrives. I shall be interested to see it. I've no doubt you'll look back upon the year at the school with a certain amount of pleasure and satisfaction. I sent off a cable to you on Monday addressed to the school and I also cabled £10 to you to Barclays DC Bank before I came away. So glad the birthday parcel has arrived. I hope you will have enjoyed opening it as much as Bunch and I enjoyed packing it. I've just read the Simenon book and liked it very much. We are having quite a pleasant time here -† the hotel is comf. and food very good. Bournemouth is far too full tho for my liking. The weather hasn't been too good. Its nice today but not at all like June. I've tried to get strawberries but no luck. Do you remember we always had them for your birthday. Fraid they will be very scarce this year - so many were killed by the late frosts. However perhaps Mrs Shelton will produce a few! I'm sure Bradfords would let me have some baby blankets. I'll see to it directly I get home. They are not on coupons. I shall also try to get a Shetland baby shawl for you. De we continue to send out c/o of Donald. Do they come duty free? You see we have to write the contents of the parcel on the outside. Anyway I donít want to embarrass (spelling!) Donald too much!! Do suggest anything you think of for us to send and if its possible we will. I presume He will go straight into little short frocks. I am knitting a little white coat and Ma J is going to needle the leggings. You'll need things like that when you travel with him I have to plan all these things so far ahead for the parcels seem to take such an age getting out. I wish it were possible to get a basket and what not out to you. I bought such a sweet white ??? frock for Carol Ann from Fortnum and Mason. We stayed the night in London on Friday and saw a play called "The Medals" all about the woman who has to stay at home and slog away to keep things going without help and what not and of course is not in the least ?? - most amusing and painfully true.
To go back to the frock, it is similar in pattern to the one she is wearing in her photograph. B will like it I know. I had it sent directly to her. Well I need to go out to tea with Dorothy and Mrs Hill. They are calling for me. They always make a great fuss when I am down here. Bye Bye ...
Monday June 18 (45)
I am back home again came on Sat. Bunchie and Daddy met us at Birmingham for which we were very thankful, train travelling these days is not pleasant, such crowds and crushes everywhere. I cannot think what it will be like as the summer progresses for everybody seems determined to get away this year. It is almost impossible to get to hotel unless you book up as far back as about Feb. Still after this year I've no doubt things will be getting a little easier. All the cars are out on the road once more, now that there is a basic ration. It is very little still it does one to go anywhere without being questioned! We are all hoping that it will be increased very soon. Of course I shall still apply for a supplementary allowance if they don't give us that. I'll be no better off really! Well they seemed glad to have me home again, I was regaled with the first green peas and new potatoes of this garden for dinner, delicious too. Directly I got to bed. We seem to start with a rush of social engagements. The Hawkins family Dot, Lesley and Pat rang up to say could they come over after dinner. They wanted to see the house and garden as they are in the process of doing up a very old house, so we all had a good old chat. Pat has a son in you know I have a feeling she is not keen on going to Holland to live! Then yesterday these very nice people Henn from Pattingham came over for tea with two of their children. I'm always glad for Bunch to be with some younger people because I always feel she must get very bored with us. Not that she ever shows any evidence of being so. In the evening Daddy and I went to the Fred James for supper as they had got the Conservative candidate there. Also Colonel Gibbons and his wife. Candidate for the Bilston division. We had the most sumptuous meal, cold turkey, ham salad, new potatoes and very creamy ice, strawberries and cream in bowls full!!! They've got some Jersey cows hence the abundance. It all went off very well, as you know we very rarely have been there only to Fred's wedding. Darling the sugar and raisins arrived, thank you very very much, it is most acceptable, it is going to be a scrape to make much jam as sugar is very tight. I do hope you had a happy birthday. Now I suppose you have finished school for which you will be glad. Try not to get overtired. It must be a bit exhausting in the heat for you. I should go for walks in the cool part of the day if I were you. Is there anything you are needing immediately. Bunch is sending off a parcel for you tomorrow I think. She or Pat Hawkins returned and she had them on loan! This is rather hurried,† I've had a busy morning doing out cupboards etc now I go to have tea with old Mrs Hoodige??
Tuesday June 26 (45)
We were very interested in here all about the "finishing up" at school. Yes don't I remember speech days at Lawnside and how we used to enjoy them really. I'm sure you must be relieved to be able to take things a little more easily particularly if the weather is at all hot which I imagine it is. Now you'll have time to attack the infant's trousseau. I bought a nice big white something shawl for you the other day. I'll send it out to you. I suppose there is no difficulty when parcels are sent c/o of Donald! You should have received some of the things B. has sent by now. Daddy and B. went to the Reads on Sunday to see Philippa, I hear she is very thin. I didn't go as I am never wildly keen on going out to parties really, so I preferred to stay at home in charge of the children. I like having parties here but somehow it is an effort to go to other people, stupid I know. We are sending invitations out for a sherry party here on 14th July. Can't get in before as we are all busy with the election, too Ma J goes on Sat for a weeks' holiday so that washes out two weekends which seems to be the best times to have them. We really have been invited to quite a number. The Cyril's are having one on the 6 and the Trevor-Jones on the 7th! Think I must "make" me Aunt Bee's!! Of course gin now is not nearly so easy to get and it really mean saving up a lot in order to throw a party. We went to a very good one at the Elwells when Peter came home, now Colin is back but I haven't seen him yet. I think he and Bunty went immediately to London. Bunch has just gone off to meet Derek and to go to the "flicks". I'm very glad for her to go out for she really is very tied. I wish she could have a holiday though she never in any way grumbles! She really is very good about it all. We've had about a week of very nice weather, yesterday Hilda had a tea party for the women's who are on the Conservative committee, about 20. I was able to wear my new cotton frock, a rather lovely green lemon, the only one I've had this year. B. hasn't had one at all. She's really not seen one she thought worthwhile except by paying about 16gns. The wretched lemon one was 12 guineas, ridiculous worth about five, I should think. Its only cut linen at that! Still B. liked it. Well I'll finish off and think about doing a bit of canvassing. I have this part of Oaken, Kingswood and Oaken Lawn. We have been out twice to Kingswood. Bunch and I go together it's rather fun. June sent two beautifully made leather toys for the children. I do hope you will be able see Pug on his way out.
Sunday July 1 1945
I'm just scribbling this after my "five minutes p & q" on Sunday aft. It is a somewhat rainy and blustery day for† July 1, summer doesn't seem to be "doing us fair" for we have had very little so far. In spite of it the garden doesn't look too bad, the roses are excellent. I have a bowl under my nose on the desk in the smoke from and the smell is delicious. We look too to have lots of raspberries. Most of the strawberries in this part of the world were ruined by the late frost, also black and red currants. We shall have a few just about enough I think. We are sending out invitations to a party here (cocktail) for 14th July, hope we† will be lucky with the weather. We couldn't arrange it earlier owing to the election, everybody is more or less busy. I have been canvassing hard for the past 10 days off and on. Daddy and I didn't Oaken Lawn and a bit of Kingswood yesterday aft and it poured all the time. I'll be glad when Thursday polling day is over. Codsall is a hive of industry. Shelah Jenks is the local chairwoman in place of Mrs Lankester who felt she couldn't carry on any longer. She's been very poorly. Shelah has had people every day and all day for more than a fortnight coping with the election literature etc. I believe they have done over 30,000 packages plus the same number of registration cards. You see they have done it for places where there is no organisation, she is a very capable and ardent Conservative. To make things a little more tiresome, Ma J is having a week off. It is the one time the lodging house could have had her, she was sorry to go just now. Bunchie is going to Lytham to vote and will be way for a night. Beattie is coping in the kitchen, so I've no doubt all will be well. I'm no cook! Oh what a very pleasant time you had spending your bit of birthday money. We feel quite envious of you being able to buy real silk. Darling don't buy more wool I sent you half a pound of white and there is still some blue left from what I bought before Carol Ann was born too, I really can afford a coupon or two, so don't buy things at fabulous prices. I shall send you some blankets also a shawl I have bought. You will be able to buy more "heavily" when you come home and as I've said will send you what we can. Could you make a list please. I'm glad you're keeping alright don't do anything too strenuous. Wool here is only 10d or 11d per oz!!! What has happened about the silk you were to get for me? Sorry I seem to have said very little. I'll write in again in a day or so. The Bernard Hunts[xxxvii] are coming over to see us this evening. Haven't seen them for nearly two years. Now that we have basic petrol, people can drive about a little more easily.
Tuesday July 10 (45)
We were glad to get your letter yesterday, rather long on the way 10 days. We wondered why we hadn't heard from him. And the school mag. and photographs arrived. I like you very much with your form. It really is very nice of you. You must be relieved that school is finished especially now that it is so hot, they really look a jolly lot of girls, some of them look very "dark"! I thought it sweet of them to give you little leaving presence. I expect you will miss the contacts you made at the school cos I think you have enjoyed it on the whole haven't you. We are all a whirl here planning for Bunch to go off to meet Peter etc etc. I've just finishing sorting masses of something out fr a cocktail party a week today, 17. Thought we would have it while he is here. B. will have told you all her plans. There is an absolute orgy of parties. We went to five over the weekend! Darling wish you to could be here. I hope we shall get a nice evening, it just makes all different. I saw Philippa at Aunt B's on Sat talked about you of course. I believe they come back in about another month. They had hoped to get a job here I think but nothing seemed to have materialised. Buinch's children are rapidly growing up, they really are adorable but a handful! Miss Partridge came to see them yesterday, she was very impressed. How are you getting on with your knitting. I'll send you a book. Do you want needles too. Bradford are getting more blankets for you, also trying to get you soma Harrington nappies. Bunch did not use flannel something. She merely had three something crepe bandages. I believe she included them in the parcel she sent you. Have you received any clothes yet? Mrs Maitland rang here up and said she was sending nighties for the child. When you get home there will be lots of things you can have, we'll get Bunch's cot etc already. Is the one you have got just a Moses basket? I quite agree it would be foolish to get a pram there. I'll put one on order for you. Bradford have promised me to let you have all the things you require as far as they can. I do so long to be with you and help you with all your doings! We are very busy with fruit an absolute glut of raspberries, wouldn't you like to be here. I hope your strawberry jam was a success. We have had practically none this year, the late frost ruined them. Well I must stop and do a bit of picking. Write us as you can won't you.
Wed Aft July 18 1945
I'll just about have time to get this note to you before it is time to get the children up! Well I have had a pretty busy week having charge of the children, I have very much enjoyed it. Peter came just a week ago today, as you know B. met him in London and they stayed at the Savoy until Monday aft when they came here, now they have gone off to Lytham for three nights and come back on Saturday, he returns on Sunday, they have gone by road. He was most impressed with the children. Carol Ann played up to him in really good style!! She was not affected in least by their going away again, children are queer creatures. The day they arrived back from London I walked with them up to the lane to meet the car, Daddy had met them at the station. The children looking particularly spruced-up, clean white frocks on. I felt I must show them up at the best. B. was very pleased to see them looking so full of "spit and polish", the tension of keeping them looking so was great I assure you. C-A was rather overwhelmed and shy at first but after a time was very friendly and chatty with Peter.
Well we had our sherry party last night, most fortunate with the weather,† had it outside in the garden which everybody said looked charming. The roses are still blooming and now we have quite a good show of phloxes. All the usual people were here including Mr Hazlett that American friend of the Cyril's and his wife (intensely smart) who has just come back from America. She went back there at the beginning of the war. I think the party was a huge success. Ma J had made the most wonderful eats. Daddy had managed to collect a few bottles of gin. It is getting difficult to "come by" now, my poor cupboard is very depleting but we are saving certain things for when you come home. We've kept the odd bottle of champagne to greet you with!! I'm so glad you've received some of the clothes, they are more on the way. I have sent off a shawl this week and some cotton under blankets, afraid they are pink but they were all I could get. Bunch's baby blankets are being washed and will be sent to you at the end of the week. Am looking out for Harrington squares, but no luck so far, think of writing to Mrs Boustred asking her if she could get some for you. Sorry this is so disjointed but had to sneak away to attend to the children who decided to wake up early.
Wednesday July 25 (45)
Your letter (182) of the 18th arrived on Monday, good going!! I do hope you will have a pleasant week in Ismailia. I note you're off today. I am sure it will be a change to get out the dust and heat of Cairo! I hope you're not finding it too trying! I do so very often wish you could have come home, though I do realise it is much happier for you yourself to be staying on with Donald. Glad to know you have a cot, was it trimmed or have you got to do that yourself? We sent off Bunch's baby blankets, three of them to you on Monday. I'm expecting one or perhaps two new ones from Bradford's this week. It has needed quite a lot of persuasion to get them, but for the fact we were such an old and respected !!! customers they certainly wouldn't have released them. It's too fantastic for words that baby clothes should be so difficult to get, it is a question of labour as well as materials I think which makes things in such short supply all the world over really. How thrilling the little smocks found it I'd just love to see the work at the convent, yes do do buy lots. You know how I adore fine handwork. Wish to goodness I could have had a pile of sewing done there but honestly I didn't feel I could ask you to spend so much on the making for me. I shall adore to have the silk when it comes and if you will let me know I will send you the money by return. Are they more things we have can send to you, what about Mackintosh sheets? No coupons for that and should certainly collect all you can in the way of nice things silk and lace etc for yourself before you come home providing the prices are not so extortionate, for you will be glad enough of them here. I suppose Peter is back in Germany now, but only for a short time I imagine. It is very unfortunate that he may have to go out East. It is very disappointing for Bunch, poor child she is rather upset about it even though it will be for such a short time, naturally she thinks of the risk, but you must not worry. Bunch is interviewing a nanny here on Friday. I do hope she will be a likely one for she, Bunch, really does need a rest from the children, I do all I can.
We are all anxiously awaiting the results of the election. Tomorrow Shallford the candidate is here with us. I only hope the National government will be returned. We all went to see Nanny yesterday, she was delighted to see the babies, she is very poorly I am afraid. We took a picnic tea, nanny and her sister had it with us, took Ma J and Beattie too.
Friday August 3 (45)
Afraid I haven't written to you for Some days, life is it really very full. First of all let me tell you I have got a dozen Harrington squares which are being sent off to you. Bradfield squeezed them for me. Also a very nice pair of cellular woollen cot blankets and two more white flannelette under blankets. Would you like me to send these to you now, I sent three or four little ones that were Bunch's. I am thinking in terms of your packing them all up when you come home. I shouldn't buy any more than is absolutely necessary for the time you will be there, as I am sure we can get you equipped when you come home. Certainly your prices seem more fantastic than they are here, so do tell me if there is anything else I can get, you know sponges here are a prohibitive price. Pug sent some home to Margie she generously gave us three. I believe he got somebody to get them from Tripoli or somewhere like that, so I should try to get some if I were you. Sybell ??has been home on leave. She sailed back to Port Said last Tuesday, I gave her six pairs of knitting needles (10-11-12) and some 2 ply white wool to post on to you when he gets back. She his named† Mackay? now she married a doctor there. I asked her to look you up if she came up to Cairo. She is out of the Wrens now. By the way how long do parcels take to get to you do you reckon? Yesterday we went to a party at the Howard Thompsons. Diana is back after being in staff for about nine months. She's engaged again to apparently a very nice young man and they are to be married on Sep 1. So I suppose we shall all be going there again. It was a good party all hunting people there. Mander, Hickman Reed Walkers etc etc, a most gorgeous evening too, we had to race back because Philippa and Richard were coming to dinner. I did them proud as they were the bridal couple, had all my best things out. Hors d'oeuvres, salmon and an ice pudding and raspberries for dinner.. I think he is extremely nice young man. We were quite impressed, very intelligent I thought. Tonight the Hazletts have a party tonight, tomorrow the Webbs, John arrived home a couple of days ago. Monday Minnie has a party. I've never known so many all on top for one another! They become rather tiring really. It's all rather nice for people as the weather is just too perfect. I am hoping it will keep so over the weekend, August Bank Holiday! I do hope you're enjoying your week at Ismailia, hoping wasn't postponed again. You must not do a lot of tearing about you known. How are you? The post lady is waiting for this so I must end abruptly.
Monday Aug 13 (45)
The silk arrived on Saturday last. I am thrilled with it, we please tell me by return the cost and I will credit your account with it or send a cheque out to you. I posted on† Bunch's camiknickers to her at Lytham. They moved lock stock and barrel last Friday! As you will have heard Peter came home (by air) for a few days, had to take a message to the War Office so they decided to go off there and then to Lytham. It was a "to do", Bunch is really worn out. I do hope they will persevere and try to get a nanny. The one she had here was hopeless. Peter promised me he would do his best to get one. Of course now he doesn't know quite what his movements will be, I should think it very unlikely that he would go out East now. The news is all very staggering isn't it. I do hope we shall hear within the next day or so that war is as an end and for ever too. I think they are bound to give in now. Weren't you all absolutely "knocked back" to hear about the atomic bomb but isn't it terrifying, let's hope and pray that the discovery will be put to saving people and not destroying. Oh won't it be grand to live in peace. Well what about the house. I thought Daddy had better have the privilege of mentioning it to you first of all. We've been up there this morning meeting Mr Beardmore to arrange about decorating it. It has to have electric light put in. Daddy has fixed about that. Do you know where it is, Mill Lane just below that Elwells on the other side. A very pleasant position. We have already carted some odd bits of junk there. You see we don't want it to be requisitioned. I have written to Margie Adshead asking if she and Pug would like to have it until such time as you are ready for it. She is expecting Pug and June home quite soon for a few months and she said she'd like to get a furnished house so that they needn't wander about and live in hotels or rooms. If you see Pug mention it to him will you.
Oh I'm so glad to have a house you can come to if you want to. I don't know what in the world you'll furnish it with, you'll have to talk to the Maitlands!! A cigarette lighter arrived also on Saturday from Donald. I am most fascinated with it. Thank you very much indeed, is it from the Musky or been made in his shops. I'm most delighted to have it. I'm sorry if I have opened it too soon but I didn't realise it to was a birthday present. So glad Donald liked the shirts. I hope he'll be able to use them in the near future. The Harrington went off to you last week. Do tell me how you are, don't do too much. I hope you feel refreshed after your holiday at Ismailia.
Monday August 20 (45)
Peace has really come at last. There is of course to a great feeling of relief to know that fighting has ceased. We feel very lucky to know that Donald and Peter have come through. One naturally turns one's thoughts to one's immediate family at these times. Now I suppose comes the stupendous task of reorganising the future if one can speak of it in such a way. It has been a very exhausting week what with one thing and another. As you will have heard, Peter was here on the time the first rumours of peace were put out. Well they all bustled off to Lytham so we hadn't Bunch here for the actual Peace Day, I am sorry. We didn't hear the news at 12 we were peacefully sleeping, but at 1:30am were awakened by the villagers singing in the drive. They were shouting three cheers for Colonel Parkes etc etc, singing "There shall always be an England" etc. It was all rather thrilling, that part, well as there was to be a two-day holiday whenever the news came through. Daddy and I decided to go off for the night. We went down to Crewkerne Dorset and stayed the night in a village pub there. Daddy had wanted to see a house and garden he'd heard about. It was all very charming, but really too isolated. We enjoyed the drive down very much, lovely country. They had quite a lot of doings in the village of Oaken here, a bonfire at the top of the drive. They gave the children tea outside in front of the Post Office there and I understand kept things going until midnight. On Saturday we had the British Legion's fete here. It was fine! They kept it going until 10-30 finishing up with dancing on the lawn, the old tennis court which has been kept for mowing for the last two or three years! So I should think it was somewhat rough to the feet. It was floodlit with coloured lights and everybody seemed to enjoy it. Mostly Village People, hordes of children too, a good finale to victory week. Of course we went to church yesterday morning, a full church. In the aft Ian Champion came out to see us, said he would call to see you, how he has improved! I do so hope your finger is better. It must have been very painful. We miss Bunch very much. I do so hope she will get a nurse for the babies, for which she is utterly exhausted by them. They are waiting for the post so I must close, do take care of yourself precious, sorry this is so abruptly finished.
Sunday August 26 (45)
I hasten to answer yours of the 18 which arrived yesterday. In my letter a fortnight or so ago I did say the silk had arrived. I am delighted with it and will you tell me the cost please next letter. I forwarded B's cami-knickers on to Lytham also an airmail big envelope came for Angela which I sent to Lytham also. The tennis balls or sandals have not arrived yet nor the 2 food parcels which you sent off about six weeks or more ago. But as far as I know all the other parcels you so kindly sent to us have arrived. I am delighted with the cigarette lighter. It is ideal for my, bag. I am sorry I opened it because I hadn't the remotest idea what it was. It came about three weeks ago, also by air mail. I did thank you both very much for it. I do hope you're feeling all right, the hot weather must be very trying for you. Do you think you've had up to date the things we have sent, the last being a shawl and the Harrington square. I hope you have almost got the necessary things complete. Can't I send you some something for the cot. I can so easily get that. There seemed to be so many babies on the way. Pam Bayliss baby? I think, Dick's wife is having a second any time, Roger Bayliss's wife is also having another! I've just finished the sweetest wee wool jacket. I shall be posting it airmail this week. We are very quiet without the children. I hope they will come back for a while before they finally settled in her own home. B is gone up to London today house hunting. On Saturday she will be back here to go with us to Diana T's wedding. The day of my birthday. So it will be fun celebrating won't it.
Sunday Sep 1 1945
Your birthday letter arrived three or four days before the day so I nobly kept it back to read on he† morning of my birthday. Thank you darling for your good wishes, you have always been such a loving daughter, well you both have. I still can't reconcile myself to the fact that you and Bunch are no longer our sort of property!! Though I don't think Daddy or I can ever be accused of cramping your style or keeping you tied to our apron strings can we? It will be something though to have you and Donald back in England. I am thrilled with the lighter you both sent to me. It has been very much admired by all and sundry, you couldn't have sent me anything more useful. I am sadly afraid I a smoking rather more than I usually do, very stupid of me when there appears to be a cigarette shortage not that the amount I consume is in any way excessive! The cable was phoned through the night before my birthday, again many thanks. On the day itself two parcels from you arrived, the tennis balls and the parcel containing sugar sultanas and pan scrubbers. Romie it is most terribly sweet and thoughtful of you, you can't think how we gloat over these extra bits for our cupboard. You've no idea how very much we appreciate it all, a wish I could send more out to you. Are your parcels of stop getting through, have the blankets and shawl arrived and the Harrington squares, parcels do seem to take such ages. We had a very thrilling letter from you on Friday of the 25th saying that Donald's tour is finished. I told Curtis what you† said. He thought you might have been all right to fly home, but I really think it might have been rather complicated arriving about all your stuff. I only wish you could both have come earlier. I am terribly glad you are arranging to fly home. I am sure it will be much simpler for you. Of course I am just hoping and praying that you will be all right to get home for Xmas. Wouldn't it be too wonderful if we could all be together again. Bunchie seemed to think that Peter might get a leave then too. Do you think you will be able to make it? I had a lovely birthday. We all went to Diana Thompson's wedding, a huge crowd. She looked so nice. Bunchie was up here for it and to be here for my birthday. She gave me an old ivory brooch to wear on a coat, it is very nice and Daddy presented me with a diamond sapphire and read a something ring like that one of B.'s. It was a surprise. I am delighted Aunt Bee gave me some coloured glass goblets and jug, Joy a soap and powder. Maude the usual piece of lace for undies, Aunt G lace for a blouse. I am very lucky creature!
It is Sunday evening 9pm I am in all alone. Daddy went back to London this a.m. with Bunch to see a house she rather likes. Poor child she does want to get settled, I quite understand how she feels. I wish she wasn't going to be so far away. I feel she will have many difficulties especially if she hasn't adequate help and we shan't be there to give a hand. However I have no doubt it will all work out all right, I'm sorry you're being bothered with that wretched prickly heat. I do hope it has subsided now and that the weather is not to something for you. Now do tell me how you are. I'm just longing to get more news about the prospects of you're coming home.
Wednesday Sep 11 (45)
You really must wonder what has happened me, for the past week I haven't been able to get down to writing. As you know the afternoons are not very alert! Bunch was back home for three days last week. We seem to rush and hare about in the mornings. She'd odd bits of shopping to do and really you have no conception of how long it does really take to do a bit. One seems to have to make so many something to get even the simplest thing. Well then as you will now have heard from Daddy the sad news about Uncle Kenneth. He died early - one am last Thursday so that all over the weekend I have been a good deal of the time with Hilda because she didn't want see people at all so I have helped out as far as I can to arrange things for her. Daddy made all the arrangements for the Funeral which was on Monday at noon. It was really a very sad day, the Home Guard and British Legion men and women are turned out. The latter only as a guard of honour and the H G as bearers. Hilda and the girls with Mrs Green went together to church. They were really very brave. I am so sorry about it all. He was such a pet. Diana has just been in touch she has gone back to her job. She's stationed at Maidenhead. Ba and Hilda are going away to Dossie for a few days. Ba has been wonderful during the week Kenneth was ill. He had pleurisy you know. Poor old David I had to send him a cable telling him his father was ill. I personally hope that he will get home. I'm sure it would a comfort to Hilda if he did. She's very cut up.
Well Bunch and Peter breezed back again for a night last night. They have fixed up with a house at Worplesdon. Subject to the trustees approval. Bunch seemed relieved to have got a house. I expect she will tell you all about it. I don't think there is any hurry for them to take possession. Margie Adshead also has been here for two nights to see High Elms and she is thrilled with the idea of having it until you will be wanting it. She says it has great prospects, she thinks you're lucky!!! She is putting her furniture there which belong to her mother, so that will be a help until such time as you can collect some. She says they will not require it for at least two years as Pug's job in Leggia? will extend over that time. Joan and Peter White came over for Sat night. I couldn't put them off, so that the house has really been like a hotel for the last week. On top of all this Beattie has been away for four or five days. she had people staying with her so I couldn't do anything about it, still Ma J has been very good tempered about it all so all's well. Do you think the parcels we've sent you are up to date. So far the shawl etc were the last. As far as I can make out all yours except the Sandals and the last food parcel have arrived. You have been wonderfully kind. I hope all is well with you and that you have everything fixed. I hope the weather is not too bad for you. We are off to the Jacks on Friday.
Sat Sep 22 (45)
We received your letter sent direct here on Tuesday and the one written a day or so before forwarded on to us. I hope you are all right again, you† don't know how I do long to be nearer to you so that I could look after you a bit. You are quite satisfied with your doctor I hope. Do, do get the best man available and don't hesitate to call him in if you are not feeling "up to the mark". I realise the climate and conditions are more than a bit trying for you, but I'm hoping that things are a bit more normal now. Oh, it will be grand to get you home again. I know you are living for the time and you know Daddy and I are. I hope you will like the house. I wish it were possible to do more to it. I'm sure you'll be happy there, lots of gardening for Donald to do!! It's a great help that Margie is leaving some furniture, a Chesterfield, two easy chairs, odd tables, chests of drawers. It may not be what you would choose if† you were buying but furniture is well nigh impossible unless you are prepared to pay the earth for antiques. If you and Donald stay there you can gradually get it as you would like it. I bought a pre-war cot the other day. Beardmore is enamelling it pale blue while he is doing the House, it is a very nice little cot. I also going to order a pram for you from Windridge when we get back. They have to be "bespoke" so to speak! I do hope the Harrington's have turned up by this time. Bunch's sandals arrived the day we left, so they were sent on to Lytham. I am sending a cheque for £10 to your account at Wolverhampton for the silk etc you have sent. I am afraid my letters to you are very much of a domestic nature at the moment. I leave all the accounts of what we're doing to Daddy of course. I am bitterly disappointed that it will be impossible for you to be with us for Xmas not the I ever really felt you would be but I'd hoped.
Is there anything more I can send you. Ma Maitland is awfully good sending out things to you I'm sure. I will write to her. Romie I think all your parcels except perhaps one food parcel have arrived now which is the one you said contained a tongue. If you are able to get out and shop I'd be glad of anything you can scrounge in the way of fruits etc and do bring as much as you can for yourselves. Remember you more or less have to start from scratch. I hope I will be able to help both you and Bunchie a little with jams etc. I'm thinking after the winter things will be really not so difficult. But it is just amazing the way we'll manage. We're thankful for our eggs and pigs.† We shall be all right for bacon etc. Think I need to keep one Pig until you come home. Well Daddy is waiting for me to come out for a walk. I'll try to write again in a day or so. This is the most grand and beautiful country, but Pa will tell you about it. Tons of love and take care of your precious self.
Sep 24 (45) Connell Ferry Falls House Hotel.
Thought I'd have a word with you I do hope you have now quite recovered and are not feeling too weary with yourself, it is a very tiresome time I know from now onwards but lets hope it will soon pass.We arrived here on Sat travelling in the Jacks' car through the most frantic gale and storm. It was a pity because we didn't see the country that it best for and it truly is wonderful. If it weren't so far away, it is just the place I'd love to take a house - Moary? I mean for a family holiday. You would adore it wonderful gardens sands rocks. I should say the bathing would be all that could be desired.† Skye, the island is heavenly. it is the grandest country I have ever seen I think. Of† course Oban is very lovely, we went there this am and I went into the famous Chalmers. I saw a delicious cardigan skirt, but don't think I can afford the coupons there. 6! I bought the palest blue baby wool for your small infant when he will need it! This afternoon we've been a long drive all round Loch Owe. it was very lovely and it has been such a beautiful day too. It is so nice being with the Jacks. They are very companionable for us. We find them so interesting and "well up" in everything. Alistair is taking a general (by air) out to Palace and his mother has sent your address to him. Hope he will contact you if he comes to Cairo. I am writing this on my knee in the drawing room a lot of chatter going on so forgive it if it is more illegible then usual. Glad Pug came to see you before he left. Daddy and I have promised to go up to Llwy?? to see him very soon, just for one night. Marge is much looking forward I think† to having a month or so in your house. Won't it be heavenly when you are safely installed. I suppose you will be able to come home by air won't you. Daddy and I will help you with costs. I know what a heavy time you must be having financially I mean!!!! We are so enjoying the long holiday we've not been away for more than a week at a time since the war began. I had a nice letter from Ma J the am, I was most touched all about nothing special Think she must miss us!!! Butters has also wrote to say the animals were all well, we've got the sweetest kitten, a very pretty marked tabby, she's a pet. Daddy is potty about her, think he misses the babies very much!! I hope they will come back to us before they are installed in their new home, though I don't think anything is definitely settled yet. Peter has had rather a long leave for I think owing to a poisoned toe so Bunch said in her letter† today but is better now. I do wish she could get fixed up with a good nurse. Now do let me know how you are. Donald will keep me posted up with all the news won't he. You must have best attention and care that you can get so that you are won't have to worry. Take things as easy as you can you'll be all right, bless you.
Friday Sep 28 (45 - postmarked Stirling)
Your letter written from Meer? House last Sunday arrive today so thought I would really drop you a line up by return. I am most distressed to know you have been so poorly. I know jaundice is a rotten thing to have. The depression accompanying it must be so very horrid, isn't this the second bout you've had of late. Bunch I know had it earlier in the year. Well Ido really hope you have quite recovered and are feeling cheery again. It isn't like you to be disagreeable and mumpy. I think it was very nice of Donald taking up to Mere House and see if the change would buck you up. It really is most unfortunate that it should happen just now when you do require all your spirits to keep going. I am very glad indeed to know that your own doctor is now back in Cairo. That will be a little more reassuring for you. Now just don't you hesitate to ask him if you feel uncertain about anything, you are very sensible and level-headed, I know. I am sending on your letter today to Bunch along with a pair of royal blue angora wool gloves I got for her at Chalmers. Thought she would like a little surprise to cheer up a bit. Peter has of course gome back again now. It will be so marvellous when you can be both settled in your houses. Poor old B. is getting very tired of it I know. I hope she'll come back to us when we get home, I haven't heard anything about the house lately. It has been rather held up owing to the owner suddenly passing on! Romie, Alastair Jack I think I told you has just flown over to your part of the world. He is pilot to the General of the 6th Airborne Division. I rather think they are stationed Jerusalem. Contact him if you can and feel well enough but don't mention any thing to him about Esme. It's an awful blow to the Jacks that the marriage has come unstuck, she prefers animals!!! I wrote a long letter to Ma Maitland yesterday asking them to come up to see us. I thought they could see your house and what they think of it! Hope they will come.
I hope to have been lucky with your new cook and that he will be satisfactory, shall you be able to take a nurse at home with you for a bit, I hope so. Romie if you can possibly manage it will you send me some dried fruit, currants raisins dates. They are not going to be very plentiful here I gather. Donald wouldn't mind packing them for you I know. Is there anything I can send you by air mail. I am beginning to think after about another month we shan't be sending you parcels as you'll be on your way home, Lets hope so. I'd hoped for a big family reunion for Xmas but that is not to be. Something although Peter might have leave then, but now it won't be till Jan. We are saving our odd bottle of champagne for you!!!
October 9 1945 Tuesday
A letter from each of you last Friday. You are both so good about writing. Daddy is writing to Donald, he thought it so nice of him to explain all about your finances. He wrote you about something affairs merely because he didn't want you to be worried just now or to be a short of anything. Darlings both of you, we are absolutely confident about your ability to pan out your own lives and we are so proud of you both. I think you have managed so very well and you have been able to enjoy a the time together before assuming the responsibility of a child and we are more than delighted to know you are having a baby. I am just looking forward to hearing he has arrived!! I had an idea it was at the end of the month. We are so glad the jaundice has cleared up. You must be thankful to have got rid of your bright yellow complexion!! Pug came over to see us for the day on Sunday. He was on his way to London. It was very good to see him and hear all the news. He seems very proud of you both and said you need never worry about Romie and Donald. He seemed so impressed that you are so pleased about the prospect of your infant. Daddy took him to see "High Elms". He said how delighted he would have been to begin their married life in a similar house. He said it had great prospects which you will be able to achieve bit by bit. They hope to come there about three weeks from now. Of course their furniture will be a tremendous help to you and incidentally to us so that we can squeeze something for both you and Bunchie from this house. It will be wonderful to see both settled in your own houses. I think they had rather crowded journey home about nine in his cabin and June I think was one of about 15 in hers including a baby. You and Donald must arrange things a lot better than that!!!! Now please don't worry about bringing things for us for Xmas. I quite realise the effort it is for you to shop. I hope your domestic situation is running smoothly again. It's tiresome you had to sack your other boy just when you didn't want to be bothered. I hope you have replaced him successfully. Mrs Greene our new help is quite pleasant and I think will be helpful, though she hasn't any experience in a house of this sort.
I am continuing this in the next letter.
Post mark 10 Oct 45
But if she settles I think we shall be very comf. for she seems able girl. One can't as yet have pre-war standards! And we been very fortunate. Well Bunch arrived yesterday, it is grand to have her back. She has said once or twice it is good to be home again which pleases me no end. The children have grown so much. Angela can walk, B. had kept that as a surprise for me. She's sweet. CA is quite a little girl, really very independent. Now the big stuff is to comb the places for a Nanny. Bunch says she really must get one if possible. Of course the children are just at the most difficult stage as regards the need for constant attention. So I do hope she'll be able to find somebody for her sake. She is so tied without a bit of help. They are too big now just to be dumped into their prams or cots at any old time. She's an excellent mother really, CA has come back with a most terrific Lancashire accent which is rather getting B. down. They had a woman there to push her out in the mornings who I gather was rather broad and would talk to the child all the time but B says it was worth it to get the child off her hands and out of doors for a few hours. Still she will soon get back to her usual way of speaking. She really is a quaint little party, you'll scream when you see them! Let me know when you next write when you go into hospital, I shall write direct you there. What is the address. I should get your surplus stuff home in good time. It apparently takes the Dickens of a time to get here and collector as much as you can in the way of things that will be useful to you, sugar etc.
Did Daddy tell you that Lady ??Donley?? was staying in the hotel with us at Connell Ferry, we talked to her a great deal and found her very pleasant and so extremely knowledgeable. She has had a most varied life, stupidly enough we didn't realise that she was Angela Thirkell[xxxviii]. We'd all been reading her last book "Running Water", about Albania whilst we were there. I'm rather sick that we didn't tumble to it. We had a very long letter from David today, he said he had heard from you. He is a very good letter-writer. I hope he will get home, he has applied on compassionate grounds.
Bunch has gone off to have dinner with Joy who is home on leave. She be seems to be flooded with engagements for this week. Directly we got home we got well away with engagements of one sort and another and then we'll go for ages and nothing happens! Well I've written a lot but afraid it is all disjointed so I'll stop!
Oct 18 (45)
So you are a mother, how proud you must feel of your little son. Daddy and I are just thrilled we too are very proud to have a grandson. The news was most welcome. We, speaking selfishly, have been spared the† anxiety of waiting and wondering what it happening. We're now just longing to hear how you are. I hope Darling that you had as comfortable a time as is possible in these cases. I can't hardly wait for a time when you will both plus child be with us. Take care of yourself and don't do anything rash. Who is a little chap like - himself I suppose! Ma J. wanted to put the flag up but I said it must wait until you come home! We've saved the champagne and we have some excellent orange gin that I'm keeping for the celebration. You will tell me all about yourself won't you for you have had such a rotten time what with one thing and another. Dear Donald how very relieved he must be. I know he will be such a proud and good father. Won't it be grand having you all together again. Bunchie was just too excited so she couldn't speak, she is so glad it is a son. Do tell me all about him. Is there hope now of your being home for Christmas. I can't write what is in my heart dearest. I feel too full. My blessings on you and a little lad and all that God may something you.
Sunday October 21
Of course we've been doing nothing but think about you, so to speak, wondering how you and the little one are. We're longing to hear further news. Lots and lots of people have rung up sending their good wishes. Everyone seems well pleased that we have a son in the family. The something?? rang up his a.m. and said would be call in after church to drink his health, rather social of them I thought especially as they are such recluses! Sally said when you and Donald come home, you must certainly go to have your health drunk. She said she will produce some champagne from somewhere! Of course she feels rather sentimental about it all as both John and Barbara were born in the Anglo American hospital. Crowds of people have rung up. I sent you off a small parcel by Ian Champion last week. I hope it have received it. Dorothy will send you the little frock, very nice of her I thought. Do let us know as soon as possible how things are with you. Wasn't it unexpected - we thought you were "going over" in November! Am so delighted you have something a son because I know you specially want a boy. Have you been comfy at hospital. I do hope are being well looked after. Am wondering what will happen when you get back to the flat as you domestic plans have gone a little wonky! I hope that you will have been able to get fixed up and that the girl will be a real help. I feel Donald is so capable about all these things and will fix everything for you. Daddy sent a cable and we have all written to you and Daddy sent a letter card† enclosed a cheque for £50 for you to pay your expenses. I do hope you'll get it all right, I didn't feel he should have been enclosed it in one of those things. By the way I have paid the £10 I owe you for silk into your account at Wolverhampton. What is the child to be called. We are all just aching to hear all the News, you seem so very far away, just now. I am busy getting High Elms ready for Pug & Marge, they come there in about 10 days' time, I think you will be so happy there. It is really awfully pleasant and looks rather nice now. Lots of love to you and Donald and a big hug for you
Tuesday Oct 26 1945.
We were more than delighted to get your two letters yesterday also cable this am. So glad you are doing well. That dear little chap he sounds. We can hardly wait for the time to pass until we see him. You must repeat his progress each time you write. Yes Romie when you were born the first glimpse I had of you was "Granny Parkes" although you soon changed. Of course you want to be like his father. I know that. He wont go far wrong if he is!!! I'm sure you must both feel so happy and proud. Believe me Daddy and I are. No end of people here congratulated us having† a grandson ??? how you are and send love. Many too many to mention. Ma Bennett asked if she could send you out a little garment but I suggested she waited now until you came home. The announcement is in the Times today. I will send it to you. I did enclose the Express and Star with† announcement in a long with some magazines after days ago. I sent you off a bundle of papers by the same post. Did you ever get the small parcel I sent by Jan champion. It contained a little smock sent by Dorothy Hill. I shall be sending off your Xmas parcel in about 10 days' time. Just bits. Then we must have the real celebration when you get home. I did so hope you be back this year of. What but I can quite see it can't be done. I think I am very glad you are nearly the last. It is always better for the child if the mother can manage it. It a bit of a tie for a while, but needn't go on with it when the child is fully established. I should say it is the very best thing to do in Anthony's case. So much better from him. As long as you can manage it. I expect he's hungry coming into the world before he should have done! Now take care wont you when you get back home, donít be too anxious and get back to normal life too quickly. You really ought to rest for a while each day for a while. I hope your domestic situation is satisfactory. I presume you got both the cables we sent also Bunche's. and did the airmail letter card containing a cheque get to you all right. It was so nice of Donald to write us such a nice letter. I have every confidence in him. Daddy and I were a very fond of them. I am hoping the Maitlands will come up to here in about a fortnight. Mrs M rang up the other day and said they would like them to come. I want them to see High Elms. Peggy and Mercy go there next week.
Saturday 3rd Nov 1945
It has been grand having your letters once again, we've rec'd three this week telling us all about your progress and that of Anthony. I 'spect by this time you have been out and are considering going back to the flat. I think it an excellent idea to be taking the child back for a week's "vet" to the hospital for you must feel very strange and a little awed taking responsibility of such a wee speck of humanity. They are much tougher than it would seem. You'll manage him quite easily and very soon feel at home with him. I'm sure Donald will always be a help for you. As I said in my last letter I do hope you're well fixed up with a cook and that the nurse girl will be helpful. It's a big responsibility for you. I hope you will have stayed at the hospital there until you are quite fit and able to cope for yourself. We simply love to hear all news of him. What does he weigh now. Bunch and I can hardly bear the wait to see you both and to hear all the News just direct. Isn't he been vaccinated a little soon? I don't think we have them done at home until they are about six weeks old. I hope it doesn't upset the little chap too much. I agree that it will be a help to you to get it over with in the hospital. Isn't it grand to be getting back your figure and be wearing dressed? clothes again. I remember how very thrilled I was to wear my ordinary clothes. One very soon get back to ordinary something with a little exercise and what not. The great thing is not to overdo and overload yourself! We are rather perturbed about all trouble in Cairo. I do hope you're not living in a bad or troublesome district. Dear me. Will ever be real peace again. I see today the dockers are going back to work on Monday, at any rate for a month, while fresh proposals are being put forward. Lets hope they can come to a really satisfactory solution. The wages businesses too awful. I don't see how they can go on expecting to pick up such big money, it's all a vicious circle! By the way we have had the war service Thanksgiving week in Codsall finishing today. I put in £25 for Antony. I will send you his card. I thought it a good opportunity to "start"! Sorry I have to finish this off so quickly but Dorothy our new help is waiting to post it. she's very good, I hope not too good to be here.
Thursday Nov 8 (1945)
I hope you got a cable darlings both of you wishing you many happy returns of today. I hope you will have had a nice day but I suspect you'll not be able to do much in the way of celebrating. You will of course be feeling much stronger. I do hope the nurse girl is a success and dependable, so that you can relax a little for it is so important that for the next week or so you don't "overdo" yourself. I hope the little chap was well behaved in hospital. I'm sorry you couldn't have been there a little longer so that he could have got over vaccination and what not. We had your letter yesterday saying you had arrived home again. Of course I realise you'd be glad to be back with Donald. What a busy time he is having to coping with housekeeping and all the other 1000 little jobs that crop up. We are all busy here with Poppy Day efforts whist and bridge, stall in the Square etc etc. Bunch has been out selling poppies at the Dutch camp today as far as I can gather she was invited to drink sherry at each of the Messes, but only imbibed once! Well Marge and Pug are installed in your house. We're going up to have a game of bridge with them this evening. I haven't been up since we took it over, so am interested to see how it looks! On Monday night the 5th Tim had a bonfire party after dinner, it was a most original party for grown-ups. I suppose it was his victory party for he didn't throw one in the summer, fortunately it was a fine night. They had a terrific bonfire which kept everybody warm, fireworks and masses of good things to eat and drink, including hot rum punch which has kept hot in a big copper cauldron over the fire. It was a great fun about 100 people there I should say. Jennifer was home for weekend. She is headgirl at "Wrighton" now, you know. She's done very well at school. Did I tell you that poor old Bertie has gone stone deaf. It came suddenly about 10 days ago and I am very sad about it. I've taken him to Chambers but nothing can be done. Think I need to stop now. Carol Ann is absorbing a deal of my attention, she is busy cutting out patterns of paper. My dearest love to you all.
Tuesday Nov 13 1945
I hope Antony is getting a little more accustomed to his change of abode and that his early morning hymn of hate has ceased. It's very hard I know not to rush and pick them up when they begin to bleat. I think very often babies do have a spell round about teatime for crying or rather 6 "o'clockish". He will soon settle to regular ways. I'm sure and sleep his "little life away"! So I shouldn't worry I quite realise you must feel him a great responsibility all on your own. You will be relieved that he is putting on weight in the normal way. I've no doubt he will go on like a house on fire. Both CA and Angela and were tiny babies you remember. CA now huge great creature. We talk about you such a lot. It she is dying to see my little cousin! Am sorry that parcel I sent by Jim Champion hasn't arrived. I saw his mother the other day, she said he had posted it to you. By the way we sent off a Christmas parcel to you last Saturday. Just bits we'll have to give you a real present when you come home. I something of things for the house, and close friend Anthony, a smart winter overcoat!
Last night Daddy I went to the Edwin Bayliss's, they have come to Greenhills[xxxix], I'm glad because I think Mrs will do things in the village.
On the 28th Daddy Bunch and I are going up to London for two nights staying at Brown's Hotel and Dover Street. We are hoping to motor up in the Rover, Bunch is very keen about that. She adores motoring when not driving herself. Sorry this doesn't seem to be a very newsy letter.
Bunch's nurse girl arrived today, she seems a nice girl. To have two maids actually sleeping in a house seems too good to believe for these days. Dorothy I think is a great find, she is not up to Mary's standards as a parlourmaid but is so very pleasant and obliging which is a great thing. I do hope your nursemaid is pulling her weight and being a real help to you, how old is she? I am very relieved the riots have settled, we get rather worried about you. Donald had a lucky miss didn't he. Thank you for sending the newspaper. Oh, the apricots and sugar arrived a day or so ago. It's now turned into delicious jam! Thank you very very much. If you do have an opportunity to send us a more fruit raisins etc before you leave I'd be glad. Can you get almonds?
Tuesday Nov 22
I'm afraid I haven't written to you for several days. As a matter-of-fact I have been in bed for week with bronchitis, it is now better more or less. Have come down to tea today, feel little weak naturally. We had rather cold east wind last weekend become think it must have "done the trick", glad I'm not standing it just now or there would be more trouble next week! Bunch and I are so looking forward to going very much, I hope it won't be foggy, we seem to have had rather much fog lately. I wonder how you people will react to the weather when you come home. Will stoke up to the full for you. I'm so sorry dear Anthony has a cold. I hope it is better now. It's worrying for you. I do so very much wish you were home so that we could come to your rescue at times. You don't say anything about the nurse girl, is she any good. I hope so. Poor little chap, he evidently disapproves of being dressed and undressed. I think all babies do. They like the actual bath, then after that ugh. Bunch's babies also yelled. Carol Ann talks a lot about you and her little cousin. Bunch has taken her up to High Elms for tea this afternoon, she's a very grown-up young person now. It was very unfortunate that the Maitland's couldn't get here after all. A niece from America arrived the week that they were to come and now I'm afraid they won't make it before Xmas.
We've had two very nice Xmas parcels, from the Boustreds last week. They really are kind. One of them to Bunch - all sorts chocolates and jelly, a large tin of tongue and an Xmas cake for us. I'm hoping to have a tea party on Monday for Mrs Edwin Bayliss, all the old ladies of the village, so I'll give them a treat and cut the cake then. Of course we're looking forward your cake. The ones you've sent before have been so very delicious. I think we shall keep the one we make until you come home. Are you still hoping it might be February? Angela has just been brought down to play for while before bedtime, so I'm afraid I'll have to stop and look after her a bit while the nurse girl does other things. She and Angela has just this minute too had her second injection for diphtheria. Auntie? has been to see me and went up to do her. She didn't flinch I hear. Bye bye dearest we have sent magazines this week. Did you get a cable for Nov 8.
Tuesday Dec 1 1945
This is a new type of letter card. I hardly know how to deal with the folding of it. Well it has been some days since I wrote to you, for we have had the most hectic week. June Adshead has been here for a week, Alistair Jack for most of the week, so we been a house full. 10 to meals!! On top of that it has been pig killing and you know what that means the most productive pig. We had delicious pork and something something as usual to cope with the pies, which we all voted as nicer than ever! Perhaps it is that we have been a year since we had home made ones. Anyway there has been lashings of food in the larder. I think Ma J. has been a little tired coping with it all, but a feeling she loves doing it, and sharing out all bits! It all came in very handy having visitors in the house. Dorothy the help is quite good, rather slapdash for her type of work, I think, but still she doesn't mind what she does and is extremely pleasant. I think too that Bunch's nursemaid is shaping well. June has left this morning and well, we are quite glad to be on our own again. June is extremely attractive to look upon but so lacking in animation and so little to say we feel. We so very much loved having Alistair, B has quite decided that he will be her "second"! I'm terribly fond of him. He has written the most charming "b&b" letter saying I had the flair for making a home atmosphere. Poor Alistair I'm sorry things have gone wrong with him. He said nothing about though. Bunchie has gone to have wisdom tooth out. I hope she'll be alright, it's a nasty business isn't it. Joy it having two out tomorrow but is going into hospital to have them done. She gets her release on Jan 1st and goes up to Edinburgh to do social science in the middle of February
About 5 Dec - 2nd part.
She is so though much hoping you will be home before she goes. You will like her Romie. She seems nicer each time I see her. The man who gets her will be lucky indeed. This afternoon I'm going over to Auntie May? for some Bridge. Kathleen Piper is over from Ireland and her daughter Diana, who married Ralph Hope you remember he was killed early on. Did very well in the RAF. Heard from Nannie yesterday she has been rather poorly but is better again, of course I send a parcel pork, she was so pleased to have it. She said you'd sent Turkish Delight. she always enquires so much about you and does love to have a letter from you. It's her birthday today, Now I've told you all about our news. Your second parcel of apricots and raisins arrived last week. It is so very very good of you. We do so appreciate all these parcels, I do hope our Xmas parcel to you will have arrived safely. Aunt Gladys is sending Anthony ??something??. It really is rather difficult buying things here unless one is prepared to feed? the Earth. I do hope Antony is really ridded of cold poor little chap. Perhaps† he will sleep for longer periods when he gets rid of catarrh. He seemed to have had so much done to him in his short little life. I sent off the christening robe to you airmail also in another parcel the piece of pink silk you asked for also airmail to. I hope you will get them in good time. Oh no we haven't used all your silk, you've some left and a brand new nightie someone gave you for your twenty first! So you'll be able to get a stir? again. Its Daddy's birthday on the 17th I've bought him a chair rather a decorative one sort of Empire. I hope he will like it. It cot me 3 coupons for the silk to recover the seat. Got it from Beatties antique shop. I'm afraid there is very little celebration about Xmas presents so difficult to get. However were really are happy to think it is Xmas of peace.
Monday evening 9.30 (abt 12 Dec 45)
Though I have written two letters to you earlier today this is my Xmas letter proper! As I learned from the Post Office that tomorrow is the last day for posting to ensure delivery on Xmas day. I can only wish you and Donald and Anthony the very best of things and may our reunion be very soon in the New Year. We shall think of you on Xmas night and a course drink your health, you'll think of us too. I should say it would be about 8:30 our time when we shall rise drink his Majesty's health and then our dear ones abroad you and Donald Anthony and Peter. I know to we shall think of you when we are listening to the King who is speaking again at 3pm our time. I do hope you will have a happy day and that the new year will be all that you wanted to be. Auntie Emily? Tim Jennifer and Kathleen and Percy are having dinner with us. I did ask the Smiths of course in if they don't go to Stanley. You see John Thompson has been ill for ages and has to be very quiet, heart trouble. I think Hilda is vainly hoping David might get home. I'm sorry we can't all be present at Anthony's christening, you must tell me all about it. I trust he will behave correctly!! Today I saw Len Wesson's wife, you met her in June she is really rather lovely. I think the Wessons quite like her and don't find her such a trial as might have been expected. I am just longing and aching to hear the date on which you will start home. I'm dying you and to see my grandson, the very dearest love and wishes to you all three.
Like so hope prolonged and for you to be here this Xmas.
Monday 17th Dec 5 pm
It's Daddy's birthday today, he was pleased have your cable yesterday. He has had to go off to Manchester and is not back yet. I've got a birthday dinner for him duck and Xmas pudding. I hope he will enjoy it. I think I told you I bought a chair for him rather "a drawing room" one. He seemed quite pleased with it. Bunch gave him some very nice gloves. We had your letter of Dec first this morning. What a long time it has taken to come. I am very distressed to hear about Antony's eyes. Am sure you must have been very alarmed. I do hope it has all cleared up now. Poor child what a worrying time you have had. I shall be thankful when you get home. If you have the least doubt see the oculist again. It is most important. Still I know you realise that. When you were a very few weeks old you had a slight inflammation and as far as I can remember Dr Helmut rather blamed the nice little nurse. However it soon clear up. I shall eagerly await your next letter telling me how he is. If you have to use boracic I'm sure that it will be terribly terribly weak solution. Because it often acts as an irritant. Is his cold better too. I hope so. Keep him as warm as you can. I'm surprised it is cold with you for here the weather is mild. Considering it is December. I told you in my last letter we had sent the things you ask for by air mail. The Xmas cake arrived on Sat. We are so looking forward to eating it, as the others have been so delicious. Think we'll cut it on Sunday 23rd as Bunch is taking the children to a party at Suzanne Jenks on Xmas afternoon. Then I told you we have the Tims and Percy Bayliss coming in at night for dinner. Should be fun. I did ask the Smiths but they are going to Stanley after all. Did I also mention that the second parcel of apricot and raisins had arrived. They are so delicious for jam. It is very good of you. But don't spend all your money. We went to B'ham last week. I've chosen a ??? for a suit rather at besty one I think. Mrs James would do yours as soon as you come home. She'll give you priority!! I wonder when you'll arrive.
Sunday Dec 30 1945.
A very happy New Year to you all, may it be soon that we have the great reunion! I don't think I've letter about Xmas really. We had a very happy day, we all went to the choral Eucharist at church at 1130 on Xmas Eve. The church was literally crowded, and didn't get back home until post 1 o'clock, we drank tea in the kitchen and then to bed! Of course great excitement with the children on Xmas morning presents round the tree and shoals of them, and then to the 11 o'clock service to which we took Carol Ann. She was extremely good and much impressed, we then went on for sherry to this Swansons. All family were gathered there. Frank and ?? chap (Anthony "Costello" the other??) I think felt the loss of their sons very much. But put up a brave front. Mrs Swanson gave me an lovely big bunch of flowers. It was very pleasant going there, they all seemed so glad to see us. Came home to the usual ?? lunch of ham and tongue. In the aft. B took the children to a party and as per routine Daddy and I went to the Smiths for tea. We had a very pleasant dinner party. The Percy Bayliss's came along with the Tims, the usual† enormous very delicious turkey, plum pudding and mince pie and for old time's sake fruit salad (do you remember we've always had the latter for you young people). Of course we drank the health of His Majesty followed by our children, all very ceremoniously!!
We had a thoroughly happy evening, laughed no end. Jennifer has grown up a lot. She was wearing a long frock for the first time and really look very pretty.
Your parcels arrived on Xmas morning and your telegram. It was lovely. What gorgeous chocolates and the sugar and tea were most welcome. You have been very kind to us. Danny managed to snaffle a gorgeous pigskin handbag for me. I was delighted with it. Aunt Bee made a very nice petticoat femme. Bunch gave Daddy and me a very nice soup tureen, Hilda (Smith) gave us all pretty bits of china. Did you get our Xmas parcel, we haven't had a letter for nearly a fortnight from you. I do hope Antony is all right.
Monday 7th Jan (1946)
Darling, a word with you. The Persian print you sent for Daddy's birthday by airmail arrived on Sat Jan 5th! The mail really has been shocking lately. You Air mail cards have been taking anything up to a fortnight and judging from the date on which you wrote them. We began to wonder if you wrote them then and forgot to post them! At one time we quite often got a letter through in six days even five days! Anyway Daddy is delighted with the prints. I think they are sweet. Of course the thing that would please us most of all is to hear that your date is fixed for coming home. Are you still hoping to come by air. It certainly is an undertaking for you with Antony. I hope he will be on his best behaviour!! I'd do so love the photograph of him in the cot. He looks all snug. I keep trotting them out to have a look at them. I carry them in my handbag. I'm sure he must be getting very fascinating now. You'll see an improvement in him every day. I am so glad he is sleeping better. Have you got plenty of warm clothes to wrap him in when you bring him home. You will need to be most careful about that because it will be a big change in temperature for the little chap, not to mention his Mummy! Poor Marjorie Addshead I'm afraid doesn't enjoy winter in England. June feels the cold too, I imagine she's so lethargic though it is a pity she can't get herself interested in something. Margie is anxious she should take a secretarial course. I think they are going to arrange something for her. Pug has had his orders to go to Nigeria last Thursday. He sails this coming Thursday Jan 9th, he's rather upset to have had such short notice. He hopes to get Margie out had the end of March. June will stay behind. Bunch went off to London in the car to meet Peter yesterday. He arrived earlier than they had anticipated and rang up to know where she was! Anyway he didn't have to wait long she arrived about the an hour later. I hope they will have a real rest together. She needs it, she is getting so thin! Her nurse girl seems quite capable, I hope she is a "stayer"! Daddy and I go to Belmont Hotel Sidmouth on Jan 24th just for a week, so write us a note there will you. The Cyril's gave a lovely dance last week. B. was certainly the "belle", she really did look lovely in a white crepe long dress, embroidered in gold! My dearest love and a hug for the grandson!
Sidmouth Saturday 26 46
It was grand having a letter from you on the day of our arrival. Of course we are bitterly disappointed that your homecoming is delayed. We are so longing to have you with us again. I know how sick you must be feeling, let's hope that delay would be long. The one consolation to me is that the weather here will all the time be getting a little warmer so that you won't feel the change of climate so much, we really have had it so very cold. Thank goodness it is milder now. The shortage of fuel throughout the country makes things a little trying, we fortunately had a good stock laid by. Well here we all three are. The hotel lives up to pre-war reputation as regards being well-run and efficient, I've never been in a cleaner one . Naturally the food is not up to pre-war standards,† breakfast in all hotels seem to be the worst meal, not that that bothers me much, but Pa does like his bacon and eggs! I bought eggs down with us! It is beautifully warm, fire and very efficient heating everywhere, Bunch revels in it, as you know she always does like to be hot and "drowsy"! The waiters all call her Miss which rather amuses her. The change here will do her good and a thorough rest. Have you no help at all for Antony, your life must be very full. I suppose you get all his little frocks washed out do you. And I'm sorry the nurse girl wasn't it a success. We shall have to cope with him when you arrive home so that you can get a holiday. I am longing to see more recent photographs of him. Is he like Donald at all. 'Fraid he will have Donald's hair!! Di's? family can't rave about its luxurious head of hair. Carol Ann chats nicely about Antone and the thing she is going to give him and do for him. Won't it be lovely to see them all together. Darling I'm afraid you'll be missing the paper we have been sending. Is it worth posting them on to you again. We've been saving them up for you, well Vogue and Woman's Journals. You'll have quite a number to peruse! Has any of your baggage gone off yet. Poor Margie after coping with all their packages that came from M.E. is now having to send out stuff again and pack up to go to Nigeria. She has applied to go at the end of March, whether she will get a passage remains to be seen. I hope are not finding coping with everything too much. I'm Afraid the flat is becoming rather expensive for you now that you are not yourself adding to the funds. It's a longer period than you had bargained for, still perhaps it won't be for much longer. What a very interesting letter Donald wrote to Daddy. Glad you enjoyed the dinner party at the Hossies? how sumptuous they sounded.
Sidmouth Wednesday Jan 30 46
It is about 10:30pm, practically everybody has gone to bed, most respectable, all the old things begin to creep up stairs directly they have heard the 9 o'clock News. Bunch and I are most amused. As a matter-of-fact they are all rather nice people here rather on the old side, none under about 70, still all very amusing and interesting. We are all packed up ready to go off at about 10 in the morning having thoroughly enjoyed the week here. Bunch seems to have liked it too and not in any way bored. It is so very warm and comf and excellent food, what more can one ask these days. Bunch and I went off on the bus to Exeter this morning hadn't seen it since it had been blitzed. What a mess they've made of it, a good part of the main street completely gone, the cathedral too has caught it badly, it is a sin, as it really is such a beautiful cathedral, it will be years and years before they can anything like put it right again. Of course you hardly know Sidmouth, it's a delightful little place with such a very lovely old Regency and Georgian charm. B. is absolutely fascinated with it. Do you remember my bringingi you and B. over to lunch and tea with the Hazels one summer we were at Grace Rock. We picnicked on that Moor land at the top of Peck Hill. I remember you all bathed. It's a horrid pebbly beach though! I'll be quite sorry to return home, would like to stay a little longer, still I've got the prospect of your coming home all the time in front of me! So there is always that to look forward to. We've met a woman one Mrs Pearce who has been living in Codsall for four years, he a flight lieutenant was at Cosford, she's been staying here so we' ve seen quite a lot of her, been out for walks etc etc together. Daddy and I played bridge with them quite a lot when they were at Codsall. He's out of the RAF now. Romie if you can manage it can you collect me a pound or so of rice as we are not going to have any more imported into the country. It has been off the market for about a year and we hoped we'd be getting it again but know it's one of the many things we've got to do without. We like it so much for a curry and puddings. Can you get almonds another 1 lb of apricots for jam wouldn't be sneezed at if it isn't all too much trouble. We shall miss your parcels of fruit and what not but come home and nothing else will matter! Good night dearest. Is Antony "go0gooing" yet he must be getting very fascinating now. Give him a big hug from his granny, we are all just dying to see him.
Tuesday Feb 7 (46)
It was lovely having two letters from you this a.m. of the 30th. I knew you would be distressed to hear about Nanny naturally. We simply all felt the same about it but Bunch did say well I'm glad that Romie didn't see her as we last saw her. I felt then that there was very little hope, she Nanny tho' felt she would be with us again, so she didn't just lie and feel she wouldn't get better,† which is a comfort. When you come home we will go to see Mrs Dodd, she does so want to know you as well. She has said so often that Nanny was always so happy with us, we certainly were always happy with her. She has been a devoted friend and nobody misses her more than I. Well darling I hoped I should not still be writing to you in Cairo, still I feel the time is really near when we shall have you with us and I'm just daily expecting a cable to say it is all fixed! I was rung up by Pa Maitland tonight re Donald's birth certificate and get them to send it airmail to you, what a perfect nuisance it all is. Margie and Dorothy are at High Elms still but when Margie has got her packing down she intends to go back to live with Dorothy until such time as she goes to Pug I presume. They are coming here for tea today and Hilda. Ma J is out and we always feel at liberty to entertain a bit which is not around!! Bless her, she watches our ration so very scrupulously!! What a game it all is. The† food ration in the country is rather bad at the moment owing to bad crops and what not all the world over. We ourselves are most terribly fortunate, we have so much home produced stuff, our pigs and eggs are a godsend. Still I think maybe things will brighten up again soon, lets hope so. I feel I want you all "under my wing". Oh, last night we had the Cyril's for dinner, a sort of farewell party for Joy, I managed to scrounge an enormous hen and a whacking piece of our own ham to which everybody did justice. Doesn't sound starving does it?? The next piece of ham we have I hope sincerely will be for your homecoming at least I mean when you and Donald are home. Glad you are introducing Antony to a bottle. He will have to persevere. You yourself were dreadful, simply wouldn't take to it, you have given him a very good start.
We are enjoying lovely spring like weather, may it continue. The garden is showing signs of life, lots of snowdrops and crocuses out lovely! The daffodils too are showing all over the garden.
Monday Feb 11 (46)
I telephoned the Maitlands re Donald's birth certificate the night I received your letters. Pa Maitland had dispatched it on 5th January by registered post but I'm not sure if he had sent it by air mail. You should be getting it though now. I hope it arrives for it will be too dreadful it be delayed you're coming home at all. We were so happy you would be here for Derek Wile's wedding which is on March 2nd. Of course you both invited there on March 1st. The Nicholls are giving a dance at Belbroughton for John and Helen. We are all invited to that. You remember John was taken prisoner at Singapore. How glad they must be to have him home again.† Helen and Bryan Willcock have got a small house near to Alan Thompson's at Albrighton and are living there now. He is demobilised. ??rod goes to works builders you remember! She had a baby you know while he was prisoner of war (after Arnhem) and it lived only a few days. She has since had a miscarriage, very disappointing for her, she's an awfully nice girl very chic! We all went to a sherry party at the Reg Jenks last week given for Trevor, who is just demobilised. It was really a very nice party indeed but most unfortunate Trevor couldn't appear at as he was in bed with flue, sickening for them! Bunch went up and had a word with him. Andrew Lloyd is off to America tomorrow for three months. While he is away Suzanne is going to move into her new house. They have bought the one the Malcolm Andersons lived at Wightwick, a very nice little house. The Andersons are they going to live Boscobel. He, Malcolm is going to open an antique shop there, he's always been keen on "collecting" I think too. They want to get to a warmer place because Dilys? is not too strong. I don't know if we have told you that cousin Tim has been in the nursing home to have his lung deflated. He has been having treatment as they found a bad patch on his lung. He has to come home and he's in bed for two or three months and then is going to a sanatorium. They wanted to get him to Midhurst but there is no vacancy there for at least six months - it is a tragedy, I'm so sorry for him and Jennifer the doctors to say he will be cured but of course it is slow. He's here now.
Is my grandson getting nice and fat, I hope is taking to the bottle yet a big hug for him!
Monday Feb 18 (46)
A lovely parcel from you arrived on Sat, two tins of tongue and brown sugar, which is such a treat Daddy adores it on his porridge! Thank you very very much. We also had by the same mail a bottle of Cointreau from Peter on which I paid £1-17s duty, a little shattering! He has sent me perfume on two or three occasions, they have never charged duty on that, still we don't mind we are delighted to get such a luxury these days. Of course we are more than thrilled to know that there really is a definite hope of you're coming home soon. I'm just waiting daily to get the cable saying when you will be leaving. We shall all be demented with joy when it does arrive. It will be a grand time to arrive in England, just when everything is starting to sprout after its winter sleep. Afraid the crocuses and snowdrops will all be over but the daffodils are showing well above the ground. We've got quite a nice lot of hyacinths in the House, the smell is heavenly. Bunch grew them all. This is the first year we had them since 1940. Margie and Dorothy were here today, they usually come in at the weekend. Margie suggested you brought home one or two camel rugs, whatever they may be! She said they would make good floor rugs. She regrets she didn't bring some! I told her I was afraid you'd have as much baggage as you could possibly cope with! Yes, certainly, directly we know when you will arrive I will ask Ma and Pa Maitland to come up. We can certainly cope for a few days. It would be great to be altogether. Donald shall of course have boiled ham for one of his first meals and haddock and kippers if they happen to be in the shops at the time. We sort of get them periodically! Bunch is quite prepared to take charge of Antony for a week while you two have a holiday. I should get him onto the bottle now for you have given him a very good start! There is a lot of banging and hammering going on in the side hall taking up the floorboards to find out if there is a dead rat(!) there as there has been a horrible smell for the past few days. We had a strong one in the cellar once. It took poison and we've heard nothing more of it since - horrible things! Do you remember we once had one in this Smoke Room. I think that's the only one we've ever had in the house before, I pray we don't get another! Romie don't forget to write to Joy for her birthday on 8th March. Bunch and Carol Ann are at Lytham, the house is very quiet!
An odd letter in this collection!
Envelope Hotel Spitzerhof Spiez, Lake of Thun, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Tuesday June 11th (1947)
Just a short note to wish you all that is good for the 14th. I expect you and Donald will celebrate together. I hope you will have a very happy day, my present perhaps you'll enjoy spending! I'm sick to think how very little I shall be able to buy here, all our money I am afraid there will go in current expenses. I'm afraid we can't do it quite so cheaply as you appear to have done. I did so want to equip myself in jerseys and blouses but I'm afraid that will be out of the question. So far I have bought two pairs of stockings. I only brought three pairs away with me! The hotel is excellent, wonderful situation on the lake. Sun pouring into our room whilst writing this. I just finished breakfast here. Pa has gone out to "tat" with the car. needless to say we are not using it very much, we shall have done quite enough motoring by the time we get home. We are very glad to have come this way there. It has all been so interesting, but oh the poverty and dilapidation and listlessness of the French, they are in a sorry plight. We went up the lake to Interlaken yesterday and met Madge Snape (Kathleen's sister) and her husband. They are staying at one other little places on Thun, a very nice couple and would you believe Pa saw somebody he knew from Seisdon in the tea shop. Isn't it strange. Of course the shops were most tantalising! Oh I bought your nail stuff. Do you want Polish or lipsticks or anything we might afford that! I hope you will be able to make it a bit of strawberry jam for me. Sorry to have to bother you. Both White and Goodall said I could have some, try Mrs Smart too if you can't get enough. We have lots here but no cream with them. The cakes!!! Daddy and I will eat ourselves sick. Pa has really succumbed to them, suppose it is because we have so few at home. Anthony is alright I hope.
[i] The cats!
[iii] Joy was nursing at RAF Cosford I think at the time
[iv] The top, or one of the top, hotel in Cairo - still in business 2006.
[v] A pit - old marl pit? in the garden
[vi] The Misses Lankester were still alive living in Elliots lane in the 1960's
[vii] Ella, the widow of DSM's eldest brother, Francis
[viii] Otis's wife, Peggy's parents
[ix] Emily, DSM's Nanny
[x] Butters the gardener
[xi] Mrs J(ones), the cook
[xii] Le Wesson, contemporary from Wolverhampton married and Egyptian girl, and remained married. Son Peter was childhood friend of A3M
[xiii] The Cyril's house
[xiv] Back? doubel summer time was used during the war years
[xv] Sarcasm - Bunch was always very sea sick, used to say she felt sick at sea films.
[xvi] Difficult to read, but Hair maybe Her, there were many Dutch army posted nearby.
[xvii] Bunch & Pete's wedding anniversary
[xviii] reference to her brain haemorrhage in 1937.
[xix] A high class hotel at the time - demolished in the 1990's
[xx] Tom the cat
[xxi] A butcher in Tettenhall, which RJLM patronised all her life as well (till 2004).
[xxii] Gladys, her sister.
[xxiii] Oranges - Parkes favourite
[xxv] Probably "Under your Hat"
[xxvi] As she did to the end of her life!
[xxvii] Deputy Lieutenant (of Staffordshire)
[xxviii] Simon Artz (should be Arzt I think) - stores in Port Said of the time.
[xxix] Probably artillery spotting by air
[xxx] Certainly difficult to read! AM
[xxxi] Probably "Cousin Tim", son of AJP's uncle James Henry & Emily Parkes.
[xxxii] Reference to buying the Manor House from the Shelton Family
[xxxiii] Didn't change much in later life!
[xxxiv] Codsall square - much of a traditional village Square until the roads were changed in the 1960's
[xxxv] probably the one Rosemary made for the rest of her life - delicious!)
[xxxvi] Harry Summers, RAF Admin branch,† Antony's god father.
[xxxvii] This may have been a relative of Gilbert Hunt who was chairman of the Rootes motor manufacturing group in the 1960's who lived in Codsall
[xxxviii] No trace in Thirkell's biography of any name like Lady D??
[xxxix] A house in Oaken, across the field from the Dower House