Mrs J.R. Derbyshire
62, Friars Avenue
Mr John Derbyshire
Siping Teacher's College
People's Republic of China
January 10th 1982
My dear Son,
got your letter & cheque today, for which many, many thanks, I shall put it into the Halifax, I hope by Spring to have £1,500 there & I propose to allow £500 for the house. We have to have a new bathroom window & I shall get an estimate for this & a new bay window, & front door. I feel this is best done first, then I should feel secure, more so if Dad died & I was alone here; next I shall save for bedroom windows, I hope this meets with your approval. The bathroom also needs doing badly, but this will be a big job John, as we should have to have retiling. I don't want to chivvy you about money, as long as I can keep £1000 in my account, not much by present day standards, Dad has about £1,500 & I still have £1000 in British Bonds with the T.S.B. My hospital pension went up by £11 at Xmas. so I now get £109 monthly, this pays the usual bills, but after winter I can save a bit more. & I'd rather spend anything I can on the house & garden, both to make the general care easier for me & to enjoy, also a bit more value to you when you come to sell.!! I will see the Halifax Bank Manager about your mortgage repayments & will send cheque off for T.V. tube. I pay the house contents insurance around Feb, I think that's about £20, but I really ought to up it, I'll have a word with my Insurance man. Well, dear, that's the finances dealt with, now I must tell you that I have again been through your books & found your "Sonnets", I am so sorry love, you will think me very stupid, I just took every book out & there it was, quite unlike the book I'd expected. Anyway, it's on its way.
We had very sad news on Jan 1st, Auntie Win — Uncle Harold's wife at Wellington — died suddenly from a massive embolism, just got into bed, said she had a pain in her chest — & died at once. You can imagine Harold is quite shattered, I really don't know how he'll cope. I'd like to go to him for the funeral, but Dad isn't really fit to leave, he leaves taps & lights on & is very unsteady, hardly goes out now. He is obsessed with his bowels & I have a running — forgive the pun — commentary daily as to the size of it & the weight of it etc. However, the Drs medicine seems to have had some effect.!!
You certainly seemed to have had a good Xmas, it was great of Peter to send you a pud. you don't say what your plans are, whether you are staying on or whatever. I'll ask Judy to send you a snap or two, I've none at all of Marcus, only large school photographs. He will be 6 yrs old on Jan 31st. I shall make him a cake. Phil has brought him a junior motor bike — which I don't approve — but none of my business. They are having an extension on the house from the dining room & extending in an […] shape across the back & an upstairs bathroom & toilet made starting in February.
Judy says may she borrow your handbook of sonnets & Oxford verse for Tess doing O levels in English literature. You may like to know dear that my name "Tess" arose from "Tess of the D'urbervilles" I don't know why. perhaps I was thought to be naive & somewhat innocent in my early teens — due to my upbringing, when sex was absolutely taboo, & don't forget love, for a girl to loose her virginity, especially if she had a child, in those days, made her an outcast from the family & society in general. I was 17-18 before I knew the simplest sex facts & 22-23 before I "lost" my virginity. I've alway thought it very unfair that men were not so ostracized. I quite agree that many heroes of "Hardy" & authors of that time were such "lilies", I liked "Mr Rochester" in Jane Eyre, because I thought him a real man & if I'd been J.E. I would never have left him, despite his mad wife.!!
Well, my love, I've rambled on enough, you know how I worry when you don't write for ages, & I am really chagrined about your book, do forgive me. The weather here is really fantastic for January, sunny & mild, yesterday. I worked in the garden.! Well, for a while anyway. We talk of you often & you know you are ever in my thoughts, so take good care of yourself, my regards to your students. Keep up the good work. Dad says the money he has in the H.B.S. is for me when he's "gone", I do hope I don't "go" first.!! Love you dearly,
X X X Mother & Dad.
All send love & good wishes.
Dad is still fiddling i/c TV Knobs
they're all out of sequence, nothing I say stops him.!!
Thought you'd like to have enclosed snaps to show though they're a few yrs old.!!
- Peter Paterson sent me two plum puddings at Christmas. I was setting up for end-of-year conversation exams when the puddings arrived. Each student would come to my office and engage me in conversation. To put a little cultural spin on the event, I made each student eat a small portion of plum pudding at the conclusion of the exam. I asked one of them what it tasted like. He, grimacing: "Like tradtional Chinese medicine!" Multiculturalism isn't easy.