»  Letter: Sunday, March 13, 1983

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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  Transcription of Letter

March 13th 1983

My dear Son,

how happy I was to get your letter yesterday. We'd had no news except for your card from Peking & I was nearly going nutty. Your letter is delightful, how I've chuckled, especially the bog saga, quite hilarious. Your snap is great, I took the negative in yesterday & they'll be ready by next Friday, also, I've found your tape & will send it off as soon as I find a little box to put it in.

Dad saw the Quack at NGH last week, but he didn't think there was much wrong with him, he has to go on March 30th for Barium Enema & X Rays. He won't like that!! Otherwise he's his usual self. I'm enclosing your Bank Statements, I took them out of the envelopes for easier postage, & by now you will have had my letter with your Halifax Interest. Also sending on the gen from H.B.S. re new mortgage rate & method of payment. I've left it that you keep the Net Rate Annuity method. I wrote a very polite note to the Income Tax Bods, asking why we hadn't heard from them, re your tax rebate  had a letter back, wanting your rank, name & number,!![1]  couldn't do anything without your last Employer's name for reference. I don't know your number, but I've written back & sent them the address of Computer Staff in London. I hope that's OK. The garden is looking very nice  all the spring flowers round the pool, its a bit cold yet to do much. Judy's just been, read your letter & has taken it to school to have a copy made to send to Allan, she says he's so interested — & envious of your travels. I'm glad you found the Chans well, know the feeling, coming up to retirement, I thought as a British Colony, they'd have the same pensions as U.K. How do they cope in retirement.?

Judy bought me a plant, its Mothers Day tomorrow, but I have put it in my lovely new bathroom. John Ellis — plumber — put the new suite in last week, its Avocado Green, looks super, & I rang Ray Langwith — the decorator to come & see the walls, I shall have them tiled if possible, cut out any future painting etc. Thank you dear for the cheque, I paid it into the Halifax  I've paid John today, it was £90 labour, £25 for bits he had to get & the suite was on offer at Travis & Arnold for £204 plus £30, VAT  it was £301 so John Ellis thinks it a good bargain. On Thursday two very nice young men put in a bathroom window & bay window, both double glazed, mahogany & aluminium framed.  no painting & guaranteed 10 years, I think you'll be pleased dear, the bill for this lot was £814, which I've paid. Dad put £200. This leaves the 3 bedrooms, hall & landing & the front & kitchen doors, but these will have to wait now till you come home. I think in less than a year, so far, we've done very well between us. I only wish I could do it all for you dear. Tess has an interview today at White & Bishop[2] for a Saturday job. Judy didn't get the Little Houghton school, they wanted a man.

Darling, your comments on the sex life of China[3] I thought quite sad, its a subject I feel quite strongly about really.  from my own experience, I know that sex problems can ruin a marriage. I feel I can talk to you John & I'm sure you must have guessed my unhappiness through this. Dad would never discuss this.  he became impotent when I was 40 & had ever been, what my Dad would call a one minute man!! There was never any tenderness or understanding  Sadly, I never wanted sex with anyone else, the opportunity was there, but I could never make it when it came to the crunch. I would have felt guilty to you & Judith. It filled my life with bitterness & resentment, I've always been a loving person & felt very rejected, have been left with the feeling, couldn't he or didn't he want to.! I know its all in the past love. A Dr friend once told me that a loving relationship between Mother & Son is like a lover without the sex bit. I love you so much, I want you to make a loving & caring relationship with a girl, I couldn't bear to think of you being unhappy. I think its great that young people today can discuss their sexual needs & a man can understand a woman's feelings as well as his own. Choose wisely my love, remember, love, tenderness, tolerance & compassion, I've had none of these things from Dad. Yours was the shoulder to lean on, because you seem so understanding. I bless you a thousand times a day & know you won't think me a silly old woman. I always feel there's no fun & laughter to look back on. I wish you could have known your G'father Knowles, there was always love & laughter from him, we didn't have much in the way of worldly goods, but the house was always full of this. I know he drank & gambled, but I never heard him speak crossly to Mother or any of his children. He was so loving & funny, everybody loved him regardless. Ah! well, I never feel embarrassment to talk to you love, I couldn't talk to Judy in the same way, much as I love her, perhaps I'm afraid she'd think me a silly old Moo!! perhaps she understands better than I think.

I've just made an apple pie & cream, & will finish this off tomorrow.

Monday now love. Raining, but not cold. Have made a little box & packed your tape. Tomorrow, I'll pop up to Income Tax Office & see what they're up to. I feel that if you had owed Tax, they'd soon find your ref. number etc. Just going to have a bath & post all my letters. Lots of love, take care  Love you

Write soon.

                Love

                    Mother & Dad & family

                         X X X X X

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  Notes

  1. Probably the tax people thought I was serving overseas with British armed forces. It is so remarkably unusual for citizens to go live abroad for a few months …
  2. A store selling outdoor & camping equipment, in Bridge Street, Northampton.
  3. I had some "mature students" in my Siping classes, mainly schoolteachers who had been sent for a proper qualification. The middle-aged women among them seemed to find me a sympathetic listener. They weren't frank, but the subtexts were easy to read.