»  Letter: Wednesday, February 23, 1977

    J.R. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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J R Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue

John .  Derbyshire
14 Legion Drive
New York 10595

62 Friars Avenue  23-2-77

Dear John,

It was nice to hear from you again & to know are well & have missed the worst of the awful weather you have had. It must have been frightening in some parts  It has been like a spring day here but everywhere is floods  it has'nt stopped raining since the drought broke last year

It is good of you to be so tolerent to me for my advice which I gave you in good faith. I know its none of my business & it kind of you not to tell me so, but I couldnt help it as you are falling for the age old story told every generation by the other sex & the one you are in now I doubt, if you want to, you could escape. Two things I was told, & found to be true was never shit on your own door step, & you never marry the girl you court, they are my last remarks on the subject  its all yours now. I see what you mean its a works permit you want, its a pity you did'nt get it before you left as Tom did. he got his before he left on agreeing to return if he did'nt get a job in 3 months. By the way how is Tom, better I hope, give him my kind regards & a speedy recovery. it is always the nice blokes who get these things so now you know why I have nearly reached 78 yrs. These last 2 years I have slipped downhill. I can eat & sleep well, but if I climb 2 steps on a ladder I fall off.

Its 10 oclock p.m. Mum has just gone to bed & I have a glass of Whisky as my night cap sometimes it 'Brambuie'[1]  & I sip it on cold nights  I dont bother when the weather is warm, a bottle of each lasts me a year.

I dont know what they think about us in the U.S.A  it can't be any worse than what I think. I have seen it coming for 20 yrs. We where such a great Empire who ruled the world for 200 yrs & made all the rules to run it  It didnt matter who bought from who settlement had to be made in London & the gold sovering was the world currency, & as world trade was carried out like that, it was inevitable when the Empire went the bottom fell out & there was no one to take over the job  Hence disaster. trouble is our silly little politicians are living in the past & we are sinking fast, & as I see it within the next 20 yrs we will be a Russian State  the alternate is too bad to contemplate  Civil War. So stay where you are & I hope you get your permit & citizenship

I am sorry to hear the heater in your car has gone. I hope you did'nt think it would go in the hot weather  any I have no doubt the ash tray is full so its time you had a new one, although old friends are the best. I am glad to hear you have taken up ice skating  its lovely  when I was a boy we used to be on the pools every winter. there was a big pool close to us & 2 winters out of 3 we had fires on the ice. We called them rodneys,[2]  you build 2 rows of bricks about 5 feet high & put iron bars across & build your fire on the bars  I have known it freeze for 13 concetive weeks & ice 6 feet thick in the Fen district they used to hold world championships for skating on the Broards.[3]

I am pleased you have given up smoking  I hope you can stick it out  it makes me sick when I see anyone smoking now  I doubt if I would have been alive now if I had'nt given it up, because I have chest trouble  it runs in the family & it clogs the lungs  You think you enjoy food now but after about 2 yrs you will know the taste of food & enjoy it so keep it up  its a long term job & if I have the will power I am sure you have & when you get to my age you will feel the benefit. So you have got another programmer have you  I hope you are showing her the right ropes  Its a pity you have to leave the old home  I hope you get some were comfortable & nice  it will be costly & would take your carpet as well. I am glad you took the shares option up & as you say you should be in a good position to know when to sell  I hope they still keep improving.

Well its now 11 p m so I will close & get to bed. we are always thinking about you & looking at the Photos  Mum has some happy memories & if she is happy I am happy.

Judith & baby are flourishing & Tessa is the lovelist child I have ever seen  she comes & stays week end sometime & your bedroom she claims as her room. So Cheerio for now





  1. He means Drambuie, a whisky-based liqueur.
  2. So does the OED:   "Rodney  [Of obscure origin.]   1. Coal-mining. (See quot.)"   There follows a quotation from an 1860 English & Foreign Mining Glossary:   "Rodney, a roughly constructed platform, with old rails, near the pit's mouth, upon which a large fire is made during the winter nights, to light the bank."
  3. I.e. the Norfolk Broads, a region of flat marshy land in eastern England.