»  Letter: Sunday, November 7, 1982

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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Home  Sunday. 7.11.82th 1982

My dear Son,

received your beautiful letter on Thursday & the photographs, they're super. We've had many chuckles from your letter & I read it many times over. Your Mongolian hat sounds superb, just the job for Mum to do her winter shopping in!! What about it? It's very cold & damp now John, quite Wintry, but I expect it's colder still with you. It all sounds hilarious dear, but do take care. You are never out of my thoughts dear. I'm sending you 4 Aerograms & I'll get you some more next week also your bank statement & pay chits. I hope you don't mind me taking them out of the envelopes, a bit less bulk & weight.

I rang Peter but no reply, but I'll ring again. I'm sure I told you in my last letter Computer Staff had rung, they had a contract for you & want you to get in touch when you return. No news yet from the Tax Office. I took out the rest of my "granny bonds" & put them in the Halifax. I hope to add to them after Xmas, have just paid Rates,  Telephone, Gas & Electricity  bought myself a coffee maker & done a bit of Xmas shopping. I've made Marcus a footballer as big as himself & dressed him in Q.P.R.  colours — Phil's team. He looks super — the doll I mean! If I tell you things twice dear, bear with me, I forget

Judy & Marcus came yesterday with Ada — full of the miseries, I wonder she doesn't get a job, she's only in her mid-fiftys, still, each to his own I suppose.

I am sorry dear about your book, you've worked so hard on it, but don't give up, keep trying, success will come. There was a publisher Cape[1]  on T.V. last week, there was a programme about books, authors & publishing & it gave a very gloomy picture, thousands of books being destroyed & how difficult it was to get a book published. How is it that so much rubbish gets through.? I can hear the pork chops & sausage sizzling & I've made a rice pudding, wish you were here to share. Judy read your letter with many giggles & "Bless hims". I spoke to Auntie Mu on the phone this morning & told her about your clothes & hat, she said to tell you she's 40" bust & 44" hip, bigger than me, […] I'm 40" both ends, sigh.!! Everyone asks about you & sends regards.

Dear it's now Monday & this letter came for you today. I hope I've done right, but I rang Chintsu Chen & explained to her where you were in case she wanted the form back quickly. She was quite charming but said I was to scold you for not letting her know. I said it was all quite hurried in the end. Anyway, I'm to send this form on to you & ask you to get in touch with her.[2]  She was loud in your praises & said you were a brilliant student of Chinese. What a thing to be so popular.!! It's still pouring with rain & cold & very windy. If it clears a bit I'll pop over to the Post with this. It took your letter 7 days so hope you get this the same. Take care my love

As always, with great love,

                  X X X  Mother.

        Dad sends love & will write to you himself. He lost the tea-pot lid today, or at least he wanted to know what I'd done with it. I searched everywhere, — no lid. Then at lunch time, I went to fill the electric kettle & there inside — tea-pot lid. I know I didn't put it there & he says he didn't, so it must have been the "little folk."!!



  1. Presumably someone from Jonathan Cape, a big U.K. publishing house.
  2. My best guess as to what this is all about is, that my library card at the School of Oriental and African Studies had expired & they had sent me a renewal form. SOAS library is marvellous, but they are quite strict about who gets a card. You need an academic sponsor, and Chintsu was mine.