»  Letter: Thursday, December 9, 1982

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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Envelope front

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  Transcription of Letter

[This first letter was enclosed in a book Mum mailed to me December 9.]

62, Friars Avenue
9. 12. 82.

My dear Son,

Got your letter & photographs yesterday, they're smashing, such pretty girls & handsome men & no hanky-panky!! Incredible! By this time I hope you've got your "12 Days of Xmas". Now dear, as to your request, I have gone over your library several times & I could only find one hardback "Sonnets" only, no paraphrasing or explanations, just the sonnets, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre edition, & a large tombe of All Bill's works & this one I'm sending, but no sonnets, just the tragedies. I hope this is right, I can find no other at all  I hope I've done right. There's no No 38-39 relating to sonnets, though the "Darling buds of May" is on page 18 in the hardback — no paraphrasing. I've looked at every book John repeatedly even amongst your Chinese library.

Now, dear, I had to have Dr to Dad yesterday, he examined him well & can find nothing per rectum, but he has a lump high up in his large colon left side. He's given him medicine for a week, then I'm to call him again if no improvement. He's afraid to go out now, he thinks he won't be able to control his bowels, it has happened & it really upsets him. Anyway Dr Gibbons is almost sure its nothing insidious, maybe Diverticulitis — look that up.!! It is dark & drear, pouring with rain. Judy sent a man to see the bathroom window, which I think I told you we couldn't close, Dad tried & the latch broke off. This fella says we want a new window, the hinges are rusted off & its a carpenters job. Judy is going to ask for an estimate but it will have to be after Xmas. We've had a reminder to see if we want to insure the TV tube a further 2 yrs, nearly £14, due Dec 20th, what do you think I should do, is it worth it John? I've just paid the licence & the rates are paid up till May, I think it is.

Enclosed is letter from "Halifax B.S." The mortgage rate has gone down, no news of your Tax Rebate. I had a lovely Xmas card from Chan & he says you will see him in February, so I take it you won't be staying on. Yesterday on my way to Jeans a black youth ran up to me & asked me the way to London, he said he'd lost his mates & had no money. I told him how to get to the M1, but he still kept on about being lost & having no money & he kept glancing all round. There was plenty of traffic but not a soul in sight. He could see I'd no handbag & as I moved off, he suddenly clutched my arm & ran off. I wasn't scared, in fact, I said "I'm sorry I can't help you", but I keep wondering, — was he after money or really lost. Hardingstone Post Office folks were held up at knife point last week & £2,500 stolen by 2 black fellas, although they were caught at Blisworth. If Dad died John, I'd have a new front & back door & bay window, I wouldn't say they're burglar proof.!!

Well, my darling, soon be Xmas, you know we shall be toasting you & of course, you know you are in my thoughts every waking minute, no son is more loved than you, you know that. I pray to any God who's listening to keep you safe & well. Marcus told me if his Mummy & Daddy die, he's coming to live with me, rather than Nanna Moore, 'cause I've got color TV, but they're not going to die for a 1000 years yet! He counted up the number of people who love him, it came to 10, including you, Auntie Mu, even Nanna Dailey & Tessa's Daddy, but he & Grandad are going to look after me when I'm very old! All for now love,    X X X X

    X X   As always

         Your devoted


[This letter was also started Thursday, December 9, but not mailed till the following Tuesday.]

Mrs. J.R. Derbyshire
62 Friars Avenue
Northampton NN4 9PX

Mr John Derbyshire
Siping Teacher's College
Siping City
Jilin Province
People's Republic of China

Dec. 9th 1982

My dear Son

can just get this in before Xmas, I hope & explain about your book. I went through all your books, every one & of Sjakespeare found three. One large complete works of theatre productions; one hardback book of just "Sonnets", no paraphrasing, & a large paper back of "Tragedies" with paraphrasing. No others at all, so I have sent the paper back. I had quite a shock, it was nearly £8 by letter post & no guaranty you will get it for Xmas, I hope I have done right John.

Dad can't do shopping any more, it is with great reluctance he gives me money now & a list of instructions!! He seems a little better, I have to let Dr Gibbons know on Wednesday how he is.

Sunday 12th  Judy & Marcus just been, she has covered over the bathroom window till we can get it done & taken most of the washing. I am very grateful. The weather is foul, wet, cold & foggy, sleet & a little snow. Excitement mounts & on Wednesday I am going to school to see Marcus in the Nativity play; he is a Shepherd. I have put a letter in your book. I forget what I tell you dear, If I repeat things you'll have to excuse me. I shall pop up to Petes with a small gift for Michael. Annie's mother & sister are coming for Xmas & Petes folks too I think.

Darling, its now Monday. Judy took most of the washing [?? I see I've already told you this] so I've been quite lazy today.[1], though I have polished all my brass & copper bits, ready for Xmas. Its nearly dinner time & getting dark & very cold. Tomorrow Jean & I are going into town for some last minute shopping. I went in on Saturday & I've never seen so many people, I was glad to get away. Dad had left some things in Sainsbury's from the day before, but they had been handed in & I was able to retrieve them. People were buying "mountains" of food & drink. I went up to shop where Tess has her Saturday job, then took her out for a cup of coffee. I watched her for ages, she was so business like & so nice to everyone. She is a sweet girl. Well, my love, nothing of note to report, will write again after Xmas. Let me know if & when you get the book & if I did the right thing. I can't say Happy Xmas dear if it is not celebrated, but we shall all be thinking of you & giving you a toast,

My love as always

X  X  X  X   Mother   X  X  X  X



  1. Monday is traditionally washing day in England.