62, Friars Avenue
Mr John Derbyshire
c/o Mr K.C. Chan / Hoy Au Lau,
30, Reservoir Rd.
Home Jan. 31st 1983
My dear Son,
got your letter today. What a day, snowed like the clappers up till lunch time, now raining & blowing, but really, Jan. has been very mild here, so we mustn't grumble. Of course, John, I knew you'd stay till July, it came as no surprize, as long as you're well & happy I can bear it. You must do as you want. Of course I miss you & wish you were home, but not to worry, we are fine. Dad seems a bit better again, but I take each day as it comes. I agree with you about Jane Austen, soppy women & arrogant men, dredful mothers, so much silly snobbery & hypocrisy, not a period I would have liked. I like good manners, but I like guts too, in both sexes, to me they were not real people, she — J.A. — depicted life totally unreal. — two classes — rich & poor & never the twain shall meet. Mind you love, this attitude still exists in some places today!! I'm reading "Shogun" again, it has been on T.V, but too late at night for me to keep awake. I mark what you told me about your book, no news as yet. I'm glad you got your book. Oh! thanks for snaps, they're great, love getting them & seeing your dear face. Did you write to the Income Tax bods.? I've heard nothing. What happens dear about your mortgage payments till you come home. Don't worry, I shall ask you for money when I'm ready. I've had no estimates yet, that is for windows I'll let you know. Marcus had a party yesterday at McDonalds, quite enjoyable, enclosed snap of him, Tess & her friend, they had beef-burghers & chips, milk shakes & organized games, much better than having them at home & very reasonable, several boys of Marcus's age for one hour enough for anyone!!
I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip to H.K. give my regards to Mr C. & family. We chuckled about your throne & I'm very intrigued to know — doesn't everyone have a sit on loo! please enlighten? Really, no hanky-panky??? … Of course Xmas trees shed their needles, they need to be kept wet, but you did very well. Clever lad. Is there anything you can't do dear.? I know I shall get my jacket eventually, I have to go into town to get warm material to make myself a dressing gown, don't really want to be bothered, but I'm so fat, if I don't make myself some clothes, I'll have to stay in bed John!! all this idleness doesn't help, I think I'm past caring. I worry about Uncle Harold, he was a good brother, I rang yesterday but no reply. I shall keep in touch with him. I think us Knowles's have good staying power!! its just to think of him so disabled on his own. His son said they'd try & get him a flat near them in Newlyn, but I doubt if he'd leave his lovely home. Harry's — his son — first family, live near & he has friends at the Disabled Club, the Drs who know him etc. & Doug & Joyce visit him. I shall get Judy to take me over when she can.
Its Tuesday now love, wild gales all day, really rough. I walked to Jean's & then to Garden Centre. It nearly blew me over. I bought another shrub, I want to fill the bottom up to save me weeding & digging.
Thurs. 3.2.83 Thought you'd like to know dear, a letter came today from Sheil's to say they are interested to see the rest of your book, so I've just sent it off well packed, so Good Luck.
We had surprize visitors yesterday, Bernard & Gladys Ratcliffe, lovely to see them, both assured me they loved me, fat & all!! & as Gladys has also got fat, it made my day. I made fruit cake & walnut bread & some cinnamon biscuits which were voted luscious. They came at 3 & stayed till 7.30, we had some laughs & reminised — is that right? Michael has bought a house in Duston, like you — no marriage — nearly a few times but thought better of it!! Maureen has 2 boys, not very happy, her husband has got "the call" & given up a partnership in an Insurance business to do "good works" for the Baptist religion. Needless to say, Ratcliffes aren't very pleased about it, but as all good parents do agree its none of their business but are concerned for Maureen & the children. He is selling his house & getting something smaller!!
One other thing dear, Dad & I have decided to get the bathroom done, it's really in a bad state. The estimate is for £486. I'll put £200, can you put £200 & Dad will put £100. I could manage £300 but I don't know yet how much the window will be, so will keep £100 in reserve. There's no hurry though I'll ring John tonight & see when he can come & when we can pay him & then I'd let you know. After that, I shall get it retiled, & there'll be no more painting. Also, I've made an appointment to see Mr Holroyd next Friday to ask his advice about the £1000 I've got in British Bonds. They don't mature till 1999 so they won't do me any good!! If it's worth while selling them, I should put the money into the Halifax & use it for the house. If you want to sell after 5 yrs, I'm sure the Council would find me a little flat!! & you could give me a small contribution from the sale eh!!! Have a lovely time, take care & write soon. Lots of love from us all.
Mother X X X
- I.e. for his sixth birthday.
- I think this means Harry's first wife & kids, Harry being Uncle Harold's son.