»  Letter: Saturday, April 2, 1983

    E.A. Derbyshire to John Derbyshire

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Part 1

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  Transcription of Letter

Mrs J.R. Derbyshire
62, Friars Avenue
NN4 9PX   England

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

Saturday.  April 2nd 1983.

My dear Son,

got your letter on Thursday & pictures. Bless your darling face, you look fine, so does the little girl.[1] Good luck, if that's what you want.!!

Now dear, I've done all you asked. That is, I put your £80 cheque in the Barclay Bank, no bother, they were very nice, said they loved one putting money in but not taking out.! The receipt is in your folder with your Halifax books in case I'm not here when you return!! I went to the Town Hall & again a very charming man assured me you are on the Electoral Roll & showed me a copy of the letter & form they'd sent you in Jan. which apparently you had not received. However, you can't vote by post, but you can by proxy, by filling in the card I will send on to you later this week. The Post Office is closed till Wednesday — Easter Holiday. About your tax, I went to the Tax Office a few weeks ago & they gave me an address to write to, which I did, explaining the situation, back it came with a covering note to say not enough information & another form  Believe me love, all I could put on it was your name & the adress of your last employer, which I did, I found in your drawer. The rest was rank & number & which service!![2]  Back to the Tax Office down Sheep Street again, given an address in Newcastle & to send my letters etc there. Well I did, thats about 4 weeks ago & not a word since. They did say at Sheep Street they thought you had to be out of the country a whole tax year before you'd get any rebate, that is, from April '83 to April '84. Be sure if I do hear anything I will let you know. By the way your Barclay Account with the £80 is £341-65. Don't worry about not having enough to get you home, we can surely arrange something. I just want you home safe & well. We took Dad to N.G.H on Wednesday for a Barium Enema & X-Rays but it will be a week or two before we have any results. He doesn't go far now. We are going to Judy's for lunch tomorrow. I'm waiting for the estimate for tiling the bathroom John & there's some plastering to be done. If it is too expensive it will have to wait

I shall go to the Garden Centre on Monday to see if I can get some oxygenating plant for the pool, its sunny, but bitterly cold winds, I can't do the garden yet. All the spring flowers are out & round the pool looks lovely, but there's a lot to be done. No, Dreary Deidre decided to stay with Dreary Ken, but, oh! the excitement, we never knew whether she & Mike actually did it.!![3]  I haven't heard of "Green Mansions"[4] John. I've been reading some of your books. Be sure I'll register[5] anything necessary. Oh! the chap at the Town Hall said they sent you a form but by surface mail, it may have got lost, but they gave me another one & as I said, I'll send it later this week. Long to see you,

Love you


Snowed like the clappers Sunday night!!
Write soon   X X X



  1. This may be the first written sighting of Rosie, the future Mrs. D. I don't think I was courting Rosie at this point, but may have been thinking of it & mentioned the fact when writing to Mum.
  2. See note [1] here.
  3. I'm pretty sure this is a reference to Coronation Street, a popular TV drama series.
  4. There was not much to do in Siping, so I read my way through the college library's large but somewhat random collection of English-language books. One was W.H. Hudson's Green Mansions, which I thought very striking. Hudson is one of those writers who has more appeal abroad — in his case, particularly in the Far East — than in England. The Japanese adore him.
  5. For mailing.