Thursday, August 2, 2018

Dear Mike - 28th July 1969

Dorothy was looking through one of your art books yesterday and came across the enclosed £5 note; you may have left it there and know about it but I thought you could have left it there some time ago and forgotten about it, anyway right or wrong you have it now. Your watch is OK again but I am wearing it until mine is repaired. I'll send it on if you need it. Did you get your spec's O.K. ? Dick (?) came after I sent it, hope your bag of "jumble" was intact. Barbaba is at Butlins Bognor this week, you'll be getting your cheeky postcard soon. I hope she and her friend aren't too occupied in fighting off the "wolves" although she knows what life is all about by now. Weather has been grand this last week but cloudy today. Don't work too hard. Love from Mum and the twin fighters. Dad/

Dear Michael - 15th August 1969

As usual not knowing what to do with the enclosed cheque I have forwarded it to you; it's rumoured you're coming home again soon but I thought you might be getting in the red.. I have just come back from Uncles, been down there jawing and fishing, he's still waiting on a move, houses empty all around him, weeds knee high along all the back gardens. Ref your watch, I dropped it just after I told you it was O.K. so now it's "up the creek" again until I go back to work again on the 19th ( been off since the 4th ) mine is still with the repairier, soon be able to tell the time by the sun when I go fishing. Didn't go away this year as I am still paying off moped etc. and couldn't afford it. All send their love from home. Barbara has been home from work for three days, tummy trouble; can't get over her holiday I reckon. Pleased to know you are getting out a bit and it's not all work, but kite flying "uuugh". Will close now. All the best from Dad /

Diary Extracts - 20th and 21st,Dec.1973

Fandango on wailing wall keeps me constantly twixt sleep 'n' slurch so doesn't help mornings dismal awakenings. Did I say I'd go home today? Well perhaps I was a bit hastey. Still got 200f to keep my pocket happy 'til Feb. at least. Thinking of going to pictures in Albi, five cinemas! 101 Dalmations on this week, also Lawrence of Arabi- yuch! Got a runny nose!? A man in an ear flap hat came to the door this morning as I was making tea but I couldn't understand him, nor he me! "I had a red door but a had it painted black". Just wired up the extension speaker from the record player in Lynne's room, bored a hole in the floor to put the wire thru'. Sounds alright, Yoko's "Cat Man" is on now. Bill's gome wood cuttin' on his own - leaving me to get on with my water colouring. Bill and Lynne have gone to Albi ( I think - that direction anyway) on a secret mission. Bill has met some new people today, a sculptor, a woodman whose given us a pile of his wood for nothing and an English couple who have some land near Cordes somewhere................. Bill is getting it off his chest about record players - seems I've had it for far too long and played it too loud. Naughty me. "Eeeraaaaagh !" goes Yoko " Ooooowgh!" Went to saw mill on River Cerou today to collect off cuts given by the little baggy eyed man today. Its beautiful around there, nestling in a wooded valley among many hills with towers and secret dwelling places. I got a parcel in bed this morning that cheered me up no end - a packet of custard and a Mrs. Peaks Christmas Pud! From Dick and Cheryl. - cost £1.40 to post!! Madness!! Got two loads of wood, one stacked outside gate - fine spindles and sawed other at Marcs - drank some potent wine - we may buy some off Marc! Perhaps a turkey! It rained.

Dear Mike - 21nd March 1970

Have sent your specs off today, you should receive them about Tuesday, let me know if you get them O.K. I signed the form when it came back as that was the order according to the queer fellow at the ops. Have you heard anything that effects your next move college wise, or is it "try somewhere else", hope you get fixed up as I know how you must feel. All at home are well and full of the usual arguements. Dee starts working for the Governemnt after Easter. She will be at the H.M. Sationary Office near the Town Centre training to be a duplicator operator. The job sounds alright, hope she likes it. How's the veg & veg dinners progressing? Hope you are able to satisfy your long frame on such meals. I guess it is the cash mainly that puts you on such a diet, as you always liked meat in the past. How was your journey home or should I say back to Manchester? Dee had a long trip last Friday, she went on a day coach trip to Longleat near Bath with her class, ten or eleven hours travelling she said it would have been O.K. but it rained a lot of the time and the views en route were spoilt. Will close now Mike but will write again soon. Love from all. Dad/

Diary Entry - 14th October 1973

What a night! Gales blowing shutters about - bang crash! Couldn't stand it no longer and did them up, walking over Bill's walnuts in bare feet ugh! Not much sleep again. There must be a cure. Rain comes through window too, and big drips in B's studio. Moustache man gets big wind blown nuts. Down deri to get windows , hinges etc. But make quiet back exit when two people stop to look in ! Up the secret path to the mayors cess pool. Have to go back tomorrow. I seem to have something wrong with my internal functionings! squirt- plurp! This Bournevita is nice change. Table is position , needs nice legs. Perhaps orange box shelf units at end to make it look more weighty. Lovely big area to work on for a change. Egg and chips for tea.

Dear Michael -= June 1970

Happy Birthday. Hope you are O.K. After the greetings I will tell you the latest news. I still work in the dark rooms of the stationary office and getting along fine. I go to Southend Technical College every Friday, but I'm not starting a course until September, after the Summer holidays. I start my two weeks holiday this week. I'm not going anywhere. Me and Angela ( my friend ) will probably find somewhere to go. I expect there's a lot of entertainment up your way. I bought a pair of Levi's last week, getting groovy ain't I. Basildon is celebrating it's 21st birthday this week and next and there holding concerts and fairs and carnivals and things. There is a pop festival in Gloucester park with the Pretty Things and other weird groups ( WOW). We will probably go. Looking forward to seeing you when you come home,if you do. Love Dee. P.S. Happy Birthday.

Diary entry (copy of letter} - Friday 28th Sept. 1973

Dear Mum and Dad et al, Here I am at last in the land of peaches and custard. What a nightmare journey over! The ferry was some old tug that had no seats, so half the 200 passengers( including us ) had to sit in the rain outside on wooden benches or inside on the floor! It was like a refugee ship or something. Then we were an hour late for the train to Paris, so we missed our connection. We had to wait in Paris for two hours so we didn't see much only the metro and going over the Seine to the big station. Coffee was 5/- a cup! Eventually at 12.20 Saturday afternoon we left for Cordes and after jumping out onto other trains trying to make ourselves understood by silly guards etc. We arrived at 10.30 that night! We had been travelling for 30 hours! and slept hardly at all. Bill was there to meet us at the station with his friend the Mayor and his wife, who drove us back to the Presbytere. It was great to sleep on the floor in and empty room with beetles. Now it's Monday night. I've just returned from working all day picking grapes for the local farmer. Back aching work too! from 7-30am til about 7-30 this evening! In return for breakfast and two huge 4 course meals plus money ( we don't really know yet how much or if indeed any 'cos our French is bad and their English is worse!) They are really friendly though and try their hardest to comprehend our weird English ways. All kinds of fruits,veg and nuts grow around here so we could live quite well on those during the Autumn if one wishes. We got a huge sack of walnuts yesterday which are delicious, so too are the figs and peaches that grow in abundance. Lynne and Bill have a vegetable garden which still has tomatoes, cabbage , leeks, onions and beetroot etc. growing. It was really hot on Sunday. Bill showed me places of interest - lovely views along the valley and Tummy Belly man's house ( He and some others were picking his grapes ) We went in the church also, which is good. Such a shame it's unused ( perhaps not ) for all the vestments and robes etc. are rotting in the woodwormy cupboards. What treasures also , gold goblets and candlesticks just left for anyone to take! Strange figures of painted plaster stand around staring into space. ( Some saints etc. in the loft at the presbytere too ) The door is locked to the bell tower. Bill and I stumbled in the dark to the farm nearby for some fresh milk from the cows that escaped that day. Mr & Mrs. Grits? were there milking by hand as well as machine. They seemed a jolly couple. The sky was spotty with stars - the Milky way was really evident, never seen them so bright. The milk has to be boiled before you use it to kill the germens. Little lizards on the well and on the wall in the sun. Gyp bites their tails off. A jumpy cat that bites and scratches for fun. Bill has almost finished the shower bath and toilet area - another bottle window to go in yet and electricity connected. Have to wash in a bucket 'til then. I have a very nice looking wooden bed from the mayor but it's very uncomfortable with just wooden planks and thin lumpy mattress. No more grape pickin' for me. I went sleepy eyed this morning and found it really hard going 'cos of the rain during the night and all the vines were wet and the huge lumps of cruds! So when it was dinner time I said Au revoir to the Monsieur farmer and his pals. I was only doing it cos Bill was anyway - and to be neighbourly. We have to cook on a small stove range heated with a wood fire ( stumps ) very old fashioned! It stands in a huge fireplace with an old wooden beam going across. Its a bit smokey. You can stand under the chimney and look right to the top - soot in the eyeballs!