[Gift of a kite may explain – or not] Thank you for the kite. I flew it after we went roller-blading today… Sorry the letter is late. There wasn’t enough wind.
Thankyou for the blundiebus mirror, and the milky peewees (I bet you think I’ve lost my marbles!) No, seriously, they’re choice and so is the marble book and that impossible jigsaw puzzle.
thanks for the fun fliers. Live is going well apart from cofs and senezos. School has bene going well a part from sume upsets in th second turm.
Thank you for the money. School is beter than I thort. In Fact it is MUCH better than you thort. I am olso having drum lersons. it is cool. I Will pobebly get a c.d. ore a vido with my present. PS Thank you. by X
& somewhat older:
Thank you very much for the money you sent for my birthday. I didn’t actually buy a drink with it, I bought a hacksaw which I was in dire need of so thank you very much.
No way can I tell you how greatly I enjoyed the wonderful afternoon you gave me. Best of all seeing your splendid little house and charming garden and now being able to visualise what goes on in your busy life!
Thank you for giving me such a lovely day at X again. I’ve never not had a splendid time with you but this time was best of all.
This is to thank you again for the very great pleasure it was to me to meet you… It is a very long time since I have had such a happy afternoon, of so much interest and intense enjoyment… My interest and appreciation were so great that I actually felt a lifting of the weight of years – one of the hazards of extreme old age is a kind of creeping inertia and withdrawal from the present, and you have certainly thrust that aside for me. To see you again is something to look forward to.
As usual at 7.15 with us arriving and getting organised we started worrying that no one would come – but then half an hour later we worried if we had enough food/drinks.
It’s the village party tonight… As the noise is so terrific it doesn’t matter much who is there – conversation is all but impossible.
The old boy patron of the society (who opened the Exhibition) had obviously been wined and dined too well by X – was so embarrassing – really quite tiddly.
If you want to come you can have the camp bed here but I know that only a night or two is possible without me suddenly going mad. Such a creature of habit am I too.
… and then we had afternoon tea at the Vicarage for a select few – ugh – but it wasn’t too ghastly and I just survived. ‘Being social’ is just NOT my strong point – but then you know that.
She made a super rich cake and put it where the dog can’t reach it. X moved it to a place that was a gift to the dog who ate about 1/8 of it but wait – after nearly giving up with rage – she made another and filled it with layers of cream and put cherries soaked in brandy on top and put a throw-over over and SHUT doors … sudden scream from X – the dog got in and had pulled cover off bring the cake to edge of table – spoiling top cream only…
She would be very happy for X to come and stay there – she is quite firm that he would be more comfortable and better fed there and I rather agree! She has ‘turning out of her room’ down to a fine art… she is worried about putting Y out of his routine of sitting in the armchair in the kitchen and watching TV… He finds it hard to admit that he is older. Oh dear, what a mouldy old lot I make us out, but we really are rather dull and set in our ways and I do feel two or three days would tell X all he needs to know about our insular views. Old memories are all very well but when the names are all missing the conversation tends to be ‘Oh, of course you know who I mean – dear old so-and-so with the wife’ and the audience has to guess until we get the right person or all give up in disgust!
[After a memorial service] X had got a bun fight ready at the house which was for the family, relations, friends and village people who remembered him. So it was all a bit mixed as the village method of having a tea is to take their cup and plate and pile the latter with all the grub it will hold and then retreat to the available chairs and bad luck to those who come later – which inevitably would be the relations and friends!
“I say what I think without wrapping it up into acceptable phrases – or make facetious jokes without making it obvious I don’t mean it. I’ve got so fed up with being misunderstood I’ve practically opted out of chat situations with the feeling of ‘What the hell’! Would you believe it the first such I remember goes back to when I was at school which means I was 7, and it still rankles. All the same I’ve made a New Year resolution I won’t ‘let off’ without at least a fleeting think before I say!!”
“His teacher was impressed with his very interesting questions (she doesn’t have to listen to him asking a friend why he has bushy eyebrows and grey in his beard!!)”
“They are going to X’s… I hope things go well there as they are already sounding apprehensive. Apparently after inviting them X rang and said it was a good time to come because they’d all be working! Then rang again and said a friend had offered their house which he recommended their taking as it would save lots. Shock – they were expecting to stay for free with them.”
“I wrote you a card but lost it in X’s flat – just vanished! I only hope I didn’t put anything too awful on it. Maybe it will turn up… Am pretty drained after a week of X but it was all very worthwhile.”
“…This led to a long discussion between us and the young, in which I pressed them to at least do the civil thing in respect of presents etc. [from their grandparents]. I hear that X managed an apparently acceptable letter, but Y wrote a really aggressive effort – beginning ‘Dear Mr. & Mrs. X’ and going downhill from there. Oh dear, oh dear.”
“I’ve started the five Monday afternoon painting sessions with X. Last week she’d just said we must never try and paint something that didn’t appeal to us and then set up daisies with shaggy leaves stuffed into a square glass jar, with two radishes in front and a check cloth draped behind them. I actually surprised myself by not pointing out I couldn’t think of anything I’d less like to paint!”
“So sensible having no photographs or reception line – how I wish we hadn’t, and kept the in-laws under wraps!! COW.”
“X can be trying too, the way she takes over my friends and then tells me ‘all the news’.”
“It seems that my reply said all the wrong things but it didn’t really matter because she didn’t really read it anyway… I can’t really be bothered with any ‘guiding’ letters. They upset me when I receive them and I feel like I have to defend myself every time I read them, which makes me annoyed and I feel down – so I would rather not receive them.”
“After a time my acquaintance gave up his job and took a market garden, taking his son into partnership. I gather he and his son quarrelled about money and other things (the son called him senile, so I suppose was wanting to introduce new methods which his father didn’t approve of) so they parted and sadly are not yet reconciled.”
“I must go off now and support her while she has an old relation to coffee and a chat. The lady is a horror; lame with arthritis which she can’t help, deaf which she can’t help, but self-interested to a degree and the rest of the world can go hang – which perhaps she could do something about…”
“I’ve had a reply from him about the book. As expected, he objects to my book being published at all, but he didn’t give me specific information on what parts he considers to be libellous…”
“We are flying out on Saturday… X is going on Thursday. We are a bit upset as flying is very expensive and she is driving – much cheaper – only two days beforehand. We are sure there is no other reason than she could have thought that we could have gone together [but didn’t]…”
“The first two weeks my Bridge partner patiently explained to me where I had gone wrong whenever I went down and shouldn’t have done: but this last week, he eventually got very fed up and said with some heat, ‘I didn’t think much of the way you played that – or the board before for that matter’ – which did wonders for my self-confidence over the remainder of the evening, as you can imagine!”
Re unasked for comments from someone who recently took up graphology: “I was delighted she diagnosed you unfavourably too – and it made me giggle to myself to remember how old and ill I promptly felt. I don’t know how I shall manage to do a sufficiently legible scrawl this year to avoid too drastic a verdict again…”
“Thankyoufor your very kind Xmas present! I was very excited to receive it!!! I had been looking at a beautiful coat rack for our hallway – and your gift bought that!…”
“…Talking of rudeness, we agreed with her that he was somewhat lacking in consideration. It was one thing to take us up on our invitation at 24 hours notice – it was only for a night anyway; and to expect to stay another two nights with her; but on top of that we gather he turned up with the others without any prior notice at all and is proposing to stay a fortnight! Nor did anyone get so much as a postcard to say thank you…”
“What joy to have read you, and heard you; now the seeing is missing!…”
“…Luckily I had a nice letter from [someone else] before Christmas as otherwise I was beginning to think the country had sunk below the sea as there were no thanks for money orders forthcoming despite early postage. But perhaps they all felt they must wait until the 25th before writing to acknowledge!…”
“Thank you for the note. Yes, it was my painting at the library. I’m glad you liked it…”
And some are just a bit dilatory!
“Thank you for your nice letter which I should have replied to sooner, and also the the one before that. Thank you also for the t-shirt which you sent me. I have in fact started other letters, but on reading them through I decided they sounded so sad and morbid that they got no further than the waste paper basket beside me…”
“An embarrassingly late note to say thank you for the pepper pot – an invaluable part of our cooking tools. We had a great ‘Moon’ in Italy – seeing a huge number of churches and bowls of pasta…”