22nd March 1961

March 22nd 1961


Darling Alan,

Thanks for the letter and that gorgeous little poem you wrote out.  I think it is smashing, I’ll have to frame it.

I think that is a smashing idea to send my parents a birthday card.  It’s a good job you mentioned it when you did because my dad’s birthday is next Thursday 30th.  Mum isn’t til December.  I mentioned it to mum and she was quite touched.  (not in the funny way – she’s that already- didn’t mean it.)  She suggested you signed it as SAC.  I’ve told you before, haven’t I that he always refers to you as that?  I’m dying to see his face when he opens it.  It will be a right giggle.  For envelope purposes his initials are E.T.

Quite a few times this week I’ve said ‘oh, I must tell Alan that.’  But now I can’t think what on earth the things were.  It’s annoying me.

I’ve been a very good girl this week (no comments please).  I’ve actually caught the early train three days in a row.  They seem quite surprised at work. They said they missed me tearing down the corridors at 9.10.  Rotten lot.

We’ve had loads and loads of post in recently and being the unlucky bod that I am, I’m one of the four that is opening the 12.30 lot.  That, I might add, is the post specially delivered from that well-known abode of lunatics commonly known as the Stock Exchange.  We didn’t finish ‘til 1.20 – 20 mins past my lunch hour.  I mean when my lunch hour starts.  Then, just as I was convincing my stomach that it didn’t have long to wait, I got hooked in to go and sign the Secrecy List.  We have to do it every year, though goodness knows why.  There is this great long thing that we have to read and you can’t understand what it’s all about anyway cos you’re in the boss’s office and you can feel her eyes burning into your back.  I was quite sure my slip was showing or I had a ladder in my stocking.

The old boy himself, (Sir George Abell to you) paid a surprise visit yesterday afternoon.  He is one of the esteemed Directors of the Bank of England.  We usually get a day’s warning when he is going to come round the offices so the place is always tidy and everyone is working or at least pretending to.  Yesterday we had hardly any work and the senior wasn’t there so we were all lounging around smoking or eating sweets, or in my case, smoking and eating sweet – I’m clever.  Especially with polos.  Have you noticed you can get a cigarette through the middle of a polo and you can eat and smoke at the same time?  It tasted a bit funny but it’s clever.  That is only a space filler…….

One girl who sits in front of the door, was playing doctors and was spinning around and around on her chair (we all have spinning-round type chairs).  She’d hooked her straight skirt right up to give herself more freedom with her pushing leg – that’s what she said anyway, and as our office is strictly female it must have been the truth.  Well, back to the point.  She happened to glance up, went a brilliant beetroot colour and yells out in a very loud whisper Sir George is outside!!  Course, everyone ducked down to their work.  Never in the history of the Bank has so many conversations been cut off in so few seconds.

They are trying to get a netball and hockey team up from the girls in the office.  It’s the same every year.  Each office has a few eager type girls who drag a few others along and they play each other for some daft-type cup.  We’ve got one bod in the office who plays for Surrey County Netball team and she gets real mad when no one else wants to go.  The Lady is another sporty type and she has been going around canvassing.  Last Friday she came up to me and said ‘Oh, Miss Brown plays hockey doesn’t she?’ in her own sweet sickly voice.  I said,- cos we’re mates now.  Y’know, I usually ignore her and she ignores me – ‘Miss Brown doesn’t.  And d’you know what?  She actually laughed, out loud, with her voice.  I nearly fell off my chair, straight up!

That another thing that added to the scenery for Sir George was a netball tied to the back of one of the chairs, at which we were aiming rubbers and elastic bands.  I’m getting quite a shot with an elastic band.  Have you ever tried it?  You fix it on your thumb nail and then pull it back and let go.  It’s jolly good fun when you’ve nothing else to do.  Many a red mark have I caused on the faces of poor unsuspecting Bank girls.

I am going to see ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ which is on at the Heathway cinema next week.  The only night I can go is Monday which is a nuisance as it is the only night with anything decent on tv.

I’m going to the Ideal Home Exhibition with Pat next Wednesday.  We did plan to go today but she couldn’t get a half day, so I had to swap mine.  I’m bringing her back here with me, which should be quite a giggle.  She can’t come very often cos she lives at Woodford Green and it takes ages to get home.

Let’s have your opinion on something Mr. Blake.  Carol and I were having a terrific bust-up on the train over the meaning of ‘courting’.  We had everyone in the carriage very interested in the subject.  She said ‘courting’ is strictly the stage before an engagement.  But I reckon nowadays, courting is referred to anyone ‘going steady.’  She kept on – or rather – we kept on for ages cos I wasn’t gonna let her have the last word.

Jean and I went to Marj and Bill’s flat tonight.  It was a right laugh.  Apparently they expected us there last night (which was their mistake, not ours) and they had made tonight bath night.  Marj said she had had half day yesterday to clean the place and they were both sitting around waiting for us.

We had all the wedding photographs and telegrams out again and while Bill had his bath Jean and I tried on Marj’s wedding dress and veil.  All Jean kept saying was, it’s terribly unlucky!  But nevertheless she tried the lot on.  It suited her but it looked a mess on me.  As they said, in the dress I had a figure like an ironing board.  I wasn’t standing for that.  I said, at least the ironing board has got some shape.  Jean just looked like a flagpole.   We decided that Jean has definitely lowered the chances of getting married but I was just about even as I had the bouquet to level the odds.  I think my chances are rather more than even at the moment, don’t you darling?

We had a good laugh there tonight.  Marjorie’s favourite remark was ‘if there are no mistakes.’  She was talking about getting a house and starting a family in two years’ time.  I still think twenty is too young to be tied down with children.  I have very strong views against the ‘growing up with your children’ lark.  I reckon parents can’t give advice to their children until they, the parents, are old enough to know whether the same thing turned out the right way for them.  It may seem a bit daft on paper, but I know what I mean.  Let’s have your opinions on that as well eh?  More or less one of those questions, don’t you think?

I’d better do something about finishing off this epistle if I’m gonna get that early train four days running.  Pause while I read your last two letters for the umpteenth time and see if there are any answerable questions.  Oh yes!  Oxford don’t stand a chance at the Boat Race and to prove it I’ll have half a crown on it.  Any takers?

I’m reading Forever Amber again.  I still think it’s marvellous.

That’s about the lot I reckon, except that when we had nothing to do on Monday we were passing photos around so out came my collection of you.  Did you know you are my favourite subject?

All my love to you dear

From your Maureen

Letters from Maureen Week 12: 22nd - 25th March 1961

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