July 14th 1961
Outside the wind is howling fit to bust and the rain is pouring down and it’s absolutely freezing. It’s just like a January evening and to prove it you ought to see the fire dad’s built up. It’s making me feel luverly and cosy. I told them I didn’t mind staying up for a while to make sure it burnt down alright. They didn’t think much of my suggestion though. Can’t think why.
Got an idea for an unusual letter (I have, I mean). Wait a minute and you’ll find out what it is.
Things have been moving pretty quickly for me these past few days and as I haven’t got anything else to write about I am going to bore you with every detail.
I’ve thought of something else before I start on that. There is going to be a mix-up as far as letters are concerned during your last couple of weeks with the mob, is there not? Cos you’ll be coming home, well, to Gloucester anyway, and I’ll be in Dorset. I’ll have to send you the address of the Holiday Camp, when I find it, so you can write to me there. I’ve had 39 letters from you so far and I expect there is one in the post which makes it forty. Be a dear and bring it up to at least fifty before you come home. You’ve got six weeks to do it in. Six weeks today you will be in this room. Isn’t it marvellous. It doesn’t seem possible.
Right, now I’ll get down to what I was going to bore you with.
I think I have told you before that we are on temporary staff for the first two years at the Bank and then after a lot of paraphernalia we are made permanent. At long last the wheels are turning and I am in sight of becoming a fully fledged member of the Society for the Promotion of Lunacy Amongst Bank Clerks.
Thursday morning I was told that I had an appointment at Head Office at 11 o’clock. If Pat hadn’t had to go the day before I would have been dead worried as the woman I had to see, Miss M……, is the woman who always has he honour of handing you your cards.
I left New Change at 10.30. (as you probably know it’s only a ten minute walk up to the Bank but I take any excuse to get out of working) and I spent a pleasant twenty minutes looking at the shops. I wondered what on earth was going on when I got to the Mansion House. There was a terrific great crowd standing in the middle of the road, holding up all the traffic.
I remembered that Yuri Gagarin was knocking around somewhere in the City on his goodwill visit to this country, so I sorta connected it – being the clever type! I was a bit choked because it was five to eleven and I didn’t dare wait. But by the time I’d fought my way through the crowds to the empty road the other side, a great cheer went up and I turned around and there he was standing on the Mansion House balcony waving like mad and grinning in that sexy way he has.
The girls in the office were dead jealous when I got back and told them. They had been expecting him to drive past New Change as most of the VIPs do but he sneaked around the back way. I had to spend ages answering their questions.
There’s something to tell our grandchildren! I’ve seen the first spaceman!
Right, back to the point again…seeing him made me feel so pleased and when finally got to Miss M……’s territory I wasn’t half as nervous as when I started out. I even had little chat with the lift-man on the way up, which is unusual for me. I never know what to say to these men. When I got out of the lift he asked if I was entering the Bank. I tried to look indignant and told him I had been working there for two years. He said he had thought as much as I didn’t have the usual scared look. That bucked me up as well.
I had to see the secretary first of all. She confirmed that Miss M……. did want to see me about my permanency and explained some of the details, most of which I knew already. I knew I’d have to have an X-ray and a medical and she arranged times for these. I came out of her place loaded down with forms and slips of paper. I got in an awful muddle cos she told me what each one was for and I couldn’t remember. I had to ask Pat back at the office.
After seeing the secretary I was dumped into the Waiting Room by the messenger to await the command of the little tin god. This next part was an absolute scream. There were four women in there whose daughters were off somewhere having the medical that is necessary on entering the Bank. They started talking to me and asked me if I’d come for an interview for a job. Once again I looked indignant and put their facts right. They were vastly interested that I had survived two years and were shooting questions left, right and centre. I reckon the Bank ought to pay me some sort of fee for all the sales talk I came out with there. Those mothers think their daughters are on to a good thing. Poor deluded souls.
The interview with Miss M…… went off ok. The girls had been discussing whether she had a glass eye. So I had been told to be sure and find out and come back and report. I had to spend most of the time staring her out and still wasn’t sure.
The X-ray was arranged for yesterday – Thursday afternoon. The nearest X-ray unit open is at Drayton Park so I had to traipse all the way up there. They even gave me the 1/4d for the train fare, the darling souls. Having to sign for it made me laugh. They also gave me a slip of paper with directions on it cos I’ve never been out that way before. It’s five minutes north from Moorgate. Once I am let loose in strange territory I’m lost straight away so I wasn’t looking forward to it very much. The girls confused me more. Everyone seemed to have a quicker and better way to get there. The bedlam, it was hell! I even had the principal standing over me with her diary open at the map of the underground. As she was trying to tell me the District Line trains went from Liverpool St station I didn’t take much notice of the rest of her directions.
In the end I found the place easily enough by following Pat’s directions. She’d been there the day before. It didn’t seem worth all that effort. It was only in there for two minutes.
The part of this permanency I have been dreading for two years was the medical. I really hate ‘em. Still, it’s all finished now. I had it this morning. That was hardly worth it either. I didn’t get back to the office til 11 but I only saw the doctor for 10 minutes, if that. One of the girls who started her Bank life in my office was just behind me, so we had a lot of scandal to catch up on.
I got there at 9.30, as per orders. I got measured and weighed and my eyes were tested, then I was told to lose myself for half an hour. I waited for Teresa and we went across to the new Bank Club at King’s Arms Yard. I’d heard a lot about this place but it was loads better than I’d been told. It’s terrifically modern and streamlined and not at all the place you expect to find amongst the dingy buildings it is surrounded by. It’s got those funny lifts in it. I can’t remember the name now but they move round all the time and there are no doors. You just have to jump in and out when you get to your floor.
We sat there gassing for half an hour (once again all your photos came out) and finally made our way back to the Bank where we saw the doctor. He told me I had lost a lot of weight since my last medical two years ago and kept asking whether I felt fit. By the time he’d finished he’d almost convinced me I was on my deathbed. I only weigh 7 stone something and with my 5’ 7” I don’t suppose that is good. One consolation for you Alan, if I ever get drunk you won’t have much to carry.
After Teresa and I had seen the doctor we started another leisurely stroll back to New Change. It was only 10.20 and neither of us felt much like working so we decided to go and have another coffee. We went to a place near New Change and we stayed there til 11.00. By that time we were beginning to get a conscience cos we’d been away two hours and only spent about half hour of that time having the medical.
Miss M…… said our permanency is considered by the Court of Directors (doesn’t that sound official) in September and if we are accepted it will be back dated from, in my case 4th August.
I’ve finished with telling you about all that. Now I’ll try to think up something to wake you up again.
My mother’s book man comes to the door every week and selects 3 books from his van for her. At some point she must have told him what books she likes. She pays pennies a week for this service.
He picks out the oddest books for her. I’ve just finished one of the three he left this week. It’s called ‘a Room in Chelsea Square’. I won’t bother with the detail but I’ve told mum she is too young and mustn’t read it. She is dying to get hold of it now.
You ought to have heard mum carry on tonight when I told her what the doctor had said. She nearly walked up the wall. Goodness knows why. She has been telling for ages that I have been losing weight.
I had to have lunch by myself today and I hate doing that. One of our four is on holiday, another in hospital and Pat starts her leave tomorrow and had a half day. I spent most of the lunch hour having a chat with the woman who cleans our cloakroom. I’m getting quite pally with the non-clerical staff. They all seem to know me and stop and talk.
I did intend to finish this tomorrow night but seeing as I’ve reached number 17 I might as well carry on and post it tomorrow. One problem though, something else to write about. Thought: if I can creep upstairs (it’s 12.55am) without waking anyone I can get your last letter and see if there is anything answerable in it. Pause for burglary practice………
That book you’ve read ‘The Three Just Men’ there was a tv series adapted from Edgar Wallace’s book but that was called the Four Just Men. Was that an intentional change of title or are you getting ya frees and fours mixed up?
Oh Yes! I shouldn’t have got that letter cos it’s reminded me how mad it made me when I read it. I’m very sorry if it was the way I worded my letter that made you take things to heart so much. But I can assure you, Michael was not tearing anyone’s character to shreds. He was not talking so much against you, or what your intentions may or may not be, he was just putting up an argument that I still think is perfectly plausible. Be reasonable Alan we’d known each other five days and seen one another four times when you went back, maybe we did spark off something pretty serious and permanent but this time last year if anyone had told you we’d planned the day of our engagement after four meetings what would you have thought? I know I would have thought it pretty ridiculous.
Another thing, I did NOT write a Dear John to you and you JOLLY WELL know it.
He didn’t say you’d have trouble finding another girl – again, maybe that’s the impression I gave in my letter – he said, it’ll be easier for you to find someone else as you hadn’t seen me for seven months.
As for you finding him a girl who isn’t attached, according to Carol he seems to be faring pretty well on his own, thank you!
Boy, you were right. It wasn’t very wise to broach the subject. You made me furious. And I thought that dig about ‘behaving like a child who has just lost his lollipop’ was just plain nasty!
Right, I’ve had your opinions on the ‘facts received’ as you said and you’ve had my opinions on your letter. Now let’s either forget it or continue when we’re in a position to come to blows about it. It is most unsatisfactory arguing with someone and having to wait a week for an answer.
I suppose I had better go to bed now it’s half one. D’you like the way I give time checks all through my letters.
I don’t know why you have to be so nasty about him. He’s finished as far as I’m concerned but nevertheless he’s much too nice to be slandered (or is it libel?)
Don’t forget dear. It’s you I want.
Lots of love