August 6th 1961
This probably won’t make much sense because I never can concentrate properly unless I have perfect quiet. It is Sunday morning – imagine Sunday morning and me up!- and the house seems to be full of people. So Lena and I have retreated to the bedroom to write letters.
So I don’t get everyone in an awful muddle I’ll start at the very beginning. I haven’t got anything else to write about anyway.
I was actually ready when Dot and Denny came round Friday. We had an awful time getting through the traffic in London. We got to Gatwick about 8. We found out the plane wasn’t due to land til 9.20 so we settled ourselves down for a long wait. My nerves were terrible by the time 9.20 came. I was imagining all sorts of things that could go wrong, it was awful. Denny was making it worse all the time by saying she probably wasn’t on the plane and things like that.
About ten to ten she came out of Customs. I was frantic because I couldn’t see her. Denny recognised her first, although she had already seen me. She doesn’t look anything like her photo and she was wearing a coat over her suit, which I was looking for, so I think I can be excused.
She is a so nice, she really is. Sweet can be the only word for her. But when she is all dressed up and wearing make-up she looks quite sophisticated. Her English is wonderful. She knows plenty of long words but falters on the common nouns, like ‘curtains’ and things like that.
Saturday afternoon she had her English books out and was translating from Swedish to English, then I had to correct it. Felt quite important. She must have given Jennifer new heart because she got her French books out – during a holiday as well.
Friday evening on the way back she was almost falling out of the car door looking at things. We came back across Tower Bridge and saw the Tower, that pleased her a lot.
I’ve already got into the habit of talking slowly, even to other people than her. She gets in an awful muddle when you talk quickly, so she couldn’t understand Carol at all last night, the way she jabbers on. I’ve also got the knack of putting sentences into simple English for her. I am enjoying myself, it’s jolly good.
Saturday we went shopping in the morning. (I was up at 9!) and it seems things are a lot cheaper here. Lena said she intends to buy a pair of shoes here. The cheapest decent pair are £5 in Sweden where they are about £3 here and gramophone records cost 12/-
Saturday evening I took her to the Lambourne in Romford – her first ride on the top of an English bus. Things worked out pretty well. Even I enjoyed myself and I don’t usually like going out unescorted. We met Carol and Clive along the road and Clive’s friends Matthew and John came in later. She caused quite a stir there. I don’t think we’d ever learnt so much about Sweden. During the interval we went for a drink. It seems in Sweden they don’t have anything like pubs. They can only buy drinks with food in restaurants. So that was something new for her. C and C left about 10.30 and Matthew and John took us into Hornchurch for a coffee, then ran us home.
I didn’t think Lena looked very English and people in the coffee bar obviously thought the same because they kept staring. She noticed it and remarked on it. both Matthew and John use such long words that even I can’t understand them, so I was kept busy cutting sentences down for Lena to understand them.
It was funny trying to explain about our crazy money. When we went shopping Saturday she kept turning straight round to me and asking me if her change was right. So embarrassing! We went into Woolworths, bought things for 2/2d, gave the girl half a crown and got 1/4d back. That just caused more of a muddle.
Carol called me a rotten, lousy so-and-so, Saturday. The time we had trying to explain that!
I got a letter from Marjorie and Bill Saturday. They are on holiday on the 26th so can’t come to the party. Never mind. You’ll meet them eventually.
Lena brought us all presents over. Dad got a book of pictures of Nykoping (after six years I found out you don’t pronounce it how I thought. Surprise!) Mum got some pillow cases. And for Jennifer and I little wooden figures of trolls. Funny type men with tails and big heads.
Lena showed me a photo of her boyfriend. All I can say is ‘WOW’ What a looker! He’s blond and……..cor! she’s been going out with him for a year now.
Found out that people can’t marry under 18 in Sweden. And she thought Dot being 20 when she married, was young.
Dot and Denny are coming to the party, by the way. They were so nice about everything Friday that I thought I couldn’t leave them out. They will make it lively if anyone does. They said if I wanted to take Lena anywhere a long way away, they would take us in the car. I thought that was pretty nice of them cos I’ve never been what you would call close to them.
Written in bed 10.30 am
Not much more to put. We’re getting up later and later every morning. We had a houseful last night and I think Lena was a bit confused with all the noise. My two aunts, uncles and two cousins came over. The men went out for a drink. My uncle was drinking whiskey all evening and came back in a very mad mood. He was acting the fool all over the place. At one point he was parading around in my old school beret then he started combing the hair that he hasn’t got. Lena must think we’re all mad.
When they left, mum, dad, Lena and I were having a long discussion about Swedish and English. It was ever so interesting. I’m going to shock them at work when I have fish and chips next time. I’m gonna say it in Swedish fisk ok potatis. And I can count up to ten and say yes and no.
Must finish now, Lena’s up and marching around and I can’t very well hang around in bed for much longer.
I’m thinking of you and fifteen days time.
Lots of love