Monday, 10 May 2010

In the interests of balance.

You may remember I won the Dorset Cereals BlogAward in November thanks to all those who voted. I won a lovely big box of their goodies which I really do enjoy(Otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it)but now they have contacted me to say that there is a competition to win a camper van pictured above.
All you have to do is go to
and enter. You do have to fill in a form so I don't know if you'll get e mails from them in the future but there, I've shared it with you and now you know.

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my last post.
I was quite pleasantly surprised at the interest that my dad's letter stirred up because it was quite an emotional post for me .
I am so enjoying these letters mostly from my Mum, which provide a commentary on her life 40 years ago.

She is 82 now and still as lively and funny and loving as she was then. Reading the letters has made her happy and re awakened memories which died with my father.

In the interests of balance, and to keep the related posts together, I thought I would post a few excerpts from some of her many letters , a dozen or so of which I still

Again,I completely understand if you do not find them as interesting as I do!

Unfortunately she was in the habit of writing just the day but not the date so much of the ordering is guesswork.

I'll start with one which shows her side of the 'Proud father' in my last post.

‘As you know Dad collected your-our picture and it looks super. You will never know how much pleasure it has given us already. Dad is so proud of it and every time he comes into the dining room he goes up to it and stares at it and he will say to me ‘Just looking at it makes me happy-if it was signed by Rembrandt I couldn’t be happier with it’

He is dying to show it off to people. ‘D’ and ‘G’ say it looks wrong in our dining room and it would be much better on their wall!!!’

Then begins the saga of the Arran sweater which she knitted for my brother.
(With a bit of news I couldn't resist including ..after all it was 1970 and a bit of a scandal!) I must just tell you that she was really not keen on animals and just about bore the presence of the two cats I adored, Emma, and her daughter, Scruffy.

‘Lately he has been begging me to knit him an Arran pullover and we were talking about it yesterday at dinner time and I said I might go to the shop in Hawksbury drive, which I did. I was looking at the patterns, undecided which to have when the lady said ‘have you got a son, Paul?’ I assured her I had and then she said, ‘Oh this is the one he wants-he said I had to tell you’. Fancy, he had been in to choose a pattern. I started it last night and got the rib done and quite honestly I reckon that’s all will get done because I don’t even understand half the stitches let alone do them.

By the way I saw J***** P****** -with her pram!’

Later that year:

A Sunday in Nov 1970

‘I’m hoping to get on with my knitting this afternoon. I can only manage about 5 rows a night so its going to take an awful long time.Oh dear I’ve just looked in the oven and burnt my finger and the apple pie has run over into the meat-let hope dads currant cake doesn’t overcook!’


‘I am very busy knitting battling on with the Arran sweater and I’m just getting into it , but the trouble is I keep losing my cable needle and if I leave it for long I forget the pattern and its dreadful to get going again.’


Dec 1970

I did quite a lot of knitting last night in fact too much. I had to pull 13 rows back. But how can you concentrate with two cats on your knee, one chewing your wool and the other your knitting needle?

Later Dec 1970

I must get on with some knitting. I haven’t done any for a bit and Ellen has nearly finished hers and my goodness Christmas will be here before we know where we are and I haven’t done one bit of shopping yet. Enclosed is £1-soon be coming home time –lovely.


‘I am having a night off from my knitting tonight .I have washed my hair and written to Grandma and now its your turn. I told Paul what you said about your Christmas present and he said ‘She can start saving up for a Ben Sherman shirt’.

Final reference in my collection of letters:

‘I am still battling with the Arran sweater I suppose it will get finished sometime.’

I know it was eventually finished and was lovely. But I don't know what happened to it. Itwasn't the one in the picture but probably a contemporary of it.

I shall have to ask my brother.

And just so you know I have always been prone to untidiness:

Dad made Paul and I laugh the other day. He was in one of his tidying up moods and nattering at Paul for his untidiness and then said ‘God knows what it will be like when Jacqueline gets home’

Apparently they all exploded with laughter at this point. I think it would be at the realisation of the futility of clearing the decks when I was due home.


Doreen G said...

Your Mum sounds so much like mine Jackie.I think your family home would have been a wonderful place to grow up in.

Daisie said...

I'm loving the letters, you should make them a regular feature.

Judith said...

I'm with Daisie on this one,it's a bit like being read to,another wonderful childhood memory.
Judith in Farnborough

Mary said...

I love the letters...keep them coming.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I'm enjoying the letters too Jackie. Obviously your family has a great sense of humour and it shows.

Mrs Yappy Dog said...

sorry didn't get to catch up with this until now. How lovely to have a record like this showing personality and humour, not many people write to each other these days it's a lost art I think.

Lynn said...

I saw that van and wanted to enter the contest but it was not for us in the US of A! I will gladly vote for you and then I'll ask you to vote for me in a quilt contest where I am trying to win a sewing machine.
See the where to go for it on my blog
thanks if you decide to trade votes.
We had a camper van like that when I first met my DH 30 yrs ago! I hope you win it!!!!

Lynn said...

Oops, I misunderstood. I thought you needed votes from us to win the camper. Well, wish I could help...good luck in winning.

Menopausal musing said...

What a wonderful post Jackie.... I loved the "scandal" and the pound sent for a present....

As for Arans, I have one of my dad's that I wear for gardening. Both he and my mother died twenty years ago within 15 months of each other, but that jumper washes up time after time, year after year and I always think of him when I put it on.

If you win the camper, will you be getting a surf board? :O)))))))

Gina said...

I love the letters Jackie. I knitted myself an Aran sweater in the 1970s and I've still got it! I can bear to part with it... all that work!

fiona said...

The chap on that knitting pattern. What a hoot. I nearly spat out my tea.

Twiglet said...

Another gem - yes I think you could add a few lines from mum or dad to your blog each week - thanks for sharing. Jo

Dee / Cloth Company said...

wow, these letters paint such a picture. love them. thank you for sharing. Your mom could join my knitting club (the 13-row tear out qualifies her) -- it's the 'Knitting in Place Club' -- though she at least finished her piece!

lisette said...

i love these letters! please post more of them :)

Jude said...

Fabulous...I love to read things like this..unfortunately, my parents didn't...they cleared the attic when they moved 2 years ago..I don't want to think about it..
Dorset Cereals will not let me enter the comp. as I live abroad..tut tut...Have to wait til I get to my daughter's at the beginning of June...
Take care

Heather said...

Your Mum's letters are lovely Jackie - so warm and comforting. That Aran sweater pattern looked quite complicated - no wonder she couldn't do more than a few rows at a time.

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Hi Jackie.
From one give away to another......I'm doing my first on the blog. Not quite a camper van but I'd love your input : )

karen said...

where are you???????
search party imminent!!!xxx

purplesusie said...

What wonderful letters, you are so lucky to have them.
I have found a box of letters and blueys from and to DH whilst he was away many moons ago, and am just about to start an Aran sweater for my mum for Christmas (it will take me that long)
Think you might like where i am going to live xx

karen said...

I was getting lots of those comments along with ones for '''***chat'''*** lines, thats why I now moderate all my comments.

Linda said...

Love reading the letters Jackie....and as for the Arran Man and his tight red trousers.....ooooh I say!!!!
Linda xx
PS I have my fingers and toes crossed - we would love a camper van :-)

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