Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula



Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula


Number 6. Writes of health issues and asks her not to send anything which he has not ask for as storage limited. Discusses future in farming and possibility of living out in the country. Notes mail arrival falling off and talks of 'belting' (any type of shortage). Mentions some camp slang and that an american concert pianist has recently arrived. Looking forward to summer.



Temporal Coverage



Two page handwritten letter


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Darling Ursula: Very little fresh news for you tonight. Apart from tastelessness I’m very fit, all other small ailments having been cured. Thank goodness my foot has healed at last – after almost of month. In any future parcels don’t send anything for which I have not asked because storage space here is very limited. I would like a sponge, if they are obtainable. Have just read a book by A G Strut[?] “farming & how to begin” & I would advise you to get a copy. It brought me face to face with the grim reality of the difficulties confronting us should we attempt to start farming at our mature stage of life. I am firmly convinced that it is impossible for us to start farming at once. I might be able were I single but you & Frances must live & [one indecipherable word] offer by far the simplest solution to that problem. On the other hand I see no reason why we should not live in the country provided the house is not far from a station with a rapid even if infrequent service to town. Therefore I would suggest that you look about of the house first & foremost & rent it. Land going with it which could be sublet until we want it ourselves would be an asset but not an essential. When eventually we take up residence we could play about with a few acres using hired labour for I would certainly be unable to cope with even 10 acres on my own. After a few years experience we might be able to add to the acreage. I would not expect to make money in this way & if I could emerge without loss I would consider the experience cheaply gained. That is the absolute extent of my plans just now. Anything further would be unpractical. Actually I haven’t much hope of your being able to get such a house but I’d be tremendously thrilled if you could. Incoming mail has diminished sadly during the past week. I hope we’re not in for another period of “belting” – the local term for any type of shortage – although it originated of course in times of lack of food. There are quite a few odd terms in use here the word “gash” for instance is used as a noun & adjective to describe anything surplus, or unwanted, eg a ”spare man[?]” is a “gash goon”. One of our more recent arrivals is an American concert pianist called HERZSTAM, a charming fellow & an excellent performer. We are all looking forward eagerly to the summer. It is very miserable here during cold weather. All my fondest love, dearest / John

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John Ross Mckenzie Valentine, “Letter from John Valentine to his wife Ursula,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 8, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19277.

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