Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine



Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine


Long letter where she deals with issues of her moving to be with him in Aberystwyth providing he has sorted accommodation and nursing home. Notes they will have two weeks together as he is due posting. Writes of her issues concerning their dog who she would like to bring as well. She gives her view on issues that mitigate against her coming to Aberystwyth and concluded she will manage but would not stay when he was posted away. Writes of issues she will have with new born baby and might return to London if blitz is not too bad. Says it is not worth him giving up leave to come to Hendon and that she will be able to manage to take all her and baby's needs with her when she travels to him. Writes of getting all baby requirements. Asks him for other information she needs and concludes with discussion of when she will travel which will depend on other preparation she needs to make.



Temporal Coverage



Eight page handwritten letter


IBCC Digital Archive


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Lido Friday 10th
Darling Johnnie, thanks very much for your long & detailed letter started on 7th. I will try to tabulate this one as extensively!
WHEREAS I love you very much & should awfully like to be with you and WHEREAS the parties hereunto agreeing consider London too hot a spot for Walpole(ina) NOW THEREFORE I agree to come up to Aberystwyth as soon as poss (say a fortnight or 3 weeks) there to live & abide until the appearance of our firstborn. PROVIDED THAT you can book the necessary accommodation as set out in the schedules appended hereunto.
1) Digs at 30/- or less if poss. & near to you. Jane must be accepted there as well.
2) Nursing home I should think the general ward would be OK. How much is a private ward? It hardly seems worth paying a lot extra on account of visiting hours alone since I think it
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pretty unlikely that you will be there so long. I shall consider myself very lucky if you are there up till the birth, & am quite content to accept these arrangements even if you do have to leave a week or more earlier. I don't think we can do better, & at least I shall have had 2 months or so near you. It's after all not an ordinary illness or operation. I shall have the baby (I hope) to occupy my thoughts & attention. So I should think it would be best if you put me down for the general ward. When I get there & we see the doctor we may yet be able to change it if necessary.
As regards Jane I should of course like to have her with me until I go into the home, since I shall be largely on my own, & she will force me to go for healthy walks. Could you enquire from the publicity office about boarding kennels locally? It seems to me that would be the easiest & cheapest arrangements for her to be boarded out from April 4th (or so) till I am ready to return to London. If necessary
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as a last resort she could be sent down to Gloucestershire straight from here for the 3 months or so but I should hate it, so would she, & it wouldn't be cheap.
As regards your 3 points against, 1) I am prepared to risk that you are sent away before baby comes. 2) the visiting hours are regrettable, but maybe some exceptions are allowed? Anyway you quite likely won't be there at all. 3) the return to London: Barbara says that altho' she couldn't get several weeks off short of leaving the service altogether she could & would take a few days, with or without permission, to come & fetch me back either by car or by train, so that you need not worry about that.
Re your suggestion of my taking a furnished flat or bungalow & settling down in Aber. For a longer time, I am not in favour of this. I think 1) it won't be easy to get a furnished abode, unless Aber is [underlined] very [/underlined] exceptional.
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2) My main problem is not so much accommodation as [underlined] service.[/underlined] I shall be OK almost anywhere as long as someone else runs the place for me, & servants are doubtless just as difficult to find in Wales as anywhere else. An easier solution for me, if we could manage it, would be for me to return to the digs for a week or two - perhaps they would consent to take me with the new-born baby under the special circumstances if it was definitely only for a short time, & in a week or so I feel convinced I could travel back to London. Of course, if the blitz is very bad then it might alter things, but I think we could decide this better when I arrive & we see if there is any chance of getting accommodation for a longer time up there. But the point is that, since I shall almost certainly be without you then, if I do stay on for any length of time I should be better off boarding with someone who does the work & cooking than in a place of my own.
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As regards your suggestion that you should waste a couple of days of your precious leave coming down to Hendon to collect luggage, I consider this A BAD THING. I think with a little planning I can easily take everything necessary with me. You see, I shall in any case bring the Karrikot which folds up flat & is very light & which is to be baby's bed for a few months anyway. Blankets & bedding I shall also bring, & the infant's few clothes (mostly nappies if you ask me!) I must have these to bring the baby back in, whether I come at once or weeks later. The other thing the baby must have is a bath, this I might possibly borrow or at the worst it would be cheaper to buy one (about 5/- for a small one). Even down here I am not going to prepare a very elaborate nursery. I have just bought
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a) a small towel horse to warm its clothes by the fire (5/6) in white wood which I am going to enamel, b) another taller ditto (8/6) which I am going to enamel & cover to make a screen, c) a white enamel bath (for only 6/3, because chipped & so half price – I am also going to enamel over the chipped part of this) this is a nice deep one, but you can get smaller shallow ones which would do at the beginning for 3/- - 5/-, if I had to get one up there. Then I need a low chair for bathing & nursing, which I hope to get second-hand, shorter legs & also enamel to match. Of course up at Aber. any chair could be made to save temporarily. Then I must get a white enamel pail (or even two) with lid to put soiled nappies in till they are washed, but that also I can borrow or do without up there. Otherwise there are only
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baby's towels & toilet accessories, which are no trouble to take with me (or send luggage in advance since there's no hurry for them). So I really don't think it would be necessary for you to come down here anyway.
If we decide against taking a flat up there, that rules out the need for Ba or Irene Galitzenstein to come up for a few weeks Ba couldn't anyway, & I seriously doubt whether Irene would be able to leave her father & her work for so long. I have been toying with the idea of Mrs Stenzel coming to live with me when I get back, if she is free. That would solve all my problems. I would pay her 15/- a week (that is compulsory) - & have a char twice a week for rough work, & I should be left pretty well free with the baby. But of course this is all very vague & depends chiefly on whether Mrs S is free by then.
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Please send me the name & address of the doctor you mention (Dr Bethune likes to look him up in some register to see his qualifications) also address of digs when fixed, so I can arrange for letters & money from Grindlay to be sent direct.
The only debatable point is [underlined] when [/underlined] I shall come. If only Mrs Goodrich would come back I could get on with my painting & preparing jobs, but at present it is all I can do to put the house respectable & do the shopping & then I'm worn out even before I start all these extra jobs. I get tired more quickly now, & I have only been able to get Bridget for one ½ day's work this week & have had all the rest to do myself. Ba is on morning duty & can't help either (she's in bed with a bad cough today). Could you make some tentative arrangement with the digs for about 2 or 3 weeks hence? Towards Feb 1st the NS&N has arrived, thanks for letter. Find out about travel voucher for me, won't you. All my love, Ursula



Ursula Valentine, “Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 6, 2021, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19540.

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