Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine



Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine


Thanks him for letter and mentions arrival of washing and chocolate. Mentions negotiations about future affordability of gardener and work and crops required on allotment. Providers long discussion over pros and cons for future for gardener and shelter. Continues with financial matters and that she is a little overwhelmed at the moment. Asks for his views on the issues she raised.



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Ten page handwritten letter


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Lido Wednesday
Darling Johnnie I hope the Maths & Gen. Exam went OK. Thanks very much for your letter of Monday & also for parcel of washing - & chocolate! You are a dear to think of me, & I do love it, both the gift & your sending it. The clean washing I hope to return tomorrow. The figs were lovely too, we ate them this evening. Yesterday the gardener came. We have various things to decide in connection with him. I told him I was going away & arranged that next Tuesday we should go down to the allotment together so that he knows which is ours & can bring our tools & pea sticks etc. back. It may take him several journeys. Also he must dig up for us such root vegetables as can be stored (parsnips & swedes) & which we haven't managed to eat, before the allotment gets taken over by a new tenant. I wish I could find some deserving
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poor family who would eat up the greenstuff. There is still lots of curly kale, broccoli, some savoys, a few sprouts, & later brussel tops & miscellaneous greens, spring cabbage too, more than we could have got through even if I had remained! I may try to make some arrangement with Bridget, the girl who comes here to work once a week. I believe her sister has lost her husband & is left with several young children. If I could arrange for Ba to get a few fresh vegetables occasionally too, all the better.
However, the problems connected with the gardener are the following:-
1) Can we really afford him? I suggested that he wouldn't need to come much till spring sowing time, only really for clearing up the allotment, as the top is dug now & the rest dug over & cleaned up, & he agreed. So we
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could perhaps stipulate that he comes only once a fortnight (I am arranging with Mrs Neal for her to let him in, so that the gate is not left unlocked) The whole point is, am I coming back early in May or not? If no. it seems worth a certain expenditure on the garden & getting the gardener to do the spring sowing, so that I can enjoy the benefit of it, but if I'm not coming back for any considerable length of time, then it's definitely not worth it. So what? The most likely thing seems to me that I shall stay on there for a couple of weeks & then return, so on the whole I should think we'd better have him. But can we afford it?
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2) Supposing we decide “yes” to the above, what shall we sow in our new veg. patch? Have you time & inclination to think about it, or shall I try to work it out alone, or just give him a rough idea & some seed & let him do it? I suggest we rule out turnips, swedes, beetroot & some of the fancier winter greens. True spinach & spinach beet we must have, carrots, plenty of onions, peas, beans, a few broad beans, lettuce, leeks, radish. I must measure up the ground & see how many rows we can have – at present it's deep under snow again.
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3) [underlined] The shelter [/underlined] The gardener says the materials for making floor etc. would cost about 30/- (tho' cement has gone up a lot & he's not sure of the present price). He himself would make it, so I suppose that would come out of his gardening time, & would doubtless mean he would have to come oftener than once a fortnight, specially as he can only work on the shelter in dry weather. It would probably cost us a £5 or so all told, but he himself says he won't guarantee that it will be water proof in winter, practically no underground shelter is, however costly. As regards this special stuff he spoke about before, it is apparently a trade secret of a chap
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who lives near him, & he's not sure whether he could get it. If he did, it might be better. Shall I tell him to go ahead with it or not? As regards paying him if we do keep him going, I have his name & address now, so we could do it as we go along, or in advance, or afterwards. What do you suggest?
Your PO. Book & crossed warrant arrived this morning, & I duly sent off a cheque for £4.6.6 (the income tax was only £13.2.6, not £13.5.) I will return the book in the next parcel. I popped into Barclay's today & arranged for me to be able to draw up to £5
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a day up at Aberystwyth. Tomorrow I hope to go up to the West end, shall go to Grindlay's & arrange for them to pay for the pram & also to send Ba's & my allowances to us separately from Feb. onwards. I also want to choose the pram at Restcot's, who will send it to me when I get back here (or elsewhere for that matter). Miss Kerr is coming tomorrow with my maternity corset. I hope it fits, my present thing is worse than useless & I shall be glad of the Spencer.
I had a bill for
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allotment rent up to June today, so went to the Town Hall & explained we were giving up in March but I think we may have to pay the whole 5/-! There seems so much to think of & arrange, I must admit I had a small cry about is this morning, when neither Mrs Goodrich nor Mrs Mack turned up, as usual. I felt much better afterwards, & went out & put an advert. in the local paper to get rid of the piano painlessly & shall hope for results from Friday onwards.
I had a reply from Miss Clift this afternoon – she will be glad to have Jane
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back for as long as we want at 5/- a week. I should think this is pretty cheap (she said herself most kennels charge 10/- but I should think 7/6 is the usual). However, it comes to £3-4 for the 3 months, but may be it's the happiest solution from Jane's point of view. Have you got any further yet with regard to digs? Do try & get something settled as soon as you can for Feb. 1st definitely with an option for a day or so earlier, I'm getting absolutely fed up with housework
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– what the place will be like when I get back I shudder to think – there'll be spring cleaning to tackle as well!
Now I must really get on with the darning. Let me know what you think about the gardener. Have you worked out what all this is going to cost? I daren't! All my love to you darling. I was on fire picket last night but there was no raid so I got off for nothing! Will see if I can get you anything on aircraft recognition but rather doubt it. All my love again, Ursula




Ursula Valentine, “Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 21, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19545.

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