Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine



Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine


Writes that life is easier now that he has been posted and she can concentrate on baby. Writes of baby activities (feeding sleeping behaviour) as well as her own doings. Mentions family she is staying with are very friendly and helpful but still has not raised matter of payment. Adds in addendum that his letter has arrived and continues to describe her activities and catches up with family/acquaintances news.



Temporal Coverage

Spatial Coverage



Eight page handwritten letter


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Regards to Jack, Trefilan, Penparke, Aberystwyth April 26th

My darling Johnnie, In a way it's almost easier now that you've gone. At least I know its no use hoping for anything except a letter - & that not before Monday at the earliest - & I can concentrate on Frances. Perhaps it was better too that everything was rather a rush yesterday, it kept us occupied. I shan't be at all surprised it you say in your letter, when it comes, that you hung about & did nothing much all evening after all, tho' I hope for your sake that you got under weigh (or way?) fairly early. Also that you didn't have to stop in Manchester, or, if you did, that you enjoyed yourself & weren't blitzed.
Frances' behaviour hasn't been entirely perfect so far, but after stoically sleeping thro' so much admiration & jerking about in the car yesterday afternoon, I suppose a slight fall from grace was natural. She made loud & frequent protests while
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the Sandfords & I were having tea in front of the fire – in short, she bellowed; & then after her 6pm feed she wouldn't settle down, after I'd put her to sleep upstairs (needless to say Mr Sandford carried the cot & baby up for me). She howled till nearly 8 pm, & then overslept her 10 pm feed & was too sleepy to take much. I was dead tired myself then, so I put her to bed, & when she woke at 1.30 am. I considered that a little of the natural lactic fluid might perhaps – in short, I fed her. For one thing, Mr Sandford was out with the Home Guard from 10.30 – 12.30, & it seemed a bit hard on him to let her howl, & anyway she hadn't had enough at 10 pm. Anyway, she slept then alright till 5 & I endured her till 5.20 & then gave in again. After that she slept solidly till 10, which was lucky because I didn't wake till 8.30, & after washing (in cold water) appeared downstairs about 9 am. to find Mrs S feeding Michael & when that was over she got me my breakfast (lovely bacon) & when
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[underlined] that [/underlined] was over it was nearly 10, then Frances was bathed, so that it was 1.20 nearly before she got her feed. Now its a quarter to one & she's still sound asleep, so I suppose I can consider myself lucky. The bath passed off without any untoward occurrence, in front of the kitchen fire, & I suppose in time I shall get quite a dab hand at it. 3 p.m. Both the Sandfords are very friendly & cheerful, & it really does seem an ideal household for me to spend these first weeks in. Mrs Sandford insists on washing out my nappies for the first day or two for me, & of course there is always some washing being done for Michael, baby-clothes always blowing on the line & others airing by the fire, so that Frances causes less upset here than she would almost anywhere. Mrs Sandford is a very cheery soul, & we get on well together – we seem to find plenty to talk about. She has gone into town this afternoon with Michael & her sister-in-law & her 16 month baby Keith, & Mr Sandford is engaged in painting the walls round
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the hall & stairs, performing aerobatic feats with a plank & ladder. Frances is snoozing in her Karrikot in the window of the front room, with the sun on her – it's too windy to risk putting her out today - & here am I sitting snug by the fire writing to my darling. All very peaceful. I feel slightly weak about the legs today, so I'm taking things very easily, according to instructions. I haven't yet come to financial terms with the Sandfords. I've started off on the subject once or twice to Mrs Sandford but she's inclined to wave it aside. I'll broach it when they are both together & get it fixed. That's about all that's happened so far, so I'll leave this for further instalments. Promise me you'll look after yourself & be a good boy. All my love darling one.

[underlined] Monday [/underlined] am. Your letter has just arrived – I'm so glad you've dropped into such good billets, you certainly deserve a bit of home comfort after all these months of miserable digs. Pity Olga & I & our offspring can't join you & complete the family party!
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I haven't long before the post goes, so I must be brief. My first good impression of the Sandfords holds good still – we get on very well together. Yesterday I found myself giving her instruction on making white-sauce for lunch, next it's to be soup-making, & I'm also to help her with her dress-making & teach her smocking. In return she looks after me well, does a lot of my washing – whichever of us does the washing naturally washes any nappies that are dirty, yet Frances uses nearly 3 times the number Michael does! I give her a hand with washing up & so on, but whenever I feel weary I promptly retire & sit it out, so you needn't worry that I do too much. Yesterday afternoon I went up to bed & slept from 3 – 6! Frances is pretty well a model baby all day, sleeps solidly from feed to feed, but her weakness
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is the night, she simply cannot last through from 10 pm to 6 am, with the result that I don't get much sleep in the early hours, So I take it in the afternoon. I shall have to compromise over the night feeding hours, giving it to her at 11pm or so & at 5 or even earlier if she wakes, I'm sure it can't be right for her to howl for 3 or 4 hours on end which she does if I'm strong-minded & leave her. I'll gradually get the hours back to normal little by little – I'm convinced they must have fed her on more than glucose & water in the middle of the night at the maternity Home. She really is a darling thing!
The RAF have sent the form for me to collect an extra book for 7/6 a week for Frances. Ba writes today that Mrs Willett may not be able to have me after all. A bombed out cousin from London has descended on her & she can't
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turn her out till she has somewhere else to go. Very annoying for me, but I shall write & tell Ba that the Sandfords are quite willing to keep me till Whitsun, & maybe I could transfer to Mrs Williams then, or to Barnet, so that this unwanted cousin may be gone by then. Margery Gunn is looking out for something else, or the Babies' Home is of course always open. Anyway there's no violent hurry & I'm very well off here, & quite happy. Jane may become a problem if the Royles do move, but we'll worry about that later on.
I have compounded with Mrs S. for £2 a week all in, & I think that's the best arrangement. She seemed very pleased. She will cook & provide all food, & I eat with them in the kitchen,
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tho' why they don't use that nice light dining room I can't imagine! Yesterday Mrs Jones & Betty called – they were driving out to the country in the same car with driver that we had, & they brought me one or two letters, the RAF one, receipt from maternity Home & the one to you I am forwarding with this. Ba writes that the Northwest (Gas C.) have tried to get in to read the metre at Lido but of course haven't been able & suggest making an average charge & refunding later. Ba has asked Mrs Neal to let the man in if she see him or by appointment.
That's all for the moment. I hope this isn't quite illegible. I'll pop it off to post now (only next door) I promise I will look after myself, so you needn't worry. So glad you're enjoying life up there, be careful in those nasty aeroplanes. Churchill's speech yesterday was good, wasn't it.
With all my love, Ursula XX from Frances (neigh Pumpkin)



Ursula Valentine, “Letter from Ursula Valentine to her husband John Valentine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed December 10, 2023, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/19553.

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