Sunday, 28 November 2010

Tom Critchley to Mary Platt 28.11.1940

37 Lonsdale Drive,
Enfield, Middlesex


My Dear Mary,
Seth will think we have all formed a league against him (or should it be an axis?).We all seem to think the same about his proposal to send Biddy to  Boarding School.
I agree with Harry, it doesn't take skill to win at a Whist Drive, I expect it was your lucky day. We used to play cards a great deal in Ronald's day, but have only played about once since he went away. Our favourite game then was Contract Bridge and a jolly good game too.
The trouble is folks don't like to be out after dusk, because of the Blitz and the difficulty getting home; besides it isn't nice to be out when the Blitz is in full swing, there are too many guns about, scattering bits all over the place.
Jerry has been kind to us lately, but London to him is like a candle flame to a moth; he will keep buzzing around singeing his wings & can't keep away from it. Some day, lets hope he gets more than singed, & may it be shortly.
Sunday night he never came at all, the second time since August 29th, the other was on November 3rd or 4th. We went from August 29 to Novemebr 4 with one or more raids every night & ditto every day as well.
We occasionally see him going West, literally, he passes fairly close to us, & we can watch the progesss of the waves by the shell bursts & the searchlights beams.
Last night he returned to his old love & his affections were at times hard to repulse. He left some of his visiting cards close by, but as I was asleep & only woke as they fell I have only a vague knowledge of them. Strange how one wakes to a feeling of danger. That was about 1.00 o'clock.
Tonight his overtures are positively embarrassing, or should I say embracing. He seems to be very thick skinned and quite unable to take a hint, far too persistent for our liking.
Tom has got moved to the Guards Barracks at Chelsea, as he has only been there a couple of days it's too early to say what sort of a place it is though his first impression seems to be favourable.
We were very fortunate this week, we had two letters from Ronald. He seems to be enjoying life, thought I think the raids on London worry him. He asked what London was like these days, so I chanced the censorhsip, I gave him a few particulars. Hitherto, we have told him very little because of, perhaps, having the letter destroyed if we said too much. He has been making Christmas Puddings!! The maid had had a week's holiday, so they did their own cooking, invited a friend for the week end & got him to wash up & tidy the palce.
Occasionally we send him a cable just to say we are all still smiling, we sent one this week.

Friday 29th November
So it was Liverpool and district had Jerry's favours last night! I wonder if St Helens had any share in it? As far as one can judge they ought to be fairly safe where they are, but he is such a beggar for wasting his stuff by scattering his seed on stoney ground... may the thorns spring up and choke him.
My experience is, the danger spots are near main roads, railways and gun sights. We are only near the latter & of course not far from the tube where it comes in the open.
We certainly thought we were for it last night, the planes passed over us in wave after wave & it isn't our fault they got beyond here. Everytime I went to have a see, we were surrounded by searchlights, gun flashes & shell bursts. This place shook times without number as the guns fired salvos & its cost us at least two more roof tiles from falling shrapnel. They have added another gun to our battery, now there are 5 - 4.5's & they reckon it good shooting if they all go off as one. Isn't it any wonder we like the doors & windows get jumpy?
Tonight we are having another do like last night, but the direction seems to me more like Birminhgam though we cannot tell, anyhow we'll be more sensible tonight & not think it's meant for us like we did last night.
I think the posting we got a fortnight ago must have made us a wee bit nervous, as we don't seem to relish a repetition. I'll post this tomorrow and let you know if owt happens.
Saturday 30th November
Nowt much happened last night of any major importance. We had the planes buzzing about for over two hours & terrific gun fire, the worst we have ever had, but no bombs dropped near & as far as I can gather nobody seems to have had very many. He flew at a tremendous height, so perhaps he got lost of wouldn't face the shell fire & dumped his loads on the outlying country districts & dug holes in a few more fields. Anyway we went to bed as usual & only woke then things were a bit noisier than they ought to be.
There is a dense fog today & he has been over again for nearly an hour... silly ass. He must have an illegal source of petrol coupons, the way he wastes the stuff.
That's all from the battle front this week, except to say I was asked to contribute towards a fund for comforts for the army this morning. One of my blokes who joined up came to see us at the works during the week & says his army hours are 9-4. He likes it a lot better than working for a living. Our blokes work 12 hours a day & every other weekend & do a night a week on Home Guard as well & rarely get home without having to pass through the barrages. It's comforts for the civilians we want.
Cheerio & love to you all from us both,


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