Sunday, 23 January 2011

Tom Critchley to his sister Mary Platt January 23rd 1941


My Dear Mary,

Ever since we started fire spotters I have been seedy and Tom has been doing my duty. He is one of the lucky ones & he's never had to turn out. In some mysterious way the all clear goes just before he is due to turn out & the warning doesn't go until his turn is over.
My cold (or flu) is just about better & so is that part of it I passed on to Annie. How are your colds? I can assure you I didn't give you my cold, that I gave to Annie, so you must have pinched yours from some other body.
I doubt if you would have coal fires in every room if you lived here. We can't get the stuff now. We have had it on order for about a month & only had a little to put us on.
We weren't short, but like to keep well supplied these days. What our electricity bill will be like goodness knows as we have had a fire on all night for some time now & Tom has one in his room to warm it up before he goes to bed.
We had some onions once, it was about a fortnight before Christmas when by some strange accident we got a pound. They were used on the chickens, so I am afraid I cannot send any along. As for meat, well that has been scarce too. You should have seen me the other Sunday when Tom was in for dinner, hacking recklessly at a 2/4 (about 12p in today's currency BC) joint.
Now he is billeted out his coupons help as he gets more than we two together.
I wanted to buy a cow when war broke out. My idea was to operate on the beast now & then – a leg one week & cut off the rump later. When she had got used to her wooden leg, then off could come another. (This is Tom's sense of humour BC)
I was overuled. The objection was the shocking state the grass would he in by the time the animal was hobbling about on 4 stumps. In wet weather she'd make holes every time she moved.
I have got L Goldings books out of the local library. They are very interesting but not so good as Morton's. Mollie must try and get his "In the Steps of the Master". The chap who showed him some of the special sights in Jerusalem & later showed the Princess Royal, still later, took Ronald round.
As Mollie evidently enjoyed Ronald's letters I am sending one or two more for her perusal, also some photos, all of which please return.
Your letter came early this week, perhaps because your old man posted it in Edinburgh.
This letter never got finished, so I'll have a go now. anyhow you'll know we haven't been bombed because there have been no night raids since last Sunday. What Jerry is preparing for goodness knows: one of two things I think, either an intensive attack on ports & shipping in which case Glasgow will get a dose or a big attack in the South leading to an attempted invasion. If the latter, it wouldn't surprise me if he uses gas. We went to have our gas masks re-fitted today. Gas is no good except in concentrated areas such as city centres & even then, I think it is more of a nuisance than a danger. Harry should know all about that.
The weather has been pretty foul lately, fog snow rain, & Scotch mist, so that may be partly the reason for the quiet nights, but he has been in bad weather lots of times so it's not the sole reason. We don't lie awake wondering &, as we see it, the worst thing will be once more having to get used to being raided. We've had a nice rest thankyou (or Goering) so ought to be ready for the next dose.
Love to you all from us all


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