Thursday, 21 April 2011

Tom Critchley to Molly Platt 21.4.41

37 Lonsdale Drive,

My dear Molly,

The enclosure is not a packet of fags (I beg your pedantic parden – cigarettes) but the long promised piece of aeroplane. As you can see the piece shows bullet marks which helped to disintegrate the machine.
I am wondering if our local rates include entertainment tax during air raids, for if they do I want a rebate on mine, as we missed two really good do's while we were away. On the Wednesday night they only dropped common high explosives & smashed a few houses. Some folks had a lucky escape by doing our stunt of hiding under the table. The real bad do here was on Saturday when two land mines dropped at the back. The next door people were under the stairs with the wind up after the Wednesday raid. They say the house shook to the foundations. The people 2 or 3 doors away have a married son whose place was smashed up & the son & wife carted off the hospital. There were so many taken to this hospital they had to wait 4 hours before they could be treated.
When we got home on Sunday afternoon we found our back door & cupboards wide open; the fire places were full of soot so Jerry has really done us a good turn in sweeping the chimneys for us. We left windows open & chinks of soot seem to have drifted in, even the bath had soot in it.
As we as were coming home we saw the first signs at Potters Bar & then the shops near us – three were all minus windows so we began to wonder if we should see our house fit for heroes to live in & were quite relieved to find no damage.
Now to much more serious matters. In your youthful ignorance & partly-educated conceit you had the audacity to challenge, nay more, to laugh at, in scorn & derision, the use of the verb "want". The cake wants eating! Well for your education (no charge for private tuition) the Oxford dictionary shows that not only are you mistaken but also that a Scotch education has warped your concept of the English language.
To want may mean to require – as used by L Carroll "your hair wants cutting said the Hatter". The cakes wants eating " said the Critchleys! Please, oh please, don't reply to this until you have read all about in in that standard English work the "Oxford dictionary. What they say in Scotland is no argument, it's the noble English language we are dealing with & not the mongrel stuff debased by our northern neighbours.
On the other hand, but no effort of imagination, can one find the least excuse for using the word "sort" as used in Scotland. There one has a word missed by the uneducated & for which there is no justification. It isn't English & it isn't Gaelic, it's just bad slang & that's that!
What sort of a journey did you have? When we set out in sunshine on Sunday morning we were congratulating ourselves on waiting until the Sunday, but by the time we got to Rugby, we weren't so pleased. We ran into rain, then thunder which sounded just like a Blitz, then it turned to hail, very heavy indeed, which stuck on the windscreen. The sides of the roads became "burns" & for about 80 minutes things were very unpleasant.
The storm seemed to travel with us, but by doing 60 for a while we won during the last lap and arrived home just ahead of it. The tail end broke just as we got here.
Tom had to work yesterday, so we rang  the Robinsons to see if he & they were all right & then I rang up the works.
They had two landmines near but no damage. One of the landmines is still suspended on some railings, so somebody has a nice job to get it down.
Tom says he has been about London after every Blitz, but never but had never seen the damage there was after Wednesday night's attempt.
I wish you had come back with us. You could have cut the grass for us – it wants cutting – & I want an assistant so that I can stand by & criticise.

Give our love to your mother and father & keep a bit back for yourself.

Uncle Tom

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