Friday, 20 May 2011

Letter to Molly Platt from Tom Critchley 30.4.1941


My Dear Molly,

If you are out to criticise the spelling of a Critchley you have a very easy task. If you are a true Critchley or even only half a one (pedantically 'an one' usage says a one) you can't spell for nuts. I don't know anything about the Platts, but the Critchleys are quite unable to spell. All they can do is give words their correct meaning.
You say the Oxford dictionary may not apply to Scotland since it is English. I would be glad to know what language they speak in Scotland, and what the Scots speak when they come to England. It is a problem I have often pondered, because there is undoubtedly some resemblance to English in some of the words.
As for 'sort', it seems to have assorted meanings, & the Scots resort to it on all sorts of occasions. Ever since the sort, or union, they have tried to dis-sort (unfix or break away) themselves from the sort with the English. Not that we the English sought sort with them, they aren't the sort one would chosse to sort with, or consort with; no on our part it was quite unsought. What can't be sorted must be endured. One thing I must admit, the scenery makes some asorts (amends) for the people.
Have I got into a sort (fix)? or have I got into the way of using sort correctly? No doubt you can sort it out.
We have had very little sunshine, a short spasm now & then just to show there is a sun, but it still keeps cold, too cold for the time of the year.
We, like you are outside the balloon barrage, the nearest is 2 or 3 miles away, the works too is outside but from there, we can count several hundred on a clear day, mainly the ones around East London & the Thames. Did we tell you of the time we saw an airman come down by parachute & drop onto a balloon? They had to lower the balloon to get him off, It was during the time of the big fights by day over London.
During the Blitz, which we so fortunatlely missed by staying in St Helen's until Sunday, two people I know had rather trying experiences. A man in our office had a land mine in his garden & it didn't go off. He said it was over 10 ft long & nearly 3 ft in diameter, & dropped into soft earth and stuck there until the RE's came and took off the detonators. The son of a neighbour of ours came to see us on Sunday. He said he was gazing out of a window at his flat when he saw the parachute fall, He chucked himself flat & says it seemed quite  time before there was a vivid yellow flash & then he got a brick on his head & felt glass going through his clothes.
During the last war 2 Zepps were brought down near us & the crews were buried at Potters' Bar. On our way home from St Helens, we passed the cemetery & noticed a crowd of people there. The previous night Jerry had dropped a land mine in this cemetery & scattered graves all over the place.
I hope you have a pleasant time when you visit your friends, though I cannot imagine anyone enjoying themselves amongst such people (Grandpa is, of course only teasing Molly about her friends BC).
Love from Auntie Annie and Uncle Tom

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