Letters to Myself 5


47 Bristol Road,



August 15, 1949.


Dear John,

I was reading “Biggles Delivers the Goods” in bed last night, and I turned over a page and there was another letter from you waiting for me. I don’t know how it got there but it was a very nice surprise.

Jane and I just got home from our holiday in Devon. Buster and Mummy drove us in his MG sports car. It isn’t really his, but he borrowed it from where he works selling cars. We stayed on a farm with Mr and Mrs Clatworthy, who Mummy knew when we lived in High Bickington. Every morning we fed the hens and collected their eggs. Some of them were still warm from where the hens had been sitting on them. Then we helped Mr Clatworthy’s men load the hay on the wagons from the rows of stooks in each field, and rode on the back of the wagon to the barn where they stored it. Sometimes we would drive right over the horse’s droppings on the road. They were still steaming.  In the afternoon Mrs Clatworthy and other ladies brought out big mugs of tea and baps with cream and strawberry jam for everyone. One of the men taught me to make a whistle from a piece of straw.

I’m not going to go to Milton Rise school any more. There was a big boy on the bus, he’s nine, and he got me to stand at the back where people get on and off, because he said the bus conductor wouldn’t notice us. So when we got to our stop, we got off without paying, and we spent our pennies on ice cream cones. I didn’t enjoy mine much, though, because I felt bad about not paying my bus fare.

Then there was a fight in the playground, and everyone made a big circle around these two boys. I think it was because they had had lots of other fights before, but this was their last chance before summer holidays, and they wanted to make it a big one. This nine-year-old boy was fighting an eleven-year-old, and he was beating him. The bigger boy’s nose was bleeding and he looked like he was going to start blubbing in front of everyone. Especially when he got another one in his face and fell down and the nine-year-old got on top of him and kept on hitting him. But everyone was cheering and none of the teachers were there to do anything about it.

When I got home I told Mummy about not paying the bus fare, and about the fight. She was very upset, and said I was not going to go back to that school any more. So then I had to go and take a special exam and next month I am going to go to St Peters. It was quite easy, except when I had to write what the word “destroy” meant. I asked Mummy later and she said it meant tearing something down or blowing something up. I expect you knew that, but I think it was a jolly hard word. Traps is going to go to St Peters too, and we can walk there from my house. It’s only for boys, and we have to wear a special uniform. Mummy is going to take me shopping for it tomorrow. We have to keep our caps on all the time when we are outside, but we have to always take them off before we go inside. I don’t understand where we are supposed to take them off.

I don’t sit on Mummy’s knee anymore and she doesn’t kiss me goodnight.  I think she thinks it’s too babyish, now that I’m going to go to St Peters. Or perhaps Mary told her that. She would! But Mummy still reads to me before bedtime. I sit on the edge of her big arm chair in the drawing room and sometimes she puts her arm around me.

Love, John

P.S. Next time I will tell you all about St Peters.

P.P.S. I now have my uniform, so I will write about that too.