Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dumbarton Jan 1946 (I): Post-War Penpals, pt 7

This is a transcript of a letter sent to my aunt from Dumbarton in Scotland, postmarked January 21, 1946. This was a particularly long letter so I am dividing it into three parts over three weeks. Part I will include pages 1-5. The original letter is in my possession. In the interest of security, should the author be living, this transcript may have certain details, particularly surnames, omitted. If you were the author or were involved in pen friends from this area please comment or email.

[street omitted]
Dumbarton
Jan. 19th, ’46

Dear Bobbie,

This isn’t an answer to any letter; it’s just a few lines to let you know that the earth is not yet rid of its greatest plague.

I hope you got my calendar and card, and I thank you again for your card. Life over here is getting worse and worse. After 14 days holidays we went back to school on Jan. 7th to find that on the 14th we were to sit what are lovingly called the ‘schedules.’ This series of tests include every subject and determine the mark at which we are going to sit the H.L.C. Exam in March. However last week was the worst week I’ve ever spent.

Altogether we had to sit 10 exams. On Tuesday afternoon we got off to see a concert given by the Scottish Orchestra. I will enclose the programme(sic) and also the Chem. papers I should have sent you in the last letter. No doubt you will think that I am mad, daft, or nuts! I couldn’t help that as I forgot all about the papers, however I’ll send it this time.

On the 7th Jan., the day we went back to school, we got a double attendance i.e. off at 1 o’clock. So Hugh and I set off on a tour of Loch Lomond. If you got the Calendar you would have found the guide book of Loch Lomond so you can follow our route up the Loch-side. We left Dumbarton at 2:00 p.m. with only our waterproof capes. We left all inflators(sic) bags, and service outfits at home. We went about 25 mph the whole road up. This was due to the fact that we had our 3 speed gears and a good stiff breeze behind us.

Nevertheless all went well and we went through Renton, Alexandria, Balloch, Luss Inverbeg, Tarbet and Ardline. We arrived at Ardline about 3:30, it was deserted (like Aberdeen on a flag day) so we turned and headed for home. We got to Tarbet, stopped for a drink and then got about ¼ of a mile outside Tarbet and my tyre(sic) went flat. Boy did we curse it. We sat on the edge of the road and smoked our pipes, cursing at every car that passed. After 15 mins. however we started hoofing (walking) it.

We walked right thro’ Luss and just as we were coming out of the main street an ancient lorry came bashing down the road doing about 50 mph. I got the “ole magic thumb” going and he pulled up. I jarred him to see where he was going and he said “Drymen” which is on the other side of the Loch. So I asked him for a lift to Balloch. He told us to jump on and we didn’t need coaxing. However he got started and he did 60 if he did 1. We got off at Balloch and again resumed the trek. We arrived home about 7 o’clock. We got our tea and then went to the Carlton and spent the evening playing Snooker. We are connoisseurs at Snooker and Billiards.

We have some of out results from these tests; I was top of the class for Physics with 64% and Geometry with 80%. The rest of our mark we have not yet been told.

The winter has come in with a vengeance. I put the thermometer against the window on Friday night and it registered 38o F. That is in the house; outside it must have been about 31o F. On Friday we had a rain shower which froze after lying for only five minutes. It was terrific; everything was ice! And then the “Snows” came.

I read in a magazine (that a pal of mine had) that one in every five have a car in America! Do you think this is true? If this is so, it means that there will be at least 50 million cars on the road. There are some classy roads too as far as I could judge from the magazine. Over here one in every twenty five has a car and these are mostly business folk. The most popular car in Britain is the Austen, the H.P. ranges from 8-20. But the larger types, consisting of the world famous Rolls Royce, Wolseley, Vauxhall, and Daimler, are not very scarce, but only a millionaire could keep a R.R. as their lowest Horse Power (H.P.) is 25.

(To be continued next week with part II)

Notes:
The card mentioned in paragraph two will be posted on Wordless Wednesday next week.
Vauxhall, Daimler and Rolls Royce are current auto companies and their corporate pages may be “Googled”

Links to some items mentioned:
Wolseley Motor Car - private history site

Austin
- website of the Austin Centenary 2005
Loch Lomond
- website with a map noting most of the villages mentioned.

Links to other posts in the series:
Personal History: Post-War Penpals, pt 1
Dumbarton July 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 2
Bradford Sept. 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 3
Dumbarton October 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 4
Dumbarton Nov 1945: Post-Was Penpals, pt 5
Bradford Dec 1945: Post-War Penpals, pt 6
Christmas Card from Scotland, 1945
Dumbarton Jan 1946 (II): Post-War Penpals, pt 7b

Dumbarton Jan 1946 (III): Post-War Penpals, pt 7c

1 comment:

Shelby said...

love reading these..