"142 Blackheath Hill
Rain, rain and still more rain! You never saw anything like the way it can rain in this country. Every day it rains at least three or four hours. You see sunshine perhaps for an hour or so and then, before you are aware of it, the sky is heavily overcast and rain is falling. Fortunately I have not lost any time at work. Most of the men on demolition work are laid off when the weather is bad. I seem to be favored somewhat as I have been kept standing by for an hour at a time doing nothing but waiting for the rain to let up. Our roofing job is lasting very well. If Wilson & Walter couldn't run a roof on quicker than we are doing it, they would never make a very fat living. The particular roof we are working at is 140' long and 28' wide each half. The building is three stories and the roof is quite a steep peak. The slates were greatly damaged by bomb splinters, and we are busy stripping off the slates and covering the roof with rubberoid roofing, sealing all overlapping with bitumen after and before nailing.
By the way Dearie, there seems to be a few of your letters missing. On checking up carefully, I find that Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15 & 17 are missing. I wouldn't be surprised if they have gone down to Davey Jones' locker.
I enclosed a 1 pound note in #13 of my letters and I hope you received it safely. I don't know how to send you money from time to time. It is such a small amount, the charges by sending it through a bank eat up most of it. Postal note is just as risky as registered letter. We shall try it as I have done this time. I shall send a pound now and again. You will at least get one once in awhile no doubt as all letters won't fail to reach you.
I can taste your Xmas cake already, Dearie, you have gone to so much trouble. I do hope it arrives safely. I shall be on the lookout for it most any day now.
Douglas is working at some medical book. Olive is seated by his knee in front of the fire reading. I am in a wicker chair with this pad on my knee. The wind is blowing enough to rattle the windows and an air raid warning sounded a few minutes ago to inform us of Jerry's presence over England.
By the way, I have never described a journey from my 'digs' to Blackheath. I rush home from work as black as I usually look when working, give myself a complete sponge bath, change into my dress-up togs and run for the bus. Thousands and thousands of people do the same thing evidently just about the same time of day, because all streets along Old Ken Road (refer to London map) seem to be swarming with running people, carrying anything from a roll of bedding to coat, umbrella. Those carrying bedding are running to nearest shelter, others are scurrying from work trying to get a bus, train or other vehicle to carry them to their homes or places of abode for the night. You have seen University Avenue at rush hour in the evening. Picture such a highway with trucks, buses, trains and cars all hurrying to get along, with pedestrians in groups waiting at the 'stops' and many others running or nearly so, trying to make their way along as best they can. Public conveyances have proved to be so inadequate to carry such a mob in such a short time, that the Government has decreed that owners or private vehicles and trucks are obliged to stop and pick up anyone that are at the usual bus stops. For this the owners of these vehicles are permitted to purchase an additional quantity of gasoline. Pedestrians so picked up are not obliged to pay but they may contribute whatever they wish to the driver of the car. The government has assumed full liability insofar as personal injury is concerned (a touch of real socialism hey what?) What I do is to try to gain foot room on a bus if my patience is good enough--if not, I walk, rain or no rain. I arrive here (distance about 3 miles) at about 6:30 p.m. We have supper at 7:30 or 8 and then we read, write or study until 10:30 or so, have a cup of chocolate and then I walk home. Whenever I go to Richmond, it is the same thing, except that the distance is 14 miles, and invariable I have to walk about 3 or 4 miles of it and wait about two hours altogether in making connections. I can use rail, bus, train or 'shank's mare,' whichever happens to have the best nerve in face of falling bombs. 'Shanks mare' is frequently the most dependable.
Monday night was a bit unpleasant for Betty, Miss Day & Miss Sendamore. Bombs (six in all) dropped only a few hundred yards from their dugout. Miss Sendamore said the concrete walls seemed to vibrate like jelly. They were a bit unnerved, except Betty. It doesn't affect her like it does the others. Apart from that there was no damage, except where the bombs landed.
I received a letter from Atlee Clark of Montreal yesterday, but no letter from you. Perhaps by Saturday there will be three or four. Hurry on Saturday!
I do wish you were here Sweetheart. I simply long and long for you day after day. A big heartfull of love and a kiss and hug to comfort you to dreamland.
Interesting to see how the British adapted to the traffic problem.
Saturday, Nov. 23rd/40
Just think by the time this letter reaches you it will be very near to Xmas Day. I had better begin to wish you a Merry Xmas just in case some of my letters go astray. My one great desire is to be with you not only on Xmas Day but always. However one's thoughts invariably turn to those he loves on Xmas Day and the one he loves most is naturally unusually close to him at that time. I am not looking forward to anything but a very quiet day. In fact it looks now as if we shall have very little time off from work. There seems to be an uncertainty as to just how Xmas will be celebrated in England. Because it falls on Wednesday, most industries, because of pressure of time to maintain production as high as possible seem to think it would be better to keep thing going with a little interference as possible. We shall not have more than one day off if we have any at all. The Gliddons have very kindly invited me to spend the day with them at Chippenham. I don't think I shall be able to do this as my time off work will not permit going so far away.
I received No. 17 of your letters yesterday. To date Nos. 12, 13, 14, & 15 are missing. It looks bad Sweetheart. I have not lost hope altogether but something seems to say they have gone to 'Davy Jones' Locker. I am very glad to hear that you have received papers from me. Also that Mim Slade has written you. You will have received Betty's letter by this time.
I feel so sorry and not a little bit worried about you being alone at home, Dearie. I was amused at Cyril Garth's assistance, but it should not be that you have to call in the neighbors every time you want comfort.
My whole heart full of love Dearie, heaps of kisses and hugs. I shall write again tomorrow.
Oh, let's do another letter . . . .
Sitting on a park bench overlooking Blackheath - (5 minutes away from Olive's house)
Sunday, Nov. 24th/40
I left Olive's last evening about 10:20 o'clock. Olive and Betty were alone as Douglas went on duty about 4 p.m. I had to work at the factory this morning at a sewer job. The work could only be done on a Sunday, and four of us were detailed to do it. [Sounds fun!] I returned home at Bonamy at 12:30, cleaned up, had dinner with Mrs. Doran (her married daughter was present for dinner too) then I came right along to Blackheath to see Betty and Olive. They are out somewhere as the home is locked. Very likely they have gone over to Woolwich to see Douglas. It is a beautiful fine day, one of the few we have had since October. I believe the temperature is about 55 F, I would think.
There were no letters from you yesterday. I received one letter from you all week long, and a letter on Wed. from Atlee Clark.
You don't know how much I enjoyed your letter yesterday, i.e. the one I received Friday (Betty brought it over from Richmond). You do write wonderful letters Sweetheart. They give me ground encouragement and strength. It is mighty trying not to be able to get on with my work in the Air Force. I suppose one of these fine days I shall get word to report for duty. By that time likely the war will be over. One must not let such matters get one down, but I do want to get going.
I am planning to look Bill up next weekend and see what his plans are for Xmas. If he is free, I think we shall have a quiet little dinner somewhere by our lonesome.
I have averaged about 3 pounds 4 shillings per week ever since I have been working here. It is not very much but it's better than running into any more debt. I am able to pay back about 1 pound per week of what I borrowed here and will soon be square with everyone here. It costs 1 pound 10 shillings for room and food and so far each week I have had to get some clothing. I wear out boots quicker than anything else it seems. The pair I got at Barry Docks are just on their last legs. I wear them to work. I got a new pair two weeks ago and the rain has already made them look like old shoes.
I do wish you were here Dearie. I certainly miss you greatly. I shall take Betty back to Richmond at 5 p.m. and return to Bonamy to be ready for another week's work. I hope the rain holds off for a day or so. It makes such a difference when the weather is fine.
Heaps of love My Dear and take good care of yourself.