2012-03-27 16.24.26

Lenny my old mate,
Your letter about that dog set me thinking about some of the old days. You’re right things aren’t what they used to be when it comes to dogs. People either carry them round or get them to behave on the lead. In our day no self- respecting dog or man would behave on a lead. Can you remember that dog Diddy David had, cross between a Churlshire Whippet and a Basingstoke Hound? Dear old thing it were. Whenever Diddy took a nap on his sette the thing would slink over and lay atop of him until the weight of the thing would stop him breathing. If Diddy’s wife hadn’t given it a lump with the broom handle in good time Diddy would have been a gonner most nights.

Then there was that Beagle Laurence Potts had, you know the one that liked to rub its arse on everything and everyone. Janice Potts used to say it was just its way of making friends but then she always was a bit optimistic about her dogs on account of her not having any children to kill off all the optimism in her. As I say most days to Joan if it weren’t for the kids that people have we’d all be swanning around, doing what we like, with money to spare and then where would the world be? As you know I’m not in favour of youth but give it its due. Without the young there’d be no threat to the environment and no bugger strong enough to carry a load of coal up the hill to Ma Parker’s coalbunker.

Talking of Laurence Potts has just put Laurence and Potts into my head, I can’t think why, funny old thing the mind isn’t it? Do you remember Denny, or was it Donny, Seaswell what used to work for them? Well I saw him the other day in Dissingham feeding the ducks. I said hello to him and we had a chat about this and that and he told me that Percy Mackhand had dropped down dead the Tuesday before last. He’d just driven home from a day at the races and taken the paper out of the bit of pipe on his front fence when he fell down dead as the fence post he laid next to. Tom Bidmin found him a few hours later when he went past on his bike on the way to the Vicarage. Well Denny, or Donny, said the whole village were in a real panic for a few days clearing out his shed and house before Percy’s son got up from London and took charge of the inheritance. You know what he’d have done if they hadn’t got in first, cleared the lot out saying it were a load of rubbish. Denny, or Donny, was able to lay his hands on a couple of rotivators, some paint that was left over from the war, the sort they used up at the ‘drome to paint the doors on the Nissen huts with, and a box of spanners and sockets. Tom Tims got hold of the oil cans, spanners and sockets and Tim Toms made off with the chisels and a couple of old tyres for an Austin 7 Ruby. Anyway disaster was averted and everything of real value was cleared away before the lad arrived from London.

Must go now Len, have found a good charity shop in Swafham which does a good line in shirts and I think I could do with a couple more plus Joan’s been complaining that we never go anywhere so it’s a chance to spoil her a bit.
Wally.

News from Norfolk: Old Dogs

November 17, 2013

2012-02-14 11.13.33

Morning Wal

Trevor came round with his new dog last Thursday. Maureen had gone on the mystery coach day tour with Doreen to Spalding Orchid Centre. It’s never a mystery, the coach always goes there, the mystery is that the woman keep going. I didn’t like the look of the dog to start with. It looked a bit foreign with its French muzzle and Belgian hind quarters. He’d found it on the Ellingham straight – nice to hear that’s still the place to abandon rabid pets and quarrelsome children. I warmed to the old thing in the end though. As I was saying cheerio to Trevor at the back door, it slunk back in and gave me a sharp nip on the back of the heel. That’s the sort of underhand nastiness you should look for in a family pet. There should always be that nagging doubt as to whether it should be left alone in a room with little ‘uns.

Course, it’s not a patch on my dad’s old dog – Rover, the Quidenham rough hair. I can still see him creeping on his belly out from under the table, barely moving the tassels on my mother’s green brocade tablecloth, to slowly sink his teeth into my father’s arm before legging it back under the table. How we’d laugh! Mother would barely stop breathing and would have to lean out of the window on account of her asthma. Never bit anyone else that dog. That’s loyalty for you. Not like these boutique dogs today, the Matthew Pinsent Pointer and Simon Cowell Corgi. When was the last time you saw a Dutch whippet or a Spalding spaniel? Dogs Wal, you can’t live with them, and you can’t live with them tied up in an old van in your back garden apparently.

Lenny.

cat2

Dear Len,

How old are them there children now? It only seems a while back there were all that fuss over one of them getting his head stuck in that there gate down Swingy Lane and poor old Tom Biggins having to cycle like hell back to his to get the washing up liquid to squirt in his ears. His mother reckoned they were still getting bubbles out of the left lug hole two months later, but I s’pose on the bright side his ears will be soft for years to come.

I was thinking of Roger just the other day. I’d painted the front gate for old Rosa Wood and were standing watching it dry when I thought to myself I wonder how old Roger is on account of how like listening to him it were watching the paint skin over. That led me to thinking of that blue handled hammer I left in your shed a while back. You remember we were giving that old AJS piston a fair old wallop when we spotted Roger heading in our direction. You tossed the hammer over your shoulder and we just made it in to the bushes at the back before he stuck that pink old head of his in to your shed calling out for us. Anyway it were nice to see him, especially as I didn’t have to listen to nothing he had to say, but I left later without the hammer. I’ll have to pick it up sometime soon as it is the only one that I’ve got to change the channel on the TV in the backroom. One hit for BBC 1, two for BBC 2, 5 to get Anglia with the snow and 6 to get it without so long as the wind is coming in over Tacolneston.

Talking of wind have you seen Spar have got beans on special this month? I sent Joan off with her shopping trolley to pick up a couple of trays. She had a bit of a moan, said wouldn’t it be easier if I went in the car. I said, I s’pose you think getting it down off the ramps, putting the rear axle back on and doing a spot of welding on the fuel tank is easier do you? She said, I thought you were just going to hoover it out this weekend. There’s more to keeping it on the road than giving it a hoover, I said, now I’ve got the ramps back off Doug Barrett it’d be remiss not to give it a look underneath. At that she gave me one of her looks and set off for the shop. She was back just in time to put on the tea so no harm was done by letting her say her little piece before she set off. Nobody can say I don’t respect her right to free speech especially if it doesn’t interfere with her getting the next meal on the table.

Anyway I’d better bring this letter to a close as I’ve just got time before turning in for the night to take the lawnmower apart again. It was running well this morning but it’s best to be on the safe side.
Yours Wally

cat1

2012-03-20 16.23.39

You’ll remember I was contemplating that constant companion men of our age have when I last wrote – Death Wal, not ulcerated legs and digital watches. Got me thinking what I’d like Maureen, Peter and David to do with me when I’ve gone. Obviously my first choice is being left leaning up against that old Christmas tree in Maureen’s front garden so they’ll be able to see me when they are at the table for Sunday dinner. Maureen reckons it won’t hold my weight though. I’d also like to leave something for the kiddies. I’ve got 3 Golden Virginia tins filled with silver, a Tupperware box of buttons and a Haynes manual for an Opel Ascona for someone. I leave them out when the young uns come round, doesn’t hurt for them to see what you can have at the end of your life if you work hard and chain smoke. To tell the truth Wal, I despair of the younger generation. I saw Mick last week with his boy Gary. He’s a bloody boy, at least 6’ 2 and a fag paper, chest wide enough to get stuck coming out of the outside privy and hands like leaf rakes. What does he do? Works for Norwich union! Pushing pens 9 – 5 when his grandfather worked at Partridges farm for 40 years breaking his back with the threshing machine, till he broke his back falling off the threshing machine. It’s like that Jan Leeming on the telly, she’s no business earning that money whilst there’s men in Gorleston jobless. There’s a phrase for it Wal, it’s the lavatory chain swung too far. It never happened before Shirley Williams and the SDP. I don’t want to worry you Wal, but I think the Davids and Shirley are back – Scotland this time, promoting Salmon fishing I think.
I’ve said too much. I’m off to smear that fromage frais on the front window so Roger can’t see in.
Lenny.

2012-09-09 17.36.47

Well Len, there i’nt nothing going on in these here parts so I were right glad to be getting your letter. The blooming tennis is on and everybody’s fallen asleep in front of the box sozzled on that lemon and barley rubbish they sell at Spar now. No bugger would touch the stuff if they weren’t overcome with the horror of seeing grown men running around in white short shorts. I said to Joan no right minded man would be seen dead in shorts shorter than their longs in my day and she had the nerve to say she quite liked them tennis men and their shorts. Well that was that, I had no bloomin’ choice but to go and stand for a while in the back garden. I spent a bit o’ time sorting through the fag butts in my pockets and had a good look at that old wheel I’ve got propped up in the far corner behind the shed. Now you’ll be glad to hear that wheel is coming along nicely. You can only just make it out in them there nettles I planted a few years back and there’s a good amount of rust blooming on the hub. I reckon it will be ready to roll out of there and have a proper look at some time next year.

So you’ve got the Hertfordshire lot there have you? He didn’t come down in the Renault again did he? How’s that rear axle coming along on it? It must be nigh on 3 years since David and that boy of his stuck it together with a tube of Araldite and an old boot lace. We’re right lucky to have someone that mechanically minded we can turn to when there’s a motor that needs fixing. I’ve heard of that formage frais muck they brought you down. My Marion was here a couple of months back and said she were thinking of getting some of it for tea when Sandy and Paul next called. They always bring bags of Fisherman’s mates and them splintered up bit of seaside rock in colours that nobody’s got round to naming yet. Marion feels obliged to match it with something a bit different, but I soon put her straight – You don’t want to go encouraging them by giving them stuff. They’ll start thinking you’re pleased to see them and then you’ll never be shot of them. She called me a grumpy bugger, but I told her – You’ll a see, a few more years down the line and they’ll be turning up at your hospital bed and it’ll be too late to get out of it then. She wouldn’t take any notice though, blooming girl, she only went and said that some people like to have friends. Friends I said, you don’t need friends, you’ve got me and your mother, how do you think you’re going to look after us in our old age if you’re off gallivanting with blooming friends?

Sometimes Len, I look at that gal of mine and I think maybe I should of put me oar in a bit more with her. Joan has given her too many high fluting ideas. It’s the young. They don’t understand friends. I told her me and Wally got sat next to each other first morning at school by old Biddy Woodley and that was it. We were friends. None of this trying to find out if we liked each other. None of this trying to be interesting or nice. Like it or lump it Biddy Woodley had put us together and together we’ve stayed and what, I said to Marion, is wrong with that. Well of course there weren’t nothing she could say to that was there.

Yours Wally

2013-06-29 19.07.32

Dear Wally
No visitors today so I stood at the gate for a few hours in the rain. Not much happening, old boy went past on his bike with a Happy Shopper bag blowing in his face. Makes you wonder how I managed to cause that five car pile up coming back from Hunstanton.

Maureen’s relatives have been down from Hertfordshire again. They can’t get enough of the Norfolk fresh air and peace and quiet. They must be half deaf and in need of a Vic Stick. Got up this morning to a lung full of Peter’s pigs and an earful of David’s boy Darren trying to start his Escort for an hour. He’d flooded it, same as every morning. His mother says he can’t afford the petrol to run it. They syphon a bit out of the vicar’s Fiesta now and then just so he can start it in the morning. Anyway, getting back to the Hertfordshire lot – I said to Maureen, go on then, what did they bring this time? You remember that jar she gave me and we thought she was choking but it turned out to be decaf coffee? I told her straight, we don’t tolerate coffee drinkers round these parts decafinerarated or not. Anyway I thought it couldn’t get worse, but this time they brought ‘fromage frais’, a cross between cheese and yoghurt apparently. More like a cross between too much money and too little manual labour. Even the dog wouldn’t eat it, put it off it’s usual bowl of gooseberries. Anyway they’re gadding about all over the place, Attleborough one day, Wymondham the next, wouldn’t be surprised if they’d made it to Watton by the end of their three weeks.

Roger came round with the EDP. Luckily I was busy hitting the tv with the walking stick and didn’t hear him shouting through the letter box and rapping on the window. Will have a look and see who’s died this week, perhaps it’ll be you. Hope not as I’ve already stuck a stamp on the envelope.

Yours as always
Len

20130917_220557

Well Wally,
Peter’s boy David has been round. We spoke for some time whilst his dad looked through the kitchen drawers for an Allen key. His university is nowhere near Gainsborough apparently. He is at Lancaster University and he goes to those all you can eat buffets some of which cost him nearly £10! He says Lancaster is a smallish town, like Dereham, but with more gravy. Students come from all over the world to study there. He’s met 2 welshmen, 1 scot and would you believe it? A girl from Beccles. He has a lady friend, but has not proposed I’m glad to say. I’ve told him to be careful not to mention he stands to inherit a Fordson Major tractor to her. We know how these girls get ideas. I remember I made the mistake of mentioning my father had a sidecar and access to the vicar’s tandem to a young sweetheart from Fakenham. From then on in I’d station my brother David at Pig’s Snout corner to holler when he saw her coming on her bike of a Sunday. I’d then spend the next couple of hours in the ditch at the back till she got tired and cycled back to Fakenham. We weren’t all blessed with meeting a Joan like yours Wally.
I’m off to bed after I’ve had a look in next doors wheelie bin.
Hope this finds you well.
Lenny

programme1

programme2

Lenny, nice to hear you and Peter are still talking despite that mix up with the food processor last Christmas. He’s a good lad that one but Laura his better half has got a tongue on her. I suppose their eldest is running up one hell of a debt and sleeping all hours, but it will be worth it I suppose if he gets a job in an office. He’ll be able to buy one of those briefcases to keep his pants in and that will make his mother proud.

Mentioning Sutton Bridge took me back a bit. You remember that chap from Laurence and Potts, you know, the one with the Jacket? Well he went there once and had a fish and chip supper. Back then people knew how to have a real knees up. Not like the young uns today. If they aren’t in a car park reversing round corners and eating bio yoghurts they aren’t happy. I blame the teachers. I said to Joan why, oh why, oh why can’t them bloody teachers learn them something useful like how to use a 8 track or make a raffia coaster for their granny.

Talking of raffia did you see the news last night? Seems them buggers in London are talking of making the main road a bit blooming bigger. Next thing you know them Londoners won’t just be visiting Suffolk and hanging round the pier at Southwold they’ll be up here looking round the city and asking for new fangled things like coffee and flan. Something’s got to be done about it. We can’t have them buying up our hovels and making them habitable. Just writing about it is giving me a funny turn and Joan says I ought to go out to the shed for a bit. She’s right. There’s no point getting in a state and I’ve got a spanner that needs taking out of the spanner box and putting somewhere. No rest for the wicked.
Your old mate
Wal

2012-08-11 18.32.03

Dear Wally
What’s wrong with the youth today? I’ve had Shona round with her young lad Jason. The boy’s complaining as his new job is away at Thetford. I said he should count himself lucky he gets to travel. I told him we never crossed Sutton Bridge ‘til we were 28. Ah yes Wal, the first of a few memorable trips in the Dormobile to the jewel of Lincolnshire, Gainsborough. Which reminds me, Peter’s bringing his eldest to see me before he goes back to College Gainsborough way. Short one today, the elastic in my socks is cutting into my ankles and making me riled. My blackbird is looking through the window at me Wally so I’m off to throw something at him.
Keep well
Lenny

queen's royal lancers

Dear Len
I walked into the centre today and saw Noddy has got a new delivery of some Russian shoelaces and Somali fag papers. That Noddy is one of them Dick Branson types, what the Chinese call an entrepreneur. It just goes to show that there’s no need for none of that university education. He’s built up all of that business with just two weeks at the Secondary Modern behind him. He says he would have gone more only Roger were always up first and got to the vicar’s bike before him. Well I got you a box of the papers and six cards of shoe laces for good measure. Joan says she’ll take them to the hairdresser’s next week and Roxy can pass them on to Maureen when she goes in for her wash and set.
Got to dash as we’re expecting company. It’s the day the man from the Pru comes. We haven’t had a policy with him in years, but we don’t like to stop him coming round. It gives Joan something to look forward to as she trims his ear hair for him while he’s here and I tell her it’s good for her to have a hobby like that.
Wally

Blanche Ellis

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