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.

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Dear Wally

Hasn’t it been miserable with all this unseasonal good weather? The trouble with this country is it’s either too bloody hot or too bloody cold. First bit of sun of the year and the whole country goes mad. First thing this morning I’m met with the sight of the postman and milkman in short trousers mincing up the path. I told them, them things look indecent on any male over the age of 13. My legs haven’t seen the light of day for over 60 years I’m proud to say and then they were only seen by you when you pulled me feet first out of that dyke after I lost control of your father’s Matchless.

The road’s been in upheaval as Minnie’s daughter in law has been down all week with her young uns. If they aren’t stroking the cat the wrong way they’re being sick from too many of Minnie’s sausage rolls and if they aren’t drinking vinegar they’re taking it in turns to get the swing ball wrapped around their necks. Maureen made me come in in the end, she could see I was enjoying myself too much. I told her, if you can’t get to my age and laugh at hurt kiddies we may as well have capitulated to the hun. Those swing ball bats leave a mark though Wal. Minnie’s youngest grandson still looks like a gingham tablecloth three days after being hit in the face by his brother. They’ve started coming round of an afternoon. They like standing in the shed breathing in the petrol and paint fumes. I’ve got them sorting coffee jars of screws and catching their fingers in bike chains. Minnie’s glad to have them out of her clematis for an hour or two. They’ll be round again soon, they keep Roger talking ’til the six o’clock news.

Regards to Joan
Lenny

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

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

2012-03-08 16.02.20

Dear Lenny,

That Roger do get about don’t he? I remember seeing him coming along Swingy Lane one night as quick as if his arse were on fire. He took that last corner at nigh on twenty miles an hour and were over the handle bars and in the ditch before you could say Lawrence and Potts. He said he were in a rush to get the bike back in the vicarage wood shed before the vicar noticed it were gone. I don’t reckon you were quite right about them there Davids. By my reckoning there were 43 and a half. I expect you were forgetting that Norma’s girl were a David, but was always called Shelly and then there was Diddy Dave which accounts for the half.

I thought I saw Mucky Bob the other day at the car park but it wasn’t him at all it was one of them new bollards they put in to stop the boy racers from practising their three point turns. It didn’t half look like him though. I wonder if they used him as a model for it. You know like they used Auntie Mary as a model for the backend of buses back in the 20s. She had half price travel for that for nigh on eighteen years right up until that day she got stuck in the door of the once a month market day bus and swore she weren’t going on public transport no more.

Hope you back on your feet a bit more Len. I don’t like to think of you stuck in the house every day especially when there’s been a good frost and fog to get out into. Joan and me walked to the phone box and back yesterday. It were nice to get into the great outdoors and see them at number 13 trying to get their cat down off the flat roof again. We stood and laughed at them for a good 20 minutes and then went back home for a cup of tea and a slice of Battenberg. That’s the only foreign grub you’ll catch me eating and like Joan said he weren’t wholly foreign because he were a cousin of the Queen. He was the one who were friendly with Mr Pattern and told him about how he gave away India and that was what gave him the idea about giving away King Kong. You couldn’t expect the Queen to house an ape like that – not at her age.

Yours Wally

2012-02-14 15.09.22

Dear Lenny,

So much water has passed down the outside privy since we had a proper marddle so I were right pleased to get your letter. Tom – the post – Matthews shoved it through the letterbox along with my parish mag and another of them blooming letters about saving some leopard stuck up a tree in the rainforest. I’d have thought they’d have got the blighter down by now, but it seems not.

There’s some right funny business going on round here. Number 13 have only gone and changed their milk order! They’ve started on that queer stuff called semi-skinned. I know ‘cos Ted – the milk – Matthews told me about it. Time was when folk were happy enough to drink full fat and develop a healthy belly you could rest a cuppa on.

There’s been a bit of an upheaval here at number 11 too. Yes, that’s right, I had to go and get another pair of slippers. The old ones gave up the ghost last Tuesday week after just 15 years of daily wear. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times they just don’t make things to last no more. Joan said I should try some of them moccasins this time, but I put her straight. First it’s moccasins and the next it’s pizza or some other such rubbish for tea. What’s wrong with folks today is that they always want some foreign muck or other. Stick to our muck – that’s what I say. Who wants a meal that’s made out of some blooming tower that’s falling over? It’s food like that what gives people the dropsy, makes them all on the h and then where are you? It’s like that bloke Nippy who were with Lawrence and Potts. He ate a stick of spaghetti and were never right after that. You must have known him, he had a hat on and were always wearing them trousers.

Well Joan says the telly aerial needs a bit of a wiggle before the news so I’m off to the attic for a bit to see what I can do.
Yours Wally

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