New Year’s Eve.
A very happy New Year to you my dear to all beloved of you. Blessings for the second lamp to lighten the mercifully decreasing darkness. Eke to flash & blind the incoming tramp. For our house, day & night, is open to all comers. Our doors, you must know, made of unseasoned post-war wood, have been dropping for years & both back & front were obstinate when we arrived. This I indicated to the one local efficient, who is responsible to Mrs Scott for the condition of this bungalow. Scratching his head he said it would mean unhinging of ’em. “Good opportunity” said I, “quiet weather.” Pleading pressure of work, he promised for later. Presently front-door jammed beyond our powers, united, to shift it. Back-door required a complex shoulder-knee-&-foot manoeuvre & much strength, very tiring. So I sent ultimatum message in the most high-flown London English at my command. Penitent message &
promise via beguiling wife. Weeks elapsed. They always do, down here between p. & fulfilmt. At last I put on boots & spurs & clanked forth to slay: threatened to get a man from the next parish, shouting up to a roof whereon I found my man. “I’ll be around in the morning Mrs Odle ma’m.” And he was. At eight o’clock. A wild windy twilight. Our sun rises 20 min. later’n your’n, you know, & it was the shortest day. I was more or less hup & dressed &, to my joy, he couldn’t get in, not nohow. He pushed. I pulled. In vain. The door, dear thing, knowing he was coming, had made up its mind to learn him. Fortunately the handle catch will stay put, either way. So I fixed it back & stood off, & he retired into the landscape & came for the door at a run. Hefty man. Narrow slip of a room. When he hit the wall opposite door, all my saucepan-lids, colanders & other hanging ironmongery, leapt from their nails & crashed about the room. Glaring at the vanquished door & rubbing his shoulder: “Fancy him jamming like that” said he. At the same moment I caught sight, through the crack of an inner door, of the brown eye of
Alan-in-pyjamas, anxiously investigating. He had been wakened from a doze by the end of the world. That finished me. When my hysterics were over I retired to the kitchen to find the door meekly propped against the table & the efficient gone to investigate its fellow. Wishing to cook breakfast rather than be blown into the sea I begged him to do one at a time. So he planed & puffed & I wept my remaining tears & squeaked my irrepressible squeaks into the fry-pan. Our doors are dreams. We open & shut them without need, just to see how be-utifully they do it. But the front lock, as I say, will no longer work. So we put the umbrella-stand against door at night to fall & warn us of a visitor. With that and torches we feel fully defended. We’ll be here until about end March & then possibly at Trevone. Can’t say. Our 32 tenant, poor dear, went last month to his home & died there. He leaves a widow & children in poor cir-
circumstances. So the rooms are to be had for a song. And now dear Peggy I must drop, as far as all but inevitable letter-writing is concerned, into a deep silence. From which I hope to emerge with a good deal of work done. As to book I cannot definitely say. There’s so far far too much to do besides. But whatever spare time can be scraped together when the two kinds of pot-boiling are daily done, must go to that. However much tempted I may feel to write to friends instead.
Both our loves,