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Date: November 22nd 1942

No 141

Major GS Andrews, RCE.

Survey, HQ First Cdn Army O/S

22 Nov 42

Dear Jean

Another very busy but interesting week, and a good one for mail. Was away all day Friday and Saturday, but when I got back Sat nite, Your airmail of 7 Nov was waiting, an airletter from Gert, and a fine letter from Mike Gregg. On the 18th your lovely parcel arrived, with the flannel shirt, and it is a fine one, it is quite the nicest I have, and fits to a T, and so warm and cozy for winter. The peppermint chocs were most welcome at "Shoelands", and the [?] got up there too, as I will explain. The coffee is doing noble service in the office here, for cold mornings, and evenings when we are finishing up things. At the first of the week, got a nice letter from Dick Orchard, and one from Mickey Trew.// Today has been a gala day, Axel came up for the day, he is a full fledged Lieut now, and I feel that the Cdn Army has gained a fine officer in him. Dick and Lorne phoned that they would e in the district for pm tea, and would meet me at Morris'. It turned out to be practically an invasion, as the tea party included Axel, Lorne, Dick, Bert Hammond, and myself, and Col Carrie so to help out with this sudden emergency, I took up your cake, and it saved the day royally. Mrs Morris was in high fettle, as well as Ecila, and everybody had a good time. I think it was a record to have 5 Victorians together at Morris's at one time, and a fitting occasion to cut your cake, don't you think so? They even wanted us to stay for supper, but of course we couldn't carry it that far.// Got a phone call from Birmingham on Thursday nite, so left here for a few minutes past a 7 Friday am, got to Birm'm in time to have lunch with a certain firm, or rather certain technicians of the firm, and spent the afternoon with them, got my business done, a tour through the works, and back to the station in time to catch a fast train for Derby, arriving about 8 pm. Got a bus there, for Nottingham via Sandiacre, and asked the ticket lady to let me off at the "Red Lion" Pub at Sandiacre. A gentleman sitting behind me tapped my back and said he was getting off there, and would tell me. We got there about 8:30, and after debussing he asked me if I knew where to go, so I explained that I wanted to visit two aged cousins, who were not expecting me so first would like to find a place to stay. He said there was no hotel, but there was a guest-house. He was on his way to the Conservative Club (Sandiacre) of which he was president, and if I would come with him and have a drink, he would phone from there about accommodation. It was a lovely moonlight night, so we walked up the main road of Sandiacre, which I remembered was on the way to Smedleys. Inside the club it was bright and cheery, billiards, cards, darts, clouds of smoke, and a bar in one corner. My newfound friend was greeted with hearty hallo's, as he led me up to the bar, where two pints of Bass were ordered up, and then Mr Fletcher did some phoning. He introduced me to a Captain so and so, evidently from the last war, but a cheerful bloke who engaged me in friendly conversation in the meantime. It was a typical Englishmans small town political club, where the members foregathered for their evening drink and small talk, unless of course there were bigger things brewing in politics. I could see a large picture of Baldwin among others hanging on a prominent place on the wall. Well my friend returned to say that the guest house was full, with no accommodation. But he said he had one more idea, and back to the phone he went, but ordered up two more Bass. Then he returned to say that everything was OK. He was taking me home with him., and if I wanted to see my old folks before they went to bed, to call back at the club for him, before 10, as that was closing time. Another old lad offered to take me up to the Smedleys house, as he was going that way, but as I had feared, there was every indication that the old people had gone to bed, and I didn't have the heart to get them up and flustered, so my new guide accepted my invitation to have a pint, (I had a 1/2pint), in another pub hard by. He said he had known the Smedleys for 55 years, Well I got back to the Conservative club before 10, feeling a bit self conscious, and there was just time for one more Bass before closing, and while my original sponsor, Mr Fletcher, finished a game of darts, which fortunately he won, and 5 shillings with the game. We started off for his home, which was about 15 minutes away, and then I realized that my friends merry and expensive mood might not be shared by his good Mrs. However it was too late to back out now. It turned out to be a generous sized middle class house, and well kept, and Mrs F was all that could be desired in a kind hostess, wife, and mother. The daughter, about 15, got us hot milk, cheese, and breads and we had a nice hours visit by the fire. Fortunately I had two of your Cdn chocolate bars in my brief case, which were cut into pieces and passed around. The son arrived in then, aged 16, and a nice bright looking boy. My snaps of my wife and Mary and Grahame were also passed around, and made a great impression with the ladies. By the time we turned in, I felt quite at home, and they even had put a hot-water bottle in the bed for me. The boy works in the local bank, but is a keen stamp collector, and as a hobby is making a map of his neighborhood, with a chum. I told him a little about my work at home, and the Alaska Highway survey. Next morning the lad brought me a hot cup of tea to wake me up gently, and downstairs Mrs F had a bottle of Eno's fruit salts, a tumbler, and a jug of nice cold water ready for me. I thought this was a prize touch. Breakfast over, I thanked them as best I could and set off for the Smedleys. Am going to write them, and later will find a book to send.// Havent much room left to tell you about the Smedleys. Bernard is now 81, and Bertha is 79. They are in remarkably good health, and have the same good soul, Mrs Lord living in their cottage next door, and she keeps a kindly eye on them. They were overjoyed to see me, and I think really have forgiven me for not coming back sooner. Of course, they look on me as a Smedley and seem very proud to have a Major in the family. They were also very proud of my lecture, a reprint of which I sent them. I came away loaded with heirlooms, which I am sending, and will say more about anon.

LOVE to you both,


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