10th December 1928
My dear Father
We were so sorry to get Betty’s letter today saying that you were not well; but we felt rather relieved that we had parted with Betty soon than we had intended. I am sure that all of you were glad to have her cheery and competent self back to give a hand, particularly as May is at present an invalid.
It was very nice having Betty here for a little while. As things turned out, we could have done without her; but perhaps her coming acted as a charm to bring quick recovery to Peg. We were, of course, greatly relieved that no visit to hospital proved necessary for Peg. She seems quite well again now.
Betty will have told you that she was here when Mr Porter came up to make his first inspection of the Office since my arrival here. He was very pleased with all that I had done and I had a full day discussing matters with him and laying before him an extensive programme of changes. He agreed with every one of my suggestions and it only remains for him to obtain the consent of the Ecclesiastical Commission to some of the most drastic. The crucial point is whether the Board will consent to the bulk of the agreements, which it is our job to negotiate, being executed here by the deputy Steward on their behalf. At present all agreements have to be sent to London to be sealed by the Board. If we can dispense with that in all the smaller cases it will mean much less labour and much more rapid procedure.
Today was the first day of a five-days sale of furniture at a big house near here. Peg and I went to it in the hope of picking up a few things we want at bargain prices. However, no bargains were to be had. There was a lovely walnut chair of the Stuart period that my souls greatly desired; however it sold for £76, so I was left lamenting! The worst of having a cultivated taste in furniture is that one wants nothing but the very best. I sometimes think that the people who like rubbish must have a much happier time; for there is nothing to prevent them getting what they want.
I am getting on steadily with the garden work. My big rockery which I am building in a high raised bank on the sunny side of the lawn is beginning to look “something like”. It is an excellent position for one and I hope I shall get good results. I am in the happy position of being able to get good rockery stone delivered on the spot for a mere 8/- per ton. In London one had to pay about 30/- for the same thing. I was not able to get your plants into their permanent quarters before the weather got severe; however, they are all well planted out in open ground, and I think they will be better left there until the severe weather is over.
I see there has been snow in various parts of the north, though we have not yet had any near here. It has felt very snowy, however, during the last day or two and I shall not be surprised to see white on the ground at any time. I hope you will get reasonably warm weather at home, for if you have a cold it will be much better for you.
We all join in love to you and in hosting that you will soon throw off this chill.
Your affectionate son