Biggam Collection Letter: 12
Author(s): Madge Taylor Law
Copyright holder(s): Mr William Biggam
25 September 1989
Writing now as I promised on the phone.
Firstly I thank you for sending Joseph the cardigan you knitted for him, they were very pleased to receive it and he's been wearing it a lot. I told them that I would write and thank you and did but you didn't get that letter. When I told Bobbie she said that there had been something in the local paper about when the local water reservoires were low because of the drought this year there were bags of mail found in them, so it makes you wonder what is happening to the post. Well I'll try and bring you up-to date with all that's happened so far.
The Council kept dragging its feet, the excuse being that so many people had exercised their Right To Buy (RTB) that they were swamped with work and it was taking about 6 months backlog for surveyors to come and value properties. They eventually sent a surveyor and he did a bit of measuring up etc., at that point John & Robert got a solicitor in Bermondsey to start handling it for them he said it would take about 3 months from the time the Council surveyor valued it. That was his experience with Southwark Council in the past. The Council valued the flat at 66 thousand. John got the solicitor to get a surveyor to have a look at it he valued it at 62 thousand and pointed out a few reasons why it might not be a good buy. Mainly it was all what we knew already ie:- High Rise flats are out of favour with people so may be hard to sell again. The managers of the building might not keep standards of cleaning stairs and so on. Well all that is true but when you have to live in Inner London for your work and buying a flat is the only home you can have (houses are far too dear) then it makes it more desirable to buy provided you are getting the discount allowed for flats, which is 70% of the value. Well anyway John & Robert decided to go ahead with it and the price charged was £19,800 its had to be done in John's name because Robert wasn't living there at the time it was all started. The solicitor says that Robert has to live there with us for a year before John can pass it on to him without losing the discount. So we are still in the position of being in 2 places at once. John is still located in London for his Pension, Dr. Poll tax etc. I have changed my address for my Pension, Dr, Poll tax etc to Blackrod but still trying to kid the neighbours in London that we are all in London. I've been spending most of the time here and John comes here for about 3 weeks at a time and I go to London for about 2 weeks or so at a time. I'm in Blackrod at the moment and I'll be going to London next week, then after about 3 weeks there John will be coming back here for a while. Its all a bit of a nuisance but its worth it to secure a home for Robert and it means that we can always go back for a visit. We couldn't have done that if he was still in the bed-sitter.
I like being in Blackrod, the only thing I find a nuisance is having to climb the stairs to the toilet, when you're in a flat you get used to being on one level. I'm getting used to it though and I have been enjoying myself pottering about in the garden here, to me its like being on holiday all the time. It was such a glorious summer I've got a great suntan and the air here seems to be very clean. The doctor I registered here with, gave me a stronger Becotide and its as though I've got a new lease of life. I am breathing so much better which means I can walk so much better and farther it's marvellous. I do a bit of baby-sitting for Norman & Bobbie and the house looks like a bomb had hit it when they have been over here but they are not destructive its just that everything is converted into Fire engines, caravans, space rockets (swimming pools dry ones) and anything else their imagination conjures up, its all great fun and if it wasn't for creaking bones I'd feel like a 2 year old myself.
I managed to wash the curtains that came with the house and they look a bit better I also managed to take a piece off each curtain to make one other curtain to cover the door opening. If you can remember the house you had in Runcorn, this one is similar, but no cellars. I think the garden is quite nice but we are plagued by slugs here so I have to spend a few bobees on buying slug pellets and trying to put them where all the cats who come to visit don't get them. I've had some very nice roses, I think they got what they call black spot on the leaves but it didn't stop the roses coming up. The greenfly were having a great feast on them but I gave them a spray a few times and it seemed to keep them under control. I grew some flowers called Ageratum from seed and they look quite nice but they will be dying off by October. We bought a couple of plants from a man who sells them at the Methodist Chapel here, I forget the name of one, but the other, is an outdoor fuchia with a very small red flower. It has taken all right and its supposed to come up each year and so is the other one. There is a nice rhododendron bush which flowered in May, and another evergreen bush with a white flower in May and now it has just flowered again, they and the roses were here already, also a clump of heather, an ornamental cherry tree, a copper beech and I think its a willow tree, they are all young trees so far I'm just hoping they don't grow too big, also an apple tree at the side but there was only 2 apples grew on it and the birds had them. The cherry tree has a lovely pink flower in May but no cherries. You can imagine what a change for the better it is for me after a life-time of tenements without gardens.
As for furnishing this place, we've got a 3 piece suite, (cheap) a second hand television, we found a kitchen table in the loft, Bobbie and Norman gave us a couple of kitchen chairs. I got a bargain of a little coffee table second hand but its a good one. We've got 1 double bed and 1 single bed and one fold-up single bed. So we can put you and Chrissie up if you care to come anytime. Just let me know so that I can be here and not in London. I'm trying to work out if I can visit Norrie & Lily and get back in the same day. I've found out that there is a train from Wigan but I will have to write and ask Norrie what train station they are nearest to in Wallasey. There is a train goes through the Mersey Tunnel now I believe and I think you can change at Lime St. Liverpool on to it. Its too late to do it this summer but I'll find out if it can be done, then, if you and Chrissie get here we might be able to visit Norrie & Lily.
Chrissie said that you both had an invitation to Aberdeen to Chrissies grand-daughters. I've been wondering if you went? and if you enjoyed it?
When John was here he painted the upstairs outsides, he borrowed a long ladder to do it. My heart was in my mouth all the time he was up the ladder but he was O.K. and it was a good job done. I think he enjoyed doing it. He will be doing the downstairs outsides when we come back here, weather permitting. He did a good job of papering the kitchen when we first took it over as it was a right mess after they had pulled their stuff from the walls. Somebody Bobbie knows was getting new kitchen cupboards built in and they let us have their old ones, but the drawers are missing, so we have to try and get drawers to fit. Its all going to take a long time to get it just as we would like it but Rome wasn't built in one day either.
You should see the amount of stuff weve managed to bring here in suitcases everytime we go between London and here. We've been using Express Coaches because they are cheaper than the trains but they allow you only 1 suitcase per person. We've done the journey so many times now and Robert has done it quite a lot, bringing some stuff each time. There are still a lot of things small articles that can be brought in suitcases and I'm going to try and get my sewing machine brought down. I will have to dismantle it to get it here. Everything has been bought or done on a shoestring as they say. I've been very careful but I've not been hungry. Still eating as well as ever. I could do with losing some weight. Well I think I've explained all about our jiggery pokery now and to sum it all up it means that I still can't say too much in London just in case some envious person tries to be spiteful but after next September 1990 the year will be up and then all our worries should be over John will then get that same solicitor in Bermondsey to pass it over to Robert legally. It will mean paying solicitors fees again but its the best way to do it. If we hadn't got this place in Blackrod so early on it would have been easier at the London end but the prices here have gone up greatly since we got this place that we would have been priced out of the market and I must say its a nice feeling not having to pay rent every week.
Well I hope this finds you keeping well and if you feel like dropping me a line I should be back here by the end of October again. I'm going tomorrow into Wigan to book my seat back to London for next week. I'll probably travel on Tuesday, it's cheaper mid-week. Please give my regards to Chrissie when you ring her and look after yourself.
Love from Madge
Aw re best tae yous yins. (thats Glesca parliamo).
P.S. Hope you don't need a new pair of specs after reading this screed.
P.P.S. Do you know your POSTCODE? There is a better chance of letters not going astray if you put the POSTCODE on them.
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Biggam Collection Letter: 12. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 3 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=405.
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