Biggam Collection Letter: 29
Author(s): Madge Taylor Law
Copyright holder(s): Mr William Biggam
23 May 1989
I promised to write and let you know how things are working out.
First of all Bobbie & Norman were very pleased to receive the jumper you knitted for the new wean. She said she would try to write and thank you but just in case she hasn't found the time to write I'll say thankyou on their behalf. Its an awful lot of work with 3 youngsters and she does her best to keep them well turned out. They are very happy but they seem to have their share of minor health troubles. There are a lot of children in Blackrod so all the childhood illnesses spread easily. Thomas has an appointment on 6th June about his ear, he is deaf in one ear and they don't know what has caused it. He keeps getting a lot of infections in his ear and has to be seen by the Doctor about it quite a lot. Whenever he gets a pain in his ear they take him. The penicillin seems to clear it up quite quickly but then it happens often so it worries them a lot. We're hoping that this hospital appointment will do some good.
I'm here at Blackrod on my own now and I have got my address changed on my pension and health service.
John is in London with Robert he has now had a price for the flat they value it at 66,000 but with the discount the price to him will be just under 20,000 but he is waiting for a surveyor and the surveyor has to wait for the council to give him some kind of paper. So it will be a while yet before he can clinch any deal. He's got a solicitor in Bermondsey dealing with it. He is more expensive than the one we had for Blackrod but John thinks the one here is too far away and it would have meant getting photocopies of everything for him and they cost about 10 pence each sheet of paper so it would probably work out just as expensive in the long run. Robert has been saving like a scrooge to get the money together but now they are having strike trouble on the Underground he can't save so much. He is in favour of the strike though because the Government has put so much pressure on them by forcing London Transport to get rid of guards and ways of working and cutting corners on safety etc. that its the only thing they can do, its not just about wages.
Well they should manage to buy but the service charges will work out quite high we think about £17 a week but we think that includes buildings insurance. Even with that it should work out a lot less then paying rent because its going up all the time. It's going to be awkward with the Poll Tax because John will have to pay in London as he will be registered there and I will have to pay here as I'll be registered here. I'm just hoping they can't charge us for living in both places each. So we will have to be separate so far as officials go. However it looks as if the business in London will go through eventually. The solicitor thinks it will take about 3 months so heres hoping it doesn't take any longer because John has to keep it in his name for 3 years before he can pass it on to Robert without losing the discount. There is no way we could get it without the discount. We wouldn't be doing it at all except its the only way Robert can stay there he couldn't afford to get a mortgage for a place in London on his wages and he wasn't getting much peace to sleep when he was on nightshift where he was because he was down beside all the noisy neighbours and where the kids play. He was also fed up because the drains used to block up and come up his sink and bath and also he had a nut case next door who used to leave the gas turned on without it being lit. So all things considered getting our flat is better all round for him and it means that we can have a holiday there too, after its all settled.
About Blackrod, I now have a fridge/freezer small one, a gas cooker, a couch and armchairs and I've got 1 double bed 1 single and 1 fold up bed. So you see I have all the basics and its quite comfortable also a second-hand television but don't expect it to last very long because it was very cheap. We have brought a lot of dishes and things in suitcases. The only things that I still need here are some drawers and wardrobe and my sewing machine but I'll get them eventually. The neighbours in London are still in ignorance of our plans and will have to be kept that way for a very long time yet. They must be thinking we take an awful lot of clothes on holidays. One time I had as many as 5 suitcases/bags and Robert has brought 2 heavy suitcases for a week-end. John and I are now using the coaches and we are only allowed 1 suitcase on them but they are so much cheaper than the train if you don't travel on a Friday. I've done the journey twice that way now. I can get what they call an open return ticket which lasts longer than the Railway ticket. The only trouble is it takes about 3 hours longer but time doesn't matter now that I'm not at work.
The weather here has been glorious and there are some bushes in the garden, I'm sure one of them is a rhododendron with lilac coloured flowers its beautiful. There is another one with dark green leaves and now there are small clusters of white flowers which have a very nice smell I don't know what its called. Another one had small red berries on it all winter and now they are turning into pinkish white small flowers which smell absolutely gorgeous I don't know the name of that one either but I was wondering if its a kind of wild briar rose as I've seen a lot of them growing around here. There is another one which has just come out with a yellow trumpet-like flower similar to a rhododendron but different so I'm wondering what it is. There are some roses but I think they are a bit dead or dying. I've been getting books out of the Library to find out how to care for the garden. John dug it over for me but he doesn't have any gardening knowledge either. There is a clump of bluebells among the roses and I think we pulled some up before they flowered thinking it was weeds but luckily we left one clump. There is a very small green creeping plant with a red flower between some of the roses and I think its called red cedar I thought at first it was a weed then I saw them on sale for 50 pence each. I bought some seeds and I'm having a go at trying to germinate them on the window-sill in the kitchen. It all gives me something to do while I'm on my own. I do a bit of baby sitting for Bobbie and Norman when necessary. They are very handy just across the road and round the corner. They have been very good to us between lending and giving furniture etc. I've got their old washing machine. Its not expected to last long but its still working hard so far. I've also got their old ironing board. Her Mother recognised it when she saw it here. Apparently it was Bobbies grandmothers. I 'phoned Chrissy when I was in London so she knows about the flat etc. I also said if you both would like to come here please feel free just let me know when so that I can get the beds ready. Thats all the news for now so hope this finds you well.
Love from Madge
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Biggam Collection Letter: 29. 2022. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=422.
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