Document 865

Correspondence from Canada: Letter 17 - 07.11.81

Author(s): 852

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


The Maggie
7th Nov.

Dear Mum & Dad,

Sorry I haven't written for a bit, but I've been kept on the go. Also, I got about 10 letters this week from various people, so I've been writing a few replies. One letter was from Louise [CENSORED: surname], telling me she's given up teacher-training at Jordanhill to take up a job as a children's fashion designer for a firm which supplies British Home Stores. She's hurriedly had to fly down to London to see kids' fashion shows. It seems like a good job, a lot better than teaching. I also received a letter from Trish [CENSORED: surname], a fellow Eng. student at Glasgow, who's doing librarianship and who tells me most grad's are doing teacher-training and disliking it. And David [CENSORED: surname] wrote to tell me he's had no news from Surrey and is losing hope about that job, and the [CENSORED: surname] wrote to tell me that my travel plans are fine.

And work is hotting up as I try to get term papers written to be typed. If I'm sent home after Christmas don't be too surprised - I find it difficult to work up enthusiasm for academic work at the moment. However, I'll probably scrape through.

On Wed. evening Helen [CENSORED: surname], a mature student who commutes to UNB from Moncton on Wed.'s and Thurs.'s brought down a seafood supper, and invited me round to Ann [CENSORED: surname]', another English student's flat to help eat it. It was gorgeous - lobster, shrimps, and crab, with a kind of lemon-jelly salad. Helen's a nice woman, and she's invited me to stay with her family in Moncton some weekend, so I can see some more of New Brunswick. I may go in late December, if I've time, or next term.

On Thurs. evening I went to see Canadian rock group "Doug & the Slugs" at a dive called the Rolling Keg, downtown. The band was good, but the place was like one of these saloons you see in Westerns, and sure enough a fist fight broke out at about 11.30. However, the 8 foot bouncers jumped on the offenders very quickly and deposited them outside. "Just like Urban Cowboy", I thought.

I met the Eng. 1015 class, whose essays I mark, for the first time yesterday. They think I'm a strict marker. Apparently, though, the exercises I mark are taken into consideration in their final assessment, which I did not know. However, I'm still alive, and I think I impressed on them that I know what I'm doing.

It's frightening how basic writing skills are downgraded here. Some first-years - although not many - are practically illiterate. How did they get to University? One problem is that English is not taught well in school, and another is the advance in computer studies. They're computer-daft here - it's made inroads into every dept., including the Eng. dept. It is a marvellous tool but it's taking over. Computers operate on "keywords", not sentences, so I wonder if in 10 years time computer scientists (or even students in general) will need to be able to put 2 coherent sentences together. It's frightening.

Still, how are you getting on? I haven't heard from you at all this week, but the post is so erratic. I'm getting Carole's letters out of sequence again. And I still haven't received my birthday pressies! I'll have to send my Xmas ones soon!!

The weather has been mild but wet - very Scottish. Snow is forecast soon though. Hope you're both well, and happy. Give my best to all,

[CENSORED: forename]

[NOTE: on back of envelope]P.S. The [CENSORED: surname] said they would like the recipe for "Scottish Shortbread". Can you send me it?

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Information about Document 865

Correspondence from Canada: Letter 17 - 07.11.81


Text audience

Adults (18+)
Audience size 3-5
Writer knew intended audience

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1981
Word count 636

Text medium

Other airmail

Text publication details

Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Correspondence from Canada

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 852
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation University Lecturer
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bridge of Weir
Region of residence Renfrew
Residence CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Insurance Broker
Father's place of birth Auchinleck
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Dental Receptionist
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes In most everyday situations
Portuguese Yes No No Yes When trying to communicate with my in-laws
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes In domestic/activist circles; reading literature