This was found in a note book in the spare room at 146, Campkin Road, Cambridge, after Auntie Marie’s death (George & Marie Cruden were my great aunt and uncle- they lived at various addresses including Oxford Road, Cambridge and finally Campkin Road, Cambridge – George was my grannies brother [Connie Toller nee Broom]
A Garden of Memories by George Cruden
At the bottom of my garden are large trees; in my garden more trees, but these are fruit (the latter belonging to me, but not the former). Along this fringe of trees runs a stream, or ditch, which divided my bungalow from a cornfield at some time. Unfortunately the cornfield has gone, but we now have birds – birds of all kinds – birds which rob me of a good deal of fruit; in fact I never get a cherry from the cherry tree, which has thousands on it by early June. Alas, I have to be content with a pound of imported ones usually from the shop down the road. Realising after many years that it is necessary to compromise on some matters I have given in, but not without a certain amount of frustration, mark you; after all, does a bird really know what grows wild and what I cultivated? Perhaps they think we are robbing them of Nature’s food. Every time I have killed one of these birds in the past I have been filled with remorse. The dawn chorus, which during May and June begins about three-thirty a.m. also needs some re-adjustment of life.
However, I love my garden, and to potter about in the shade of the fruit trees, for instance, one remembers. One remembers, but does not plan; pleasant memories come crowding in of those years that have gone, of those people one knew, the places visited. For most of us, fortunately, we remember the most pleasant things above all, the sunny days especially. Why is it that we seem to have had March all summer years ago? I have to search my depths to remember fog or snow; it was there, certainly.
Being a Londoner, and having been born at the turn of the century I certainly can remember fog – those cobblestone streets, the smell of leather, horses, stables and blacksmith’s shops (I still love the smell of leather, of which we now see little.)
These letters belong to my aunt Joan Punter ( nee Toller ) and were given to me to copy onto this site. These contain interesting home front information and political views of the war. They were written by my Great Aunt Marie to her husband George Cruden. ( both now deceased. )
In several of these letter Marie refers to George as Peter Precious- as she was a Catholic from Ireland and didn't want to introduce him to her family as George ( the English kings name) she called him Peter.
Thursday, the 24th. 1941.
My Own Dearest Peter Precious.x.x.x.
Was most pleased to get your letter this morning, and to know that you arrived at the old spot safely, and carrying on with the mess work. Was the M.O trying to be funny, regarding your promotion, and also if you want to carry on with the mess job to have a medical? Darned funny they were glad to let you go to Hatfield without a medical, wasn't it. I do hope your promotion gets through, it seems to silly to advise you that you've got it and then take it away. Cant your officer help you? Perhaps you might all get drafted away en bloc ( The Hatfield crowd I mean ) to another little place on the pioneer stunt. It would be nice now the better weather is coming wouldn't it. I have sent some socks on to you to-day and also a letter but I think I have forgotten "officers mess" on it, so if there is a delay you will know the reason. I also enclosed in the socks the bottle of Lavander oil. Be on the lookout for some more of it - In London according to rumour, there seem to be most things about to be had. Nottingham is without cigarettes again - although I personally have plenty just now, but one of the girls here, whose husband is on war work, says they cant gat one anywhere. Of course they are rationed just now, and if you're not there just when they're about, you're unlucky for the rest of the time.
I got your parcel which you sent from 95 alright, and I take it that you are sending another. Thanks awfully boy, and I'm risking a five bob postal order in the hope that it reaches you so as not to spin you out with the different postages., plus the cost of the parcel.
We are having a "gas attack" tonight, so hope we'll get through it alright. It's been a lovely day, although this morning, it was a real north-east wind. I'm sorry that you still have the long days work to do, but still if you like it, and find things not so much of a rush, no doubt it helps the day through.
I did some digging for Mrs. Wilde the other evening. A nice square bit at the end of the garden where for the whole of the winter there have been the remains of some tall popular trees, which Mrs.W thought she would have cut down a bit. Everybody wanted them for beansticks, and they were ideal for that purpose, but no one wanted to take them until they wanted to put the beans in. Therefore she decided that she would get rid of the whole lot, and not put up with the untidiness. So she told her son-in-law, and the girls next door, and they soon put a move on and got their share. John burnt the rest on Sunday afternoon, when he called, and then on the Monday I had a 'go' at digging. Moved four hugh paving stones which were part of a 'crazy gang' business, and made some steeping stones with them to the air-raid shelter. We may be glad to get in there soon, if things go on as they are. However, it has been too cold to continue, and we have found ourselves during the past three nights hugging the fire again.
The holiday list is now out and this weekend commences the first week. April 28th to May 12th. I was wondering if I should go on May 12th- just to make sure of getting a holiday, but really I am undecided as to wether to go to Devon. I'd love too, of course, but things are so very very indefinate, and I wouldn't like to be caught out down there if ther was an invasion. What do you think, dear. Guy is going the first two weeks in July. Her people have been very nearly bombed again, so they are leaving the house on the 30th of this month, and moving lock stock and barrel to Little- hampton.
There is no alternative to my going to Devon but Cambridge of course, as I couldn't bear to see London so badly knocked about, and I'm really scared stiff of being killed up there with the perpetual raids going on.
Anyway love, perhaps you could offer some suggestion of what you think I ought to do. Thought perhaps ( if it wouldn't cost too much of hopping up to see Marie Wilson in Blackpool. It would be some seaside air, anyway.
Well, now darling, there is some more work, to get on with, so to make sure of this going off, I'm closing now, but hope you will keep well, and don't go westwards or Citywards, in case there is a raid. Cheerio darling, write whenever you can, all my love kisses, hugs, and everything else,
Always your own
About Michelle's Archives
This is a blog page for the archives in Michelle's own collection. It includes many of Michelle's personal family archives, tales and scrapbook items to all kinds of general archive items mainly from around Cambridge and East Anglia but some even more further afield. Search for items or subjects of interest under the categories below, by date or keyword, name or place etc. Any problems finding something or if you've any questions or comments please do get in touch by using the 'Contact' page on this website.