No. 7925934. L/Sgt. Greenwood.
‘C’ Sqdn. 9th Battn. R.T.R.
A.P.O. England.


Monday evening

Jess dear, Thank goodness you have a sense of humour: it must be pretty sound to have survived so much trouble, especially the ‘screwy’ variety. Your letter today caused me much amusement, in spite of the difficulties which inspired your story. I cannot guarantee a screw-less house for after the war, but it certainly appears that plastics will be fashionable. I must warn you however that plastic screws are already in existence-! I have never thought of the ‘magnetic’ idea: perhaps you have hit upon a world shattering idea. The theories of many a genius have been considered crazy at the outset, haven’t they?

You have furnished me with a delightful picture of your struggle with that cistern tap. You have my sincere sympathy, dear Jess,… but I had to laugh. Your drawing of the plumber’s tool was perfect… and so was your description of it. A snake and a codfish! What a weird combination! No wonder it proved useless. What a treat I missed in not seeing you struggling with the brute! But what about the footprints? I wish I could have witnessed your look of blank amazement when Hallworth asked you for them. You don’t tell me whether he laughed: perhaps he thought you were just daft. I fear your ignorance in this direction is a reflection upon my efforts to train you as an engineer. We all know that footprints are commonly associated with burglars, but in this case the word simply denotes a trade name. Had you looked closely at the codfish cum snake gadget, you would have seen the impression of a naked foot-print upon the handle – just a trade mark. But it has provided a name for what is really a pipe-wrench (a different branch of the monkey-wrench family!). The big brother of the little pipe wrench is known as a Stilson-wrench, but in plumbing language the latter is called simply ‘dogs’. So when a plumber asks you for his ‘dogs’, for Heaven’s sake don’t start running around looking for the canine variety! And that will do for tonight’s lesson – but thank you for some good fun, my dear.

It was a relief to me to learn that the burst had been attended to. I suppose the damage is bad enough, but it is something to know that the house still stands. You have not mentioned the subject, but I’ll wager anything you like that you have already started thinking about new wallpaper etc. for the dining room. I have little doubt that your next upheaval will be caused by the decorator’s paraphernalia. Tell me if I am wrong… but I want the truth!

That note-book idea may be alright for some people, as you say… but I agree that it cannot be applied to your case. As though you haven’t enough documents to worry about! That bag of yours gives me a pain every time I see it. Besides, you don’t need any such artificial aids to letter-writing: your spontaneous efforts are more than good enough for me.

I have been to Whitneys this evening… and found that they both returned home a few days ago to attend the funeral of Cyril’s father. I believe they will be back on Wed. evening, but am not sure that I will now be able to see them.

And now it is bed-time – Unfortunately, bed is not such a pleasant place in this awful heat. I try to imagine that I am lying between clean cool sheets… but my imagination cannot compete with the rough blankets…

Au revoir, my dear… Please look after yourself… and to hell with plumbing!

Yours always,