April 18, 1987 INDEX
April 18, 1987.
3 St Helier's Road,
Leyton
London E10 6BH

Dear Doug & Joan,

The big news is that the pubs in Waltham Forest are to stay open an extra half an hour. Yes, we have 11 o clock opening every day except Sunday. A major advance in civilisation and probably the death knell for the Prince of Wales!

This major advance is timed to start from May Day, making that traditional Socialist festivity a truly Red Letter Day in more than one sense.

Still you're not very much interested in things Socialist I suspect. In fact to tell you the truth I'm not all that much interested either. Since we put the rates up 62% (current inflation rate about 4%) the Labour Party has got to be pretty unpopular. We had 5,000 people demonstrating outside the last full council meeting. Neil Gerrard, the council leader, had his house petrol bombed---fortunately only the door was damaged- a hearse turned up outside his door to pick up the body, wreaths have been delivered to the town hall, he was told he was going to die at 11 am last Tuesday and there was a bomb threat at the town hall at that time and the building had to be cleared. Fortunately we managed to stop them building a scaffold on the grass outside the town hall, I'm not joking by the way they did try. Neil has been getting at least 100 letters every day and most of them are hand written they are not just mass produced crap. Last time I went into his office he had three boxes full of them, I mean large cardboard boxes. The names and addresses of all the councillors have been sent out on a leaflet by the rates protest group.

We have fitted a smoke alarm to the wall near the front door but other than that we have not taken any precautions. I am not much in the limelight and we have only had a few calls (I mean the anonymous sort) and only one of them was threatening at all.

Clare went to see your parents today, Douglas, and they gave the kids Easter Eggs. Mr Kennedy has now almost given up booze, Clare says. They have used the money they obtained by selling off the land for a house to be built at the bottom of the garden to brighten things up, putting in new carpets, net curtains etc. Today they went for a walk in Wanstead Park and they seem fit and well and mentally alert.

The weather has been extremely good for the last few days and this Easter must have been one of the best we have had for years. We are planning to go to Guernsey in the summer so hopefully this is not a foretaste of a long hot summer. Last time we went to Guernsey (in 1975) it was so hot that the top of Clare's head got sunburnt. Still one thing about the English weather you can rely on the fact that you can't rely on it. It may be hot now but snowing in a week.

I did tell you I was going to America didn't I? I went to St Louis in Missouri (on the border with Illinois). I quite liked America but it's a heck of a fuss getting over there. About 12 hours on a jet when you take into account the stop over in Chicago. But St Louis is a fine place to live if you stick to the Middle Class affluent bits and keep well away from the rest. America is very well planned, wide roads etc. But space is not exactly at a premium over there. The place is utterly mind bogglingly vast. Still I think Australia is pretty big too.

Last night we went to Hackney Stadium to see some speedway which I'm afraid is not very inspiring. There's these four blokes on 500cc motorcycles which don't have any brakes. They rev up and then dash round the 400 metre track twice as fast as they can. Whoever gets in front in the first 15 metres or so usually wins since it is almost impossible to overtake anyone on such a small track. Every now and then someone falls off. That's it. Strangely enough I thought I could get interested in the event if I could have figured out who was riding for which team and which team was winning. But it all seemed very mysterious. I don't think I will ever be a speedway fan. The stadium itself was a ghastly place. Its loudspeaker system seemed to be a reject from one of the larger railway stations---loud but exceedingly difficult to understand. The place had a generally decrepit air about it. But there were 4,000 people there to see the speedway and we found it exceedingly difficult to park. We eventually found a corner of the car park which smelled as if something had died there a few weeks back and they had yet to find the corpse.

Tomorrow we may well go Easter Egg throwing. The kids did it a couple of years back and enjoyed it.

I think I shall go and watch The Tube now, a pop show which I don't suppose has found its way down to the Antipodes. See you.

Yours sincerely,

Jo and Clare, pp for Laura, Arthur and hamster.

Ps. Remember Tom and Brighd's son Eoghan? He's now over six feet tall!