with love from Pertisau am Achensee, Austria (1976)

With love from Pertisau am Achensee

Dear Hilary,  I am having a great time I haven’t fallen over once yet. I hope you are having a great time as well. The weather is beautiful and so is the view from our bedroom window. By the way Clive is behaving. We went to the glass place at Kufstein and we saw them carving things on glasses see you sometime love Jackie xx


Another card posted from Austria (almost 40 years ago!) and postmarked ‘Pertisau 3-2-1976 6213’

The picture of Pertisau am Achensee is similarly repeated in the other post mark, so must be the ‘classic’ view of the town.

The ‘glass place’ mentioned is the world famous Riedel glass factory.


Jackie posted this from a school ski trip – she still went on the trip even though she had left our school and moved out of the area (with her family) some months earlier. I went away skiing with my family the same week – my parents figured that there would be lots of kids who’d missed lessons and had to catch up. This was, of course, back in the days when trips and holidays could be taken in UK term time without any hassles or fines! Clive, was the boy I fancied at the time – I probably spent much of my own week away imagining him and the others getting up to all sorts of fun without me…  

with love from Scotland (1978)

With love from Scotland

Dear Hiraly,  We are in Scotland and having a brilliant time. We’ve had quite a lot of lousy weather but the last two days have been boiling. The other day we went to Loch Ness it’s really huge  22½ miles by 1½ miles! We didn’t see any sign of monster so we all sat & stared at Neil instead! ow! He just hit me. I hope you had a topping holiday what ho! By the way did I tell you I have definitely & decidedly gone right off Pete. You’re right he is a ugly spotty little weed! I don’t know how I ever could have liked him! Who’s the latest love in your life. I hope you’re luckier than me (that’s right I ain’t got one booked) I’d better go now not much room left. Lots of love Jacq x

PS I will write or phone you up so you can tell me what time you want me to come etc See you soon.

PSS Mum sends best wishes to everyone

Post marked Aberdeen 29th July 1978 and Jackie and I are still writing and apparently visiting each other. Once the status update is dealt with, Jackie gets on with the serious  business of teenage angst about our favourite topic, boys – it seems I was none to complimentary about her recent beau!

The other postmark is a different version of the post code reminder – it states ‘ABERDEEN is mechanised Letter Office PLEASE USE THE POSTCODES’. The whole point of postcodes being that mail could be mechanically, rather than manually, sorted.

Jackie’s brother Neil is mentioned in the card – Neil was the same age as my brother; it worked out really well when they lived right next door! 

with love from Old Harry Rocks, Dorset (1983)

13 Old Harry

Dear Hilary, Arrived safely after 3 hrs on the train due to Rail diversion.  The cottage is really gordeous situated in the most prettiest countryside I’ve ever seen – went to Swanage on Monday – Corfe Castle and Durdle Door yesterday – Blue Pool and Lulworth Cove tomorrow – off to Dorchester today – thanks for a superb party – I really did enjoy myself – I’m having a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday.  Everything is fine.  See you soon lots of love Anne

Many of the highlights of Dorset are mentioned here, in what sounds like a busy week.  The weather was obviously good, for November, as it isn’t mentioned!  It is interesting to read Anne’s description of the countryside since she came from Cornwall, which is generally reckoned to be one of the most beautiful counties in the UK.

The Old Harry headland pictured and Studland Beach from which it projects are both protected by the National Trust, so will remain unspoilt for generations to come. They are also part of the South West Coast Path which starts at Studland and finishes at Minehead, Somerset.

The postmark date is Bournemouth & Poole, 30 Nov 1983 and the stamp is a second class 12½p for a small postcard.   Despite not including the now obligatory post code, the card was still delivered.

The other postmark says ‘Let’s get the most from our Post  Royal Mail: Bournemouth Area’

The party that she refers to was for my birthday.

I met Anne when I was in Norway, we were both working as children’s nannies/mothers’ help.  We were both away from home for the first time and formed the instant bond that comes when you’re sharing an intense experience.  Our friendship continued once we were back in the UK; Anne was my maid of honour when I married and we visited each other when we could.  Young families are demanding and we both felt the strain; Anne turned to me in a moment of need; I was less sympathetic than I could have been; I disagreed with her choices and was not diplomatic.  As a result we (or more honestly ‘I’) could not maintain the friendship or recover the closeness that we’d had in Norway.  I have lost touch with Anne.


with love from Dartmoor (1976)

8 blog 24 10 14

From the greatest!? guess who! FANS! To the 2nd greatest in the universe.

Dear Hilary, Thanks for your letter I’m sorry I haven’t written we’ve just had our exams. God! they were hard, I’ll tell you about in a letter.  We’re on holiday in dartmoor, having a brilliant time.  We dammed a river, and then mum had the bright? idea of finding the source.  We walked miles & miles.  When we found the spring there was a dead sheep.  We didn’t feel like a drink! love Jackie xx

A classic teenage ‘it’s all about me’ status update – even without the internet we still managed to display the arrogance of youth.  Jackie and I vied with each other scrawling ‘I am the greatest!’ on anything and everything (which I had forgotten until I found this postcard!).

This picture is of Dartington Hall, Totnes in Devon which was built in the late 1300’s  Some 600 years later the Estate is home to a variety of arts and commercial activities as well as being a conference and wedding venue.

The postmark date is Axminster, 7 June 1976 and the stamp is a second class 6½p for a small postcard, which approximates to 48p in 2014.  Interesting to note that two years on from when post codes were supposed to be used on all correspondence, most of us still weren’t bothering.  The cards and letters were delivered anyway and they were too complicated to remember.

Jackie lived right next door to me at my new house, but I was put in a different class at the new junior school and became friends with Julia.  Julia went to a different senior school.  At my senior school I was put in a different class to my other junior friends and ended up being sat, alphabetically, next to Jackie.  She became my new best friend.  I found it all quite traumatic, it seemed to be several months of continually getting to know a new group of friends, the memory of which still causes me anxiety today.  Then Jackie’s family moved away from the area – we exchanged letters and cards, as well as visiting each other in the holidays.  Jackie’s letters dwindled and I got tired of trying to maintain the friendship, so I gave her an ultimatum – write more often, or don’t bother.  Jackie stopped writing and we lost touch.  This is regrettable and entirely the fault of my stupid and self-centred young teenage self.  I am truly sorry for any hurt I caused Jackie.

with love from Alicante (1978)

7 blog 10 12 14

Dear Hiral, I’m having a fantastic time. (that’s wot I put on all the cards) I’ve met lots of people – German, French & Spanish.  We’re really close to the sea & we’ve got a swimming pool.  The shops are lovely and a lot of stuff is cheaper than in England but Mars bars & English stuff is really expensive.  It’s really hard to sleep at night as it’s so hot, but during the day it’s easy to sleep.  I hope the party was good (Mr. Morris’s one) Have a great holiday Hope to see you soon love Sara.

So by 1978 I had a made a good group of friends at my senior school and had gained the nickname ‘Hiral’ – Hilary>Hiraly>Hiral.  We were studying for our O’ Levels and Mr Morris was the History teacher.  Unlike most of my friends, I had opted for ‘easier’ Art over ‘harder’ History; but Mr Morris was great fun and I joined in any of the extra curricular events that he organised.  The aforementioned party was probably an end of term lunch time affair consisting of Coke, cake and biscuits. Sara appears to have missed the party; her family obviously went for one of the cheaper deals outside of school holidays and took her away towards the end of term – something for which, since 2013, UK parents are now fined.

Globalisation was still evolving and despite the cheaper, colourful clothes and souvenirs we continued to be amazed by the price of British brands abroad.

Sara was in a different class in my ‘new’ junior school, we became friends as we went through senior school.  Sara is a great writer, composer, communicator and very loyal.  Although, we both moved around and away from the area where we were at school, we now only live a couple of miles apart; I am pleased to report that, 30 years on, we maintain our friendship and meet up regularly.

with love from Llangollen (1974)

5 blog 26 11 14

Dear Hilary, I hope you are well.  On Saturday we went to the sheep dog trials at Llanrhaeder and it was very hot.  What sort of weather did you have?  On Sunday we went swimming.  On Monday we went for a picnic in the mountains & had a nice day.  love from Julia

Fantastic Welsh traditional dress features on this card.  Julia was my new best friend at the school I joined when we moved, she lived just down the road and made me feel very welcome.  Julia was bright and clever -see how she’s broken up her holiday report with a question back at me.

The postmark date is 8 August 1974 and the stamp is a second class 3½p which approximates to 37p in 2014

I was only at that school for one term before we all moved on to senior school.  Julia went to a different one and we both made new friends.  It was difficult to maintain the friendship with Julia and we lost touch.   On reflection, this was probably more my fault than hers.