with love from Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire (1977)

With love from Slaughter, Gloucestershire

Dear Hilary, Sorry I could not come to the lake on Sunday and I am afraid I cannot come on Easter Day because I am on a cycle trip in the midlands. We stayed here on Thursday night. The weather today was absolutely terribly. Firstly the wind, which was very strong against us and then it decided to snow. It was terrible and everybody got absolutely freezing. We got to the host about 7.30 Love James

An earlier card from James, but still the same year. Much is made of the weather, which sounds a bit miserable for what must have been the Easter Holidays. The post mark is Cheltenham 8th April 1977

Upper Slaughter, pictured on the front, is described on the back as ‘one of the Cotswolds most beautiful villages’ – the macabre name is derived from an old English word meaning muddy place, but don’t let that put you off visiting!

The card is carrying 6½p stamp, being the rate for a small postcard.

 

1977 was obviously the year of James and me! We lived equidistant, in opposite directions, to the lake where our families were members of the local sailing club. This meant that our teen romance was constantly thwarted by dependency on lifts from parents and the various other commitments of our families… needless to say, it did not last long!  

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with love from Tregony (1977)

With love from Tregony

Dear Hilary, The weather has not been very good with a couple of days of rain but we are still having a great holiday. We have been sailing nearly every day, the winds have been quite strong but we have not yet gone over. I shall not see you before so I hope you have a nice holiday Love, James

A newsy status update postmarked ‘Tregony Truro Cornwall 8th Aug 1977’ carrying a 9p stamp which was first class for a 2oz letter at the time.

Tregony is on the River Fal in Cornwall and still looks much the same now as it did when this photo was taken.

James’ family were members at the local sailing club, where my family sailed. James had a Merlin Rocket and I used to crew for him. There were plenty of social events and teenage discos and the inevitable snog… I have not stayed in touch with James.

with love from Buckfast Abbey (1983)

With love from Buckfast Abbey

26/4/83 Dear Hilary, It was really good to hear from you and to know that everything is going okay. Your card was very lucky to get to me as it seems I didn’t leave my address with my parents and only went home on the spur of the moment! I thought I’d send you a card although I don’t live in Buckfast – well just around the corner and I can see the Abbey when I go running! Life is just about okay but the college is a drag! Will write a letter soon Lots of love, Duncan x

This is post marked ‘South Devon 27th Apr 1983’ and obviously had enough postage on to reach me in Cyprus, where I was living at the time.  In 1983 the Post Office are still requesting us, via the other postmark, to ‘Be properly addressed POSTCODE IT’; this is 9 years after the final introduction of the postcode!

There has been an Abbey on the site at Buckfast, on the edge of the River Dart since 1018 The market town of Buckfastleigh is nearby.

In the late 70’s we finished school at 16 and either started work, went to Technical College for vocational qualifications or, as I did, went to 6th Form College to study A’ levels. Duncan was in my maths group; there were several lads from his school in the class and I remember them all as being taller and more mature than the boys from my school; they were also brighter with wicked senses of humour. I therefore relished maths lessons because they were such good fun, the teacher was excellent and we all learnt a lot. Duncan and I snogged on at least one occasion; we stayed in touch via letters and cards for some years, but sadly I have now lost touch with him…

with love from Romsey (1982)

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28-VII-82. But 2nd class for maximum economy.  So! Back at last having dumped Herring and the rest of the Norgies.  WELCOME BACK.  You just can’t beat Britain – and by god (or Thor if you like) Maggie has been flat to the boards trying).  We may be a country of Homosexual Policeman, Burgesses in cupboards and strange men in Queens’ Bedrooms (where was the King? – conspicuous by his absence!) but we’re a good lot!  Yours unexpectantly – DAM.  What of the Falklands..? UP THE FJORDS!

The message on the back of this postcard from July 1982 is perhaps more fascinating than the picture of The Railway Inn, Romsey, as so many references to the social history of the time are contained in such a small space.  I had been working as an au pair in Norway (hence the references to herring and fjords) for a year and had been fairly cut off from UK news.

In 1982 the UK was deep in recession and Margaret Thatcher’s policies of shutting down unprofitable national industries and limiting the power of the trades’ unions were very unpopular with many.  However, the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina allowed Maggie to demonstrate strong leadership and the UK rallied behind her, putting unemployment and inflation to one side, in favour of supporting ‘our boys’ in the South Atlantic.

In 1982 being openly gay was still something of a controversy and newsworthy – LGBT rights have improved massively in the UK since then.

The reference to ‘Burgesses in cupboards’ remains a mystery…maybe someone else can shed some light?  We were, of course, still at the height of the Cold War.

Michael Fagan somehow managed to get in to the Queen’s bedroom and engage her in conversation.

The postmark is dated 28th July 1982 (same day as the card was written).  The other postmark is inviting us all to Southampton to see the finish of the Tall Ships race between 21st and 25th August 1982

The Railway Inn, Romsey is now a private house, as I believe it probably was in 1982.  I guess this photo dates from VE day?

DAM was at senior school with me.  At some point he left and went away to private boarding school.  He was a loyal letter and postcard writer, very clever and quite quirky.   His name was Dean but his initials were D.A.M. which is how he always signed himself.  We stayed in touch for several years and saw each other a couple of times.  I think he would have liked more from our relationship, but he just didn’t do it for me; although I do recall a drunken snog on one occasion.  We got briefly in touch again about 13 years ago, when the World Wide Web became available to the masses and we all reconnected through a site called ‘Friends Reunited’.  We caught up on 20 years worth of news; he was working in Australia, then… then there’s always a reason why you don’t stay in touch.