Letters, diaries and photographs from World War II

Same as usual

10th March 1946

My darling Janie,

This is Sunday afternoon and I’m at Wharncliffe Gardens. I got up early this morning and went to church. 

On Friday morning I learned there was to be a C.O.’s parade. Well, I didn’t want any more parades. Fortunately on Thursday when I was on guard duty I got permission to wear shoes so of course when I heard about the parade I intimated I should be delighted to take part but in shoes. Of course that was about the equivalent of offering to wear a Porkpie hat and the upshot was that I did not attend the parade. You see I have a corn and to wear Stephen’s boots on it is several sorts of agony.

Yes, as you have discovered I found out from yr British Optical Association that as self-respecting oprticiand we are not allowed to dispense for the National Eye Service which means that as they don’t dispense for themselves presumably Curry and Paxton will send a representative to take orders and do fittings. Now I believe young Brown of Browns the Jewellers works at Curry and Paxton in Taunton and so you may possibly see Browns blessing out as prescription opticians as a sideline. Try and find out what ophthalmic surgeon is doing the testing.

Well there isn’t much we can do about it except produce an even better service at our own place so that people will stick with us.

It’s all very unfortunate but by no means tragic. From a publicity point of view I think t’s best to ignore it as beneath contempt. You know it may even act as a useful buffer against the serious competition of another good optician who may be looking out for a pleasant place to have a practice. 

I went to Edgware on Saturday to take Dave’s glasses and the developing tank that I had bought for Stephen. We took some indoor snaps then made up the chemicals and developed the film straight away. They were tickled pink with the results. I was lucky. Exposures—guesswork—was correct. The results were sharp in spite of length of exposure.

Today has been a quiet and pleasant day but unfortunately not quite enough to write you a decent letter my sweet.

So here I am on Monday again and I’m in my office again.

You know I’ve met quite a number of people who before the war were quite content to live and work in London, who, coming back after six years’ service don’t know how they are going to stick the place for the rest of their lives. So I don’t seem to be alone in my desire to live my life where nature is close by in the open countryside. This feeling was given point yesterday when listening to the radio. It was the six o’clock news and we heard of the football tragedy at Bolton and of various international troubles, followed by an excellent talk by Dr.Summerskill about the good shortage and the starving million. All these horrors were followed by “Country Magazine”and what a wonderful contrast to the ears. Here no greed or selfishness or suspicion, just a few ordinary country men, a farmer and shepherd, a country doctor etc saying why they loved their particular part of the country and the enjoyment of their various country pleasures. None had much money but they were really living and enjoying every moment of it.

Contrasting with the lousy news was some lovely music. I had my first dose of Beethoven’s 5th symphony and then in the evening the “Unfinished” produced in a most unusual manner helped me a lot.

Stephen rang last night just as Jane Eyre started. His first words were “Are you listening to the play?” I said, “Yes” so he said, “I’ll ring you later.” Your father, who wanted to speak to Steve was all for ringing him up in the middle of the “Unfinished” but I said “I bet he’s listening to the radio and as soon as it’s over he’ll ring you again. I was right.

I had two good sermons as well yesterday and so all in all I had a slack, enjoyable and refreshing day and the news from Minehead gets into its right perspective.

I’m longing to see you again my sweetheart so roll on Thursday and you and Anthony.

All my love is yours as always

And so am I

Johnnie xxxx

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Not to be reproduced without permission
johnfinal.jpgJanie Askew

John's wife

johnfinal.jpgAnthony Askew
First son of John and Janie

johnfinal.jpgRussell Barker Janie's Brother
johnfinal.jpgGirlie Askew

John's younger sister

johnfinal.jpgMaurice Askew

John's younger Brother

johnfinal.jpgStephen Barker

Janie's Cousin

johnfinal.jpgEvelyn Barker

Stephen Barker's wife

davidfinal.jpgDavid Barker

Janie's cousin

freda.jpgFreda Cobley

Janie's cousin