Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wet, cold and uneventful

On the 10th June, 1956 Alice writes home to report a safe journey back to a Bedford that is unseasonably bitterly cold and wet. The poor weather seems to affect many aspects of college life: washing and ironing is one of the few activities they can get on with although, with no chance of being allowed to have fires lit in their rooms, snuggling up in bed seems to be the preferred place to be. 

Lessons must go on though, regardless of the whims of weather, and Alice has a very busy workload doing prep for classes as well as being out with the children.

A nature walk on Dunstable Downs has to be cancelled because of steady rain and even some thunderstorms. 
Outdoor pools proliferated in the first half of the century and even into the 1950s it is likely that those such as the one at Bedford School would still be in use; perhaps it is here or at the High School where Alice finds herself teaching a class outdoors one damp Friday morning. She ruefully comments that it was wetter for the instructor than for those actually in the water. 

Alice’s writing paper on this occasion also warranted an apology as it was so thin that the ink on the reverse showed through and made it quite hard to decipher in places, which she acknowledges in a footnote suggesting to her parents that holding the paper at an angle might help.

As we cannot do that here, a transcript of the third paragraph is given, showing that the ladies of the college have interests far beyond Bedford and are encouraged to maintain a world view:

Wednesday evening some of us went to a missionary meeting in the town for news of a Bedford [sic] in India and 2 friends of college in Pakistan. The talk was given by a man who used to live opposite college. He said he knew quite a lot about the P.E. college therefore!
In the 1950s the communality of college is still part of the day to day norm but even this is disrupted due to bad weather when one Saturday, languishing in their beds after a cold and tiring week, most of Alice’s house oversleep thereby missing breakfast completely.


Bedford School's outdoor swimming pool, mid 20th century

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