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Letter from Margaret Cowham nee Dibdin to Peter Dibdin
after his Father’s death.
To: Peter Dibdin East Court Banstead Surrey

The Parsonage 

13th Feb 1935

My Dear Peter
I was so glad to get your letter, that crossed with mine. I had a letter from Joan recently, saying she was over her operation trouble. I do hope she gets quite strong again, she is sure too with the coming summer.
You must have been thankful to get some of the business about Avondale and the Sutton Office settled. It all hung about such a long time.
Joan write a lovely letter full of schemes for becoming a film star. I expect you know all about it. I don’t think she has much chance with her height, but shall not write and tell her so, because we all have to dream dreams while we are getting through our sums and grammar to give us a purpose in doing it. The great thing is to feel that life’s worth living and worth planning for!!
The Austin is going and going over 1000 mile a month and thriving on it. The front bearing is now wearing loose and there is too much end play on the crankshaft, so that has got to be rectified shortly, other wise all goes well. Long may it last!!
Life here get more fascinating each week. The place is a challenge and worth winning. Our lovely garden and parsonage are a great joy and now looking their best. One Puch, a six month for terrier does much mischief to earn his name, but is a loveable beast and bravely barks at jackals.
We hear good news of the children [ Their 3 children returned to stay in England some years earlier; by 1939 Margaret had returned leaving Gerard in India ] 
If you ever have time to look in and see them I know they will all be delighted. Yes Christmas we did miss them, but were thankful to know they were well and in a happy home. They seem to have had very lively holidays.
At present Gerard is in the thick of a joyous ha-ha over Military Engineering Service who have to keep the Church in order. The contractor failed to cover the organ which is now unplayable owing to being filled with plaster and dust that fell in while the ceiling was repaired. Who’s to pay ? A cheery three cornered correspondence proceeds between a slippery Bengali contractor, a harassed Garrison Engineer and a truculent Chaplain!
The church was filthy when we got here and there have been fine old doings but thank God it’s clean now! One electric fitting was hanging from a chain in the roof. It was taken down as concealed flood lighting is being introduced, and taken across to the office in the Parsonage. Someone had presented a beautiful lamp and I suggested it might be hung by the old chain when cleaned thinking it was brass. I had it soaked in ammonia and water and gave it a rub – silver !!
Now it is clean and hangs beautifully from a sanctuary roof of a lovely Italian blue that with blue walls, frames quite a fine East End stained glass window. Clean white paint instead of dirty brown varnish has also freshened things and some tiles that were a dirty brown have been cleaned to their beautiful soft blue tones. Now carved teak wood posts, made to Gerard’s design by the Barrack Master, will support soft grey blue tapestry hangings, and we shall have a worthy sanctuary and a clean one. The last Chaplain was hopelessly short sighted and the church cleaners had just let things go.

Toc H are holding a retreat here on Saturday so we want to get everything nice for them.
Then – Dum Dum, Lord Robert used to worship there ! [ ref. to Robert Clive and the Town ].
Thank Heaven the Dinapore Church is to be rebuilt and the East End that Gerard put in has survived the earthquake so the new church will be rebuilt round it. [ ref to the 1934 Jan. quake near Bihar – 10,700 deaths ]
We have had the black watch here and are going to their Regimental sports. I shall be interested as I have not before seen a Scottish sports gathering.
Had you heard that Gerard’s Mother and Aunt are coming out this year in October ? It is rather adventurous of them but I am sure they will enjoy it. We dream of having the children for a flying visit some Christmas. I hope all goes well with your plans and examinations. Oh, we so enjoyed that brilliantly clever film “Radio Review of 1935” [Radio Parade of 1935 ] It was a real taste of London We often see films here before they are released in London. I don’t know why but it is so. The amateurs did “Ten Minute Alibi” but it was a poor show after the London Performance.
Uncle Gerard suggests having Joan out as well as the children ! Whoops !!! We want to keep the roof on the house if possible !!
Love from Aunt Margaret
Salaaus to Aunty Gertie, your Grandmother [ Frances Georgina Haycraft nee Lawton ] and all old friends.