10 Forsythia Grove Outer Hamlet CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
December 24 1999
My Dear Ralph
Thank you for your recent epistle relating your adventures with old ladies on the Care of the Elderly ward you have been assigned to. I feel you demonstrate quite a flair for this set of activities!
I myself have commenced training for the ‘sprint’ triathlon to be held in Bright Litton in some 9 months’ time. I am not precisely certain how this idea came about, only that I may have mentioned a need to keep heart disease/breast cancer at bay to my neighbour Marcus, resident just around the corner. And he may well have uttered one or two sentences along the following lines:
“What you need Evangeline, is to engage is some form of regular training, preferably with a particular end point in sight.”
And that is how he came to be pounding at my front door this morning, at dawn’s early light – for today we are doing swim training. Honestly pet. The whole thing seems quite brain-shattering, what with the alarm clock resounding in one’s ears (in ambient light conditions of virtually nil) and only having time for a teaspoon of fish, and a glass of grapefruit juice, before pounding across the park, en route for the pool. At least, Marcus was pounding across the park – boxing at the air – as I attempted to trot along at his side, uttering one or two pathetic bleats as we went.
Over at the pool (which is at least clean, bright, warm and airy) there were at least 20 burly-looking/fast individuals cleaving their way through the water in four lanes. I gazed at this spectacle for quite some moments dear, trying to determine which lane was the slowest/had the fewest individuals in it. Marcus, of course, buzzed straight off to the ‘fast’ lane without a backward glance. I had been instructed to abandon breast stroke in favour of front crawl as, apparently, only un-cool old ladies clad in hair perms attempt open water triathlons using this stroke. I don’t know if you ever had cause to deploy front crawl during your SCUBA diving days, did you dear? Well it is very difficult to breathe. One has one’s face immersed in the water for at least 95% of the time and only come up for air (on alternate sides) every third stroke. I saw plenty of the pool bottom, I can tell you, in between multiple views of chlorinated bubbles being expelled from my nostrils! I can tell that these endeavours will require practice . . .
Meanwhile, the Cosy Old Sock came round last night bearing a large, brown, paper sack, at the bottom of which was a very small, wrapped, object. I unwrapped this parcel dear, and found it to contain a most engaging ring. The ring had seven stones embedded in it, and the first initial of each stone, spelled a word – that word being D-E-A-R-E-S-T. I really was very touched, as it seems to mark a most companionable year together.
Amongst our recent plans include the possible acquisition of a goat(s). Initially the purpose of said goat was to be to keep the grass down, but then the Sock mentioned milk.
“You can’t have milk with only one goat I said. You will also need a nanny goat and this will have to be ‘in goat-let.’ And what then will you do with the goat-lets also issuing forth?”
This did rather silence the Sock. So we will see
Fond regards nephew.