10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
April 13 1997
My Dear Ralph
I feel slightly begrudging in saying this pet, but I have missed your input into my life! I have been trying to support my daughter-in-law, Harriet, through disturbing times and I have experienced a distinct tendency to suppress my more fun – and disreputable – side in my epistles to her.
I am currently sipping Coca Cola in the sunshine, having had a somewhat aetiolating week here at Forsythia Grove. First of all, the advent of the annual MOT has obliged me to spend all my free cash on four new tyres for the Banger 0.9L, in addition to having the wheels adjusted so that they are actually lined up in relation to each other! I must say that this latter manoeuvre has considerably eased my ability to turn the steering wheel and I am not now wrenching it back into position whenever I turn a corner. And although it does sound as if there may be problems passing the ’emissions’ test next year – next year is at least not now!
Meanwhile, I was much touched by the affection shown to me by Edith and Leonie while we were chatting on the High Street the other day. Edith, as you may recall, is the elderly Boudicca-style character living just up the road and Leonie is her much younger neighbour. I don’t know whether I was looking particularly forlorn on this occasion, but Edith put her arm around me and sort of stroked between my shoulder blades and Leonie kept on reaching across to grip my forearm – in a similar expression of what must be kindness. It is reassuring to be liked! I sometimes think that, what with my penchant for one or two nips of gin and a rather esoteric style of attire, people will think I am rather fast and loose. What do you think dear? And perhaps, given last summer’s experience in a field of oats (possibly not recounted to you at the time!) I really am.
On a slightly higher note, I have received a piece of correspondence from the Candidate for election to the position of the country’s new Leader. (As you know, the general election is but a few short weeks away – and we must be prepared for all offers of future responsibility.) He appears to be enquiring as to whether I would be willing to take up the position of Chair on the nation’s ‘Internal Security Committee!’ As you know pet, this is a position for which I am especially well qualified and, indeed, personally interested. Although it may well be rather tedious to be holed up in the Cabinet Office during deliberations of a rather interminable nature, I would certainly relish the opportunity to wield the gavel at suitable moments! While I am on this subject dear, would you be good enough to return last year’s correspondence to yourself? I seem to recall one or two indiscreet remarks I may have made about certain tipples, and there were also several occasions where I might have stretched the boundaries of my Licence to Kill . . . I think a bonfire of said epistles might be in order here, as I certainly wouldn’t want to feature on the front page of future editions of the ‘Moon!’