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Dear Victoria,

Am slightly ‘put oot,’ as they say north of the border, by Lynne Truss, that

witty journalist, nicking my idea for a satirical response to the Round Robin

letter, especially as I was just about to write mine.

We wish you and Andre a healthy and prosperous New Year.  You’ll be glad to

know that Kirstie Allsopp has popularised the de-worming, not only of pets,

but of all kinds of old skip-rescued furniture, so you will be able to continue

shipping your trove of tat over here for some time to come.  Austerity is good

for business.  Or your line of same. Sounds like it should be a proverb.

It’s been a hectic year as usual, with it being Suttonford’s turn to host le

jumelage exchange visit with Bric-a-brac.  The exciting news is that Ola,

Ginevra’s erstwhile carer, –the one who went off for some deeper mutualite

with the widower who had been billeted with your mother- is in a state of

infanticipation and her EDD coincidentally matches that of The

Duchess of Cambridge.  Magda, the replacement carer from the agency,

has gone over to Normandy to visit her compatriot and to help see

her through the period of la nausee – (wasn’t that a book?  I must

look it up on Amazon.) She might just be doing some research on the

the availability of spare widowers.

Gyles is fine.  Working hard to pay all the school fees.  Of course,

Tiger being a scholarship girl helps a bit. (15%)  I hope he likes the meggings

I have purchased for his Xmas.  I also hope he agrees to wear the onesie I

bought him for Brassie’s Strictly party on Saturday Night.    It’s either that or a

bare-chested Artem glitter special for his samba number.  We all have to do a

dance, but he said that he wanted to cover up and wished everyone would.


Talking of Tiger: it was an amazing privilege for her to have been

asked to carry the Olympic torch in the summer.  Gyles and I were

annoyed that she refused to wear the uncool white tracksuit.   It

wasn’t so very different from her polar bear onesie, I thought, and she never

takes that off.  Grey onesie, really.

Rollo went on a Parisian parkour programme in the hols and Ming

went wingsuit skydiving.  We did not tell their grandparents, though.

They were very proud of Ferdy winning the Mini Scientist of the Year

Award, all because Mr Milford-Haven had the foresight and nous to send his

essay on recessive genes and hair colour to Danny Alexander and various

government nobs.  Spelling? After the Harriet Harman episode, the Treasury

was only too happy to provide a generous grant for the newly instituted

award.  They seem to have the finances for some things. Of course, Gyles

spent half a term helping Ferd with the wretched thing, bless.

Ming was singled out for his ceramic project and has been making

pots with Grayson Perry.  He has to wear an overall to protect his

school uniform from all the slip clay, but wonders how his mentor

manages in those baby dolls.  He tries to remember to call him Clare.

Of course, Tiger’s heroine is Tracey Emin, or Eminem, as the boys have

dubbed her.  I don’t think Tiger has made her bed for a year now and

she refuses the cleaner entry to her room in case she disturbs her

work-in-progress installation.  I still have to pay the woman the full amount,

though, so no Chrissie bonus for her, since she takes that attitude. She earns

more than Gyles’ PA, in any case.  Or Gyles?-can’t remember which.

Gyles and I fancied island hopping in the summer, but in these times

of austerity, we only managed Portsea Island, Hayling and the Isle of

Wight.  We skipped Lee-on-Solent after remembering Alan Bennet’s portrayal of

it in Talking Heads (First Series) – the one with Julie Walters and the film crew.

More anon,

Have to make my mincemeat!  No suet.