The Book Of Daft

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Chapter 10

EMAIL 45 – Title: “The 12 Days of Christmas”

Day 1

Romeo answers the door. It’s his new ‘girlfriend’, Maud:

Romeo: Hello Maud.

Maud: Hello my true love.

Romeo: True love? Steady on. We’ve only been going out for a week!

Maud isn’t listening. She’s too excited.

Maud: I’ve brought you a Christmas present, my true love. Happy Christmas!

She points to an open truck behind her, which appears to have a small tree standing on it. There’s also something nestled in the tree, but Romeo can’t quite make out what it is.

Maud: It’s a partridge in a pear tree!

Romeo is momentarily stunned. He wonders if anyone in human history has ever been given such an absurdly random gift.

Romeo: I said I’d be happy with a pair of socks, Maud.

Maud: Oh, I knew you’d be pleased!

Romeo: But instead of a pair of socks, I get a pear tree. Easily confused I suppose!

Maud: Don’t forget the partridge.

Romeo: Forget, Maud? I think I can safely say that I will never forget this gift for the rest of my life.

Maud: Oh, how romantic, my darling Romeo!

‘My true love’ and ‘my darling’ were sentiments that were making Romeo feel distinctly uneasy.

Romeo: I’m truly touched by your kindness, Maud, but I’m sorry to say that you will have to take these gifts back.

Maud was taken aback by this.

Maud: I can’t! I’ve killed the partridge.

Romeo: You’ve what?

Maud: I’ve killed the partridge. I thought you might like one for your Christmas dinner.

Romeo: A bit presumptuous perhaps!

Maud: I don’t know what that means.

Romeo: It means that I already have a turkey.

Maud: Is it dead?

Romeo: Of course it’s dead!

Maud: But so is the partridge!

Romeo: Because you killed it!

Maud: Oh, Romeo. I’m so upset! How can you do this to me?

Romeo was feeling a little wary of Maud now. She clearly wasn’t quite all there…

He also knew that returning the pear tree was no longer an option, given that the pears were now sharing their home with a feathered corpse.

He decided that a little appeasement might be appropriate at this time.

Romeo: Maud, I will happily accept your gift. But please don’t buy me anything else. Your kindness is already most overwhelming.

Maud: Oh, thank you, my dear Romeo.

Day 2

Maud is back again.

Maud: It’s the 2nd day of Christmas, so I’ve brought you more presents!

Romeo: Christmas was yesterday, Maud. It comes but once a year. Today is Boxing Day.

Maud: Boxing Day? You will do no boxing on this day or any other, Romeo.

Romeo: You misunderstand.

Maud: I do not! It’s such a barbaric sport!

Romeo: Seems a bit rich coming from someone who, only yesterday, throttled a partridge to death!

Maud: I suppose I am rich, but I come from an effluent background.

Romeo: You mean affluent.

Maud: That’s what I said.

Romeo: You really didn’t, Maud. If you had come from an effluent background, I’d have to call the Environmental Health people to have you removed from my property.

Maud wasn’t listening. She was cradling 2 small birds in her hands, and the truck that accompanied her yesterday was back today too.

Maud: I’ve brought you 2 Turtle Doves.

Romeo: Turtle Doves?

Maud: Yes.

Romeo: They must be rare!

Maud: Why must they be rare?

Romeo: Well have you ever seen a turtle and a dove intertwined before!

Maud: It’s just a name, Romeo.

Romeo: I see they’re alive then. That’s a bonus.

Maud: Of course they are! How could anyone kill a dove?

Romeo: The same way someone recently killed a partridge, perhaps?

Maud: Oh Romeo. You’re such a tease.

Romeo gestured to the familiar truck behind Maud:

Romeo: What’s on the truck today?

Maud: A partridge in a pear tree.

Romeo: You brought me that yesterday.

Maud: I know. And you said my kindness was overwhelming. So I brought you more!

Romeo: I also said not to bring me any more presents, Maud! Does this mean you’ve been throttling partridges again?

Maud: Only one, Romeo. You can’t eat them alive, can you?

Romeo: There’s only me living here, Maud. I can’t eat a partridge a day, so please stop killing them! No more partridges! And no more pear trees please. OK?

Maud was already walking away, whistling happily. It was Romeo who was now holding the 2 Turtle Doves in his hands.

Day 3

Maud: Good morning, my true love!

Romeo: Oh no…

Maud: Happy 3rd day of Christmas!

Romeo: More birds!

Maud: Yes. 3 French Hens.

Romeo: Did you perhaps bring me an aviary in which to keep them all?

Maud: No. You need to let them run free.

Romeo: An extravagance that apparently doesn’t extend to partridges!

Maud: No animal can run free if it’s dead.

Romeo: An astute observation, Maud. And how do you know these hens are French? Do they sing La Marseillaise?

Maud: You’re not eating these, Romeo, so you won’t need mayonnaise.

Romeo could find no fitting response. He saw that the same truck was back again.

Romeo: There’s another tree in that truck, isn’t there?

Maud: Yes.

Romeo: And you’ve killed another partridge?

Maud: Yes. You can’t eat them alive.

Romeo: I’m going to report you to the RSPCP. This is wrong, Maud!

Maud: There are also 2 more Turtle Doves. They’re in your new pear tree.

Romeo. With the dead partridge.

Maud: Yes, they’ve had a little nibble, I think.

She wanders off, leaving Romeo to contemplate whatever attracted him to this weird woman in the first place.

He closes the door and resignedly transports his latest unwanted plunder to the back of his house.

Day 4

Maud: Happy 4th day of Christmas, Romeo!

Romeo: For God’s sake, Maud. “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day!” is a just a song, you know. You’re not meant to take it literally!

Maud: I’ve brought you 4 Calling Birds.

Romeo: And what’s with the bloody birds? I’ve already got 3 French Hens and 4 Turtle Doves; not to mention 3 dead partridges.

Maud: And 3 pear trees.

Romeo: Yes. Those too. The neighbours are starting to get suspicious about a new tree appearing in my garden every day. They think I’m some kind of gardening wizard!

Maud: Well now you’re the proud owner of 4 Calling Birds. You will love them.

Romeo: Will I indeed? What on earth are Calling Birds?

Maud: I suppose they’re birds that like to call.

Romeo: Ah yes! How silly of me.

Maud: You said it.

Romeo: They are making quite a racket, aren’t they?

Maud: They’re calling.

Romeo: Are you not tempted to throttle them to death? You seem to have developed a taste for it with those poor partridges!

Maud: Oh, that reminds me. Today’s partridge. He’s in the today’s tree, with today’s Turtle Doves and today’s French Hens.

Romeo: This can’t be real! It’s like bloody Groundhog Day, except worse!

Maud: It’s all as real as our true love, Romeo! Have fun!

Day 5

Maud: Happy 5th day of Christmas, my true love!

Romeo: Now, listen here, Maud. I’ve had enough of this! I’ve had no sleep with all these birds creating anarchy in my home!

Maud: It’s their home too, Romeo. Don’t be selfish.

Romeo: Selfish? There’s a bird war going on here! The French Hens have taken umbrage against the Calling Birds, and they’ve formed an alliance with the Turtle Doves.

Maud: It’s nice to hear that they’re all getting on together.

Romeo: You’re not listening again, are you? The Calling Birds are shouting their heads off like there’s no tomorrow.

Maud: I can assure you that there is a tomorrow, my true love.

Romeo: Stop calling me that!

Romeo: The French Hens are launching their eggs at the Calling Birds like baseball pitchers, presumably to try to shut them up.

Maud: Oh, you paint such a pretty pitcher…

Romeo: That’s not funny. It’s also not funny that the Turtle Doves have been hurling bits of dead partridge at the Calling Birds in a manner not dissimilar to throwing grenades at war!

Maud opens her mouth to speak

Romeo: No, let me finish, Maud! And to make things worse, the Calling Birds seem so delighted with the ‘eggs and partridge’ feast that they are being more raucous than ever! I’ve had enough of it, Maud! This must stop!

Maud: That’s nice, dear.

Romeo: What’s nice?

Maud: That you’re playing war with your new friends. Now, there are 4 more Calling Birds, 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, a partridge…yes, it’s dead…in a pear tree on the truck for you.

Romeo: Do you really want me to call the police, Maud? I will, you know.

Maud: That sounds like a good idea. With the party you seem to be having, a good pop band would be ideal. I did used to love that ‘Every Breath You Take’ song.

Romeo: Although partridges don’t get to take many breaths while you’re around…

Maud: Here’s 5 gold rings. See you tomorrow!

Exasperated as Romeo was, this changed everything.

5 gold rings!

Maybe Maud was testing him all along! And he’s earned 5 gold rings!

Well, I suppose the birds aren’t all that bad once you get used to them!

Day 6

Maud: Happy 6th days of Christmas, Romeo.

Romeo: Happy Christmas Maud. And a fine 6th day of Christmas it is.

Romeo holds out his hand, expectantly.

Romeo: 5 more gold rings today is it, Maud?

Maud: Yes, my love. And 4 Callings Birds…

Romeo: …and 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a dead partridge in a pear tree.

Maud: Well, yes.

Romeo: Let them all enter! They’re all very welcome.

Maud: I love to see you happy.

Romeo: Thanks to 10 gold rings, Maud. And the other gifts of course.

Maud: I’ve brought you a new gift too.

Romeo: Your generosity knows no bounds. What precious commodity have you brought me today?

Maud: 6 geese-a-laying.

Romeo: 6 geese-a-laying?

Maud: Yes.

Romeo: Laying what? Eggs?

Maud: Naturally.

Romeo: Gold eggs by any chance?

Maud: No, my dear. Just eggs. Bye for now!

Romeo was still much softened by the 10 gold rings, so he accepted the geese without a grumble, and waited to hear news of his 7th day gift.

Day 7

Maud: Happy 7th days of Christmas, Romeo.

Romeo: Maud, I don’t wish to appear ungrateful, but may I just have my 5 gold rings today please?

Maud: That’s not how this works, my true love.

Romeo: Ok, but no more geese! Their eggs have been received a little too enthusiastically in the ongoing bird war. They’re flying all over the place, and those blasted Calling Birds are loving it!

Maud: Please don’t swear, Romeo. It’s not very becoming.

Romeo: I said ‘blasted’.

Maud: I know, and I won’t have it! Here are 7 swans-a-swimming.

Romeo: They’re not swimming.

Maud: They are.

Romeo: They’re just sitting there. There’s also no water – rather an important ingredient for a swim, wouldn’t you say?

Maud: But this is what they do when they swim. They look like they’re just sitting there – so graceful.

Romeo: They’re still not swimming.

Maud: Well I say they are!

Romeo: You’ve brought me 7 swans-a-sitting.

Maud: They’re gliding like swans.

Romeo: They are swans. On that we agree, but they’re not gliding anywhere!

Maud: You’re just being difficult. Take them into their new home. The rest is in the truck. See you tomorrow.

And off she goes without warning, as has become her way.

Although he can’t explain for the life of him why (the rings!), Romeo dutifully follows Maud’s instruction, and brings everything in.

Day 8

Romeo opens the door

Romeo: Jesus wept!

Maud: I know he did! And so would you if you were made to endure all that suffering!

Romeo: I’m enduring quite enough suffering in my own way, Maud. Who are these strangely synchronised companions of yours?

Maud: Not mine, my true love. They’re yours.

Romeo: They’re people, Maud! You can’t give people as presents!

Maud: They’re 8 maids-a-milking.

Romeo: They’re bloody bewitched! And they are not coming into my house!

Maud: Oh yes they are! And you shall have another 8 tomorrow!

Romeo: For God’s sake!

Maud: For my sake too.

Romeo: There’s a human rights issue here, Maud.

Maud: They have a right to a loving home.

Romeo: But not to mine! They’re also not milking.

Maud: Yes, they are.

Romeo: They are 8 maids-a-miming Maud. They are just pretending to be milking.

Maud: You try telling that to the maids.

Romeo: Where did you get them from?

Maud: That’s none of your business, Romeo. Just you take good care of them!

Romeo closes the door. He’s had enough and he is certainly not allowing these demented women into his home.

Meanwhile, Maud takes the 8 ladies round to the back of the house, and formally introduces them to the menagerie of creatures that are currently playing their war game.

Day 9

Maud is here again, this time accompanied by 9 twitchy females.

Maud: Happy 9th day of Christmas, my true love!

Romeo: Well, it is admittedly a little more peaceful than the 8th day.

Maud: Has everyone finished playing now?

Romeo: Except for the maids.

Maud: What are they playing?

Romeo: The ‘Try to milk every creature in sight’ game.

Maud: That sounds like fun.

Romeo: The Calling Birds didn’t think so.

Maud: You can’t milk a Calling Bird.

Romeo: That didn’t stop them trying.

Romeo gives a satisfied smile

Romeo: And so the Calling Birds, not to mention all other recently arrived living creatures, have scarpered.

Maud: Scarpered?

Romeo: Flown away.

Maud: All of them?

Romeo: There are a few dead partridges still around here somewhere.

Maud: Oh, this is so awful!

Romeo: The maids even tried to milk those but, after much strenuous squeezing and stretching, they soon realised that such efforts were futile.

Maud: So only the maids remain?

Romeo: Yes indeed, and we have an understanding that they can stay here too - as long as I, myself, remain ‘unmilked’, as it were.

Maud stood there in silence for a moment.

Romeo: But how rude of me, Maud. Do introduce me to these ladies.

Maud: They’re 9 ladies dancing.

Romeo: So they are! Varied styles and abilities, would it be fair to say?

Maud: They’re unique.

Romeo: An apt description. Now, let me see. We have one doing pirouettes, so she is a ballet dancer.

Maud: Yes.

Romeo: Then we have the Irish dancer doing her River dance thing.

Maud: Isn’t she wonderful?

Romeo: She certainly fills me with wonderment.

Romeo: The one spinning on the floor is difficult to place…

Maud: That’s the Break-dancer.

Romeo: Of course. And is the one at the end really doing The Time warp?

Maud: Yes, she is.

Romeo: Hardly a dance is it?

Maud: Then what is it?

Romeo: It’s usually an act of drunken madness.

Maud: She’s not drunk.

Romeo: But certainly mad.

Romeo: No music either, I see. But then who needs music for dancing when we apparently do not need water for swimming, and pretty much anything can be ‘milked’ if the desire is there.

Maud is already walking away. She has no idea what Romeo is talking about.

Day 10

Romeo: Good Lord!

Maud: They’re all good lords, my love.

Romeo: Who are?

Maud: These 10 lords-a-leaping

Romeo: Are they quite ok? It looks like they’re trying to escape from molten lava.

Maud: They’re just leaping. That’s what lords-a-leaping do.

Romeo: I confess it would be silly for lords-a-leaping to do anything else.

Maud: Exactly.

Romeo: Are they really all Lords?

Maud: They’re dressed like Lords.

Romeo: Hardly irreversible proof.

Maud: And I met them on Lord Street.

Romeo: In that event, case closed.

Maud: What case?

Romeo: Never mind. Do they know that it isn’t a leap year?

Maud: Don’t be silly.

Romeo: You’re right, Maud. A moment like this does not require any further silliness. There is quite enough of it around already.

Maud: Thank you. Now go and introduce the Lords and ladies. I’m sure they’ll get on famously.

Romeo: I’ll do just that, Maud.

Maud: Don’t forget to unload the truck.

Romeo: I’ll just take the rings today Maud, if that’s ok? Oh, and the maids too. They’re been very useful. Probably best to leave the rest though.

Maud: Why?

Romeo: To avoid any unwanted milking and subsequent escapes.

Maud: Oh, I see.

Romeo: See you tomorrow Maud.

Day 11

Maud: Happy 11th day of Christmas, my true love.

Romeo: Why, thank you, Maud. And a happy Christmas to you and your 11 gentlemen friends too. What a fabulous Christmas this has been.

Maud: I’m so glad you think so.

Romeo: Oh yes. It’s been one to remember, and you were right about the Lords and ladies getting on.

Maud: I knew I would be.

Romeo: Yes indeed. All 9 ladies are engaged to a Lord.

Maud: Which one?

Romeo: 9 different Lords of course!

Maud: What about the other Lord.

Romeo: I think he’s got his eye on one of the maids. He doesn’t seem to mind it when she tries to milk him.

Maud: How romantic.

Romeo: Those rings have come in handy too! I’ve got so many that I thought I could donate 9 of them to the happy couples. They seem delighted.

Maud: My wonderful Romeo.

Romeo: Well, yes, I suppose I am.

Romeo: The dancing has been eventful too, now that the Lords and ladies have paired up.

Maud: Eventful?

Romeo. Yes. Ladies dancing seems to go rather well with lords-a-leaping on the whole – seems to have created a whole new genre of dancing. It looks a bit spasmodic at times, but I like it.

Maud: I think you will like today’s gift too.

Romeo: Do introduce me, Maud.

Maud: They’re 11 pipers-a-piping.

Romeo: Brilliant!

Maud: What is?

Romeo: Pipers who pipe. That makes so much sense.

Maud: That’s what I thought. I thought to myself, ‘Romeo will just love 11 pipers who pipe’

Romeo: And pipe they do, Maud. A fine melody too.

Maud: Do you think they’ll be well received by the others?

Romeo: Oh, certainly. There are plenty of maids around to keep them company. I see you bring new ladies and Lords too.

Maud: Yes, they’ve already met. I mentioned your rings, just in case.

Romeo: Hmmm. Ok, but my good deed was done yesterday. The remaining rings are my own.

Maud walks off again, not really listening, whilst Romeo vows to be a bit more careful with his precious gold rings.

Day 12

Maud: Happy 12th day of Christmas, my true love.

Romeo: Don’t you ‘my true love’ me!

Maud: But I’ve brought you 12 drummers drumming.

Romeo: They’ll be 12 drummers nursing their kicked backsides in a moment. Take them away!

Maud: But you were so happy yesterday!

Romeo: Until you started offering my rings to this randy lot! Now they’re all expecting them! Ladies dancing, lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking are all getting on a bit too well for my liking, and they’re all expecting rings to celebrate their new-formed attachments!

Maud: But that’s so romantic.

Romeo: It was while I still had some rings of my own!

Maud: That’s just selfish.

Romeo: Selfish?

Maud: Yes, selfish!

Romeo: Don’t you dare come round here again – not unless you want some of your own medicine!

Maud: I’m quite well thank you.

Romeo: You won’t be if you return tomorrow. Should you have the gumption to appear here on day 13, I’ll be ready with some carefully chosen gifts of my own! We’ll start with 13 skunks-a-stinking! That should go quite well with your effluent background!

Maud says nothing and appears to be listening patiently.

Romeo: And I won’t stop there either. On the following day, you’ll get 14 sharks-a-biting, then 15 bombs exploding and 16 colostomy bags-a-leaking! You mark my words, Maud. You’ll regret you ever started this!

Maud: There are only 12 days of Christmas, my true love.

Romeo: Did you hear anything of what I’ve just said?

Maud: I did, and I’m truly touched.

Romeo: You’re ‘touched’ all right!

Maud: But I cannot receive gifts after the 12th day.

Maud smiles, blows a kiss and starts to walk away…

Maud: Have a happy Christmas and a happy new year, my true love. You won’t be seeing me again now…

Romeo closes the door, exhausted but relieved.

Maud: …until next year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who took the time to read this Christmas epic!

I hope you enjoyed it.

Paul

Preamble to email 46:

Other emails in this collection were inspired by missing objects.

A missing sink did, however, seem rather more unusual.

I mean, in the absence of a sink, where exactly is one to supposed to wash one’s hands?

I’ll leave you to ponder that one.

EMAIL 46 – Title: “Stolen”

Morning all

Don’t panic, but something significant has gone missing from the gents’ toilets in the sixth form block.

If you are getting a sinking feeling, then your instincts are correct about the object that has been taken. But, sadly, the harsh reality is that hardened criminals are only too willing to sink to such depths.

Unfortunately, the culprits of this crime are nowhere to be seen, but in a robbery such as this, a clean getaway is usually the likely outcome.

I am awash with ideas as to how we might flush out these porcelain pilferers, and I won’t pull the plug on my investigations if you are all behind me.

However, if the general consensus is that a new sink would be preferable, just let me know, and I’ll throw in the towel - Paul

Preamble to email 47:

You lose a sink then find a tangerine. It’s all part of God’s big plan…

EMAIL 47 – Title: “Tangerine”

Hi everyone

There appears to be a tangerine on the floor of my classroom (S2).

The poor mite has clearly peeled away from its owner at the thought of its imminent consumption and, although I sympathise with its fruitless plight, I am more concerned about one of our hard-working teachers running out of juice during the forthcoming Parents’ Evening.

If you see someone who seems to have lost their zest, do let them know their Tangerine Dream awaits them in S2.

Paul

Preamble to email 48:

This one was way overdue.

At the final staff briefing before a half term, the Head teacher would offer some well-meant advice.

I thought it about time that I heeded it.

EMAIL 48 – Title: “Re-Charge Those Batteries”

Welcome back, dear colleagues, to our sacred place of collective happiness!

I hope you had a relaxing break and, like me, you now cannot wait to pour wisdom into those knowledge-thirsty vessels we call children.

On a personal level, I’d thank to offer sincere thanks to the Head of our school, for it is he who takes responsibility for the sheer soul-cleansing joy in which I was immersed during this half term.

Tell you more? Why, certainly, my esteemed fellow educators…

You may recall that, during staff briefing, on the final week of any given half-term, you can rest assured that our aforementioned Head will bestow upon us the ultimate message of kindness and wisdom via these immortal words:

“Have a good break and re-charge those batteries.”

Two excellent pieces of advice, I’m sure you’ll agree. You might even say ‘two for the price of one’ but that makes little sense when the advice is provided for free.

The first piece of advice is easy enough to follow, particularly if you enjoy a game of Pool. You simply need to give the cue a ball a jolly good whack into the pack of the balls at the start of any given game. That would certainly constitute a ‘good break’ for most amateur players.

Snooker, however, is not quite so easy, as it is generally unwise to disturb too many red balls at the outset. In fact, that can often lead to a ‘good break’ for your opponent, and that, I confidently surmise, is not what our Head is advocating at all.

Anyway, if snooker is your preference (you thrill-seeking hedonists!) I generally aim for the outermost red ball at the base of the pack and apply a little bit of right-hand side to the cue ball. It does admittedly take a bit of practice to perfect this so if you want to maximise your chances of a really good break, you should probably stick to Pool.

The second piece of advice that is generously bequeathed to us is probably not adhered to by most of you, although I am absolutely prepared for my conjecture to be proved wrong, so please do share your personal tales (if you dare) …

And if my hunch is indeed correct then, by Jove, you really must avail yourself of its stress-relieving many benefits at the next available opportunity. I insist, for it has done wonders for me this week.

Allow me to elaborate … although I am going to anyway:

Such was the excitement of knowing that I was genuinely going to heed ‘Head’s advice, part 2’, I abandoned any acts of procrastination and got straight down to business.

I telephoned a selection of friends (okay, let’s be honest. I have no friends but it’s easy enough to hire a few these days) and invited them to my inaugural ‘Battery Re-Charging’ Party that very evening.

True to the ad, my ‘friends’ were all super-punctual and we all agreed that we were destined to bond very well indeed. However, after a moment’s reflection (we had mirrors for this), we thought that we should save our bonding for a yet-to-be-scheduled ‘Household Adhesives’ party in the near future.

But, for now, there was a ‘Battery Re-Charging Party’ to enjoy! Oh yes!

Unfortunately, but understandably, some of my more naïve guests brought batteries that were not of the re-chargeable variety. Nevertheless, without wishing to appear boastful (blush), I was Ever Ready (see what I did there?) for such a scenario and had kept a spare supply of re-chargeables for these poor unfortunates.

Conversely, there were one or two ‘professionals’ who strutted in like they owned the place, making comments along the lines of ’Want to see my Duracells?’ They’d obviously done this before.

Of course, as with many a wild party that you may have attended in times of yonder, things can get a little giddy at times, and some of the attendees admittedly acted without any due sense of responsibility as the evening wore on. During such moments, many a watch battery, torch battery and calculator battery perished at being exposed to an assortment of incompatible charging devices. But most of us admitted that their loss was secondary to the fun that we shared in contributing to their demise.

A small minority who did struggle to cope with such uninhibited battery antics decided to continue their evenings via the safe option, going off to charge their mobile phones instead.

The highlight of the evening was yet to come:

As our numbers began to dwindle, and only the heavyweight battery-chargers amongst us remained, one of our ‘professionals’ was so determined to charge his car battery that he telephoned the AA, feigning a breakdown.

When the AA man arrived, he was most displeased at this act of deception, and his remonstrations were a little unsettling, as matters threatened to turn physical. Someone, perhaps unwisely, suggested that any violence would considered be an act of assault and ‘battery’. The comment was far from helpful at this moment.

However, taking ‘charge’ of the situation, I bravely but cautiously presented the irate AA man with a selection of re-chargeable AA batteries for him to keep as a good will offering. Thankfully, this seemed to do the trick and he soon seemed much appeased. Furthermore, I told him that the Automobile Association had sent these specifically labelled batteries in advance of his arrival, in order to honour his excellent service to the automobile industry. We all applauded him as he bashfully received his prize.

Buoyed by the presentation of his AA batteries, the AA man was soon joining in with the rest of us with a vigorous enthusiasm. By the end of the evening, he’d charged the batteries of every attendee’s vehicle, as well as those of a few unsuspecting neighbours too.

At the end of the evening, we all laughed heartily when he joked that there would be ‘no charge’ for his services!

So, bring on the new half-term! All batteries are re-charged, and I’m completely energised for Day 1.

No doubt I’ll be completely sapped by Day 2 though.

Paul

EMAIL 49 – Title: “Marathons”

Good morning everyone.

Just wanted to say congratulations to those who completed the London and Manchester marathons recently.

Whilst I’m at it, may I modestly add that I’ve completed many marathons in my time, but I’ve never really bothered to mention them to anyone until now.

I didn’t consider the completion of a marathon to be an event worthy of celebration at the time, if I’m perfectly honest, but now I see I should have embraced my achievements with pride, as others are now doing.

I must also have been fitter than I realised when I was completing all those marathons because I was never out of breath afterwards. If anything, I could have completed a couple of marathons in a row without taking a break.

As for half marathons, I didn’t see the point in those very much, but I suppose lesser athletes than myself may consider the completion of a half marathon to be a personal success, so who am I to criticise?

Anyway, it’s been years since I completed a marathon (shouldn’t that word be capitalised?) and I don’t seek them out anymore.

In later years, I’ve completed quite a few ‘Snickers’, but nobody ever seems as impressed with that. It’s the ‘Marathon’ that everyone raves on about – understandably so really. So, there we are – another of my many achievements chronicled for your collective admiration.

‘Nuts’ you say! And of course, you’re absolutely right.

But don’t forget the caramel, nougat and chocolate too!

Paul

Postscript to email 49:

I never did take kindly to Marathons being re-named Snickers.

But I’m hearing Wispas that the original name may well return…

Preamble to email 50:

This is what can happen when you omit a word from a sentence.

I’d apologise but that would just be insincere.

The email read, “Please escort your class to the Arts Theatre at the times given (bags/coats to left in classrooms)”

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