Hi Jimmy, how’s Toad Hall on this fine day? It’s fine here. I woke up thinking of Nat King Cole today and singing, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark. So many people around here are afraid of the dark. I want to go out to buy some English papers (and don’t bother me about paragraphs). Last week, there was a lot about the Royal family in the American press. You know that two of them especially are my favourites. I actually saw Prince Charles laughing once. I could hardly believe my eyes. Princess Ann is the other hard-working one, but I have not seen or heard much in the media about her at all recently. Don’t get me wrong; I am a staunch Royalist. I like them all, but Charles appeals to my gentler side and Ann appeals to my no-nonsense approach. She would not hesitate to tell a stupid reporter to “NAFF OFF” when they step out of line.
It’s fine weather outside. Kilt weather in fact. The cat would have a fantastic time, and I would have the time of my life putting the boot in. After all, it is the twentieth century, and it seems as if only transvestites wear skirts these days. If you persist in keeping up with the Mac Jump-ups, you will have to allow me to supply the makeup to complete the look. You will then have to give up the idea of the Welsh-type jeans and the guitar. Some people cannot afford to go around imitating Tom Jones, even if they have invested in a guitar. I am going to have to put my foot down. People who are called Honourable should behave with some dignity. Playing the guitar and gyrating in a sexually provocative manner is completely unacceptable. Anyway, it was only a dream. So one should not get too carried away. I forget, however, that you have no idea just how possessive some people can be.
I saw a woman called Pat Booth on TV and immediately thought of another of my favourite songs – Love Letters in the Sand. Pity I have no one to send a love letter. My half of heart talks to you is personal to me. I do not have to write love letters in the sand that are washed away by the vagaries of ebbing and flowing tides. But I saw a chap on CH5 this morning, called John Theeza, and I am sure I have never seen him in the British papers. If I were two years younger and the right colour, I would certainly camp outside the TV centre. He has the most amazing voice I have ever heard. Who the hell is he? Now, Mr Mine of Information; give me the low down. He reminds me of a Kennedy. But I suppose any handsome, clean-cut American looks like a Kennedy to me. Even Clinton reminds me of a Kennedy.
By the way, you must please take the above statement in the sort of good humour intended. You are really part of me. Nothing is going to change that. I have been at my worst, my very worst, and it is so amazing you did not seem to see the horror of it. I shudder with shame and embarrassment when I picture what may have happened. I knew by seeing my daughter Jacqui how it might have been. God knows, I cannot and do not want to even think of it. So as long as I live, I will never even contemplate the possibility ever that there is anybody in this world who can come anywhere near you in any department. Apart from in height that is, but you are blind in most ways, and the first present I am ever going to give you is a WHITE STICK. I will gladly go on Social Security just to spend my life leading you around to make sure that you will never be afraid of the dark. Doing for you the things you cannot do for yourself. It will be a labour of love first and a show of gratitude last. I still want to know who this John Theeza is, though. It shows I can still spot the nice ones even if I have gone potty over Mr Toad.
Girl on The Oprah Winfrey Show this morning reckoned her father taught her to be afraid of the dark, and she fears BLACKS. Aren’t you afraid I might eat you alive? Some people are a little mad. By the time they realise that you are no more, I will have cut you up into tiny pieces and cooked you in your own sweet juice. With a liberal helping of pepper. Some like it hot!
The questionnaires on some of these shows are very interesting. The one that just caught my eye was about liking your partner’s taste and smell. When I heard that, I almost felt sick. In some of the communities where I have lived, especially with a lot of the Yuppie ladies, they do not seem to know their way to the washrooms. It doesn’t matter how much perfume you wear to hide the stench. The very question, and as you know I have a vivid imagination, made me want to puke. There is something to be said for the hygiene habits of us simple country folks who grew up around rivers and water.
Soon after my brother Lloyd started working for The Guardian, he searched the local newspapers and found a place to rent from an Englishman who had just become a widower. They spoke on the phone and got on famously. Everything seemed hunky-dory. My brother at the time was living with a lovely Jamaican girl who looked white. That was before he met his Spanish wife, Mary. Anyway, Lloyd knew that if he had gone to meet the man about the flat himself, he would not have got it. The British were afraid of the dark back then. So he sent his near-white girlfriend instead. She went there and made all the necessary arrangements, including the signing of a tenancy agreement. When Lloyd turned up, it was already a fait accompli. The landlord could not change his mind.
To cut a long story short, when my brother finally bought his house in Enfield and told the landlord he was moving, the landlord nearly cried. He said my brother was the cleanest person he had ever seen. He had to put in a gas metre especially because he could not afford the hot water my brother used for baths. Either you like water, or you don’t. You can detect that even in babies. Some newborns take to water like Duncan Goodhew, while others scream as if they’re being murdered.
Very quiet today, not a sound. But I am not too happy as you can imagine. Toby’s daughter-in-law has arrived with her two children, both of whom are afraid of the dark. Seems to have come out-of-the-blue. This is the last thing I expected. Still, the couch was fine for me. Sally suggested I share half of her bed, but I had to decline the kind offer. It’s a long time since I actually shared a bed with anyone apart from my granddaughter. So I found myself telling Sally that I will only share a bed with my husband. She must have thought that I was odd. But at my advanced age, if I never find a husband, I’ll be content to sleep alone for the rest of my life.
See you, Jimmy.