10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
I have just returned from a 3-day sojourn with my former 'oppo', Dorian, down at the coastal resort of Cherrington-by-Sea. I had a most pleasant, incident-free, rail trip which is certainly refreshing in this day and age isn't it? In fact, I arrived several hours too early, emerging from the railway station into a plethora of herring gulls munching away on the contents of a station bin. Then I beamed over a text message to let dear Dorian know I'd arrived one or two moments prior to anticipation; there was always the hope that he might also be in town! My luck was in pet! Said 'oppo' eagerly relayed three messages straight back to me, which more-or-less took the form of, 'Where are you??' Well I didn't actually know. One stretch of beach looks pretty much like another to me and the bay certainly did curve in an unending vista of donkey rides, big wheels, ice cream parlours and trampoline netting. However, there is only one bus station and it is there we eventually managed to coincide after only one or two shirty messages. These were certainly not from me for, as you know, I am the veritable personification of patience and charm. But dear Dorian can run on somewhat of a short fuse and, in person, the glowering brow and saturnine visage might have intimidated a lady not accustomed to standing her ground - not to mention keeping her nerve - in threatening situations. Anyway, we were soon licking away on one or two ice lollies and enjoying the bracing sea breezes from our seats in the esplanade shelter. The first topic of conversation that Dorian chose to embark upon was the rage management medication he had been prescribed at the local GP practice! 'Oh really,' I said, 'That sounds most helpful dear. Perhaps it will be good for your blood pressure?' It was then that I happened to notice the rather eye-catching blotchy rash (purple in hue) which was covering the below-neck parts of Dorian that extended beyond his clothing. 'Oh my dear,' I said, 'that looks absolutely horrible. Have you considered longer items of summer wear, or the application of a cosmetic bandage?' Now, I do appreciate pet, that said remarks may have been slightly tactless. However, dear Dorian turned a sort of dark beetroot colour and positively shouted, 'NO I HAVEN'T! THAT'S JUST THE SORT OF STUPID REMARK WHICH MAKES A CHAP FEEL LIKE GETTING OUT HIS GUN AND SHOOTING YOU WITH IT!'
Well, of course, given that I actually wanted to survive the holiday (and had left my own gun at home) I decided to make free with the profuse and abject apologies and change the subject. The change of subject I decided upon took the form of an enquiry into the type of dispenser that Dorian used to store his medication in. I had just embarked upon one or two recommending remarks about those rather natty geriatric medication trays used for said purpose nowadays, when I noticed a certain twitching of my chum's trigger finger. 'No?' I said, 'Perhaps for a gentleman of style and breeding, such as yourself, a signet ring with a high hinged lid is required?' I don't actually think a ring could accommodate sufficient of the size of capsule that Dorian was demonstrating but, having honed my diplomatic skills for so many years, I decided that these were what were required - especially if one is in need of food and lodgings for at least one night!
It is always the case that, when one is at the seaside, that one begins to contemplate a morning bathe in the sea. And I had brought my very own costume pet - only slightly held in by a whalebone style of corset at the midriff. (I must say that I have been very fortunate on my retention of the ideal feminine shape, with barely a bulge at the middle!) So Dorian kindly suggested a walk down to Deepwell Cove, situated some two miles away from his own premises, albeit mentioning the possible icy chill of the waters. 'Nonsense,' I retorted. 'The sea here in the UK is well-warmed by the Gulf Stream; I am sure it will be most inviting'! I am also not sure I would have suggested a bathe, had I known anything about the precipitous descent to this inlet! I don't know if I have mentioned my new varifocal lenses to you, have I dear? Well these are most definitely unsuited to the descent of steep, cliffside, paths - owing to the fact that one has to gaze through the bottom of the lenses, looking down, in order to get any sort of visual purchase on the path at all. And the bottom of the lenses, as you may know, are actually tuned into the reading of a book situated about 30cm from the end of one's nose! I am amazed I didn't sustain a fracture of the tibia at the very least.
The sea temperature did, as was earlier intimated, turn out to resemble that of glacier melt water and I could certainly feel one or two ice crystals forming in my blood at around ankle level! However, one hardly likes to back out, does one pet, and I looked around me for inspiration. And, over on the other side of the cove, I noticed a muscular gentleman of similar years to myself, perched on a rock in his bathing trunks. I think he'd been perched there for quite some considerable while, presumably deciding whether to risk diving in himself! In fact, he seemed to have a large white tub of something or other stationed on a nearby slab. Whale grease perhaps? I could also see the head of a most elegant young lady, projecting from a roll of tartan blanket, as she also reclined on the coastline. I wondered if he was hoping to impress her with his derring-do? I stood and watched him for, if he could take the plunge in such biting conditions, then so could I . . . I just thought I'd wait to make sure that, upon immersion, he actually re-emerged alive. I did not have to wait long dear. In he went and I gaily remarked to Dorian that perhaps he might never come up! Well how right can you be pet! We watched and we watched and, as far as we could see, he never breathed fresh air again! It certainly did not seem quite the moment for my own dip, as you can imagine. And God only knows when his girlfriend woke up to the fact of his disappearance because, looking more closely, she appeared to have fallen asleep behind her sunglasses! We ourselves decided to tiptoe back home - incognito so-to-speak!
As for yourself nephew, are you absolutely sure about your intended purchase, and application of, Trumper's Eucris? Said hair pomade, dating back to days of yore, is just that and will not - in any way - stimulate a recovery of your lost follicules (or youth for that matter)!
In the prime of la jeunesse