10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY4 6GT
My Dear Ralph
I notice you are off the scene again pet? I wonder what kind of derring-do you are engaged in this time? It certainly makes me feel nostalgic for my former days of intrigue in our embassy in Moscow! In fact, I am so used to masquerading as one type of person while, in reality, being a sort of character amalgam, that I may have taken my rather eccentric auntie persona to somewhat of an extreme - even in the present day. But it has been useful dear, during the Cold War, to be under-estimated - particularly when one has had one's eye on papers littering another's desk or, indeed, their waste memo baskets!
In the course of my search for something useful to do during the day - not to mention my ongoing quest for someone to marry - I came across the Corsettshire Recycling Company. This encampment is located on the edge of the woods in further Niblet, some 10km distant. It was quite difficult to find at first pet, as one has to motor up a muddy track following only an occasional hand-painted sign. However, once I arrived in the timber yard, I was made most welcome by one or two Beatnik-style characters and I have agreed to sign up for one morning a week. I do think though pet, that their office is in need of somewhat of a revamp. I found it hard to decipher the volunteer application form as it was partially obliterated by mud and fingerprints. And my enquiries about Health and Safety were met by a scruffy-looking envelope being thrust into my hands, the contents of which seemed mostly concerned with the provision of day care facilities in the adjacent village. I did mention this dear, and was told I had to look on the other side of all the pages - excess paper consumption naturally being of great relevance to this organization. I did study the pages on the reverse of the child care resume and someone had certainly been most thorough in their listing of the injuries that could befall one in the Corsettshire Recycling Company! There were so many horrible possibilities that the chance of thinking of them all, resembles that of trying to remember the hundreds of potential prizes passing one on a conveyor belt during one of those memory competitions on the television set! The potential hazards I remember, include: embedding a nail (rusty) in the sole of one's foot; being run over by a large lorry; being mashed against a wall by a fork-lift truck; falling into the compost toilet; slicing off a finger while using a cutting tool; injuring one's back lifting some heavy piece of timber; having racks of said timber fall on you, and being consumed in a conflagration involving both the timber and the timber-framed warehouse used for storage. This is by no means an exhaustive list!
However, not wanting to appear ungrateful of my warm welcome and refreshing cup of tea, I duly signed on the dotted line and was led off to the pallet dismantling section. I don't know dear. There must surely be a better way of dismantling these items, other than levering them apart with a crowbar? Is it really impossible to use an electromagnet? I must admit I was totally hopeless at working out the best ergonomic method for removing a rusty nail from a plank. I think there may have been a certain amount of sniggering emanating from my more muscular workmate as he took in my struggles with a claw hammer! I did, eventually, manage to visualize the right way to use this implement and proudly deposited any number of long, bent, nails into a plastic bucket. Another tricky moment arrived in the form of a request to carry these 8-metre-long pieces of plank into the warehouse. And I must admit, dear, that my strengths do really lie in the carriage and use of much smaller, metal,
pieces of hardware. However, I finally decided that the best method of attack was to lift up one end of a plank and walk my shoulder along it until the point of balance was reached -and then totter off towards the appropriate entrance. Now, I may have mentioned this before, but the wearing of high heels and a short skirt are all very well for the purposes of seduction, but all wrong for prising off nails and carrying wood over rough terrain! I think someone in the yard did mention this, but I am so attached to my apparel that I think I may have said that I'd mistakenly left my steel-capped boots back at Forsythia Grove. And, in any case, I said I was far better balanced in my normal attire than in any boring brown get-up with flat heels! I do think I may not have been correct in this assumption pet because, during the course of becoming mired in a pothole, the plank swung in a large arc and smashed through the glass of a customer's rather plush-looking vehicle. I think it may have been an Audi. I certainly did see a number of interlocking circles, but that may all have been attributable to a sort of post-incident dizzy swirl.
I will leave you to imagine exactly what happened next dear but I, myself, am currently at home munching on a fresh cream cake and imbibing a little pick-me-up.