Ah hello. Come in and sit down. No, no, not there. That other one is far more comfortable and doesn't tip directly into the piranha tank.
You're wondering why we asked you here? We've been meaning to have words for a while. It concerns your performance as (delete as necessary) customer/storemanager/parishioner/colleague/son/other relative/bishop/not sure.
We won't beat about the bush. Why do that when you can beat the bush and then club the pheasant directly? No we were not calling you a pheasant. That was just a metaphor. There will be more of those. Actually if it was a metaphor we were calling you a pheasant. We are also calling you a pedant for noticing. Stop distracting us. The thing is you have simply not been diverting enough. We cannot double-handedly bear the weight of amusing our friends, followers and family. Please step up. In the meantime, here is something not much like news.
Knees. Not normally entertaining? Are you sure? Have you seen Steve's? He had unspecified therapeutic endoscopic operations on semilunar cartilage. Spent years eliminating sentences such as that from communications to ordinary people and then copped for six three syllable words out of seven. It means keyhole, scalpel and four hours in hospital including a bit of a sleep. Two pathetic scars, a week off work and a fully functioning right knee joint again. The member of the family who gave his knees a thirty year football battering now has a new tale with which to bore us. That left knee looks iffy though and Steve needs a reading week.
Please chuckle now or we'll ask the staff to take you out and have fun with you.
Consumer news. We have enjoyed renting holiday cottages for years but copped for our first duffer. Dark, dank and dirty is not a description of Liz's management style (yet) but was better than the word 'charming' and others used to describe the place we rented last spring. The world's smallest double bed had to be climbed over to draw the curtains across a rod with a ninety degree kink in it. Strangely, 'ninety degree kink' also described the necessary manoeuvre to get a suitcase to the 'deceptively spacious' upstairs. No folks, it was not as tardis-like as we had been led to expect. Deceptively claustrophobic in fact. The wash basin remained full once the plug was removed. Previous occupants of the shower had all left their mark as had users of cutlery and crockery. Full refund and alternative accommodation were not offered so we came home. Proceedings are proceeding. Watch the small print in Sykes Cottage brochures (way beyond page 300). Your contract, they insist, is between you and the cottage owner and they will do nothing. This despite references to 'Our Cottages' throughout.
Do not laugh at this point or you'll be back at your first choice of chair.
Cargo Nailsea, the local shop Liz opened a couple of years ago so she could be nearer home of a Friday night, closed again. Another retailer made the company an offer they couldn't refuse for the prime site she had found. Fridays in Bath, Swindon or Cheltenham beckon. The closing down sale rocked though. It appears her company buyers may have slightly over-ordered champagne flutes. Does anyone want to buy 16,000? Not celebrating? Thought not. Liz's 4.40 a.m. alarm has become a feature of our life. Steve used to find 6.45 a.m. a tad early but the Cargo regional team of three slipped to two a few weeks ago so Brighton is now in the south-west and Mrs T is becoming acquainted with Premier Lodges in places such as Bagshot.
Last year Steve agreed to take the Christmas Eve midnight communion at Tickenham and found the place full of lively young adults who once belonged to the youth group but had upped and left. A quick survey showed the early nineties as the date they were together and we all ended up singing an impromptu Shine Jesus Shine round the joanna at 1230 on Christmas morning. You probably had to be there. Steve will be back this year as Tickenham is still awaiting a new Rector. We expect to cover Wonderwall and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Ben (older and co-favourite son for the benefit of new readers) and Rachel (his girlfriend) headed off to London-in-the-Marsh. Both sons, Steve's sister and all partners (only three, don't panic) now live in the capital. Ben is pioneering the live-your-life-backwards awards his Dad began and is now a student again. Jon has had a steady job for a year and has borrowed no further money. Excuse us; writing that made us come over all weird.
Curate Michelle came back from maternity leave with a delightful son in tow but has just announced she enjoyed it so much she is doing it again.
Mustard Seed Shavings the book was published at Easter. You don't have a copy? Google it immediately and purchase from BRF, Amazon or your local bookshop. Buy enough copies for your teenage godchildren too. If it sells as many as Purpose Drivel Life it will pay for the Trinity Project (see previous years) and Steve will have paid his expenses back. OK some of them.
Cooked breakfasts have a certain allure so we started doing them with some success all over Nailsea and District. Also beer and pizza. The way to a man's heart is through his chest cavity and our successful men's ministry will probably keep the triple-bypass business in er business.
Gozo was again warm, friendly and you weren't there so it was great. On return we spent a weekend in a caravan, which was to break one of our life vows. Slightly coped.
Our church moved schools. Complicated sentence. Let's unpack it. Our church is a bunch of people who hire buildings to meet in. At Easter we moved to Golden Valley School, attempting to be salt and light in another community. The sign on the drive next to the school says 'Golden Valley Vets'. Makes you wonder if, asked how church was on Sunday, our congregations say, 'You wouldn't know man; you weren't there.'
Two new names on the Holy Trinity and Trendlewood Letterhead - Youth Worker and Children's and Families Worker respectively. Nothing bad to report yet. They are both pleasingly rude, disrespectful and show tendencies to be good at their jobs. Hi Josh and Ruth. Get used to this.
We ran a bit of a street lunch for the Royal Wedding (don't snigger, those fish can strip your flesh in seconds). We met about forty neighbours. We'll be reprising it for the jubilee. We imagine that waiting for someone else to organise it will be a bit wolverhampton so we're on it.
The five year garage clear out went well. Things have been dumped or donated. The garage is now available for its more usual purpose of clothes washing, vegetable storage and recycling.
After many years of hoping and praying various bosses would leave Liz finally dispensed with the services of one she actually liked. The flip side of this is that Tilleys and Gilberts can now behave as friends and we get to look after their lovely black labrador from time to time. He is called Diesel. He is a 2 litre gti retriever. Motto, 'That ball is deffo coming back if I have to bring you the whole damn bush.'
On the live entertainment front we rated Bonobo, Tobacco Factory's Richard II and Comedy of Errors, Sarah Millican (who lost her rag when someone tried to record her illegally) and an almost completely sozzled but still funny, Dylan Moran.
Liz would like to end this letter with a short quote from one of her many experiences of sacking people: 'So you're saying that if we retain you, next time you'll make sure you'll restrict your groping to the adult members of staff.' Not retained.
St and Liz send their love and offer their services to de-ice modern boiler condenser pipes, a skill we practised a number of times last Christmas. You may leave. Do be careful on the bridge. Oops. Sorry. Wrong lever. Don't scream; it disturbs the neighbours.
Back copies (1985-2010) available below.