The usually upbeat face of evangelical agony aunt Claire Rayner was downcast today at a press conference where she decried the theft of her glass eye collection from her home in Windsor. She stated that the collection, which was ordinarily stored in a tailor-made mahogany cabinet with glass presentation drawers, had always been popular with guests and visitors and had drawn a wide range of compliments and praise whenever she had made it available for public viewing.
Police believe the items have been stolen to order and are possibly already out of the country, although customs officials nevertheless remain hopeful of intercepting the goods before they are transported overseas. This was a well planned operation, with very little left to chance or luck', stated WPC Germaine Hanmedown, It seems likely that the main target was the so-called egret-blue that used to belong to the Duke of Devonshire before his quad-bike accident in the early 1970s. It was a one-off, a collector's piece, and was fiercely bid for when it came on the market in 1983.'
Originally thought lost after the accident that saw off the Duke, the egret-blue was recovered just three days later when it was passed' by his loyal dog, Buddy. It is believed that the great Dane, who discovered his master's mangled body in a ditch, had licked his face so vigorously in an attempt to revive him that he had dislodged and then accidentally swallowed the glass eye.
In relation to the theft, early speculation turned to Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who is known to be very keen on the egret-blue as it is similar in colour to the haunting, psychopathic eyes of his cellist-brother Julian - their colour apparently having been inherited from the brothers' biological mother, Carry-On' actress, Hattie Jacques, who died in 1988.
Lloyd-Webber had been heard to drool excitedly over the egret-blue, which would cause him to involuntarily rub his hands together and hunch forward like a giant toad-boy, and has often remarked that he considers it the most finely crafted eye of his generation.
However, lawyers for Lloyd-Webber quickly stepped in to deny any conspiracy on his part and Rayner herself stated that Lloyd-Webber was above suspicion, Andrew would never, I said never, do such a thing, he is a driven and motivated man but he knows how much I loved those eyes, particularly the egret-blue, darling, and he wouldn't be so vindictive as to move in on them.'
Police are following up the investigation through the appropriate channels and have been asking dealers and traders in the area to contact them immediately if they see anything suspicious. In the meantime, Rayner has consoled herself with the knowledge that her collection of Victorian gynaecological instruments remain untouched, as do her collection of false teeth, one set of which are rumoured to have belonged to Gerald Ford.
Looking on the bright side, Rayner commented that, although her darling' eyes were irreplaceable and she would probably never again see them rocking and rolling in the draw as they looked up at her, she would continue to collect beautiful objects with the insurance money, a portion of which she was setting aside as part of her long-running bid to purchase Prince Albert's infamous cock ring. Its not just a fable', Rayner added, it's really a piece of history, a document of the past, and, with a little spit and polish, it could easily be turned into a collector's item that everyone will want to get their hands on.'