Written by Erskin Quint

Sunday, 6 June 2010

image for Letters to the Editor You wouldn't think 26 letters could be put together in so many different ways to write this drivel.

Dear Sir,

Do any readers or perhaps your resident staff know how I can be rid of a particular kind of vermin? I am talking about bandicoots. These are a kid of Australian rat. I'm not sure if they are marsupials like wallabies etc, though I have seen no evidence of pouches etc.

The problem is, where I live, in East Anglia, we have our exposed gardens and we have lots of old windmills, and also there are a number of disused Admirals hereabouts. These bandicoots were introduced here in the 19th century by escaping off ships that had come back from the colonies after dropping off criminals at Botany Bay etc. They have been here ever since.

They wreak havoc in my sweet peas and cauliflowers, and have even got into our house - they chew my wife's underwear which is a problem since she was blaming me.

Bandicoots are also rife in the old windmills. The disused Admiral up the road is teeming with them, poor old chap. Can anyone help?

Peter Piper
Piffleborough, Norfolk

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to say how much I enjoyed your feature on 'Whistling Jack Smith', who had a hit in the 1960s with 'I was Kaiser Bill's Batman'. I am able to declare a twofold interest here. My Uncle Geoffrey "Geoff" Jeffrey, known as "Geoffrey 'Geoff' Jeffrey", worked with 'Whistling Jack' at Clapp's Foods of Dewsbury (Clapp's made scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pork pies and so on, until they were shut down for using condemned meats from the unlicensed slaughterhouses of Jutland; they were also implicated in the 1969 Dewsbury Cat Robberies scandal).

'Whistling Jack' was lucky, as he was already up and running with the whistling, but my uncle went mad and finished up living in a sanatorium at Silloth. The other link I have to 'Whistling Jack Smith' is that my friend Paul knew someone on the milk round who played Kaiser Wilhelm in an amateur dramatics production of 'Night of the Zeppelin'.

I could mention the story about the man who wrote the lyrics to 'I Was Kaiser Bill's Batman' and was then told it was an instrumental, but he was no relation of mine or anything. It's a small world. Ah well, back to my eels.

Yours etc,
Lance Boyle
Todmorden

Dear Sir,

You may recall my previous letter asking for any help with finding shoes for Jubbles the little horse I have acquired from an erstwhile lodger. Suffice it to say that I was not vouchsafed a single reply through your esteemed paper.

I did get a reply via 'Horse and Hound' from a lady in Buckfastleigh who is interested in pygmy hippos, but since the pygmy hippo is not hoofed and generally goes about unshod, it was no solution. In the end, I was forced to have special shoes made by a specialist farrier near Hastings, which were expensive. But I am not one to moan.

I am writing again to ask whether you might be interested to run a feature on boarding-houses. Here at "The Shrivings" every day is different, and we have a constantly changing constellation of 'stellar' lodgers and short-term boarders. An example of the kind of madcap drama that is a commonplace with us is last week's "Town Crier Crisis", in which I confused the Bexhill Town Crier, Mr Abel Yodeller, with Mr Posset, who operates a Punch & Judy on the front as well as doing a regular turn as 'Magnifico The Magical Impersonator' at the Adelphi at Hastings.

Mr Posset was early to breakfast, dressed as Nelson for a special rehearsal, and my glasses were out for repair. The to-do when I served poor Mr Posset with Mr Yodeller's coddled egg (Mr Posset is more your bacon, sausage and fried bread kind of gent)! Never a dull moment etc, and Bexhill itself is always interesting.

I am sure that your readers would enjoy our tales.

Yours sincerely,
Mrs Violet Posterior,
"The Shrivings",
Bexhill-on-Sea

PS Jubbles is thriving, you will be glad to know. It looks like I have found him a new home. A Mrs Pupple, who operates a sanctuary near Rye, for diminutive beasts, seems quite interested, and will be coming to 'view' Jubbles Thursday next. Let's hope he is on his best behaviour. That Corsican sailor taught him quite a few 'continental habits', I am afraid, as the Huxtables' goat can testify!

Dear Sir or Madam,

Whatever happened to Jugged Hare? Where I live, near Cape Wrath, it seems to be virtually extinct. I have been here at 'Bunting's Croft' for 3 months now. I am sure the local hostelries are getting sick of me asking for Jugged Hare.

They keep telling me there's not much call for it now, and people prefer pizzas and sea bass. The landlord at my nearest inn, The Highland Clearances, was rather unhelpful, perhaps even satirical. When I explained about how a whole hare must be cut into pieces and jugged, he made remarks, viz. 'how can it be a whole hare if it's cut into pieces?' and 'you can't get the jugs these days, anyway.

Most of our stuff is microwaved or pan-seared.' I despair. I definitely think a campaign for the revival of the lost art of Jugging is a good idea. I have already written to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, after watching him cook an Ass the way the Egyptians used to, and gut a squid in his bath.

Your readers can contact me if they feel the same as I do.

Sincerely,
Colin Allcars,
Bunting's Croft,
Cape Wrath

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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