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Dear All,

13:07 UK time, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hayrick Cottage
Oil Sump Lane
Lower Phlegmington

Amazingly, Christmas is once more almost upon us, and, as I remarked to Colin whilst he was worming Bodger, we really must make a window in our busy, busy lives to bring all our wonderful, but neglected friends up to date with our doings!

January saw the year start with some good news for a change - Colin's long-awaited promotion at Prestwick's from under-assistant executive central heating operative to assistant executive central heating operative - and all within four years of joining!! His boss, Mr Cordwaining was extremely complimentary, and predicts another rise up the corporate ladder within five to seven years. It's not everyone who can achieve so much in such a short space of time, but Colin has always been ambitious.

Gordon from next door stood us a slap up meal at the Hollywood Diner at Witherington Parva in honour of St Valentine's Day in February. He and Yvette really are super friends. His excessive love of leather, her facial piercings and perhaps an over-attachment to french kissing notwithstanding, we are both looking forward no end to making the acquaintance of lots of new chums at their forthcoming Leather Liggers ball. As Colin remarked whilst he was unstopping the sink on Tuesday, it's about time we had some new blood in the area.

March came and went without too much gadding about to worry us - the twins were once again on form at the Pancake Tossers' shingdig, very kindly held in the Rectory. The Rev Vivian Knobbs-Varley has made a big impression on the community since his arrival, and although his disciplinary methods may be unorthodox, the choir has never been so well behaved, nor in such fine voice, and a light tap now and again on the cassock can hardly be considered corporal punishment.

In April, Hilary was engaged once again as an adjudicator at the Grand Easter Bonnet Parade, which wends its way through the town and on to Honstanton-in-the-Wold. Mother, of course, was present and her much-admired comedy breasts enjoyed yet another outing. How we laughed!

At Prestwick's annual beano to Snotterton in May, Colin drew gasps of amazement and, dare we say it, envy, when he produced his hand-knitted beach ensemble. It's unravelling in the sea was totally unexpected, and the police should never have been involved. Our thanks to Stella Shuddock for her speedy arrival with the sewing box.

Page 2.

June saw the County Fayre with a return of the much-loved pig-fanciers' Royal Cup. No surprises at all when Wallie Pratt received the coveted trophy for Porker of the Year, and no doubt Janet will soon be giving it the first of many a rub-down over the coming 12 months.

July, and the end of the school year brought fair to middling results from the twins. Personally, I thought their form mistress, Miss Vole, still held a grudge, and as I told her at the parents' evening, if the twins can forget about the inflatable doll episode, I'd have thought she could too. Happily, neither was expecting to need formal qualifications for their chosen careers - Weston applied like mad to every secretarial college in the area and we all felt that Elvis would walk into the Army - so we weren't over-bothered about exam results.

August saw the family depart for our annual holiday abroad at Pontins, Llandudno. The twins once again surpassed previous years' efforts and entered the fancy dress parade on the final evening as Norman and Mrs Bates from Psycho. Gasps of admiration followed their entrance into the main hall, but sadly, they were pipped at the post in the main category by Eric and Beverley Lubbock's rather showy effort of an Eastenders tableau, but picked up a prize for weirdness in the Novelty section.

September arrived and with it the Harvest Festival, where we seemed to have surprisingly more than the usual amount of recipients for a Parish Hamper. I never thought I'd see the day when Major Tersington-Sozzelle needed a free can of custard, but there you go - what with the abolition of the Lords and the end to fox-hunting, it just goes to show, "you never can tell". The poor Major hasn't been the same since his wife left him for another woman, and as I said to Colin, if a dessert sauce can put a smile back on the Major's face, who are we to judge?

October was a month of even more surprises. You could have knocked me down with a feather when Elvis got a rejection from HM Forces. He was devastated by the nit-picking attitude of the Board of Assessors, who apparently took exception to his, perhaps, rather right-wing views. You'd have thought they'd have been grateful! Luckily, they were hiring at Fjooke's herring factory in Skeet, so Elvis (that boy does lead a charmed life!) has once again fallen on his feet. He does, however, have rather a ferocious appearance at present. Having rather hastily anticipated a place at boot-camp, he got his mates to shave his head, and needless to say, they took him a tad too literally. Never mind, it'll soon grow back, and the skin is healing over nicely now.

Meanwhile in November Weston landed a position with the Reverend Knobbs-Varley at the Rectory as his "aide de camp". Not only does he get all his meals, but such is his worth to the Rev, that he's been asked "over" on occasion to help out at the increasing number of dinner parties being held. Gordon and Yvette have been to one and they said it was "exceptional".

Page 3.

So friends, we're sure you can understand why Hilary and Colin have been unable to write to you since Colin's enforced holiday in October 1997 (charges were finally dropped). So many friends, such busy and productive lives - it's a wonder we can fit in writing the Christmas cards!! We hope you all keep in good health, and to save postage, the twins have drawn stamps of their own design on the envelopes - enjoy!

Ahoy Hoy!

Colin and Hilary Smout
plus twins, Weston and Elvis, now 18 - watch out girls!


Colin has just informed me that he is becoming increasingly interested in cross-dressing. No doubt this startling piece of information will impact greatly - and hopefully, beneficially! - on our social lives. More anon...

(With thanks to Magazine reader Kerry Rose, of Kent, who sent this in response to Why are round-robin letters so annoying?)

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