Monday, February 9, 2009


While Hugh and Camellia were relishing their one letter, Rosemary and Robert were ploughing through a week’s worth. The postman had been off sick and there'd been no-one to replace him for several days so it had taken until 10:30 the night before, just as they were going to bed, before he’d finished delivering the backlog.

"We may as well make the most of having letters at breakfast,” said Robert, shuffling through the pile. "Very civilised." Nearly all of it was junk mail, but, eventually, he hit gold. "Ah! Here’s a good one! Very welcome.”

Rosemary looked up from buttering her toast and peered round his arm so she could see the handwriting.


Indeed a pleasure. It was from their oldest and best friend and his letters were always fun, long, witty, tightly written and full of anecdotes - perfect for reading aloud.

He liked America. He worked there. He'd lived there four years and if he hadn't liked it, he'd have come home.

He liked computers. He'd persuaded his bank to send him away to work on them. If he hadn't liked computers, he‘d have stayed in Clapham.

But his conservative core was embarrassed. He insisted that progress should be resisted. He despised technology. (He said.) He drank coffee for breakfast even though it was against nature to do so and he only agreed to it out of civility. (He said.) He was filled with respect for his colleagues - but complained when they didn't wear ties. He complained about the over-familiarity of people he met at dinner parties - but he went to them.

He sent to England for tea. He cut thin sandwiches and invited friends to share them in the afternoon. Everyone laughed at him. Everyone liked him. Everyone knew he was clever. Hardly anyone knew him - only Robert and Rosemary. To them, he told everything.

“He’s coming back!” said Robert.