Aunt Alice.

Another day, another worry. Such is the life of an everyday maven. Aunt Alice here again, ready to set the world right and give it some meaningful perspective.

Recently a woman, I shall conceal her identity to save her blushes, contacted me regarding her husbands lack of cleanliness. He has never washed, blaming the lack of sanitation here in the year 1872 as the reason. I advised that she make him sleep outside the dwelling and sprinkle lashings of rose water everywhere he goes. I did suggest that a bucket of water thrown in his direction would not come amiss, but apparently that didn’t work.

As she threw it, the town crier was walking past and he died in shock. My correspondent now languishes in prison awaiting the gallows.

Ah well, I can’t win them all. That tiny mishap brings me nicely to the major problem in my life; Spot.

Sit back, pull up a chair and put your feet up. Let’s get down and dirty in Wales!

Oh Dear Spot! Please DON’T add anymore fuel to what is bound to be…an explosive situation!! Oh, God. You’ll lose your eyebrows at the very least, and at worst, I foresee your makeshift ruffles turning you into a deadly torch of agony… Oh, god….my nerves! Where is my sherry? To hell with the small crystal glasses. I’m pouring myself a mug of it. Prunes? And Custard? As if the petrol didn’t make things explosive enough…. Brace yourself, Spot. You are about to experience a purge like no other. The good news is, I believe your diet is off to a lovely start whether you wished it or not. The bad news is…if you survive the experience, you may wish you hadn’t if the others return to witness your humiliation… Do let me know the outcome…although obviously not the graphic specifics of….well….um….what comes out…. Oh, God. I shall have another glass of sherry and pray for you, dear boy.

Yours in fear, Aunt Alice

Dear Auntie Alice, I am a new man, and possibly at the start of a new adventure. Let me begin at the beginning, always a good place to start don’t you think?

There I was, typing away merrily on this old iPad to you, when I saw the three remaining tins of prunes roll, inexplicably, into that pile of twigs, paper, wood, trees, empty gas cylinders, metal and plastic drums of old fertilizer and whatnot that I had assembled to warm me through this treacherous night on the borders of Wales. I have heard stories of their wickedness.

I bent forward to save them, not the Welsh that hadn’t arrived yet, but the prunes. Well, you would have done the same I know, but in so doing, I knocked over the thirty-six gallon drum of petrol that was beside me. I couldn’t see it as my neck would not turn that far. Anyway, the box of matches and firelighters fell from my grasp, and WHOOSH it went.

So did I! It really was a spectacular display.

Did you see it in your heavenly place of residence? I ended up on the top of an inaccessible mountain called Ben Taffy minus the six tins of prunes that I had eaten! I best not describe how that occurred. I also ‘lost’ the three tins of custard. Well, I thought a two to one ratio was about right but obviously not. Would you have an opinion on that Auntie dear?

I have, it seems, lost weight, so all is not lost. Back to the matter in hand, maybe a wrong turn of phrase there, as I have lost all those frilly skirts. That’s not all that’s changed though. There is a huge crater near where the campsite was.

I was winched into a rescue helicopter, and it is so noisy in here that I cannot hear myself think. It is also smelly, which given the circumstances, isn’t a bad thing. All the crew are wearing gas masks which I think is a little over the top. The other somewhat distressing thing is; they have blindfolds on, whenever they come near me. It could be my naked beauty that causes that I suppose.

The man in charge, who shouts a lot, said, ‘that I had committed an act of ‘in for me.’ How could I have done something that is in for me? I am not that selfish, it was an accident. I feel like telling him that he is a stupid man. Should I, do you think?

Please hurry in answering, as I am finding it difficult to hold things together…….Oops got to go…again. Sorry, all is okay for now. Spot.

Dear Spot, I’m struggling to make heads or tails out of this mess but am relieved that you are alive and well. (If probably a tad charred…) Well, petrol and fire being an explosive mix, I’d say we’ve learned a good lesson about adding canned products into the pile and expecting to get anything other than a life threatening and nasty looking prune edged crater.

I’ve no idea what all the shouting is about (nor for that matter what a hellycopper is). Blindfolded? How in the world are they steering that thing if no one can see what they’re doing? And whatever he’s bossing you around about, it’s nonsense! I would remind him that accidents happen everyday and that you certainly didn’t intend to launch yourself into space using prunes and custard!

Act of In for me? I thought I knew of every act of naughty possible but that’s a new one… Be good. Deep breath. And ask them if you can borrow a few extra blindfolds and weave them into a pair of shorts…

Yours, Aunt Alice

Dearest Auntie Alice, Spot is love in again with a heavenly beauty. The pilot of the helicopter is a woman. She is called Lily and she is lovely. Lovely Lily. The name itself sounds delightful and compassionate. Do you think that if I promise her love and affection, for the rest of my life, she would accept me as her own? Perhaps she also enjoys a good rummage and maybe has a passion for flag poles!

Ah, how the mind does wander, but less of Lovely for now and back to business. I am in a prison cell, in the town of all those letters in Wales. I hope you took note of the name because maybe you could get Lovely Lily to visit.

I am being laughed at here Auntie. As you well know I am not the normal size, so clothes are always a problem, but here they have made me look a spectacle. I am dressed in two brown, hessian, itchy sacks with holes cut into them for my arms and stumpy legs. I look ridiculous! What makes it worse is there is no hole for my head. They say they will come back later and cut one, but I do not understand all that is being said. After all, they are foreigners.

I was called King Edward a minute ago and I thought that was a compliment but no, a King Edward is a potato. Hmm, so much for Welsh humour! I have had nothing to eat either, as apparently I still pong a bit but I can’t smell anything and I suspect that they are lying. The Welsh are known for that you know, they even say that they’re better than the English at Rugby. Now that can’t be true Auntie can it?

The English are renowned as rulers of everything on the planet with the biggest of everything in the whole world. David Beckham is English! So are Elvis Presley and Whoopi Goldberg. So is…..Oh I can’t remember but there must be other great politicians that are.

I must wait here for something they call a ‘trail,’ whatever that is when it’s at home. Do you know dearest Auntie what that is?

I have to go now, as there is a man with a big hose-pipe pointing at me and another with a stiff yard broom by his side. Once again they are talking in riddles as they say that I don’t want to get this iPad wet. How do they know what I want, idiots!

Spot.

Spot. Don’t Panic. But I believe you are in the hands of the Wicked Welsh and there is terrible mischief afoot! I am aware of their pride and outrageous claims of superiority (which would be fine if anyone could understand a word they were saying) and as for Rugby, I stay firmly out of men’s athletic affiliations and avert my gaze when I can from all the shouting and arm-waving that accompanies the mess.

But let’s focus on you. Blind in a sack. With hooligans at your elbows with clubs and now the threat of a dunking. Spot. I need you to run.

We can discuss an Englishman’s sense of size another time. Run, Spot, run!

Yours, Aunt Alice

PS Lovely Lily will be a topic for another day, but no matter who she is, I’m sure she’d prefer that you survive this adventure by RUNNING VERY VERY FAST!!

PPS STOP speaking about flag poles Spot, I beg you!!!!!!!

Dearest, sweetest Auntie, Are you upset and falling out of love with Spot? I cried when I saw the opening of your latest communication. (posh word there. I hope you noticed) A simple brusque…Spot! Am I no more a ‘Dear Spot’ or a ‘Treasured Spot?’

Am I now that simple spot that causes an itch!

I consoled myself by imagining that you were in a rush and had urgent matters to attend to with Sherry, so I recovered my dispirited self and attacked the situation with vinegar, oops sorry, meant vigour. You can’t do corrections very easily with this iPad.

I rallied enough to barge past the guards, when the door swung open, and I am now an escaped convict. I ran as fast as my stumpy legs would allow me to but the chasers, we call them peelers in England you know, after Sir Robert Peel, who first introduced Police into London, are not gaining. In fact I have lost them.

I’m in the middle of a fancy dress parade and look quite at home because of course, as you realise, I resemble a rather large potato. What shall I do now oh great one?

Spot.

PS I have made two holes in this sack so my eyes can see.

What will the great, old, learned one Aunt Alice advise and can Spot escape the potato peelers?

Tune in next week to Female First to find out.

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About Danny Kemp

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to St Thomas' Hospital and kept in for a while, but it was not only the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was also mental ones. I had lost confidence in myself let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin and that's when the anxiety attacks would start. I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly, but I wasn't. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it. Somehow or other with the help of my wife and medical professionals, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuild my self-esteem. It took almost four years to fully recover, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write. My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless, it was there. His advice was to write another story and that I'm delighted to say, I did. The success of that debut novel, The Desolate Garden, was down to sheer hard work, luck, and of course, meeting a film producer.
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