Thanks go to Renee Bernard and Vonda Norwood for their past six month participation in composing this humorous tale. A special ‘thank you’ goes to Tracey Edges for abandoning all sanity in allowing her name to be associated with it.
The link to all the previous episodes published in Female First magazine.
Letter to Aunt Alice.
Hello Auntie, Spot here. How on earth are you?
I sincerely hope the ‘waters’ are to your satisfaction, but I would have thought that in the Lake District, at this time of year, a mite cold. However, over the years of our fantabulous (aren’t you pleased I found that word in my dictionary!) association I have come to understand just how solid your constitution must be. You can withstand anything, Auntie! Are you a good swimmer, or merely a splash about and then jump out again one?
Please accept my profuse apologies in not contacting you sooner, but this iPad needed a spot of first aid after my sojourn into the Sahara and then carrying Brenda on the camel charge down Cairo High Street. Everything bounced everywhere. (Don’t you just love that word; profuse. Sounds rather lavish)
It got a bit dented, the iPad that is, and slightly full of sand! It’s all fixed now, so…Hey Ho Silver Lining and Away We Go. I have news, Auntie!
Spot has ventured into the property market. I have acquired a Castle with a name similar to a writer lady that you have mentioned once or twice. Castle Barnard is now mine. I thought, that if I was to make a lasting impression on my beloved Tracey, I needed roots and stability to woo her. I am set in my mind on this matter, Auntie. Not even you can dissuade me. I was very forward thinking in having settled on this particular Castle, because of its two towers. I can place a washing line between them. Tracey can then hang all my smalls next to her’s!
I was well rewarded for recapturing Brenda, and will use the money on the Castle, furnishing the old place befitting a lady of her esteem. The moat needs filling, but there is a hose pipe, also the chain on the drawbridge could do with a stout rubbing with a wire brush, and some oil. Apart from that, and the odd mouse, all seems structurally sound. What do you think, a good idea or what!
She, Tracey that is, is still missing somewhere between the Outer Hebrides and Lands End. Funny that, but quite understandable now that she works for the government. She is something enormous in communications now! She sits on all the boards you know.
Yes, I know that’s a surprise. Was to me too. It was in my email box, but lingering as it were. I missed a few others whilst this damn thing was misbehaving. Of course you know nothing of life insurance offers, free holidays in the sun, or let alone a Molton Brown special deal, but perhaps one day you may. If I manage to get the front lawn of this place back into shape we could play the odd cricket tournament. Get the whole village involved. I’ll put my mind on how to get you transported through time and into this year, as opposed to your dull, unexciting own. How does that sound?
Now, where was I? I do have this bad habit of forgetting where I was, and waffling on a bit. Note to self; pay more attention to my lessons when Tracey takes control.
Ah yes, that email from my heart-throb. Apparently, that Brenda woman managed to escape custody whilst under lock and key in one of our military prisons. Her whereabouts are unknown, but the relevant authorities are examining all the sheep in Wales in a quest to discover if she has returned to that Country, disguising herself in the process. A sharp eye is being kept on all sellers of leeks as well! She cannot have got far. I’m perfectly sure of that.
I was researching the history of Castle Barnard and came across a rather strange mention of it in the local Gazette. A modern reference, but equally as engaging as all that I previously found. The headlines, in the newspaper of three weeks ago, were thus:
Smoking Shoes Found In The Cemetery Of Old Castle Barnard.
The report was somewhat ambiguous, saying that it was a pair of ladies red sparking stilettos, adding that some unidentified metal parts were found as well. Things turned even crazier a few days later when Virgin personnel descended on the cemetery, clearing the weeds around the headstones. Said it was simply an act of benevolence ordered by Richard Branson in conjunction with British Heritage. Busy place! Dickie was infuriated that he was confined to his pickle jar and we had not taken up residence at that time. He would have so loved meeting his brother.
There are many distinguish people buried the Castle’s own graveyard, Auntie. One of them is a Braithwaite. Could be a family relative and possibly another; Spot! Now that would be exciting. I’m going to catalogue their names and write something about them all. Bet you can’t wait to read it!
I intend to follow my path in not only becoming a writer but also being a poet of distinction, during my occupation of the Castle. I’ve done this one, before I even take over the keys.
Rattling bones and crusted thrones,
I come to rule you all.
I intend to walk your battlements,
But do not intend to fall!
I will have to check to see if Wordsworth is buried in the grounds. Have him in stitches if he is!
Now then, I do not wish to become a pest, disturbing your holidays anymore. I shall write to Tracey and tell her of my intentions, as well as update her on progress towards my title of Lord Spot of Barnard. Impressive, what!
Tatty bye for now, Auntie.
Letter to Tracey.
Dearest, beloved, Tracey,
I hope you are seated, and not running yourself ragged on behalf of this Country. Hold on tight to your knobs, radio ones that is, and standby for news of a startling nature. I have not only bought, but now moved into, a Castle!
After our marriage you will become Lady Tracey and I, Lord Spot. Just imagine, that if we had two children we could call them Olive, or Olivier, and Peter, or Pauline, depending on sex of course, and then we would have the initials of another…S.P.O.T. The Spot family! What an enchanting collective alias to have.
I took up residence two weeks ago, and already making preparations for your arrival. It won’t take long. With my now enhanced millions, after the recapture of Brenda, the seventy-nine missing windows and the three thousand-eight hundred odd lost roofing tiles, are being replaced. The moat is slowly filling, but that might take an age, the garden hose pipe is quite small.
Attached to this letter is a new photograph of myself. I recently visited the dentist, having all my front teeth replaced. If you remember, they were a little crooked after the first replacement job when money tight, but that’s not the case anymore. I’m rolling in the stuff. Strange actually that teeth have led to so many of my mishaps, along with such memories.
It was through them that I met my dear Aunt Alice after they were unexplainably knocked out by a female relative of Franz Liszt, called Pugilist, when I simply asked of her if she would have my babies. Then of course, my attempt at temporary repair, by placing small pieces of chewing gum in the holes were like a magnet for that gum sucking Myrtle. That escapade brought me directly to Brenda, from whom, I’m pleased to say, I have now broken free.
Speaking of freedom, my Boys Brigade uniform is on the big side with socks reaching only above my ankles and shorts that balloon outwards, resembling inflated pantaloons, when the wind blows. I’m very proud of my time served in the Brigade and wanted to wear my regalia, toggle and all, on our forthcoming occasion. We must hope that it’s a still day for our wedding! Would you be happier if I had it altered, and bought a new pair of knee-length orange socks?
You will love Castle Barnard, Tracey with all its idiosyncrasies, of that I’m sure.
With luck the squeaking floorboards, which seem more noisier at night, can be silenced, and the moving visors on the suits of armour, that decorate this old place glued down, permanently! They do make a racket after dark. There is a mysterious evaporation process going on as well, which I need to have investigated. Opened pint bottles of milk, that I leave in the fridge overnight, somehow are emptied by daylight. Most peculiar. Could be the mice I suppose, but how do they open the refrigerator door?
The pervading smell of onions will, I’m told, be overtaken by the paint fumes and then disappear forever. There was a room, down in the cellars, packed with rotting leeks of all things. The only explanation is that they could have been carried in by rabbits through the warren of tunnels running under the moat, back into the cemetery! Perhaps you and I can play hide and seek down there, as there are a myriad of rooms that might once have held dead people! That’s where I’m off to, after I finish this letter. The cemetery that is, not the dungeons.
For the past two days a company of men, with digging equipment, have dug a hole about twenty-foot across, and the same distance down. Yesterday they filled it back in, but left the top six-foot empty of soil. I asked them what it was they were up to, but they wouldn’t say. An hour ago a blackened out van arrived with a coffin which was removed, then placed beside that hole by men in long red coats. I’m going to watch what they do.
I hope you enjoyed the dog biscuits I sent to your home address, and Maude, Lucaya and Mabel scoffed away merrily. I shall of course allocate them a room each here.
I have one last wish left, of the three granted by Dickie the genie, so maybe, at sometime in the future, Aunt Alice could be transported into this century, coming to share her life with us in our dream Castle. She might like to live close to a cemetery!
PS. I woke up last night, and thought I heard a moaning noise. Stranger still, I could have sworn that there was a penguin perched on the windowsill.
Your besotted Spot