Dear Lady Violet
I recently took all my socks, including the red stripy one, to the launderette. They completed their wash cycle, I applied them to the dryer, they tumbled around in a friendly sort of a fashion and I retrieved them once they were properly dehydrated. Nothing remarkable in that, you might think.
However, once I'd piled them all into my shopping basket on wheels and taken them home, I observed that the red stripy one was no longer with them. Its likely location was the dryer, so I returned to the launderette. The dryer I had used was now inhabited by the washing of another customer, one who had vacated the premises leaving their laundry to fend for itself, but in amongst the tumbling apparel I could clearly perceive my sock as it completed its circular journey.
Without further ado, I opened the door, pulled out the other drying apparel and retrieved my hosiery specimen. Unfortunately, I noticed that the clothing pulled out was of an erotic nature - and its rightful owner returned to the launderette at precisely that moment. In brief (as it were), the police were called and I was required to account for myself. I was also asked some embarrassing and frankly offensive questions about the recent disappearance of a canvas liberty bodice from the washing line at No.43.
It was in vain that I protested that a one-legged traffic warden would have little use for crotchless tights. Now, wherever I go, I can sense people laughing at me. Cats and dogs in the street laugh at me. I even spotted the geraniums in the municipal flower bed having a little chortle.
What can I do to restore my standing in the community?
Jereboam Mince (78)
Oh my poor man. How perfectly dreadful for you! I have consulted widely about your case, especially as to the nature of a launderette. You can imagine my surprise to find that they are not the kind of four-in-hand carriage my own dear father drove in those far off days at Goosings.
But more importantly, my psychiatric contacts all agree that even given the initial disappearance of your sock, you are in fact, stark staring mad and represent a not inconsiderable danger to yourself and society at large. With this in mind, I have alerted the authorities and soon you will be carted off to a place where community singing is compulsory.
Yours ever etc etc.
Dear Lady Violet,
I should like to hear your advice on a delicate matter. How can I insure my car against the ravages of seagulls, especially but not confined to the effect of their droppings on paintwork? Can you recommend a policy with an excess of less than £4,500? (My car's not worth that much).
Thanking you in anticipation,
My Dear Floridia,
Insurance companies dealing with your sort of problem appear few and far between. However, I am advised by my local mechanic, Mr Gerald Wrench - he looks after my Hispano-Suiza, Rolls, Maserati, and Bentley - that the only way of combating seagull onslaught is by collecting twigs and bits of undergrowth and cementing same to the roof of your vehicle in the form of a large birds' nest. As Mr Wrench so wryly observes, "Gulls woan't go shittin' in thir oan frunt room." Gerald is somewhat provincial.
Best wishes, etc etc