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Letters to Jessica #4

August 2009

Dear Jessica

Once Graham heard he was to inherit the farm from his uncle who had died plans were afoot to drive back overland to England.

Graham had always known he was to inherit the farm. He was an only child and had latterly attended agricultural college near Bedford in preparation. He was just in Australia waiting to take on the farm. His friend Barry had also been at the college as well, I think. Graham’s uncle had been in a mental institution near Banstead, close to Worcester Park, for many years before he died. Apparently he had refused to grow what the ministry demanded during the war. Obviously a case for detention. The farm had been administered by the Official Solicitor during his incarceration. It had been let out to various local farmers and we found the house and land were in very poor condition when we eventually arrived.

Meanwhile, a VW van for the trip was bought on hire purchase. I wasn’t that set on staying with Gerry but thought to myself I would at least get back to England with him. All the household things, including the new curtains, were packed into a container bound for the UK. Our boat tickets were purchased for Singapore but when we boarded we found that the van had been impounded as not all the payments had been made!

This meant that we had to travel by train through Thailand and we stayed with some Subud members when we arrived in Bangkok. Seeing the countryside during the train journey was fantastic. I remember being struck by the women working in the fields and their local attire of dark long tops and trousers. We went on a boat trip around the floating village in Bangkok and saw the local way of life and tasted local food. I loved the rice cakes cooked over open fires in cast iron plates with multi semi-circular indentations in them on canoe type boats.

Gerry almost got a job there through the local contacts as a proof reader. Why we didn’t stay I will never know. I do remember smoking some opium while we were there. It was horrible and gave me the complete horrors; it made me see Gerry as evil and all sorts of nasty hallucinations.

So moving on, we had to fly across Burma, because it was a closed country at the time and you couldn’t drive through, but not all in one go. It was necessary to overnight, probably in Rangoon. We were escorted to this brilliant old colonial style hotel. Completely run down and very Ernest Hemingwayish. There were huge ceiling fans lazily circling overhead and big baths with brass taps and plumbing. The dining room was deserted but we did get something to palatable to eat in the end. Next morning we were driven back to the airport and got the plane to Calcutta. Quite an experience.

The sheer pressure of people in India had to be seen to be believed. It was hot, hot, hot. We rented an apartment which was beautifully cool indoors with marble floors and ceiling fans but as soon as you stepped outside the heat was oppressive. How the Indian people keep their clothes so clean and white I don’t know as everything seemed to get grey with sweat and dust immediately you went outside.

I’ve just remembered probably why we were keen to leave Aussie but that’s another story, as they say …


I’m writing this now but it won’t be published for a few months so as to protect the innocent.

I overheard a conversation today, a friend’s daughter was visiting us and, as usual, Toby was running around the house naked (he gets that from me). The conversation got around to the differences between boys and girls and the little girl said that her daddy didn’t have a ‘thing’ like Toby’s. Jami said that all boys have them but the girl insisted that her daddy had ‘girl parts’. To which Jami replied that then maybe they were just tucked away.

Which is the point at which I lost the conversation because I was laughing at my mental image of said rather manly dad doing the ‘tuckaway scene’ from Silence of the Lambs.

The Last Days of ‘The Beast’

This year (2014) I’ve decided to sell my trusty Honda Accord Coupe. I’ve had this car since December 2008 and it’s served us very well. A year in Ireland, a year in Slovakia and a summer trip to Slovakia were all handled without complaint or difficulty.

However the last year has been very unlucky for ‘The Beast’. The front bumper was bashed in my work car park, someone keyed the side at Tesco, and this winter some sort of wild animal has left a trail of claw marks from bonnet to tailgate. Which means that the entire car now needs a respray to look really good again.

I’ve been mulling over seling the car for a couple of years now as insurance prices keep rising and I only use it three times a week for the 6 mile trip to work and back. So this year I’m going to let it go.

Because I listed it on ebay on April the 1st I thought it would be fun to liven up the description a bit:

For sale: Possessed Honda Accord Coupe

At first sight this appears to be a standard Honda Accord Coupe. Don’t be fooled, this is in fact an icon of pure evil in the form of a car.

On the outside the black paint is weathered, chipped, and wounded like the hide of some ferocious beast. Claw marks across the bonnet, roof, and tail, attest to the fearsome assailants that this car has destroyed. A dent in the the rear offside quarter can only be attributed to a direct meteor strike – and it didn’t even break the paint. A long scratch on the nearside must be a sword wound where brave knights have attempted to slay this evil monstrosity. Various scuffs on the bumpers mark the demise of unwary pedestrians. The beast crouches on lowered suspension, ready to launch into action, one misty eye glaring at the night. Sleek polished flanks speak of the style of days past when cars were real cars and men were real men.

Inside dark grey leather reigns supreme, worn smooth by the passage of years and rears, seductive luxury vies with nineties technology to lull you into a a warm* feeling of comfort and nostalgia. Smooth rounded buttons tease your fingertips into pressing them softly. Slender indicator stalks beg to be teased into action, responding to the slightest touch. Don’t be fooled by the comfort! Once you turn the key and take hold of the steering wheel your will is no longer your own. You will speed down darkened highways, marvelling at the smooth delivery of power, heedless of the authorities you press the accelerator hard and are rewarded with a growl of hunger from the three liter V6 engine. You do not drive this car, this car drives you!

Has been regularly serviced, when mechanics have been brave enough to approach it. The ones who survived did manage to provide receipts. Has four Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, three of which have stood the test of time with a reasonable amount of tread left on them and one which is merely lightly worn. All original documentation (written in blood) but only one key (rather worn but new cases are available for £3-4 right here on ebay).

Others have considered buying this car but all have failed the test:

  • ‘I tried to buy The Beast but I was too scared to test drive it so I became an actor’. – Jason Statham, actor
  • ‘I soiled myself just looking at a picture of it’ – Marilytn Manson, namby pamby musician
  • ‘Wuh?’ – Paris Hilton, bimbo

Additional Features

  • Owning this car is guaranteed** to increase your sex appeal, the size of your equipment, and the attractiveness of your partners
  • Runs great on Super Unleaded although at a pinch the blood of a virgin may be utilised***
  • A K&N filter is fitted which will last for what seems like an eternity
  • New timing belt and tensioner fitted at approximately 78000 miles
  • Lowered using Eibach springs and Tein adjustable shocks, can be set much firmer for a sporty ride
  • Alloy wheels with ‘pentacle’ spokes. A spare but leaking alloy wheel is available provided you can pick it up from Southend
  • Haynes manual

Recently washed with holy water**** so may be viewed without a priest in attendance*****

*The air con could do with regassing but it’s okay at the moment
**Not really
***Performance not guaranteed when running on blood, are you sure it was virgin?
****That’s what they told me at the car wash and why would I doubt them
******Who knows?

No virgins were harmed in the making of this ad