Easter Greetings Across the Atlantic: Yes, it’s Doris Brazil

Dear Blabs,

I am fit to burst with excitement at the prospect of your friend buying a retirement home in Appleton Marsh. And how exciting to have a celebrity from the Beeb in our midst. We do love our BBC Radio Devon down here and I am especially fond of Tony Beard aka “the Wag from Widecombe” who presents Dartmoor Diary on Saturday lunchtime.

Estate agents call the area between Tedburn St Mary, Morehampstead and Doddiscombsleigh, “The Golden Triangle” on account of their desirability and short supply. Appleton Marsh is actually outside the Golden Triangle, meaning property in the town is quite affordable yet it is still reasonably desirable and if there were such a thing as a Golden Tetrahedron, we would surely be in it.

I am by nature a glass three quarters full person and I am sometimes accused of seeing Appleton Marsh through rose tinted spectacles but there is much to commend our little corner of Devon. Warm beer, clotted cream and fudge is only the start of it. We have an active Women’s Institute, a Choral Society (or Choral Soc as we call it), a theatre group (the Appleton Marsh Players) in need of new members and a crown green bowling club. A small circle of friends, myself and Flo included, enjoy infrequent whist drives and Scrabble nights and then there’s the Rialto, the town’s cinema. By and large ours is an aging population; as your friend has only retired it will be nice to have an injection of youth. She should think ahead though, we do have an excellent health centre here in the town and there are generous disabled parking facilities on the High Street.

You kindly gave a namecheck to DBLW. So many derive comfort from the thought that they don’t have to travel into Exeter to find that special outfit. Tell your friend that DBLW doesn’t have a credit card but we have just introduced a 3% discount and loyalty card. And if she wants to put her writing talents to good use I do need help re-drafting my DBLW Internship advertisement. We tend not to sell hats, they are such a personal thing and, in my experience, people love to try them on but rarely buy.

Anyhow, back to your friend and the question of a property. I suggest she spends a few weekends in Devon getting a feel for the area before she begins house-hunting in earnest. And when she’s ready, there are several good estate agents I can recommend but, in all honesty, I would begin with the obituaries in the West Country Times; get in before they come to the market is my advice.

I am so pleased that your central heating is fixed. It has been warmer here of late and, as I type, I am down to one bar on the fire.

Have a lovely Easter and I shall think you when I’m frenziedly removing all of that unnecessary packaging around my Easter eggs to get at the chocolate.

With kind thoughts,


Doris, Doris,

We should apply for that program “Who Do You Think You Are?” because we really must be genetically linked. I LOVE Scrabble and spend many’s the night dreaming of ‘jonquil’ on a triple word score. I had no idea you were a player. My sister, the Cackler, and I play on line and I highly recommend it. All the excitement without actually having to brush your teeth, comb your hair, wipe the stains off your cardy and leave the house. Sign up and we can have a three-way. It may help to know that my average word score is 22.54–nothing to boast about, of course. The Cackler’s is 21.21, not that it matters. It’s only a game after all. (she just scored 70 for spelling out ‘heroine’ and I must admit it rankles…)

Mention of a bar heater takes me back to my bleak and chilblained childhood in Belfast where we used to huddle round a three-bar  in our Aran sweaters and enjoy the smell of burning dust. Of course, by this time of year, my father would have pulled the plug. We were permitted the comfort of an induction coil only between November and the end of February. How we used to long for a Dimplex–and temperatures in double digits. I was living independently before I went through a winter without a dewdrop at the end of my nose and my hands in my armpits. Now, of course, I seem to have my own internal boiler system and exude heat like a fiery furnace. Beggars warm their extremities at me if I  chance to stop on a street corner. If the Itchy Ankle grid ever goes down I’m on standby as an alternative energy resource.

I am sure my friend will be excited to learn about the crown bowling ( I wonder if Prada make bowling shoes?) and that she’ll follow your advice about the obits. Of course, after a career in news, ambulance chasing is second nature to her. She’s probably already staking out the assisted living facilities, stalking anyone taking a turn for the worse.

It’s good to know you have great healthcare in Appleton Marsh. As you may have heard, we have ongoing issues in that area here in the United States. The President has just signed a bill that now makes it illegal for the health insurance companies  to deny coverage to a sick child. The country is in uproar, with those who pay for current coverage worried their premiums will rise.  Funny old country. God Bless the NHS.

We don’t have any time off work for Easter here (funny old country as I said) but of course the weekend will be coming down with candy and the Blarney family will doubtless paint eggs and roll them, although Gretel is now at at age where she believes every high day and religious holiday should be celebrated at the Mall. Forget pastels and smocking, her Easter dress code will be strictly urban and street-cred. I would send her your way, but something tells me you aren’t big on skinny jeans and graphic tees. Hansel, of course, has foresworn easter eggs, preferring to get his sugar through alcohol. Happy Easter.


About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Blarney Family, Crone as Pen Pal, Crone in America, Gangsta Hansel & Ghetto Gretel, The Crone as Television Critic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Easter Greetings Across the Atlantic: Yes, it’s Doris Brazil

  1. RoseMary King says:

    I think I would like to move to Appleton Marsh. it sounds like a delightful place to live. And with this funny old country going to hell in a handbasket over this political “football”(healthcare) Appleton Marsh might be a little calmer. Thanks for sharing and send my best to Doris. Hugs and Kisses. Ro
    PS, thanks for the vote of confidence on my blog.

  2. Doris says:

    Dear Blabs,

    These days ‘a night on the tiles’ for Flo and I means an evening hunched over a Scrabble board. You are a veritable Leonard Sachs compared to Flo and myself; when we play, coming up with a four letter word merits a victory jog around my sitting room (or, if we can’t be bothered with that, the shortest Mexican wave you can imagine). I have got myself a Facebook page in order to play you but it is taking some fathoming out I can tell you. I took your lead and set up a ‘fan’ page but now I don’t know what to do. I am so wary, probably because of my age and I’m fearful of selecting the wrong options in case I end up embroiled in an internet grooming scandal, most of the Facebook community being so much younger than myself (in point of fact, it was quite depressing, when I had to select my age in setting up the account, quite how far down I had to scroll. I feel as if I am at the outer reaches of the Facebook solar system; Pluto, a cold, distant rock).

    I would love to play you and your sister at Scrabble. We’ll meet the time difference bridge when we come to it but please remember I am CEO of a fashion empire with no obvious Number Two that I can trust to lock up on a night; there will have to be allowances. Wednesdays are good (half-day closing) and of course Sundays, otherwise any evening.

    How I laughed at your description of your body and the heat you produce. And how I envy you. By contrast, I am cadaver-cold to the touch; I fancy there are warmer mortuary slabs in the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. This in spite of consuming enormous quantities of that highly calorific snack Bombay Mix and eating my own body weight in ginger nuts every week.

    I fear you know me too well when you say jeans and tee shirts are not for me. Am I that transparent? I have never worn jeans or, for that matter, stocked jeans, in my life. It’s a passing fad and whilst, as fads go, it’s taking longer for it to pass than even I’d anticipated, DBLW won’t catch a cold when go out of fashion. As they will. Tee shirts, on the other hand, can be flattering and I favour classic pastels. I definitely don’t approve of slogans on tee shirts and, as you may know, DBLW will not stock French Connection (http://dorisbrazil.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/vulgar-fashion/).

    I can’t imagine not having an Easter break but I suppose it’s what you get used to. The weather forecast isn’t especially good (heavy rain most days apart from Sunday which, true to its name, should enjoy sunny intervals) but I long abandoned outdoor pursuits. No, I shall be curled up on my Parker Knoll, in front of the heater, reading Starlight Over Tunis by Barbara Cartland which Flo has kindly lent me.

    Almost the holiday. One Day More, as Jean Valjean said in that mix-up of a musical Les Miserables. Good Friday beckons.

    Toodlepip for now.


  3. Doris says:

    Dear Blabs,

    What a thorough going-over you have just given me playing Lexulous. I can tell this is going to be a war of attrition. I suspect many similar such maulings lie ahead but, one day, the planets will align and I shall catch you in a rush to be somewhere else, perhaps nursing a hangover or suffering from a head cold, maybe even all three… and I shall pounce. Thank you for a most enjoyable first game.

    Deep joy…


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