The Mystery of the Papal Package

You may have seen my recent letter to Doris Brazil, an elderly retailer in the South of England with whom I have a sort of 84 Charing Cross Road relationship. She sends me slow-moving items from her Ladies Wear store and I send her occasional kindly notes–the least one can do for the aged. You can see Doris’s response to the Mystery of the Papal Package below. I am considering my response–one has to be so careful with the fragile feelings of the enfeebled–and will post later.

Dear Blabs,

How often is it these days that one feels the need to reach for the word ‘disquiet’? Yet I feel its use in these circumstances is entirely justified. What sort of mischief-making is it to send a mature lady in Devon such a thing and then deny it? Let’s examine the evidence – 1) It was sent from the USA and I only know one person in the USA; 2) this “one person” owns their own papal bottle opener and knows furthermore that I have long coveted it; 3) the prankster behind a deception of this grand theatrical scale would need to be highly creative – the sort of person who might say, reach for phrases like “international kitsch thieves” to squeeze out of a tight spot.

I can see right through you, Blabs! Who else would send me a JP1 opener? The Pontiff’s short reign only adds to the allure of the object which, as a I type, sits proudly on my mantlepiece betwixt my Capo di Monte figurine of a seated clock maker and a letter from my local MP, Neil Parish about proposals for restricted parking on the High Street. The introduction of Spud Hughes as a potential suspect was a master stroke, Blabs, but the narrative thrust of this plot was always going to reveal you as the criminal mastermind. History will remember Spud as a henchman. The Irish connection was also a plot cul-de-sac but it was an interesting diversion nonetheless.

Yes, I can reassure you that Sebastian does drive Kirsty’s Picasso when’s he’s ‘in town’. Other makes of vehicle are available in the South Hams but I know what you mean, we are rather Picasso-centric here.

I have very much enjoyed your posts of late. Nobody transports me away to another place like you do. Your descriptive powers are showing no sigs of diminishing with advancing years which must be a real comfort. I wish the same could be said of Flo. Did you ever get around to writing that children’s book? Snoa, the publishing arm of DBLW, is looking for new’ authors after Don Chaff confirmed his intention to publish the second volume of his acclaimed ‘Circular Walks Around Bovey Tracey’ through Faber & Faber. I can’t say that I’m not disappointed. Securing your talents would be a real morale booster for the management and staff at Snoa – for your info, submission guidelines can be found here:

You catch me as I’m pricing up the January sale stock. The drop crotch pants have been a big success but, on reflection, I should never have ordered 1,152 pairs – not when Mayor Pepé is talking down the economy and preaching austerity at every opportunity. Tell the Cackler all drop crotch pants will be reduced by 5% from next Monday with an extra 1% discount for Platinum card holders.

Speak soon.

With great affection,


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 Christmas with the Crone, Crone as fashion icon, Crone as Pen Pal, friendship, great ideas for books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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