Friday, 21 December 2007

Shakin' Stevens

I wasn't going to write to you today, but it's been such a RED LETTER DAY, as we say, that I thought I must. As you know we had no allotment group scheduled so I agreed to collect money for our mental health charity outside Tescos. Of course, I dressed for the occasion with my new bright red furry jacket, large Russian hat (well it was freezing cold), and natty little mouse pin whose eyes light up and play Jingle Bells when its nose is pressed. I was soon into the swing of things calling out, 'Save the Mad. We can't help it!' and gathering in pots of money, when our leader informed me I mustn't use the word mad as it would upset the others. But, I said, I'm mad myself. Really, he said, I would never have guessed. But, I said, I thought we were all mad in this charity. Surely you're not telling me you're sane? He took my point. Suddenly he did something quite amazing and totally illegal: he shook his tin! Despite my protests he continued. Won't it be fun when we get arrested? he kept saying. Eventually the store manager came out and told him to stop. Anyway, it was great fun for an hour, but I have to say two and a half hours (which I later found out I'd been scheduled to do) was a bit much. I was amazed at how generous the citizens of Cambridge were, especially as this week we've had a real shock. We've been told we must put out next week's bins a day early and the week after next's a day later. It's all so complex! I came home to find the street deserted. Perhaps everyone has cracked under the strain? How relieved I was to enter my front door and find the beautiful pot pourri I'd made still in place and covering the rampant smell of cat's (or cats') pee magnificently. If you want to know how it's done: you open a few packets of spices from the local Indian (or Pakistani) shop into a large tray; over the top of this you place bay leaves, rosemary and sprigs of anything with red berries; then you nestle in amongst this four oranges which have been generously spiked with whole cloves. So simple, so cheap, and quite, quite wonderful!

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