Dear Mr Kershaw,


Re: The Riddle

We are not terribly concerned with the rotating Celtic pensioner located adjacent to a crater in turn situated in a wooded area on the banks of an estuary, as, by your own admission, this is all goobledegook of the highest order.

We fear however that the old man of Aran going around and around next to a hole in the ground by a tree by a river may be a distraction technique to divert attention away from your nefarious business intentions as regards my good self.

It would appear that you have devised an unfair rota system pertaining to me undertaking menial work in your Middle Eastern eaterie (possibly based in the U.S. - so to America the brave) working within a team of disruptive scrimping intellectuals.

I’m not too sure that I care for your ''plans for us'', Mr Kershaw, which seem to involve ''nights in the scullery'' of your exotic restaurant, Blessings of Babylon. From the sound of things there will be linen in need of laundering (probably table cloths) which wise men fold. It also appears from you only knowing to discuss oh, for anything but light and days instead of me, to say nothing of‘ wise men fighting over me that I am expected to cover your shift as well. This would involve working both days and nights and taking labour away from the wise men who save and would probably appreciate both the overtime and the anti-social hourly rate in order that they may put away extra each month into their rainy day funds.

I will have no part in it Mr. Kershaw, especially given that you are more than able to undertake this work yourself. You've got two strong arms, time to kill and time to carry on and try for sins and false alarms (presumably food hygiene and bogus security systems respectively).

Even if I were to work in your kitchen, I fear that my tenure would be short and I would say very soon that ''I don’t wanna be here no more''.

I hope that my declinature does not offend and wish you luck in securing an alternative candidate.





Derek Philpott





Dear Mr Philpott

Many thanks for your letter. It was good to hear from you again.


However (and forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted your tone) there did seem to be a certain amount of bile invested in your correspondence. Indeed, to the untrained eye, it could appear that umbrage had been taken. I do hope your liver function is not compromised, your bilirubin levels have recovered sufficiently and you are now experiencing satisfactory lower bowel function.


It’s interesting to note that bile from deceased mammals can be mixed with soap and used to remove embarrassing stains from cotton bedlinen.


But I digress.


I’m disappointed that you express such little regard for the Old Man but would venture that you might have grabbed the wrong end of the proverbial stick. Not that there is a right end. There is, in fact, no correct place to grab this particular stick and I would go further to suggest you may have actually grabbed the wrong stick entirely.


To imagine that I’m expecting you to carry out onerous and unrewarded tasks in my “middle eastern eatery” is both insulting and absurd. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard since your last letter.


I’m not a monster.


I can offer a Zero Hours contract with all the associated benefits. You can live above the shop rent free. I only ask that you feed the cat now and then and that you’re there to let Mrs Underwater in to hoover the shower curtains (every 2nd Thurs in the month).


Overtime would be minimal (to say the least) and, although funds are limited, there would be all the couscous you can eat*.


I would consider excusing you from all folding duties.

I may well have had two strong arms in 1984 but time is a cruel mistress. The use of one arm to polish my Platinum discs and bursitis in the opposite shoulder has led to a certain disparity.

Here’s hoping you reconsider. I’m in a bit of a spot this Tuesday evening, as it happens. Zoltan’s piles have flared up again and he has a 6:30 with Dr Patel.

Yours, as always,

Nik Kershaw

*Not including Zoltan’s Special Couscous with mixed pulses and caramelised goat scratchings (or that’s what he says they are).



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