Dear Gertrude

But, dear Gertrude, there are only so many sensuous situations we can ponder upon in our garden of dreams. You may have the tennis racquet and I have a pineapple, but where are the politicians when we need them? Of course, many philosophers down the ages have held a pomegranate in one hand while cursing the darkness of the human soul and/or Wolverhampton, but we my dear Gertrude are made of sterner stuff. Even if it requires a deal more sellotape to hold it together compared to the halcyon days of your long departed youth.

Just why your youth departed and just how you managed to get so many loganberry juice stains on his elbows is best left shrouded in mystery. I’m sure that one day he will return to you dear Gertrude, either that or write a bestselling memoir about his days under your tutelage. Or, at least those nights under canvas when you taught him all he needed to know about becoming a camper. Although, why it needed that amount of baby oil and a copy of Descartes’ Discourses, you never made clear. But he was invariably walking with a limp the next morning.

And I know how that feels.

Many was the time in our younger days when you left me limp and exhausted in the mornings, and we didn’t even have a tent… or all that much baby oil. But we were poor in those days and baby oil was hard to come by out in the Badlands of Walsall, where the men were men and the sheep were often not unduly disconcerted.

But of course you always needed something more, even if it was only some assistance with some of the more trickier bits of you 100000 piece jigsaw. Why it entailed the aid of a whole rugby team, and why you all had to be naked was something you never managed to explain to me. But then I was always too busy dragging the buckets of baby oil in from the scullery for us to have much more than the most desultory of conversations.

Although, the carping malevolence of the village gossips was – I feel – overzealous; especially in regard the village rugby team’s desultory and lacklustre performance during the following season. The fact that the overtired scrumhalves and hookers had to be transported around the field in wheelbarrows by their teammates I’m almost certain had very little to do with you or the strenuous regime you were putting them through.

However, all that is in the past now, Gertrude. We now look forward to a more restrained retirement, or at least I gather that is why the garage now has those handcuffs, ropes, ball gags and other elements of bondage gear in there all ordered from the more specialised online stores.

But there you go, as you’ve always said one of the secrets of growing old disgracefully is always to try to keep things interesting, and my dear Gertrude you are very good at that.