03 February, 2014

a letter from Neville Tetley

116 Back of the pump,
Near the big chocolate factory,

30th January 2014.

Dear Katharine,

May I wish you every success as the new editor of Quo Vadis? The old editor, shortly after starting his editorship some fifteen years ago, ordered me to write something of a light-hearted nature to liven up Quo Vadis? Now being of a helpful disposition I foolishly agreed with this instruction and I have been saddled with the job ever since. Furthermore, he then started compiling quizzes which were so difficult for most members that very few tried to solve them. To date, I have calculated that I have suffered at least three dozen headaches due to the complexity of them. Hopefully members will not have headaches anymore!

Maybe you would like to know of some happenings at the Toorak last weekend? Well, as a minor committee member I am given the rubbish jobs that none of the others will do. Here is an example. I was told by the tall man who thinks that he is in charge, “Go to the shops and get me a mug with a smiley face on it”. To get to the shops I had to clamber through roadworks, got drenched in sea water (the tide was in flow), avoid falling rocks from the unsafe cliffs and perform the Palais Glide to get through the shoppers – and you’ll never guess that THREE times I was stopped and checked on by one of the tall man’s tough henchmen who incidentally can never decide which end of the tandem to sit on when doing the End to End. Returning along the promenade, after an unsuccessful mission, the tide had ebbed, a strong gale had got up and blew my hat 50 yards backwards only managing to retrieve it before it dropped into the harbour. I crawled back into the Toorak terrified of having to report my failure. The tall man took pity on me and forgave me. He is not such a discouraging man after all. As no smiley face mug was found, a box of chocolates, I think, was substituted and walking through the diners the tall man gave it to the person (a lady) with the smiliest face.

Another imbroglio that I got into was a Saturday breakfast when I unintentionally dipped the end of my tie into my baked beans. Wiping the tie end clean others at the table told me to be more careful next time. At Sunday breakfast I was told that the stain was still visible. How strange, I thought, that this should happen to me as none of the others at the table even had a tie on. Murphy’s Law seems to apply.

After the Saturday evening dinner various people were given their awards for their achievements during 2013. The tall man then asked (sorry, I mean, told) certain of his pals to come up front and say something sensible, which fortunately they were able to do. He then asked a young lady to say a few words about the old editor (I found out later that they are husband and wife). She acclaimed his many accomplishments (some of which seemed a bit far-fetched to me) – how he had burnt the midnight oil, how he had burnt the candle a both ends, collapsing over the typewriter the Emu, sorry, I mean Emale, which apparently is a new-fangled gadget he has acquired. Anne went on to say that endless cups of tea would revive him and gave a list of all the brands of tea that he drank and kept on mentioning the brand – Tetley. It was then that I smelt a rat. The whole speech was a parting wind-up to humiliate me in front of everyone in the room. I use the surname of Tetley because it is the same as my mother and father. (Tetley have been producing tea since 1837, not a lot of people know this). Suddenly the penny dropped, as the saying goes, - it was all a wind-up and I was the real victim. I was duly told to come up and receive a presentation as the old editor had actually appreciated my past contributions to Quo Vadis? The old shoe box was wrapped in the most expensive paper that one could buy to give a good impression to all assembled. My good friends, Liz and Jem, asked me what was inside – well, we couldn’t believe our eyes:- !. A child’s baby tortoise about 2” long, as stiff as a poker and still trying to get there and no sell by date. 2. A bag tag with a silly face and no sell by date. 3. A broken packet of Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate , sell by date – September 2012. 4. A packet of Tetley tea, sell by date – April 2013. 5. A can of Tetley beer, sell by date – 16th August 2012. I shall consume the contents of nos. 3 – 5 and let you know of my findings in due course.

I bid you good luck in your adventure with Quo Vadis?
With kind regards,

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