Correspondencia familiar.

Dear Pauline,

Your dad and me was sorry to hear about your trouble and we hopes as it is now cleared up. We never did take to George; he has a hasty temper and we think as how you’re better off without him. As regards of money, Pauline, well we only got a few good days at the potato picking so we are a bit short ourselves at the moment, but we enclose a postal order for Adrian, as we know he has a sweet tooth.

If you would put your trust in the Lord, Pauline, you wouldn’t keep having such trouble in life. God only punishes the heathens and the unbelievers. We was shocked last Christmas as to how much smoking and drinking went under your roof. You wasn’t brought up to it, Pauline. Your dad has never touched a drop in his life, nor has he been a slave to nicotine. We are decent God-fearing folk what knows our place and we only wish that you would take after us more before it’s too late.

Uncle Dennis, Auntie Marcia and Cousin Maurice have moved out of the caravan and into a council house. they have got all modern facilities, Auntie Marcia jokes that it is just like Buckingham Palace. Perhaps when you have had the unwelcome baby you will come and see it for yourself.

Anyway Pauline
We are praying for you,
Yours affectionately,
Mam and Dad
P.S. Auntie Marcia asks if you ever found Maurice’s grey sock that disappeared last Christmas. She’s not been able to rest through wondering about it.


Dear Mam and Dad,

Sorry about the short delay in replying to your wonderfully comforting letter, but I have only just emerged from a drunken stupor. Adrian was ecstatic to be sent the postal order for 50 pence and rushed straight out to buy me a can of larger. He’s such a thoughtful kid.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to come down and inspect Auntie Marcia’s council house, but I fear that I will be quite unable to drag myself away from the endless round of parties that my life now revolves around. You know what us hedonist are like-living for kicks and not going to church.

I fear that a meticulous search has failed to turn up the missing grey sock. I can appreciate Auntie Marcia’s anxiety on this point, so I enclose my last pound note to enable Auntie Marcia to buy a pair and therefore rest in peace.

What you say about George is quite true, but I married him because at that time he laughed a lot. There weren’t a lot of laughs in our cottage in the middle of the potato field were there?

Cordial greetings,
Your Daughter Pauline
And Grandson Adrian

Sue Townsend, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

¿Por qué se culpa al número 13?


In many cultures the presence of thirteen at a dinner table is considered unlucky. In part this is due to the general superstitions which surrounded the number, yet it is clear that dining with thirteen is a special concern. The French used to hire an additional dinner (or Quartorzienne) to make up the fourteenth place. At the Savoy Hotel, London, a wooden cat named Kaspar (carved by Basil Ionides, 1926) is set a place at table when a party of 13 sits down to eat. The most obvious source of these concerns must be the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with his Apostles the night before his death. in ancient Norse mythology thirteen was considered unlucky after the events at a banquet in Valhalla where Baldur was slain after Loki had intruded, thus becoming the thirteenth diner.

Ben Schott, Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany.

¿Por qué la gente (sobre todo de España) no devuelve los libros?

No devolver los libros que le dejan a uno es un acto criminal.

…que en otros aspectos es más internacional. Por ejemplo, en lo que se refiere a libros. Al más honrado de los españoles le parece muy lógico retener el libro de un amigo durante años. Técnicamente siguen considerándolo prestado, con lo que su conciencia queda tranquila, pero su intención de devolverlo es nula. Y el que lo presta, lo hace a sabiendas del tremendo riesgo que corre, pero con el afán muy español de poder comentar algo que ambos conozcan.

Una vez, era un sábado, me llevé de casa del humorista Tono un libro. Era corto; el lunes por la mañana lo había concluido y se lo devolví con un “botones”. Al mediodía me llamó por teléfono:

– ¿Qué te pasa? ¿Estás enfadado?

Era la única explicación que se le había ocurrido ante mi insólito proceder.

Fernando Díaz-Plaja, El español y los Siete Pecados Capitales.

Por cierto, si retengo alguno de los vuestros, tirón de orejas.