Postal strikes

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The Independent Online
This week, the magnificently named Tory MP Dame Angela Rumbold wrote a stiff note to one of her constituents, the equally well monikered Hilary Pentecost. In it, Dame Angela committed the unforgiveable sin of telling pensioner Pentecost, a constant whinger, where to get off. This week, I have collected a series of letters in a similarly frank but suicidal vein, which really ought to get sent.

From the Vice Chancellor's Office, New University of Ullapool:

Dear Mr Burns/Barns/ Barnes/Barne/Burne/Birne,

Thank you for your application to read English Literature here in Ullapool. I am sorry for any delay in replying, but it took five members of our entries office more than a month to decipher your handwriting and spelling. This included calling in a number of language specialists, following up one (later discredited) theory that your letter had been written in Serbo- Croat by a traumatised refugee from ethnic cleansing.

When we finally understood that your illiterate scrawl was supposed to constitute a request to sit at the feet of Professor McUrqhuhart and imbibe the poetry and prose of these isles, our hearts sank. But, dear Mr B, beggars cannot be choosers (except in your case, apparently), so we look forward to receiving you in Ullapool in late September. Student accommodation is limited, so you would be well advised to purchase a tent. Catalogues, including flysheets in the university colours (maroon, puce and white), are available upon request.

Yours sincerely, Sir Hamish Hamilton

From Alastair Campbell, Leader of the Opposition's office.

Dear Senor Delgado,

I am writing to you, in your capacity as Mayor of Benidorm to warn you of the forthcoming visit of our transport spokesperson, Glenda Jackson, to your resort next week. It is just a publicity stunt in advance of our general election, and not a piece of sabotage cooked up with your rivals in Torremolinos aimed at denting Benidorm's tourist trade. She'll stay a couple of hours, get photographed with a pair of big-bellied Brummies and then push off.

From the Chairman of the Conservative Party

Dear Charlie and Maurice,

I have a confession. You remember that slightly drunken game we played in the upstairs room at the Eel and Compass last month - who can design the most ridiculous, self-defeating poster ever? And Lettie Fox-Crettin came up with that hilarious idea involving Tony Blair? Well, to cut a long story short, I put it in my briefcase, where somehow it got mixed up with the real designs. So I'm afraid it's coming soon to a billboard near you.

Yours, a contrite Brian Mawhinney

From the Secretary of the Kennel Club

Dear dog owner,

Following the unfortunate incident involving Tracey Dykes' chihuahua Chizzy and the valium - in which a nervous, yappy dog the size and attractiveness of a rat on steroids was turned into a docile bundle of inert fluff - the committee has decided that all chihuahuas will be given valium before club events. And their owners.

Yours faithfully, Dame Bunty Tooth

From the Shadow Minister for Overseas Aid.

Dear Tony,

I think I owe it to you to be honest. Forget all that stuff about "dark forces" and presentation. It's all bollocks. It's you I can't stand. Just one of those things, I suppose.

FOAD, Clare

From TESDA Superstores

Dear Customer

This product, "pure minced English lamb", is guaranteed to contain no more than 20 per cent beef. An occasional bit of prawn may also make an unscheduled appearance. But it's better than toenails, or old sticking plasters, isn't it?

Come again.

H Grout, quality control.