n The creative writing group to which I belong has been challenged to write a 1,000-word story starting: "Inside the bag were three nails, a torch and a box of chocolates".

Impossible, thought I. But, while walking the dogs, a plot of sorts developed. It owes something to Monty Python, the Goons and Peter Cook. In it, a corpse, shortly before becoming a corpse, is making its way home to "cardboard city" dressed in pinstripes and a bowler. Someone remarks that it is strange clothing for someone living in a cardboard box. The response is "Oh, that will be his working clothes."

Back home, I opened The Independent Magazine and read the Weasel's piece (Up & Down Canary Wharf, 14 January) about the scruffy man with his cellular phone, asking directions to a local hostel. Maybe truth is at least as strange as fiction.

peter langley Stroud, Gloucestershire n