If you ask me, once you have started writing to companies explaining why you no longer wish to receive their catalogues, it is very hard to stop, particularly if you can get a second column out of it. So, here we are again:
Dear Toast: You sell a pretty potent dream of what life should look like but, as I said to myself the other evening while washing up enamel tea cups in my tongue-and-groove kitchen, before changing from my slubby linen flares into my georgette pyjamas, blowing out my hurricane lamps, and heading up to bed (where I snuggled cosily under my 100 per cent virgin wool blanket), I'm already living it. Should my circumstances ever change, I will certainly be in touch.
Dear Not On The High Street: I could not decide between the quirky tote that says "shopping" and the quirky tote that says "swimming", and then thought: what if I purchased the "shopping" one and then went swimming? Or the "swimming" one and then went shopping? I'd be without a bag! Ultimately, this all proved too much for me, and I opted to desist, but I do wish you the very best with everything.
Dear White Company: You're so right, before the nights get warmer, I should treat myself to your perfectly cool bed linen, but – how to break this to you? – the chances of anything white staying white in our house are so low they would make you weep, and weep all down your ultrasoft, deep pile cotton robe. However, if you ever start an Off-White Company – why wait for your whites to go off-white when you can have off-white today! – I will certainly be first in the queue, if not pounding at your door. But, for now, thank you and goodbye.
Dear Traditional Wooden Toy People: Heard of plastic? Alas, kids have. Nice try, though.
Dear Crocus: I, too, covet and admire plants but the sad truth is, Crocus, that I'm married to a man who comes from a school of gardening I have called "Randomly Hacking At Stuff When The Mood Strikes". He may even be one of the foremost practitioners of this style or, as I say to him whenever he comes in from the garden: "Have you been randomly hacking at stuff? Did the mood strike? I love the way you've flayed that clematis to death." I wonder: instead of your catalogue, might you send me a free pack of dynamite? Because, as I also always say to my husband: "Why not just blow it all up? Might as well."
Dear Brora: You're just being silly. Now, behave.
Dear Sweaty Betty: You, too. Alternatively, I will let you know when I need to spend a packet on sweatpants designed by Stella McCartney. This is my promise to you.Reuse content