Terence Blacker: Thanks for Christmas dinner. But no thanks

'Thank you both for your thoughtful gift, "The Virago Book of Lesbians" - quite an eye-opener'
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The Independent Online

It has happened again. You promised yourself that you would start 2002 with a clean sheet, yet here you are at the start of the year with the seasonal thank-you letters unwritten.

It has happened again. You promised yourself that you would start 2002 with a clean sheet, yet here you are at the start of the year with the seasonal thank-you letters unwritten.

There are the usual excuses. You were tired. You were on holiday. There was so little to thank people for that writing the usual letters required imaginative powers that were beyond you.

We at The Independent understand these problems. This year, as yet another digital service for our busy readers, we can offer a round-the-clock, off-the-peg thank-you letter tailored to your needs. Simply transcribe or download the letter best suited to your requirements, add the relevant names and despatch with your own personalised signature.

Our highly skilled team of writers will ensure that gratitude is conveyed, whatever the circumstances.

 

Dear Mum/Dad/Aunty/old family friend

Many apologies for having taken so long to thank you for our memorable stay with you. We have been a bit poorly over the past few days – in fact, we had to call the doctor out on Boxing Day. Not popular, as you can well imagine!

Food poisoning was the verdict, would you believe? Typical NHS! The doctor actually seemed to think that your idea of treating turkey like game and hanging it until it was "nice and high", as you put it, might have something to do with our problems, but we soon put him straight on that one.

As usual, our stay with you reminded us both what families are all about. It was salutary to be reminded as we sat down to dinner that, because your own dear father had died on Christmas Eve, this was a particularly unhappy time of the year for you. Your raising the subject of our marital difficulties later in the meal certainly helped clear the air. Who would have thought that Christmas dinner would end in a food fight?

We are thinking of taking a winter break next year. In the meantime, love and thanks from both of us.

 

Dear Donna/Danni/Zara/Max

It was a great pleasure to see my favourite niece again, to catch up on the exciting developments in your private life and to meet your new partner Sam. Thank you both for your thoughtful gift, The Virago Book of Lesbians. I have only "dipped" so far – quite an eye-opener!

Please assure Sam that the family are not as straight and homophobic as she seemed to think. Dad's comment about her piercings and body jewellery (which, personally, I liked) were simply his attempt to lighten the mood – obviously, she looked nothing like a Christmas tree.

In retrospect, I suppose it wasn't such a good idea to include your own personal presents for one another under the Christmas tree. I just about managed to convince Dad that the fur-lined manacles were for an Inspector Morse party game, but the Honey Pet personal masseur took more explaining – particularly when that stupid dog Jake mistook it for a bone! I still don't know who set it off and put it on the piano, but it was clever of you to tell Mum that it was a modern kind of alarm clock.

Best wishes to you both for 2002.

 

Dear Granny/Nanny/Great Aunt

What a treat it was seeing you again, and looking so remarkably spry. I promise I didn't mind your forgetting my name, particularly since you were so generous with your present. I always look forward to receiving my annual cardigan.

The family grapevine tells me that you have undergone something of a change of mood since our stay – the word is that, you want to get out more, go to parties and that you have turned the sitting-room into a racetrack for your wheelchair. This is great news – as you know, I've always felt that there's nothing like a positive attitude to combat rheumatoid arthritis, a weak heart and failing eyesight.

Which brings me to a practical point. As you know, Jamie has been going through a difficult teenage stage. It appears that he brought along some of his own private pills to "cheer him up" during his stay. Unfortunately he has just told us that (typical teenager!), he picked up your anti-inflammation tablets by mistake. This probably means that your medication is not quite as it should be right now.

I realise that you have become rather fond of the new pills but Jamie seems suddenly very keen to see you again. Could we call by this weekend?

terblacker@aol.com

Miles Kington is away

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