A POSTCARD FROM VALENCIAThings accumulate under my bed. Every time I move it to do my hospital ends, some new piece of mouldering junk appears where I’m sure there was none before. In the last week alone I’ve unearthed a small box marked ‘Photos of the Lake District’ ( - it was full of software for a computer I threw away 8 years ago - ), a plastic bag full of garden twine, a rug-making hook, a shoebox of old postcards, a book about the health-care of kittens and a packet of cheap crayons.
All of these things have been ruthlessly discarded without a second thought - except for the shoebox of postcards. I discarded that, too, but only after I spent a very pleasant afternoon looking through its contents.
There were postcards from, seemingly, everybody and everywhere - and they were so dated that the identity of some of their senders was lost on me. At least two of them have died.
A couple of the cards, though, caught my eye.
The first was a perfect gem of composition. It was from someone whose name is familiar to us, although modesty and fear of litigation prevent me from revealing the sender’s identity.
The postcard was sent from Valencia in Spain. This is what it said…
“It’s fiesta time! Nights of wild fandango dancing - with my fan in one hand and my dango in the other. All these gorgeous Spaniards about. I gave my companion some castanets but he still didn’t click. For lunch today we had Sausage España - a kind of Toad in the Olé.
We’ve been to a restaurant next to the bullring with magnificent sweetbreads fresh from the bull after the fight. However, this evening, the sweetbreads were absolutely tiny and I asked the waiter why they were so small. ‘Sometimes’ he said, ‘the bull wins!’
To get into the party spirit I’ve been wearing my bolero and crushed velvet matador pants - so practical for draughty rides in police vans. We met Juan today. My mate looked over the road and said ‘I think he’s Juan as well’.
The firework displays have been fantastic. I put a banger down a Spanish lad’s trousers and we went off together…"
Any ideas about who could have sent it?
The second card was blushingly complimentary, which is why I’ve decided to keep it forever. The problem is that I don’t know who sent it.
According to the postmark, it was sent from Newcastle on 18 August 2008. The front is a picture of Tower Bridge at night with lots of bright, twinkling stars in the sky.
On the back, the sender has written simply ‘Best wishes from a silent listener’.
How flattering is that? It’s the kind of response that made me feel that The Nightshift was a job worth doing. So - belatedly, and in the hope that its sender might be reading this - THANKYOU!
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A WELSH PANGRAM
If proof were needed that the Honourable Company of Truckshunters includes folk of peculiar and esoteric interests (and it’s not), here’s a pangram.
A pangram is a sentence that contains all the letters of the language in which it’s written.
Pangrams in English are rare and difficult enough. Ray Hobbs, though, has gone several steps further. The one he sent me is in Welsh…
Mae'n peth erchyll a phwdr, lleddf, cloff, hen, rhudd, sengl, atgofus, blin.
'It is a horrible thing and rotten, crooked, lame, old, russet, single, haunting, angry.'
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The two photos of wonderful pavement art were sent to me by Dave Shannon; they were drawn by a man called Nikolaj Arndt, whom God preserve.
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