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Dear Amy,

Did you get my postcard from Tuscany? I should have stayed there. Since I’ve come back to Britain, the weather has been more gloomy, and the food more bland (if that is even possible).  Even the accent has lost  its charm.  How novel can it be when there are 56 million people talking the same way?   It's nearly summer, but our house feels like the inside of a refrigerator. In my absence, the locals have decided to inundate us with ugly furniture and horrible rugs that they claim came from this place. I’m for burning the whole lot to keep warm, but nobody ever listens to my opinion around here.

You wanted to know about our hermit? Well, his name is Frank Churchill.  I never imagined that I would actually meet a hermit in my life, and certainly felt let down when the one I did meet was named Frank. He’s very strange—quiet and vague on the surface, but quite aggressive underneath. He literally leapt out of the bushes at me and I’m sure he enjoyed the fact that he scared me to death. As far as looks go, he has a surprising lack of hair given his vocation, and a bit too many teeth for my taste. I guess if you go for the "disheveled British professor gone earthy" look, he’s your man.

Men. I loathe the thought of them right now. Simon is an absolute pig, and refuses to acknowledge it. I phoned from the airport in Rome asking if he would meet me at Gatwick. He never showed and to this day claims he never got the message, although I’ve checked the damn machine and it is working just fine. Then Shirley pulled me aside to "hint" that he’s been making moves on Emma. I spent the whole time I was away mooning over him, and he was probably here chasing her around my house. I didn’t want to believe it, but twice I’ve gone upstairs to our bedroom and heard a woman's voice there. Both times she’d disappeared by the time I got the door open, but he’s been in there--the second time, half naked. He told me I was hearing things. You’d think he could be a little more imaginative than that. 

The house is a disaster as well, and our accountants in Philadelphia are telling us not to spend any money. Something’s up with the lottery proceeds, and they’re busy covering their tracks. It looks like we might need to hire an attorney to sort out what is going on, and what our rights are. Not that we can afford one if the money dries up. And while I was away, Simon put up a f**king satellite dish! The thing’s enormous, and they had to cut down a huge old tree to put it in. It's come down now.  I could kill him. Where does he think he’s living? Las Vegas? I don’t know what to do…

The Stoney Grove information you sent is interesting, and I’ll pass it on to Emma if and when I ever see her again. I really wasn’t mad at her—it’s not her fault that Simon’s an ass, but now she’s disappeared. No one has seen her for days. That looks suspicious to me, even without Shirley’s winkings and invitations for a cup of tea. What a mess.

Sorry to rant. I’ll end now before I get ugly.


P.S. I must say I’m disappointed in your lack of inventiveness on the olive front. Surely you can find some useful way of consuming them. If not, toss them into the sea.  And who the hell is James?