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Dear Cleveland Council Cocks (darts team),

We hold you in highest contempt, particularly today. Two of our least successful reporters visited your town of Whitby – well-dressed, aloof, full-blooded and tight buttocked (raring to go). We had been developing a rolling nautical gait via which we hoped to impress your local lads and simultaneously disguise (display to those with savoir faire) our pressing need to void ourselves of substances pertaining to yellow and brown.

Before we entered the town centre in this vigorous though discreet manner, we came across some dry-docking.* Unfortunately and contrary to our intentions the footnoted definition was not forthcoming within a timeframe of reasonable length. After all it was tipping it down, so ultimately we were not sure of the nature of this docking, i.e either dry or wet.

The society’s coastal visits have always followed a set pattern. Usually we make a trip to the Visitor’s Centre (Tourist Info. (information)) at the endof the day, usually following our release from custody. Occasionally the protocol is adapted to cater for a high-speed escape in which this item becomes a low priority. Nonetheless, our end of day ritualized collation of leaflets and brochures that would inform us of precisely how we shouldhave spent our day is held sacrosanct. (The “brochure selection process” has been refined over a number of decades: methods include dice rolling, coin-tossing, back-stabbing, stick-throwing, nail-biting and animal intervention). Today however, our desires for iced-cream forced us to act quickly and we entered the T.I with high hopes of (a) aesthetic beauty (well organized displays, attractive hostesses with safety masks, freebies (pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers), silk sheets and the willing attentions of local maidens); (b) our ceremonial investiture into the dart team and the concomitant offer of the bestowal of the key to the town (these must be a certain size relatively proportioned to the size of the locale (hence we only visit towns that won’t give us a pain in the back (the secretary has sciatica))). We observed however some ill-fitting plastic sheeting of inferior quality (transparent) to that which underlay our bed-clothes (black plastic). Apparently the ‘great hall’, the ‘billiard room’ and the ‘morning room’ were undergoing transmogrifications into ‘rest rooms for the out-sized’. Our honest attempts to clarify the nature of these alterations were immediately classified as “trespasses”. In fact matters came to such extremes that we were sign-posted out of the building with the recommendation that we ablute ourselves and take our sanitary business elsewhere.

Outside of these offices we slowly picked ourselves off the floor and dusted our selves off in readiness of a more thorough investigation of the town’s ‘facilities’.

This search quickly led us to the lower end of town (morally as well as physically lower (all the streets seemed to exclusively slope downwards)). In short: we found ourselves staring into the bearded face of the harbour master, which we took for a belated visit from Father Christmas. (The logicality of this was enforced when we remembered that he owed us ten years worth of presents.) He immediately took a dislike to our personages. We tried to improve this precarious situation by launching into some “small talk”, viz the organization of the rolling stock under his watchful eye and administrative command. We may have pronounced our comments in a format not suited to his Yorkshire understanding and frankly prickly demeanour. Our attempts not to come across as Carpetbaggers from “Oop Narth” were entirely misinterpreted; we clearly communicated our liking of the ‘spiffingly gay colour schemes of his fishing vessels’ and the ‘je ne sais quoiof the decorations and embroideries of the fisherman in his livery’. It increasingly became clear that our monologue was not only misunderstood but resulted in a change of facial colour on his part and vigorous arm-waving. Our sense of self-preservation kicked in a tad late.

To cut a long story short (the memories are still too painful, and our clothes not yet dry), we eventually washed-up at the bottom of the abbey steps. After drinking so much brine our bladders were deemed ‘appropriate for release’. Not wishing to display this pressing urgency to all and sundry by clasping our groins as we began our panicked walk through the town, we agreed to hold each other’s to detract from the suspicions of your closed-minded and prudish yokels.

The rather cool temperatures of both sea-water and rain seemed to affect us in a similarly adverse manner to a prank played out on an unsuspecting sleeper of our acquaintance. On that occasion we had dipped his hand in a bucket of cold water and watched from the vantage point of the upper bunk as he “pissed his pants”. To avoid any such calamity we rushed back to the T.I, under looks of disapproval. Our pleas for clemency led us back to the same information (henceforth info.) desk. After what seemed an eternity, the staff pointed us to the nearest toiletry emporium.

We first smelled beyond the aqua-marine odours of your townsfolk and detected our first strong whiff of conspiracy. The particular give-away was the font (size, scale and type) above the most prominent “toilet house” in the town which was given pride of place (superior even than the Dracula centre, the Masonic lodge, the massage parlour, bookmaker and the retailers of memorabilia and noody decks). The societal regulations which had been disseminated throughout the country in one of our largest email circular campaigns ever stipulated: ‘Comic Sans MS’, ‘Coronet’ or ‘Lucinda Casual (we once knew a Lucinda)’, all 36pt. (largest on our printer (HP Deskjet P2015d)). This confusion aside, the labelling system was almost pornographically explicit: “ATTENDED TOILETS”. This is not just an affront to our sensibilities, but to our own organized ring of undercover coverage of our fair nation’s restrooms and did not comply with our motto “cudgel the middleman”. We allotted you a man to keep guard back in 1997 and we had full faith in him to compile his personal ‘research’ but also to ‘cut through your red-tape in-extreme-cognito’.**

You have exposed us, but you have also exposed yourselves exposing us (exposition means exhibition in French)! As our spiritual leader, Professor Wainwright once declared, “Don’t talk to me of exposition with your pants around your ankles.”

In conclusion, this society recommends:

1) You leave intact the additions we made to your sign with the prefix “UN” (ATTENDED); although our tried and tested “comic sans ms” pt 36 is dwarfed by your own “wing-dings” pt 5000.

2) You release the hostage attendant we ensnared into the glass booth at the front of the adjacent amusement arcade and award him one of the pink cuddly toys that share his cell, and give him a free go at the metal grabber thingy (he has 20p in his pocket, which you can thank us for not taking).

3) Discipline your harbour master in the following manner

· English lessons in a decent county

· A correspondence course in painting by numbers (his ships were actually filthy; our kind words were hollow

· A change of outfit to something less alluring to a younger audience, who have yet to learn of the illusory nature of Saint Nicholas and ‘Black Pete’.

4) The keys to the town need new gold-leaf which can be provided by the Tavistock society, recycled from the gold-watches and trinkets we managed to ‘salvage’ from members of your sinking ship-wreck of a town.



Yours,

The President of the Tavistock Society.


  • Dry docking meaning the opposite of wet docking and, pertaining to definitions, cooked up by one of our lowliest members, this form of docking is entirely above board
    • We distance ourselves from this employee and hold you responsible for corrupting him and teaching him a trick or two about reverse voyeurism (in regional parlance flasher).