Thank you very much for your lovely present of a partridge in a pear-tree. We’re getting the hang of feeding the partridge now, although it was difficult at first to win its confidence. It bit the mother rather badly on the hand but they’re good friends now and we’re keeping the pear-tree indoors in a bucket. Thank you again.
I cannot tell you how surprised we were to hear from you so soon again and to receive your lovely present of two turtle doves. You really are too kind. At first the partridge was very jealous and suspicious of the doves and they had a terrible row the night the doves arrived. We had to send for the vet but the birds are okay again and the stitches are due to come out in a week or two. The vet’s bill was £8 but the mother is over her annoyance now and the doves and the partridge are watching the telly from the pear-tree as I write.
We must be foremost in your thoughts. I had only posted my letter when the three French hens arrived. There was another sort-out between the hens and the doves, who sided with the partridge, and the vet had to be sent for again. The mother was raging because the bill was £16 this time, but she has almost cooled down. However, the fact that the birds’ droppings keep falling down on her hair whilen she’s watching the telly doesn’t help matters. Thanking you for your kindness.
You mustn’t have received my last letter when you were sending us the four calling birds. There was pandemonium in the pear-tree again last night, and the vet’s bill was £32. The mother is on sedation as I write. I know you meant no harm and remain your close friend.
Your generosity knows no bounds. Five gold rings! When the parcel arrived I was scared stiff that it might be more birds, because the smell in the living-room is atrocious. However, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the beautiful rings.
Your affectionate friend,
What are you trying to do to us? It isn’t that we don’t appreciate your generosity but the six geese have not alone nearly murdered the calling birds, but they laid their eggs on top of the vet’s head from the pear-tree and his bill was £68 in cash! My mother is munching 60 grains of Valium a day, and talking to herself in a most alarming way. You must keep your feelings for me in check.
We are not amused by your little joke. Seven swans-a-swimming is a most romantic idea but not in the bath of a private house. We cannot use the bathroom now because they’ve gone completely savage and rush the door every time we try to enter. If things go on this way, the mother and I will smell as bad as the living-room carpet. Please lay off. It is not fair.
Who the hell do you think gave you the right to send eight, hefty maids-a-milking here, to eat us out of house and home? Their cattle are all over the front lawn and have trampled the hell out of the mother’s rose beds. The swans invaded the living-room in a sneak attack, and the ensuing battle between them and the calling birds, turtle doves, French hens and partridge make the Battle of the Somme seem like Wanderly Wagon. The mother is on a bottle of whiskey a day, as well as the sixty grains of Valium. I’m very annoyed with you.
Listen you loser! There’s enough pandemonium in this place night and day without nine drummers drumming, while the eight flaming maids-a-milking are beating my poor, old, alcoholic mother out of her own kitchen and gobbling up everything in sight. I’m warning you, you’re making an enemy of me.
Listen, Manure-face. I hope you’ll be haunted by the strains of ten pipers piping which you sent to torment us last night. They were aided in their evil work by those maniac drummers, and it wasn’t a pleasant sight to look out the window and see eight hefty maids-a-milking pogo-ing around with the ensuing punk-rock uproar. My mother has just finished her third bottle of whiskey, on top of a hundred and twenty four grains of Valium. You’ll get yours!
You have scandalized my mother, you dirty Jezebel. It was bad enough to have eight maids-a-milking dancing to punk music on the front lawn but they’ve now been joined by your friends ~ the eleven Lords-a-leaping, and the antics of the whole lot of them would leave the most decadent days of the Roman Empire looking like “Outlook”. I’ll get you yet, you old bag!
Listen, Slurry-head. You have ruined our lives. The twelve maidens dancing turned up last night and beat the living daylights out of the eight maids-a-milking 'cos they found them carrying on with the eleven Lords-a-leaping. Meanwhile, the swans got out of the living-room, where they’d been hiding since the big battle, and savaged hell out of the Lords and all the Maids. There were eight ambulances here last night, and the local Civil Defense as well. The mother is in a home for the bewildered, and I’m sitting here up to my neck in birds’ droppings, empty whiskey and Valium bottles, birds’ blood and feathers, while the flaming cows eat the leaves off the pear-tree. I’m a broken man.
...and to all a good night...