Spooky success for stately homeThis year's Hallowe'en attraction at Lower Loxley is proving a big hit with visitors, who say it's one of the spookiest sights they've ever seen.
'We didn't even realise there was a special Hallowe'en event, until we got to the gates and found them locked with rusty chains, covered in cobwebs and with rubbish blowing about everywhere,' said Mrs Jackie Lantern of Acocks Green. 'We thought it was closed, but then this terrifying zombie staggered down the drive towards us. She was white as a sheet, with red eyes and hair all wild and tangled.
'When she got close to us she started clutching at my Gary through the bars and rasping "Are you a lawyer? I need a lawyer for my Freddie. I'll pay anything..."
'Gary thought he'd play along so he said he wasn't a lawyer, but he'd seen a few episodes of Judge Rinder on TV and would that do? The zombie started cackling like a banshee, unlocked the gates and dragged him inside. The children were proper scared, it was great. But then we realised the Orangery wasn't open and we all fancied a vampire blood hot chocolate, so we went to Pumpkin Paradise at Netherborne Hall instead.'
Snell reveals vision behind Canterbury cavalcade
|First rehearsal of The Canterbury Tales at Brookfield|
'I was musing on how to express the full and final flowering of my muse, while relaxing in the shepherd's hut with Robert and Monty,' said Mrs Snell. 'Suddenly, I had the kind of creative vision that very few are privileged to experience. It occurred to me that every single person in Ambridge is in fact an actor. At once, the scale of the production became clear. There will be a role for everyone in the village. Yes, even Sabrina Thwaite, whose voice doesn't project as far as her bust, or Nathan Booth, whose range of expression was severely tested by playing the back half of a horse.'
Mrs Snell added that people would have to be bussed in from other villages to make up the audience, as everyone in Ambridge would be in the show. 'This is a minor detail,' she said. 'I'm sure that spectators will flock to see the most ambitious and unforgettable event that Ambridge - nay, Borsetshire – has ever seen.'
Ask Auntie SatyaWith her warm wit and forensic legal skills, Auntie Satya is back to help with all your emotional and practical problems.
Dear Auntie Satya,
The sensei at my karate class (that means instructor, by the way) is attractive and also seems very emotionally available; he's helped my son with his anxieties and is always kind and attentive to me. Last week he asked if he could touch me to get me into the right position, and I said that was OK, but the physical contact brought back bad memories of my abusive ex-husband. Will I ever be free of the past? Helen.
Firstly, thank you for explaining what a sensei is. It is many years since I attained my 10th dan, but rest assured I still know my way round a dojo. It is difficult to recover from the kind of trauma you describe in your longer letter. I would advise you to take things slowly with your sensei. Any romance between you must be based on openness and trust. Tell him about your fears and if he is as sensitive as you hope, you will soon have no difficulty with him touching you to get you in the right position. That was certainly my experience.
Dear Auntie Satya,
I am exhausted bringing up my baby daughter as a single mum; she keeps me up at night and I find myself falling asleep in lamb marketing meetings, which is embarrassing as I used to be the go-to girl for cost-effective packaging. So I suggested to my ex, the baby's father, that he stays over a couple of nights a week. We're sharing the bed as the sofa is hard and lumpy. Do you agree this is a sensible arrangement? Pip.
Please ask your baby daughter to write to me instead, as I expect she has more common sense than you and her father put together. In the meantime, I strongly advise you to invest in a more comfortable sofa.
Dear Auntie Satya,
My friend is keen on a girl who I think is wrong for him, so I told him she's a two-faced, nasty, interfering cow who loves stirring up trouble. He took offence and said I'd taken all the fun out of the 'pin the maggot on the apple' game we were playing at the time. I still think I did the right thing as people need to know the truth. What do you think? Emma.
In your longer letter you tell me you have a history of speaking your mind and then regretting it. We all care about our friends, but we have to let them make their own mistakes – and you may be wrong about this girl's character. Apologise to your friend, so at least if either of them comes to a sticky end – for example, being crushed by a pig ark or trampled by a herd of weaners – your conscience will be clear.
Collection of catering equipment: salmon kettle, copper casserole pans, Le Creuset dishes, serving platters, cake tins, etc. No longer required as Pam Gibson is taking over the shoot lunches, so from now on the guns will be lucky if they get a Charlie Bigham's pie from Waitrose and some ready-made coleslaw. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org