- The advertisement suggested that it would be a good idea to shave my coconuts. I was intrigued...: View large

Dear Sir,

Somewhat by accident, I recently found myself twelve nautical miles off the coast of Australia with little to read but a copy of RALPH magazine. Life is an adventure, is it not?

It that magazine I found an advertisement for your Gel Response razor and, without putting too fine an edge on it, I am confused. Wouldn't the advertisement be more aptly placed in Australian Home Decorating? Or possibly Woodturning & Wickerwork?

Your advertising gurus must have thought otherwise but it is a puzzle to me, nonetheless.

Up front, I must admit that I had never thought of shaving my coconuts. Never crossed my mind. I guess it would sort of make them objects d'art would it not? Sort of like a wooden apple or marble egg. There is something about smooth, spherical things that seems to just cry out for caressing and fondling, especially if they are on the coffee table or the kitchen bench. Sort of large worry beads, I guess.

Anyway, I must report that it was fairly heavy going. For all your assurances I did find that the blades were struggling with the enormity of the task. They quite quickly lost their edge and I eventually abandoned them altogether in favour some orbital grinding followed by some fine hand work .

I found #00 sandpaper to be most satisfactory.

They looked okay but I don't think that they approached their full glory, the glory that I am sure that you had in mind, until I asked Mrs Newbery to give them a lick or two with something appropriate.

She settled on a high gloss polyurethane.

She was a bit hesitant about doing it though, she felt that it would spoil the flavour.

When I protested that these were no longer ordinary nuts but were about to become objects d'artt and were not for scoffing willy-nilly she pointed out that that would mean that they would dry up, loose their creamy contents and just become another pair of useless ornaments, hanging around gathering dust.

She does have a point there but that is what happens to coconuts in my house anyway.

At least they are now objects d'art.

I am enormously happy with the copratenate* result of my endeavours and take every opportunity to show them off. Such was the vicar's admiration that he was rendered totally speechless when I showed them to him and Miss Abernathy, a delicate soul from the Country Women's Guild who is enamoured with all things artistic, was reduced to tears by their natural beauty and symmetry.

But I do think you should put your mind to producing a more robust product for the task than just common razor blades.

A regimental cutlass, perhaps.

Yours helpfully,

J Cosmo Newbery.

* From Copratenancy, the state of having a lovely bunch of coconuts.

Happiness! My message in a coconut washed up on a fertile shore.
Andrew Raper replied:

Despite the shaving of coconuts not being the actual intention of our communication I am pleased that the efforts of Mrs Newbery and yourself were so warmly appreciated by Miss Abernathy. I would suggest that Mrs Newbery's use of a high gloss polyurethane to be an inspired choice.

Your endeavours have obviously resulted in a wonderful Copratenancy, the like of which I can only imagine. As with the vicar I feel sure I too would be rendered speechless on their viewing.

Enclosed with the letter were a selection of Wilkinson Sword and Scholl products to assist in the maintenance of objects d'art.