The date and the stone...

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Just because I write loopy letters it doesn't mean that I can't have a real complaint sometimes. I found a stone in a packet of dates...and returned it to them, taped to the following letter:


Dear Sir,

I recently bought a bag of Home Brand Seedless Dates,

Use By Jun 96, 5152D517; whatever that means.

Possibly it is a geological grid reference or maybe a radio-carbon dating (!) assessment. Because...

...amongst them I found the following: (stone)

Well, my teeth found it actually.

No harm done, though. Once those tiny, icy-cold feet stopped running up and down my back, that is.

Your dates are pitted, but not stoned, apparently!

At first I was peeved. Sorely peeved.

These things are sold by weight. Do you understand what I am saying? With a fairly solid Scottish connection, the Kennedys being a sub-sept of the Red Hairy MacLeggs, this did not sit well with my view of the economic balance of the known Universe.

Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, dates are dearer than your average bit of grit. Unless you are buying something that you can build a house on; then the grit wins over even A-grade dates. Some rotten rat had done the dirty on me, I thought.

Then, when I calmed down, I tried to console myself that, as the dates are imported from some undisclosed but almost certainly exotic clime, I may have something valuable and collectable here.

Could it be a chip from the original Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world?

Or in a remarkable shot at realism, perhaps it was a piece of the belly-button fluff from the Colossus of Rhodes?

Or maybe a part of one of the fore-court flag stones from the Temple of the Oracle, at Delphi?

(Chew, drink, sniff, spit: "You have a date with destiny").

Or perhaps a fragment of a Phoenician Urn? Which leads to what's a Phoenician...but then that's an old joke.

But then most of mine are.

But, when the cold hard light of realism descended upon me I felt that the best thing that I could do is return it to its rightful owners.

Just as the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles needed to be returned to their rightful owners so too do I return this piece of the ancient world to you.

But if it is part of the original hoarding (that may not be the correct spelling) of Phryne, the Courtesan, I wouldn't mind it back.

Beyond that, do with it as you will.

Yours stonily...



Eventually an exceedingly dull reply came informing me that the stone had been refered to the 'appropriate department' for investigation.