8th Mar 2004 It was all a terrible misunderstanding. It pays to read an advertisement closely... View large

Dear Sir,

A few weeks ago I found myself reading your advertisement for the Passion Pink Razor. Unfortunately I did not read it properly. What the advertisement said was:

What is it about pink that makes you feel so good?

I didn't quite read this right and turned to Mrs Newbery and, feeling just a little mischievous, asked “Tell me, my dear, what is pink and makes you feel good? ” See the difference? It is not much but it is such a lot in the circumstances.

“Strawberry daiquiris” she answered, not looking up from her book.

Foolishly, my masculinity on the line now, I pressed on. “Is that all? ” I enquired, “Is there anything else that is pink and makes you feel good? ” “Beetroot and crab-apple buttock scrub is just dandy. ” she offered, the edge in her voice suggesting that she was getting annoyed with this questioning. I too was getting irked, angling as I was for a “Why you of course, dear” answer, and as usual asked that one question too many. With a bit of sarcasm, I said:

“Oh, nothing else pink gives you pleasure then? How do you explain all the fruits-of-the-forest yoghurts in the fridge then? Hey? Answer me that then! ”

She put her book down. “How long have you known about me and Harold? ” she asked. Harold? Harold is our milkman. Oh my God! All those yoghurts in the fridge! They weren't cheap because they were near their USE-BY, they were cheap because he...she...they...

“Do you really want to know what is pink and makes me feel good” she continued icily, looking at me with the sort of look that would pierce a goodly thickness of armour plating.

Now, the Newbery's are not noted as quick thinkers but I could see disaster written all over this. I could find myself minus all sorts of things, including the house, Mrs Newbery and, more importantly, fruits-of-the-forest yoghurts.

“No, of course not. I was just being cheeky dear. Harold? ” I bluffed “Who's Harold? Do I know a Harold? No need to get upset. Look it was just this advertisement. See? ”

I waved your ad at her.

“It says what is it about pink, not what is pink, you dill! Can't you read properly? ”

“Yes dear, I mean, no dear. ” I grovelled “You are right as always, dear. ”

She picked up her book and looked at it steadily for some time, but oddly I never saw her turn the pages. Certainly nothing more was said about pink things that give her pleasure.

And the supply of fruits-of-the-forest yoghurts continued to come in, seemingly impervious to the ebb and flow of the family budget.

Now THAT was a close shave.

And the reply came (with a bag of pink Gillette products):

Our Consumer Services Team read the tale with much interest and were very relieved that you managed to avoid what could have been a disasterous situation, and all because you misinterpreted one line in our Venus Pink Passion Advertisement!

I am a little reluctant to ask, but are the fruits-of-the-forest yoghurts still appearing regularly in the refrigerator?

Happy, I replied:

Thank you very much for your comments and the pink parcel.

It was most kind of you.

You ask about the fruits-of-the-forest yoghurts; that is something of a puzzle to me as they have quite inexplicably stopped appearing. There was something in the local paper that may explain it; an article about a semi-naked milkman being chased down the street by an irate baker waving a French stick and shouting what passers-by thought sounded like “She's mine, you milk-weak son of a cow!” Most odd, I'm sure you will agree.

So life in Chez Newbery is quiet nowadays, if somewhat lacking in culture.

I am a little concerned about an unexplained glut of poppy-seed dinner rolls of late.

Mrs N. says that they are on special. Why should I doubt her?