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OK, it’s time for our first foray into loosely literary shit … enjoy:–



Apart from picking pecks of pickled pepper, Peter Piper pottered. Peter Piper pottered primarily in Peter Piper’s potting shed.

Peter Piper’s partner, Pippa, peeved by Peter’s paltry pottering, found that years of fussing, fiddling, actually achieving nothing, drove her really right round the bend.

Primarily pleasing peccadilloes, previously piquant quirks and quixotic quaintnesses quickly palled for Pippa Piper.

“Peter,” she plangently pleaded, “pick your pecks of pickled pepper, but surely you can show attention, surely shed your shallow shell, make much more than manky models, let us lead a life uplifting?”

But Peter Piper merely muttered, more and more he mooched and pottered, pent up in his potting shed.

Peter Piper’s partner, Pippa, moved on from mere amusement, through a niggling annoyance, on to rueful resignation.

Peter Piper’s daughter, Dita, didn’t deign to interfere.

Peter Piper’s neighbour, Norman, noted Peter Piper’s pottering, spotted partner Pippa’s pique.

No one knew that neighbour Norman poked poor Pippa now and then. So thought Norman, so thought Pippa.

Really, reader, they were wrong.


Safely shut up in his shed (so thought Norman, so thought Pippa), Peter pottered on, oblivious. Planing pine or potting plants, pruning, painting — pottering with perpetual persistence.

Poor though Peter Piper’s eyesight, grimy though the shed’s small window, Peter Piper spotted plenty, totted two and two together. Behind the back of perfidious partner, unbeknown to naughty neighbour, Peter placed a prying pair of little lenses, linked to laptops: in a pot of pink petunias, in the Piper’s master bedroom, and behind a pretty painting, depicting part of old Polperro, in the lounge of neighbour Norman. Pictures people pass by daily, people duly cease to see. So neighbour Norman never noticed how one wee window in the Harbour Hilltop Hotel had acquired a half-hid hole.

Perhaps Peter Piper’s partner, Pippa, should have shunned his shed less surely. Had she shown a shade of interest in the inside of his kingdom, she might have looked at linked-up laptops, found the scenes they showed familiar. Then, forewarned, she would have wasted little time in telling Norman, probably planning plane trips, preparing prompt escape.

But only Peter’s daughter, Dita, dared one day, when he was distant, to drop by Dad’s domain. There she saw the linked-up laptops, perceived the product of Peter Piper’s pottering, even guessed the ghastly guilt of miscreant mother and naughty neighbour Norman. For some seasons she’d suspected, so she wasn’t sore surprised, but her Dad’s deceptive doings, clandestine cloak-and-dagger digging, did result in shocking shivers, as she stood there in the shed.

But Peter Piper’s daughter, Dita, didn’t deign to interfere.


So, when some short time thereafter, Peter Piper sadly said, to his doting daughter, Dita (and to neighbours not so naughty) that her Mum had done a runner, with their neighbour, Norman Norton, Peter Piper’s daughter, Dita, didn’t sorrow very sorely, didn’t seem all that surprised.

Those who read romantic writers, poetry particularly, might remember Isabella, as described by Mr Keats. Therefore, they might think that Peter potted not just pink petunias, parsley, plums or pre-picked peppers (plain or pickled), but big bowls of bushy basil, hiding heads of husband-hating harridans and naughty next-door neighbours. Nay, nay; not nearly so nasty. People who potter, like Peter Piper, prefer practicality, plump for simplicity, safety, security.

And sheds should show shelves and storage, sharpeners for scythes and sickles, boxes and benches, all types of tools — but cleverly conceal a killer’s culpabilities, beneath brown boards in freshly-fitted flush false floors.

Thus do desperate Dads dispose of disagreeable detritus, surely shedding shameful chagrin, solving sticky stuff with simple swiftness.

Peter Piper stopped his pottering; wooed a widow, Wendy Woodward; went on walks near Windermere for weeks with Wendy, simply used his shed for storage.

Peter Piper’s daughter, Dita, guessed the grim and gruesome grand guignol.

But Peter Piper’s daughter, Dita, didn’t deign to interfere.