I buy magazines for my elderly neighbour Mrs Beckett but before handing them over I read the problem pages in the hope of finding something interesting. The universal emotional problems haven't changed over the years and are a little repetitive. Letters relating specific problems are more interesting and here are a mix of some lightweight quandaries I can remember:-
1. My future sister-in-law has demanded our wedding be postponed until she'd had breast augmentation surgery. Is this fair?
2. My parents are keen to meet my new girlfriend but I have not told them she is 30 years older than me and is a millionaire from running a legal brothel. Should I stop them meeting?
3. My aunt is making her annual visit next month and she lives in a remote corner of the world where they still rarely practice cannibalism. She has eaten flesh and tells anyone who will listen that it just like chicken and should be tried.
4. I've been breastfeeding my husband for two years and can't go on like this. Shall I stop?
5. I live on a main road into and out of a city and have to walk to work. Every day I get the incredibly paranoid and angry with men staring through their car windows at me. It's really getting to the point when now I carry a small hammer and one day I'm going to smash a windscreen. Am I normal?
6. My mother-in-law says that cucumbers are the food of the Devil and should not be touched. Is this true?
7. My dog has been raped and the police won't do anything about it.
8. My boyfriend and I have a good relationship but there are times when he dons his Darth Vader masks and refuses to answer anything other do deep breathing. Do normal women put up with this?
9. My son's Jewish girlfriend came for dinner and when I served roast pork she left and has broken off the relationship off with my son. What shall I do?
10. I met a girl online and after the third date she confessed she had a deaf and dumb boyfriend. She loves him but wants someone to talk with and he is okay with this. Shall I continue meeting her?
I can recall one letter from a woman due to it oddness. She'd been married for a few years but left when she found her husband had someone else. She was so upset she hadn't surmounted the pain two years later. She'd remained single and still loved him. While together they both shared the view that a trump is the funniest thing in the world and since they'd split up her estranged husband rang her home and mobiles phones, released massive trumps and then put the phone down. There were no words, only trumps. To get over him she moved home and changed her phone numbers however she had an sales-based job with a direct line phone number that was easy to find. Her estranged husband continued to call, releasing more trumps down the line and she didn't know how to stop things other than leave her highly-paid job. She still loved him, heard he was single again and was hoping they'd reunite. Was this a good idea?
I've never forgotten this letter....and I'm glad too as it's inspired this terrible abstract painting. With an hour or two to fill I thought I'd knock up something in line with the lady's letter. Here it is done with a knife and thick acrylic paint. I drew out the general shapes with a paint brush but did the rest with a knife. The best things about abstract paintings is that there's no subject which you have to get a likeness off. I had a merry old time pasting paint on randomly and was finished the next day. For some reason I changed the trump half way through and wish I hadn't. Oh well - all done and finished now.
It's yours for £4,620. You could hang this on your chimney breast wall and when the vicar calls round for a cup of tea and conversation subsides you could ask for their honest opinion of this strange painting. I can post it off tomorrow morning assuming I'm able to walk after my 2-hour appointment at the Chronic Constipation Clinic (I've been told to take a rubber ball to bite on - can't wait.)