“Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs…”*

July 13, 2015

Dear Bertram,

Your petty putsch succeeded in exiling Harry and I where sending us to the gatehouse and 27 years of childish attempts to split us up did not, although the malicious introduction of Tulia came close. Yes, Harry finally confessed they met at the garden centre where you sent him for a non-existent species of earthworm for the vermi-beds. Well, brother-dear, you reap what you sow.

Damn, Harry, Bertram thought. So bloody unreliable.

I had hoped the dung mound you piled at the entrance to the manor would turn into an immovable petrous mass and generations from now, when you are merely tombstone data on the family tree (a heart-expanding fogdog), archeologists chipping through your personal Pompeii of poo would discover nothing at all. A dung-hill signifying nothing.

Oh sister-dear, who lives in the Manor and who has no fixed address?

Lest you think Harry and I are heartless and have abandoned you and the gardens (who else will tend them so lovingly for free?), we ensured the vermiculture beds will thrive, even in the winter. Check the pantry, Bertie.

Bertram dropped the letter and waddled as fast as he could through the kitchen to the pantry door. It was stuck. He pressed his formidable weight against it and pushed but it refused to budge. Charging, with his oversized hip and shoulder leading, he rammed the door. It crunched open and sent him tumbling into a heap of compost twisting with thick red wigglers.

I eagerly await your death notice.

I remain Harry Bittercress’s allegiant lover for life, and ever your unfaithful sister,


Lady Veronica Smock-Speedwell

(*Richard II – William Shakespeare)

16 thoughts on ““Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs…”*

    • Oh heavens to Betsy – ANOTHER python?? Are they native to the Philippines or is this an escaped pet? And I thought coyotes were scary!


      • Yes Sue, there was another, yes another, reticulated Philippine python in our yard. It died eventually. We live in a place where there used to be a government facility that collected venom from snakes. The venom collected was used for anti-venom production. But during world war 2, the facility was detroyed after a bombing, and many snakes died, but a good number escaped. I’ve seen many kinds of snakes in my lifetime – here we see pythons, cobras, and garden snakes – inside and outside the house. Yikes!


  1. Veronica’s (may I call her Veronica?) final curse is a veritable Queen Margaret’s of Richard III’s curse. May her curse become true over the coming days/months/years. There’s no worming out of it. And P.S. – YUK!!

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  2. Love that “alleigiant” lover. I know it means loyal and true, but I usually only hear it in reference to school children standing with hand over heart pledging allegiance to the American flag— called the salute to the flag—and I suddenly pictured Lady Smock standing and saluting Harry that way. There’s no telling what images might occur in the minds of your readers!

    By the way, those worms remind me of Bruce and his worm farm. Will he serve as a consultant to this saga at any point?

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    • I would be more than happy to be the worm consultant in this matter as recommended by Cynthia, and I would like to be known as the Wriggling Con-Sultan. Surely Vera (may I call her Vera) wouldn’t object to that.


      • First, her name is VerO, not VerAH. Dear man, get it right or you may end up feeding the worms! Harry is the worm-man (couldn’t you have guessed?) and he doesn’t take kindly to outside expertise. He consults Google as required and chats up any perky, leggy garden centre staff who will give him the time of day.

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    • Oh ho! Well, I can certainly see Lady Smock swearing allegiance to Harry and he doing likewise, as any good serf should.


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