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Here it is at last... just 28 years late ...Brendan Hawthorne's thank you letter to his Great Aunt Sis, for the present he didn't get in 1969. Not that he's one to hold a grudge or anything...

Dear Great Aunt Sis,

Mother says it's time I wrote to thank you for the wonderful Christmas present and the enclosed note that you sent apologising for being unable to obtain a bright orange Space Hopper for me during the run up to Christmas, 1969.

The news came as a bitter disappointment after all the promises that you made to secure a bright orange Space Hopper for me, your only great nephew. I have to say that the Deluxe Ludo Compendium was more than I could have hoped for, at least that's what my mother said at the time.

My mother has recently told me how disappointed I looked as an eight year old after searching the entire house and garden for a bright orange Space Hopper, all to no avail.

I was then left to desperately rummage through the candy-stripe winceyette pillow case, pulling out gifts the right shape and noise, tearing off the see-through wrapping paper in the vain hope that indeed you hadn't inflated the bright orange Space Hopper that I so desperately wanted but had flat-packed it instead as an even bigger surprise. But alas, no.

As you well know I am an only child and spent much of the holidays playing board games by myself so as not to appear ungrateful of your generosity. Solo snakes and ladders and bingo really helped me get through the silent films and endless showings of overblown musicals in Panavision when I could so easily have been playing outside in the fresh air on my bright orange Space Hopper instead.

My counsellor and I now feel that it's time to contact you and indeed show some appreciation of your ‘true to your word' nature as I am now getting over the trauma of never possessing a bright orange Space Hopper.

Therefore please find the enclosed gift of a ‘Write Your Own Will' programme for all computer operating systems. I do know that you so desperately wanted a day being driven at high speed around Brands Hatch in a Formula three car but I couldn't find anyone selling tickets in the only place that I looked - a remaindered stock shop in Walsall. Sorry.

But I'm sure the gift enclosed will give as many hours excitement and as much pleasure to you as you have given to me over the years especially in this your twilight time of life as I continue to strive to forgive and forget.

I sincerely hope to hear from you soon and remember me with fondness as I try to do with you.

Your appreciative and indebted Great Nephew,


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