Mystery of the Cursed Pencil

Just before lockdown started, I went to see the Tutankhamun exhibition in London where I purchased a pencil for Helen. It was a good quality pencil featuring pictures of King Tut’s famous death mask. I posted it to Helen but warned there was a slight risk it could be CURSED. This was a joke. However, the pencil did not arrive suggesting it was indeed cursed.

Weeks and weeks later Helen received a torn envelope and a letter from Royal Mail BUT NO PENCIL.

Where is the cursed pencil? Was it stolen? Will the curse now transfer to the thief? It is all very mysterious.

Meanwhile, I have told Helen she must claim compensation. That pencil cost £2!!!

Scary bone

Eek! There’s been a murder! This scary bone has appeared on the roof of the extension next door. Luckily I have done a course in skeletal studies so am pretty sure it is not human. Where did it come from? Who or what put it there? I don’t know. It is another Helenandjo mystery.


Seeing as is read by so many people around the world, it would be remiss of me not to record the fact that we are currently in “lockdown” due to coronavirus or Covid-19. Helen is in lockdown in Northbamptonshire and I am in lockdown in Foxley Green while our friend and tenant is in lockdown at our primary residence in Sparrow.

Now that I have mentioned the virus, I can tell you my anecdote. I was crouching down in the front garden painting a gate when two young boys rode by on their bikes. The first boy warned the other: “There’s a lady” as he cycled past me (everyone has to keep out of each other’s way these days). After they had ridden past I could hear their conversation.

Second boy: Did you give the lady any money?

First boy: Why would I give her money?

Second boy: Because she’s homeless.

Basically the second boy had mistaken me for an unfortunate rough sleeper who was sheltering by a hedge and begging for money. I blame this on my jacket, which is a large green military jacket and the kind of garment a homeless person might wear. The fact I had messy hair and was a bit dirty from sanding the gate probably did not help. Hmph!

Can you steal stones?

The answer is, of course, yes – in the case of something like the Elgin Marbles. But I am talking about general stones – the kind you find lying around or in a flowerbed. The reason I ask is because I have created an exciting new area around the compost heaps at my allotment, which is paved with stones that I have dug up (DIY gravel). The trouble is that I don’t have quite enough stones (because my beds are quite clear of stones now) so yesterday I picked up some stones from my neighbour’s plot. Half of me instinctively felt this was wrong and that I should have asked first in case he needed them for some unknown purpose. The other half justified taking the stones by thinking that normally you try and get rid of stones when you are trying to grow things as they get in the way. In other words, I was doing my allotment neighbour a favour.

I was scooping up more stones from my neighbour’s plot today when I was caught red-handed. A woman came up to me and said: “Have you taken over this plot now?” I said: “No – this is still Dave’s plot.” And she said: “It’s just that I saw you picking up stones.” I explained that I needed them for my project but I fear she was trying to make a point about the fact she had found me stealing stones. Now I feel very guilty and bad for taking Dave’s stones. I will have to mention it to him next time I see him and see if he minds or if he wants me to replace them.

Scary snake hose

Idiots and scumbags are forever dumping stuff in our road. The other day I came across what looked like a scary snake in a cage. It’s not really a snake, of course, merely a length of hosepipe. But it must be dangerous otherwise why would it be in a cage? I don’t know why someone has abandoned a hose in a  cage in our road – it’s another unsolvable Helenandjo Mystery.

Willy the worm

Meet Willy the Worm who came out of my Advent calendar the other day. He is a bit disconcerting as worms don’t normally have eyes or faces. I would say he looks more like a cross between a frog and a worm.

This year helenandi have SEPARATE Advent calendars. Helen has the OLD one and I have a NEW one made by Helen’s Mum.

It is full of excellent surprises like Willy. I wonder what Helen has found in her Advent calendar.

Something very interesting

It’s been a while since I have posted on This is not because interesting things have not been happening. Quite the reverse, it is because too many interesting thing have been going on so I never have any time.

Anyway, I have a couple of spare minutes in which to tell about something very interesting – or rather very boring: My quest for “Inbox Zero”.

This is something I read about somewhere, possibly in a magazine, and it has become my new obsession. I must delete or file all my emails until there are NONE left in my inbox. When I started I had nearly 50,000 emails in my inbox. I am now down to just under 29,000. This is a MAJOR achievement and worth celebrating. I don’t know how long it will take me to get to zero. The trouble is that new emails keep coming in so I need to ensure I am deleting at a faster rate than the rate at which they arrive.

People will say this is just an extension of my obsession with tidying and I suppose it is. I am letting my life slip away while I concentrate on being neat.

Blummin’ beauty!

The new owners of our local convenience store – formerly known as Pricesnipper – have come up with brilliant business idea: setting up a beauty salon next to the bins. This is worse than the time the former owner tried to set up a Parisian-style pavement cafe amid the litter and bus fumes.

The new salon – located in the shop’s old storeroom – is called Blooming Beauty or rather Blummin’ Beauty. It offers a very wide range of treatments including eyelash extensions, eyebrow tinting, manicures and facials as well as “buttocks waxing”. It is all very glamorous which is why it is a shame you have to edge round several overflowing industrial waste bins to get there.