'What are you reading, Tuppence?' Imagine him, reading, I thought. Him! Of all people!
'Don't you mean 'HE' of all people, Tuppy?'
Geoffrey was at the mind-reading again. Tiresome at times*. 'He of all people? Does that sound right to you Geoffrey?'
'Well, it sounds about as right as 'him' of all people.'
'Are you talking about me, you fools?' said Tuppence, glaring at us over his golden pince nez. Not that he needed 'eyewear' of any type. His vision was perfect, even at night. Convenient for his exploits with the rats (see e-books for details). The pince nez, therefore, were a mere affectation. A phase. Next thing will be tattoos I imagine - ghastly depictions of his fave prog rock stars, such as Rick Wakeman and Mont Campbell of Egg. 'If so, 'he' has got a name. And I'm reading Unkle Funkle's Diaries. I found them wrapped in oilskin in a rusty tartan tin under the stairs, along with a packet of Lipton's tea, three tins of rice pudding and a Kendall Mint Cake wrapper with a use by date of June 3rd, 1920. The tin was labelled 'KLEENING MATERIELS' - that's why you wouldn't have ever opened it. I only did cos I was bored and looking for - well, anything really. But preferably cash. The Diaries are ever so interesting Uncle Tuppy. I think he went completely insane from time to time, what with the sea water drinking and the unfortunate incident with the albatross and all, but in between bouts of madness he made some useful observations.'
'Oh yes?' said Geoffrey, settling down and fluffing his feathers on his favourite end of the mantlepiece.
'Such as?' I said.
'Such as never work for a living, if you can possibly avoid it. And if you must work, never ever work for someone else as an 'employee'. Especially not in catering. He wrote that bit while employed as cook on the clipper 'Violet Carson', tacking round the Cape of Good Hope.'
'Well before he found the Wintry Isles then.'
'Yes. He didn't like working as a cook. He jumped ship in South Georgia and made a raft from balsa wood and a sail from his erstwhile cook's apron, and steered north, by the stars. Only he went south, due to the prevailing winds and his getting mixed up with the northern and southern hemispheres and stuff. And he ended up at the Wintry Isles, with a case of rice pudding, a pound of Lipton's tea and five bars of Kendall Mint Cake to see him through six months of Antarctic darkness.'
'Did he ever regret chucking his job in?'
*useful at others