['Dear Kev and Gorana, I hope you will heed the tale of the cat and dog and live happily ever after. Lots of love, Emma xxx']
'Dear Emma, Thank you very much for your very thoughtful, if thrifty, wedding present. You were not the only one to stray off the John Lewis wedding list. Kev's dad did too, but he gave us a house. Anyway, Kev and I did indeed heed the lesson of the cat and dog, but not the one in the book, the one where they fight all the time. As a result, we are now separating, and dividing up the presents, but neither of us think we should be the one lucky enough to get custody of A Fruit For You, so we have decided to donate it to a worthy cause. Hope you understand. Thanks again. Love, Gorana. x PS, Just wondering if you are still working with that guy who asked for my number last Christmas at the pub, before he knew I was engaged..?'
Inside Birds Of America, by Lorrie Moore, also Oxfam Bookshop near the British Museum:
['To Dad, Happy birthday 2009. Love Stephen xxx. Very best wishes, love Sue x' + Bookmark from The Cidery, Western Australia]
'Dear Stephen and Sue, Thanks for the book of Lorrie Moore short stories. Interesting choice, although I'm not sure it's what I'd call holiday reading. It may be written "with the magisterial economy of Kipling", but if you ask me, a proper plot wouldn't have gone amiss. Call me old-fashioned, but it's a bloody long way to Australia and it would have been nice to be distracted from the miles of fresh air beneath us holding the plane up. Anyway, Australia was superb. Spent my actual birthday with your mother at The Cidery in Bridgetown, Western Australia. Not enough free cider for my money, but they did give us a bookmark. A bloody bookmark! No idea where it is now, though. You'll understand if I don't hang on to the book, but thanks all the same. Dad.'
Inside Disturbing The Peace by Richard Yates, Oxfam Drury Lane:
[John Lewis receipt for hand wash (£14) and body wash (£16), plus gift tag with hand-drawn elephant and the words 'Posy Simmonds' on one side, and 'James' on the other]
'Dear Posy, Thanks for the book, although according to Mum, alcoholism, adultery and mental dissolution are rather challenging themes for an eight-year-old. I liked the picture of the elephant. I have seen an elephant in real life. Mum says, do you want the credit-card receipt back for the luxurious hand and body wash? You left it in the book. And also maybe next time you could give us some of that instead, as the whole family would really enjoy it. Mum is basically writing this. I am watching Ben 10. James. PS, are you that Posy Simmonds?'