An Excellent Mystery

It’s rare that my husband comes home with a story from work that can reduce us to hysterical laughter; it’s just not that sort of job any more. When he was a full time priest, the stories were sometimes unbelievably funny or sad. Now he’s a consultant in another capacity, it tends to be much quieter all round.

Part of the job involves devising and then sending out questionaires about a variety of subjects and recently they sent out some to a huge swathe of British farmers. Now they expect that most will never come back despite a prepaid envelope, and a 30% return is exceptional. 10% is about normal.

Well, the reply envelopes have started trickling back in for this project and something untoward about one made the lady from admin suspicious because of a lump and a greasy stain, so she opened it, very bravely considering that these are coming back from farmers who are less than impressed by yet more government originated schemes (this was indirectly from the government but not compulsory or anything like that). I’m not sure what she expected to find (dried cow pat? dead mouse?) but she certainly wasn’t prepared for what was in there.

No questionaire, obviously. Nor any clue to who had taken the time and trouble to put the item in the envelope, seal it up and put it in the post.

It contained a single, crumbled ginger biscuit.

I mean: WHY? What is the message here?

We laughed in the car last night till the tears ran down our faces. A biscuit, but why, oh why?

Are they saying You’re as mad as a biscuit? Are they saying they’re as mad as a biscuit. Or was it a child who did it, or a simple(but how?) accident.

I guess we’ll never know.

10 thoughts on “An Excellent Mystery

  1. This is officially the first time I have heard of a ginger biscuit being received in the post and I would like to award the admin lady 10 out of 10 for having the bravery to open it. One question though; Did anyone eat the biscuit???


    • I would imagine not!
      It was crushed to bits and really, the thought of what it might have been dipped in doesn’t bear thinking about. Have you heard of The Daisy Chain?


  2. Does MI-5 know? This is an excellent mystery. It is also something of a Rorschach. Besides a good laugh, you have me now wondering what it could mean. I think our speculations say more about us at this point.

    Could it be:

    Your survey arrived during Tea and broke the whole mood for me.


    I don’t have the time for your survey but do have a biscuit on us.

    Does “biscuit” have any meaning given the topic of the survey?

    Ah, the informed electorate, always ready to lend a hand in helping us navigate the times better informed so we can make higher quality policy decisions.

    Thanks for the chuckle, Viv.


  3. Viv,

    Rather than reply elsewhere to our common landing on Burnt Norton yesterday, I’m here instead. Glad I followed my hunch.

    Your lines of poetry that you thought up in the car in response to Burnt Norton are lovely. Thanks for sharing them with me.

    And this post about the biscuit in the mail is hilarious. As I often say, writers of fiction have a hard time topping what happens in everyday life.

    I look forward to exploring your blog further.



    • Janell,
      you are very welcome. I’m glad to have you here. Do you have a blog?
      I’ve often been told that not only am I a novellist but the events of my life(so far) belong in a novel because they are so improbable!
      thank you!


  4. Viv,

    You can find me at

    I’m an everyday housewife, with a mystical bent; amidst my everyday life — the cooking, the gardening and the housekeping — I attempt to catch a glimpse of the sacred. Often I’m just too blind with logs in my eyes.

    But come visit anytime. You are most welcome. Even in Oklahoma, I brew an uncommonly good cup of tea with the most common PG Tips and my electric kettle.



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