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The Pantile
Channing St Mary
Christmas 194_

Dear Father Christmas

Somehow I think that this will be the last time I write to you. But I’ve promised myself one last Christmas for make-believe before I make a really big effort to grow-up, so here goes!

I suppose I should really write my wish list in a grown-up way. You know:

Good manners (aplenty)
Muck-in and be a chum to others (I feel I should be writing lines: I am not the Cat-that-Walked)
Common sense (a modicum of)

Actually, I’m not quite sure how much a modicum is. Is it loads or just a bit? I really do need loads! Perhaps I should also ask for a dictionary?!

If I was writing a make-believe list, I’d start with a wish for snow. Proper snow like we used to have up on the moors in Yorkshire. As we’re in Devon now, though, I guess that it’s a bit far-fetched to be asking for it here, but I’m not sure how Christmassy it’s going to feel without it.

I’d also love for Mother to say something like “You’re such a help, dear, thank you” just when Father is near enough to hear. I will try so very hard this Christmas to do things before I’m asked, or at least do them promptly and willingly when I am asked, just as I will try to do my level best at my lessons next term. Now this is sounding more like a New Year’s Resolutions list rather than a Christmas wish list!

And it would be good if Giles could unexpectedly come home from leave and find that his harum-scarum sisters are fast turning into demure young ladies who he can be proud of (actually, I suspect that should be of whom he can be proud! See, I have learnt something this term!). We’d introduce him to the Bettanys and he’d see that we can be just as well-behaved and lady-like as Peggy and her crew!

That’s make-believe, though. So this should be a proper wish list now.

Please, I would like a really good new set of watercolour paints and brushes. I might ask for oils next year. I’m secretly really chuffed everyone thinks my Art is so good – I didn’t realise it myself!

Please, I would like a decent framed print of the Lady of Shallott in her barge. I can’t remember who painted it, but you’ll know the one I mean. The Pre-Raphellite one (that’s not how it’s spelt, I know. I do need that dictionary! It’s just that this is what I always thought I’d look like as Lady Acetylene Lamp and it would be good to remember our special game after we stop playing it).

Please, I would like a book of decent colour photographs of famous works of art which I could copy. Or perhaps a book of those miniature paintings the Tudors liked. Or perhaps one of illuminated medieval manuscripts.

I suppose I ought to sign this letter in a grown-up way as Miss Mary Winterton, but not yet. For now, I remain, yours, Polly.

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