by our Special Correspondent
The first shots were fired yesterday in the latest conflict to hit the leafy streets of Leamington Spa. A hostile state made an incursion without warning into the territory of the peace-loving peoples of flat 36B, leading to a rapidly spiraling war of attrition that looks set to run for many days to come.
The enemy made his move late on Sunday evening, while the flatlanders watched television, leaving their borders unguarded. Emerging from his lair underneath the bath, using the entrance way under the pipe, he moved several inches into the bathroom of the flat and declared his intentions by positioning himself in full view between the laundry basket and the border lands. His aim – no less than total domination of the bathroom area with the subsequent ceasing of all ablution activities.
At 10pm, when the inhabitants headed unaware to the battleground, the incursion was discovered. After an initial rapid retreat to regroup [and panic slightly - Ed] a strategy was formulated and the heroic Miss B returned to the scene armed with a formidable arsenal of weapons of arachnid destruction: a pair of standard issue battle trainers and a large hardback copy of The Italian Kitchen. The fight-back had begun.
Poking aside the laundry basket with the toe of her shoe, the flatlander moved ever closer to the hostile force. Uttering her warcry, “Ohmygodit’stoodisgustingican’tlookatitgetoutofmybathroomyoubugger”, she placed the book vertically on the floor and moved in for the kill. This was, as all bystanders observed, a serious tactical error. The flatdweller’s natural reluctance to get close enough to the beast to stamp meant that she moved too slowly, and the attacking army retreated with speed back behind its own lines.
Safely in her own bed after the first skirmish, Miss B began to reflect on the long-term implications of the rapidly developing War of 36B. “During the initial fight, I was totally focused on tackling the immediate threat”, she told me later. “However, after I’d had time to think, I began to understand that the enemy had to be driven back using the most severe methods possible. Allowing him to remain unchallenged in his own lands, with the ability to cross the border at any time, would result in several floor-based battles per day, escalating to incidents in the shower and the very real possibility of a move into the laundry basket. I just couldn’t allow that to happen.”
Arising early the next morning, the flatlander was prepared. Moving into the battle zone, she quickly observed that the intruder had launched a second offensive and had taken up position in his customary attack zone. Once again she donned her fatigues and advanced with the book; yet this time the beast retreated before the retaliation could take place. This time, Miss B seized her chance. Stacking the book in front of the border hole, she added Asian Cooking and Best Ever Chicken to her deadly arsenal, and employed her secret weapon: border control.
With his access sealed off, the enemy seems thus far to be losing this war of attrition. Fifteen hours on, he has yet to force his way through to the flatlands. The hope, Miss B told me, is that he will be starved to death in his sealed-off lair and will never return.
Peace has returned to the flatlands. No-one can tell how long it will last. But two things are certain. One is that there will be no coq au vin or Thai green curry cooked in 36B for some time to come [so no change there then - Ed]. And the other is that when the flatlanders make their planned permanent withdrawal in seven months’ time, Miss B’s mother will be cleaning all the dark corners.