Dear Ms Weaver,

Please excuse Squeaky from handing in her Weekend Writer homework today.  I have asked her why she has not done it as detailed in her homework diary, and I think she has given a very reasonable reason.  It is definitely not because she was too busy painting her nails.  Likewise, she tells me that she has definitely not been hanging out with her friends, picking redcurrants, or wandering around museums in university towns with a very unkempt young man (whom she assures me is just a very good friend), drinking Pimms in the sunshine or giving half-drunk-drinks to strangers and making them smile.

As I’m sure you know, Squeaky is a very organised and conscientious young lady (if you are not aware of this, it is simply because she is so adept at hiding her light under a bushel).  She has the greatest diligence when it comes to any task required of her and is never, ever, flaky.  She assures me that when she was given the homework on Saturday, she sat straight down and slaved over it for at least half an hour.  Having worked so long and hard on her opus, she was exhausted, and sorely in need of a nap. (incidentally, she tells me that in no way has she been encouraged in the habit of napping by her friend Rosie.  Not for one moment did she entertain the idea that such a champion napper might be on to something).  Fearful of losing her work before she had a chance to edit and hand it in, she very diligently locked it into the box at the end of her bed.  Before placing the sleep mask over her eyes (for napping in the middle of the day is so tricky with those dratted circadian rhythms insisting that one is not tired if the merest glow of light shines through one’s eyelids, as if this should prove a point), she placed the key on in the pot of ferns on her bedside table, lest she lose it.

Alas!  As she slept, out next-door neighbour’s pet sheep stuck its head through her open window, ate the ferns, and accidentally swallowed the key.  When Squeaky awoke, she found herself unable even to wait for nature to take its course and retrieve the key (which she surely would have, as she earns pocket money on the side by picking up the sheep’s leavings and selling them to a specialist paper manufacturer in Wales).  Our neighbours, you see, have moved to New Zealand, to be closer to sheep, and they took Spike (the sheep in question) with them.

However, she did not despair.  Though the box was stout enough to withstand fire, flood and glom of nit, she suspected it would not be able to stand the crushing jaws of the dragon she keeps at the end of the garden.  Now, I wish to be clear on this point, Ms Weaver, I have begged and pleaded with squeaky to let Plimsoll go, but she insists that he is perfectly happy in the garden shed.  This may have been the case when he was small and cute and only two feet long, but now i fear she is blinded by her affection for the great lumpen oaf, and unable to see that the only part of him that now lives in the shed is his head.  And that is only because he chewed the doorway twice as big.  I admit, he is useful when I can not find my cigarette lighter, but still – I think he would be better off in the wild.  Poor Plimsoll is a little hard of thinking, however, so when she had lugged the box down the garden and asked him to bite it open for her, he got a little over excited.  he possibly thought she had brought him an extra treat. Whatever it was, he obviously wasn’t keen.  He spat the box out (now chewed so hard and small it resembled less a strong box and more a soggy tennis ball), and has been sulking ever since.

Squeaky was, as I’m sure you can imagine, simply devastated at this occurrence.  however, rather than giving you a second-rate copy of such a profound piece of work, or making up ludicrous lies as to why she has not done as she knows she should, she asked me to write this note excusing her lack of participation.