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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On lovestruck violists and beasts in Sydenham,
with Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Dear Alice,

I was interested to read the letter from 'lovesick cello student' as I am the 'lovelorn violist' who inspired the wise column to which he referred.

I would just like to update ... well ... the whole world really that I'm now enjoying the first flush of a fabulous fling with a non-muso who is a good singer, appreciates my concerts, and -- better still -- has a 'proper' job which pays serious money and is keeping me in the manner to which I would like to become accustomed!

Unlike the whingy ex -- he also has his own hobbies which he can indulge on those weekends when I'm trekking around the country chasing gigs.

Marvellous eh?

Lovestruck violist!

Dear formerly lovelorn,

Great news, and wonderful to hear from you!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Ask Alice

Dear Alice,

Is it true that you spotted the famous beast of Sydenham?

J P (reader of your column and local paper)

Dear J P,

Yes indeedy.

These are the facts:

When the paper first printed the article about the former serviceman attacked in his back garden by a black puma-like creature in Sydenham, I felt completely vindicated, having bored my acquaintance for the last two years about my sighting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I called up and said that I felt sure it was the same creature I'd spotted two years ago, so I was included in the follow-up report the next week.

Tragically, I was on my way to Birmingham alone, so there were no other witnesses. The cat (for cat it certainly was, though the size of a large dog) did not sprint across the lonely A224 at five am in front of my car, as the paper reported. I simply caught it in my headlamps at the side of the road, eating some animal which had been killed (whether by the cat or a car I have no way of knowing). As the paper (correctly) mentioned, I observed it as being very dark grey or black, and it sprinted off, probably shocked that any cellist would be mad enough to get up that early to get to Birmingham, as soon as I had spotted it. That was how I was perfectly able to ascertain that it was a CAT and NOT A DOG, as I have spent two years boring people with refuting. One does not need to be a mega-brain to know that dogs do not have long and slinky tails, greenish eyes and that unmistakeably feline, hip-led style of noiseless moving.

And nor was I alone. Prior to moving to Sydenham, said huge cat (a poor judge of neighborhoods, clearly, as Orpington is more upmarket) was also spotted by Jean Smithard of Beckenham, who was tending a grave in the cemetary, and Mick Ellis of St Paul's Cray, who was looking out of an upstairs window. He was the only one of the three of us in the position to take a photo, but, as it was almost night, he was unlucky and it didn't come out.

The famous beast of Sydenham, prowling in the dark
The famous beast of Sydenham, prowling in the dark

Any further sightings, please call Vicki Kellaway of Bromley Extra, on vkellaway AT thekmgroup dot co dot uk!!!!!!!!!!

Yours, with eyes like a lynx,

Ask Alice

Message from Alice:

Could the person who contacted me about your father please contact me again? Your problem isn't music-related, so I can only help you personally, and your email wasn't included. However, and for what it's worth, I'm sure there is someone on the spot whom you should tell, and fast.

Copyright © 27 May 2005 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK

Ask Alice



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