From: drhnobley at cam. ac. uk

Subject: Carrie, dearest.

Date: 19 June 2013 12:34:12 PM BST

To: cnobley at elenamail. com

Carina, I cannot believe I let you talk me into this. The least you can do is be my one point of contact with the outside world. You should see the get-up our nutcase Aunt A. has got me in. Actually, I probably can't lie to you. You know I've ALWAYS wanted to stride about in a pair of these boots. You'd probably be nice and say I look dashing. If I get a chance I'll try to get one of the other chaps to take a photo of me for you next time we get a break.

Dancing lessons next. Yes, I will be sticking pins into the little effigy of you I'm carrying in my dress-coat pocket between bouts of skipping about the ballroom and my paroxysms of shame.

You'll be pleased to hear that Aunt Agatha has fished out a few gold-embossed black leather covers to make my next semester's teaching prep look more authentic. At least I have her firm promise that I'm only required as a Regency inspired gigolo for the first two days and after the soap star arrives I'm relegated to period-attired window dressing. I'm planning to try to get my next chapter entirely researched before the week is out. I just have to be able to tolerate a few sessions of extremely dull small-talk over sumptuous meals, perhaps a bit of croquet and the rest of my time should be my own.

My "charge" arrives tomorrow morning and then two more desperate spinsters are expected just before dinner. And you, my dear Carrie, are deluded enough to think I'll find true love! That makes you almost as barmy as the women who prop up Mad Aggie's dubious enterprise.

There'd better be an email from you in my inbox when I get back here for my next break!

Love to the bairns and that beef-cake husband of yours,