I had expected 2013 to start slowly, without any surprises. If you’ve followed the great #bakedgoodswhodunnit over the past few days you will know that thought turned out to be a pipe dream. I became embroiled in, no, the victim of, the greatest conspiracy this year that I’m aware of.
I therefore took some time in the kitchen yesterday between enjoying the last vestiges of Christmas joy at Hyde Park’s winter wonderland and a guys’ film night. I baked some brownies with a slight variation on the traditional recipe tried and tested over several years and they turned out a bit more squidgy than usual. But seen as I didn’t know who I was out to impress that mattered far less.
Several people suggested that this might be an elaborate ploy by a lady trying to get my attention. And some brownies. Not an eventuality I had given any thought.
After hours of analysis and investigation I had narrowed the field of possible suspects to a quartet of mischief making fiends. Early suspicions cast on my colleagues turned out to lack credibility – so apologies to those libelled on twitter. They go by the monikers: Tinker(bell), Tailor, Soldier, and Spy.
Soldier was initially under significant suspicion, I knew he was off work on Friday and only lives around the corner from work.
Tailor has form in these sort of activities. As does Tinker(bell), all the others are male, but Tinker(bell) was described this evening as the only woman funny enough to pull this off.
Spy was also not working on Friday, and I knew had just changed phone contracts so thought there might be a new number floating around. However, all the others could easily access an unknown number to use so that didn’t count for too much.
I made my way into church this afternoon. I thought I saw a suspicious looking chap with a red scarf and sunglasses as I exited London Bridge station, so I weaved through some back streets and ducked into a coffee shop to lay low for a few minutes. I managed to get over Millenium Bridge unobserved.
It was 16.02 when I slipped into church as the service during the first song. I spent most of the worship time scouting out the suspects, I’d got a read on Tailor, Soldier and Spy but it wasn’t until the middle of the service that Tinker(bell) turned up and sat right next to me.
The service ended and I waited. I made small talk and glanced around the room. I was expected to be pounced on with password – which I can now disclose was ‘munches’ which was supposed to be ‘munchies’. Nothing happened. I got a cup of coffee.
And then several people asked if I’d checked my pockets to see if I’d been passed a message, at first I did so with very casual effort, but then I started examine my coat more rigorously until a friend – kindly helping me out – plucked a folded side of a gift envelope from the inside pocket.
But still I did not know for certain who was responsible for this confluence of conspiratorial acts. Tailor had been ruled out because he had been on and overseas mission and only returned yesterday. Tinker(bell) was also looking unlikely because she’d been at her sister’s wedding yesterday.
Soldier was still a possibility and was keeping his distance. I refused to handover the brownies to the three co-conspirators who had encouraged me to check my pockets until they named their puppet master. The brownies would be appreciated at work tomorrow. Spy’s resolve broke first, he swung round the corner and with the word ‘munch[i]es’ the brownies came out of my bag and were swiftly consumed by the gathered crowd.
I suppose it would be too much to end it there and not tell you about the identities of Tinker(bell), Tailor, Soldier and Spy. For those of you who this might mean anything…
Tinker(bell) is Catherine Warren, Tailor is Jason Taylor, Soldier is Ed Boyd. All of these were innocent and subject to my unfair suspicion. (although Tinker(bell) was somewhat proud to be thought the only woman funny enough to do this).
And the spy was Nathan McCall. Who had never intended to pass any message to me at 13.12 by a post box near work. He was, at the time, enjoying his lunch without a thought to my agents and I loitering halfway up Kennington Park Road.
For now this is the end of the tale. For now.