Cicely Sponge

 
Cicely Sponge lives in a slightly damp two bedroom maisonette in Polegate with her longterm friend Alfred, an Italian downhill skier, and a quintet of budgerigars. A former Flamenco dancer, Cicely is now in the autumn of her days and enjoys the occasional pint of stout, pickled eggs and a good old fashioned arm wrestle. She also quite likes sea fishing.
 
Cicely writes regularly to the Bavard Bar, venting her frustrations following a failed attempt to circumnavigate East Sussex in a pedalo. An attempt that got off to a promising start, only to be derailed on the A259 just outside Ninfield when she narrowly missed a squirrel and had to be rescued by the 6th Winchelsea Sea Scouts.
 
Letters from Cicely

November 2018

Dear Mr Bar, I went to the Bavard Bar last month and was highly disturbed. Not only did you have someone talking about meteorites, in which I have no interest, but no-one spoke about azaleas. Why?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


December 2018

Dear Mr Bar, I may be late to Wednesday’s Bavard Bar as I’ve just returned from a tour of Finland with Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Magical recorder band’ and am nursing a hangover following an end of tour game of Twister. ‘What goes on tour stays on tour’, but suffice to say Mr Stallone is incredibly flexible for a man of his years.
Yours sincerely, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I see from Facebook that the December ‘bavards’ are xmas specials. I’m not one for xmas, although I am partial to a warm sherry. Will there be any?
Yours, Mrs Sponge, Polegate.


January 2019

Dear Mr Bar, Would you have any use for a heated oven glove? It’s an unwanted gift as I have decided to exist on a diet of raw food for the first half of 2019. I don’t expect to make it to the second half.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve just heard that the people of Sidley have voted to leave Rother and set up a Municipality similar to Monaco. Only with fewer yachts. Would you like to go halves on a timeshare there with me?
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate


February 2019

Dear Mr Bar, as a former member of the Underwater Bell-ringers and Ballroom-dancers Union (I championed the merger), I have a wealth of aquatic knowledge. As well as lots of bells. I would be happy to give a demonstration at one of your shows if you’d like?
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, as a long-standing fan of Baywatch, I heard a rumour that The Hoff is bavarding at Wednesday’s show. Supported by Rick Astley on kettledrum. Could this be true?
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, your next show clashes with the reunion of the ‘Totnes and Scunthorpe Dry-skiing Club’, which club I founded in the early 1970s. It was a splinter group from the ‘Rye and Pebsham Snowboarders Society’. We’d like to come, could you reserve us some seats?
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.


March 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I understand your little show is having a 2nd birthday party on Thursday. I can’t be there as it clashes with the annual dinner of the ‘Polegate Falconry and Foliage Society’. Put me down to speak at the next one though. I’ll deal with feathers and Alfred, my other half, will cover leaves.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, as you know, I was the first person to free climb El Capitan, an achievement I now liken to doing your ‘Oojah Kappivvy’. Fewer finger holds but equally vertiginous. Any news on ‘Bohemia Road’…?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve just finished my first memoir entitled ‘Whole lotta lycra’. It’s about my time with Bejam’s cycling team in the mid 1970s. I’d be happy to talk about it, but it’s quite racy.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate


April 2019

Dear Mr Bar, on reflection, making Kate Bush’s ‘Greatest Hits’ the only album I took to my desert island was a mistake. I’m not saying there aren’t some classics on there, but 28 years of ‘Babooshka’ has left me as weak as a kitten.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve recently returned from spending 28 years on a desert island, just off the A27. I passed the time by inventing the internet and fine-tuning the recipe for dairylea slices. Let me know if you’re in need of a cheese and web based talk and I’ll happily step up.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate


May 2019

Dear Mr Bar, they say everyone has a book in them. In case you’re wondering, I don’t.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, as a former Eurovision contestant, I have a number of stories of back-stage shenanigans involving myself, Mr Wogan, three members of Bucks Fizz and the Copenhagen ice hockey team. For a pickled egg and pint of mild, I’ll tell all at your anniversary show. Let me know.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, as you know, I turned down the role of Sandy in Grease to pursue my vocation as a sea-faring clairvoyant. Whilst that didn’t work out, I do have some stories from my time working on board the Canvey Island ferry in the late ’70s. I’d be happy to ‘bavard’ about them.
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate.


June 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve just cashed in my nectar points from the past 20 years. I didn’t need a desk-tidy, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Free desk-tidy with every Bavard Bar ticket.*
*Desk not included. Tidiness levels may go up as well as down. Always tidy your desk responsibly. Other desk-tidies are available, just not as good.

Dear Mr Bar, I had to withdraw from this year’s Love Island as I had a recurrence of gout. I’ve taken solace in my subscription to ‘Linoleum Today’ and look forward to bavarding soon on a variety of surfaces. Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate.
The Bavard Bar. Come along!


July 2019

Dear Mr Bar, at your last Bavard, there was a talk about bottom-reading. I have a bottom and am happy for it to be read. If that helps.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, having been glued to the TV set all day Sunday, I was relieved to have it removed by a surgeon earlier today. My hands may now be gloved, but I’ll be at Wednesday’s Bavard Bar for sure!
Yours, Mrs Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, Given the heat, I’m considering my wardrobe for your August Bavards. Is there a Bavardian dress-code or will flip-flops and a pashmina be acceptable?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, whilst I wasn’t the first person on the moon, I was the first person to use bullet points in East Sussex. A not inconsiderable achievement when you consider a world without such a grammatical system.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


August 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve just finished my ‘To do’ list. What now?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, having written the opening line of my first novella, I’m reminded of something my great aunt used to say: “Why do today what you can do tomorrow.” So I’m off down the pub.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, Given the craze of going ‘out out’, I thought I’d stay ‘in in’. I’ve got 7 litres of drinking chocolate, a KFC family bucket, and the entire back catalogue of ‘Songs of Praise’ on VHS. If that’s not a stairway to heaven, I don’t know what is.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


September 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I’m reminded today of something my father used to say to me: ‘If at first you don’t succeed, avoid skydiving.’ Advice to live by. You can thank me later.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I noticed recently that you claimed to have been double-glazing windows since records began. When, exactly, did records begin?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why? I recently had the same experience, but in a town. Got off a coach in Skegness. No idea why. So I had some pickled herrings and came home.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I recently attended a conference on the persistent use of workshops at conferences. In my workshop we also considered the persistent use of conferences. Overall, I would have preferred a blue biro, but the mints were great.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, In these uncertain times, I am reminded of something my great aunt used to say: ‘Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.’
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, “Are you going to Scarborough Fair” is a fair question with a limited number of answers comprising yes, no or maybe. “Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” seems a bit left field. Could you shed any light?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


October 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve been led to believe that life is a bit of a journey. That being so, do you have any idea where I put my car keys?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I have developed a new passion and am keen to share it with your audience. Courgettes*. I’ll bring samples. Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate
*Other vegetables are available

Dear Mr Bar, I’m not saying a sub 2 hour marathon isn’t impressive, but I once went round Croydon’s IKEA quicker. Just saying.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, in the mid 60s, at the height of my skiffle career (‘Cicely and her Sponges’), I played the Whitby Empire. It was a rainy night in November, with a wind chill that could freeze sprouts in an Aga, but the crowd that showed up were stoic. And surprised. Never give up. I didn’t, despite persistent requests.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, people, including Enya, often ask me what my inspiration was for ‘Orinoco Flow’. In the mid 80s I managed a plumbers merchants in Wimbledon. It wrote itself.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate.

Dear Mr Bar, I consoled myself for missing out on Glastonbury tickets by remembering that I really like sleeping in a house.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, As captain of Polegate’s long distance snorkeling club, I’m responsible for de-misting members’ goggles. The role was created after the club spent a long weekend in Jamie Oliver’s hot tub, and not the Sussex Ouse as originally planned. Jamie was remarkably sanguine about it, and signed almost all of our snorkels.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


November 2019

Dear Mr Bar, All this ‘daylight time’ we’ve been ‘saving’. Where are we putting it?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I heard that Buble today, crooning about things “beginning to look a lot like xmas.” Well unless xmas resembles a pair of marigolds and an armful of antifoul, not from where I’m standing.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, As a young woman growing up in Cheam in the 60s, life was tough. It wasn’t until a Berni Inn opened on Cheam High Street in 1970 that my life started to make sense. It closed a year later but at least I’d had a glimmer.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, Apparently, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary.’ Maybe, but not if you live in Cork.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, congratulations on your move to the Towner. I recently offered the Towner a unique opportunity to display my latest exhibition ‘Silence of the Jams’, a self-curated collection of jam jars from 1983 to 1987. They declined. Their loss was Pevensey & Westham’s Judo and Joinery Club’s gain. Every cloud.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


December 2019

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve just heard that much like the inns at the time of the Xmas story, there’s no room at your Bavard Bar at Kino-teatr on 18th December. Is that where the parallel ends or can we expect a virgin birthon the night?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


January 2020

Dear Mr Bar, I wondered if you would be interested in attending the annual dinner-dance of Polegate’s caving and figure-skating club? I have quite a lot of left over turkey, and if you had any sprouts, we could make it a night to remember. Or forget, depending on the state of your sprouts.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, One of my new year’s resolutions was to become more alluring. So I’ve started collecting Austin Allegro Hubcaps. I haven’t found any yet, so please let me know if you come across some.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I’ve decided to work towards financial independence. Any chance you could see your way to giving me tax fee regular income, free housing and unlimited travel to ease the transition?
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I’d like to apologise to anyone who witnessed my behaviour on Sunday afternoon. I’d had a little too much Bristol Cream at the annual lunch of Polegate’s ‘Tapas and Tapestry Club’. Suffice to say, no-one needed to hear my rendition of ‘Livin La Vida Loca’. Nor did they need to see me perform it wearing just a hi-vis and sombrero.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar,I’ve just booked my summer holiday. Two weeks in East Croydon may not be everyone’s first choice, but if you want to avoid tourists, you may want to consider it.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I was at a loose end last Tuesday, so I decided to get science. Let me know when you’ve a free speaking slot and I’ll happily bavard about it, as it’s all pretty straightforward. Things do get a bit weird on the sub-atomic level, but I’ll probably gloss over that with a bit of whistling.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I’ll never forget the advice my old headmistress gave me on my last day of school: “Follow your dreams Cicely. Failing which, on a cost per alcohol percentage basis, sherry is your best bet.”
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, I have just founded the 4th East Polegate & Sidley whale-watching society. Observations will be held in my flat as, on a clear day, standing on a chair and using a high-powered telescope, you can get a glimpse of the channel from my bathroom window. We’ll post sightings on all the usual whale-watching channels.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate


February 2020

Dear Mr Bar, I recently pulled out all the stops. I’d be grateful for your help as I really need to put them back.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, Having recently got science, I moved on to art yesterday, and have now done that. I’ll do music next week and then that’s me done. So I’ll be free to dig over your veg patch from Wednesday onwards.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, At a recent meeting of the Polegate apple-bobbing and thimble-twirling society, a club steeped in controversy over its decision to cancel its 1988 summer away-day to Pevensey following the great 1988 apple and thimble shortage, I felt the decision to allow the use of ‘alternative hard fruit such as pineapples’ was a backward step and one that will only serve to further diminish our club’s reputation.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate

Dear Mr Bar, Reading my horoscope this morning I was astounded to learn that “finishing a job that has been complicated will fill you with pride.” This has come as such a revelation to me that I’ve decided to finish the washing up, a job I started in June 2007.
Yours, Cicely Sponge, Polegate