Two and a half years ago I was at a loose end with my reasonably new girlfriend, Beth.

I was visiting her at Uni and we really had nothing to do. The day was nice, so we went for a walk around Bournemouth.

As the sun shone and birds sang we got playing a word game. The one where you name a famous person and the other has to name another beginning with the first letter of the last surname said.

We giggled lots as Beth revealed the number of EastEnders actors she knew despite “never watching it” and how after a while it’s quite tough thinking of celebrities beginning with P. Eventually we made it into the high street of Winton and decided to buy a board game.

There’s quite a few charity shops in Winton so we thought we’d do the moral (and cheap) thing of buying a game from one of them.

Nothing caught our fancy.

I wandered up to a volunteer in Oxfam and asked if they had scrabble. “Oooh Scrabble, we were just playing a word game,” added Beth.

I smiled.

“Sorry, sir,” said the volunteer. “Sold out of Scrabble. We get one every day but they sell so quickly. Even faster than flat caps.”

We chuckled, thanked the volunteer and went hunting for Scrabble.

Six charity shops later, nothing. “The Red Cross is our last hope,” Beth said. We entered.

“Excuse me,” Beth asked a volunteer. “I don’t suppose you have Scrabble?” A shake of the head was her answer.

“Oh bum,” Beth said. “We’ve been to every shop and I can’t believe it’s nowhere to be seen. Thanks anyway.”

As we started leaving the shop a friendly older lady tapped Beth on the shoulder. “Are you after Scrabble?” We nodded.

“I’ve got loads of them, give me your address and I’ll post you one.”

We were stunned. “Really?!” Beth squealed. “Of course!” said the jolly lady.

Beth scribbled her address down, begged the lady to take some money but she was having none of it, then we skipped home all happy like.

Four days later a parcel arrived at Beth’s, with the letters in the postcode marked with the number of points they’d score in Scrabble.

Inside was a note that read…

“Dear Beth,

I had big Scrabbles, small Scrabbles, old Scrabbles and new Scrabbles but I’ve decided to give you this travel Scrabble. Please take it on picnics or pub lunches with your tall boyfriend. I hope you enjoy it as much as me and my husband did.”

She left no name, no address, no number. We don’t know who she was, other than the little old lady who brightened up our life.

© Carl Burkitt 2012

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