I did have one crumb of salvation to my problem of a one man show where I wasn’t allowed to talk for legal reasons – props. If I could show the audience a series of fascinating objects, items and properties from my staggering collection, they might be so awed at the spectacle that they wouldn’t notice the lack of informative and entertaining comments from D. Brent Esq (hons). I nearly congratulated myself at this superb solution but since that would’ve invalidated my sponsorship and enabled me to talk after all, it would’ve been too confusing. I settled for patting myself on the back (literally) and rushed back to Brent Towers to collect some low value items that the ignorant oafs in the audience would mistakenly believe to be high value items. Though not to the degree that they would assault me after the show and attempt to relieve me of the items. Or if they did, I hope they ask me for some guidelines as to a suitable asking price when they sell their ill-gotten gains on the internet. Much as I detest the idea of being robbed, I’m even less keen on the properties market being deflated due to pathetic ignorance on the part of my attacker or attackers.

I got in and smelled the familiar smell of Francois Devine in the kitchen. This struck me as odd given Mr Wetfinger’s recent claims that Francois Devine had decided (laughably) to conduct a sponsored fast. Being lead into temptation was not the best way to discipline one’s self at a time like this.

“Hello, Dennis Brent” he said coldly amidst a cloud of flour. “I’m creating some cakes to sell and raise money to help ensure I defeat you and all the other losers and gain exclusive possession of The Memo. I will be a generous victor, though I will not share the contents of The Memo obviously, and will act benevolently throughout my time as Bendaton’s primary benefactor and doer of good works, brackets, via third party intermediaries, close brackets.”

I jotted a note to the extent that I was undergoing a sponsored silence and would be unable to speak to him for the duration of our conversation.

“I can’t read that – I don’t have my reading pince-nez with me.”

He pointed to his face and I saw he was wearing his absurdly pompous baking glasses and had no room for his reading pince-nez even if he had bothered to bring them with him. As fat and unsightly as his nose undoubtedly is, there is only room upon it for one piece of pretentious and unnecessarily fancy eye-wear at a time. I have solved this problem by only having one pair of glasses for all occasions and regard headaches or near-misses on the road as a price worth paying for cheap simplicity.

I pointed to my mouth, showed him a pound coin from my purse, gestured towards my watch and got across with clarity that I was doing a sponsored silence.

“You’ve swallowed a coin and are waiting for it to emerge during your next bowel movement at seven o’clock tomorrow morning?” he inferred. I shook my head. “Ah – then you must be doing a sponsored silence.” I nodded. He returned to his mixing bowl with a mischievous look buried within the folds of his devious face. Honesty and openness were not to be found on the visage of I. Francois Devine.

“I was thinking of inviting Cartmell to our next DWAT scone evening” he said, apparently changing the subject entirely. “I think it would be good if he explained his creative vision to the membership.”

He was clearly trying to goad or bait me into speech. I decided to fight fire with fire. I offered him a bowl of glace cherries from the garnishments cupboard.

”Thank you, no – I’m being sponsored not to eat and those cherries, delicious as they are, especially in bulk, would violate the terms of my agreement.”

I wrote a note detailing twelve reasons why Cartmell shouldn’t be invited to the next DWAT scone evening but had to pop it in the post and trust he’d be wearing the right glasses in three days’ time to ensure he read it.

“Possibly, since they seem to come as a pair, I might invite Aaronovitch as well. I do so enjoy his opinions.”

I bit my lip. There were at least fourteen reasons not to invite Aaronovitch and eight of them didn’t overlap with the twelve reasons not to invite Cartmell. This scone evening was going to be a disaster. But that was worry for another day – I had to tempt him to eat something in order to win the fund raising challenge and if it meant spending an evening eating scones with those two buffoons I would grin and bear it, having made clear when they arrived that I would be grinning and bearing it and had no desire to spend the next few hours with them. It’s always best to make these things clear at the outset or the guests begin to feel too comfortable and may be tempted to have more than one scone.

I handed Francois Devine a bowl of irresistible nuts and just for a second I saw his note twitch at the salty scent.

“I shouldn’t – I’m under restrictions” he said and went back to measuring flour.

I went over to the west hob and popped some bacon into a frying pan. I heard him groan loudly a few seconds later and there was definitely a putting down of baking implements to make room in his hands for a knife and fork, the better to load with fresh and dripping bacon. But he held firm, picking the baking implements back up and returning to some frantic whisking.

“I was also pondering whether we should allow Cartmell and Aaronovitch a say in anyone else they think would enjoy attending the scone evening. I’m sure Cartmell still has Wyatt’s telephone number and perhaps even Clarke’s. It would be quite jolly to have them round at our expense for a civilised evening of anecdotes that come from the creative angle rather than the purely technical which some in the Trust mistakenly prefer, so I understand.”

This was going too far. I literally had to put my fist in my mouth to stop me tearing a strip off him for those near-blasphemous remarks. The Doctor Who Appreciation Trust was founded on a belief that fascinating technical discussions and carefully controlled celebrity signings that would increase the value of the signed items without encouraging any form of shallow intimacy was the ideal way for Doctor Who aficionados to appreciate their support of the series. If he was going to play dirty then I too would play dirty. I rummaged round in the treats cupboard for something irresistible and eventually found a “Toffee Crisp” in the bottom of Francois Devine’s plastic trick or treat pumpkin. He only used it once but got an awful lot of treats because villagers mistakenly thought he was a group of small children acrobatically pretending to be one enormous human being-monster hybrid rather than a fat man in a Frankenstein’s monster mask.

“Ah” he said when he saw the pumpkin. “That was the year I dressed as Frankenstein.”

I opened my mouth to correct him but just - and I mean just – managed to stop myself. I took consolation from the fact that he’d made one of the most basic errors a human can make – albeit deliberately – and would have to live with that for the rest of his life.

He turned down the “Toffee Crisp” with a wave of a spatula. Some mixture slid off the spatula while gesticulating and landed on his cufflink. His tongue instinctively shot out and licked it up.

“HA!” I bellowed. “You ate something – you failed.”

“Oh bother” he snapped before brightening up. “HA! You spoke – you also failed.”

“Oh bother” I agreed.

“We both failed” we said together. “Now neither of us will win The Memo.”