Our very own Stonking Herald agony aunt Loretta Martin lives in a fine mock tudor residence just outside Stonking on the Chesswood road. A relative newcomer to the village, having only been a resident for three years, she describes herself as a ‘businesswoman of leisure’ specialising in ‘stress relief for the modern executive’. An elegant and natty divorcee, during her married life she lived in Moulding-Under-Armpits in the Cotswolds, where the Avon lady spent so long on her visits that she had been mistaken for a lodger. Keeping guard over her gated domicile are her three Dobermanns, Flopsy, Mopsy and Whoopsy (the most difficult of the three to housetrain).
Loretta is a well-renowned patron of any number of village endeavours and endeared herself to many villagers as soon as she moved in. The Stonking Museum was crawling through a fund-raising campaign to allow it to move from its cramped quarters to the purpose-built deluxe new premises, next to the village Library, in which it currently resides. They needed the substantial sum of £10,000 and a year of charity bazaars, bring and buy sales, coffee mornings and whist drives had drummed up the derisory figure of £382.50, two French francs and a trouser button. Loretta approached the Parish Council and the trustees of the Museum with an offer to host a social fund-raising gathering at her house. She chose to hold a Murder Mystery dinner and cabaret on the theme of Murder at the Moulin Rouge. She persuaded shop owner Maria Ferrini that taking part would provide a close to catwalk opportunity to show off the latest ranges from her Lingerie Longa emporium on the High Street. And so the two ladies had spent the majority of the evening dressed (and, at times, nearly dressed) in a range of exotic undies. Of no real surprise to anyone was the success of the evening, which raised £800 for the Museum and saw a 30% surge in sales at Lingerie Longa.
She then compounded her entry into village life at one of Rab Selwyn’s regular Amateur Nights at the Rancid Polecat where she and fellow villagers Maria Ferrini, Amber Signal and Martha Tydville wowed the audience with an impromptu version of ’Stand On Your Man’ as The Foxy Chicks (“the Dixie Chicks but with less clothes,” as Loretta had introduced them to a monumental round of cheers and wolf whistles)