Mary dear, I’m so glad you’re here. Binkie’s been digging around in the attic – keeps him out of my hair and gives him something to do, that type of thing. He’s found our old photos and some of Mama’s letter’s to Pa and Uncle Claude during the war. They’re a tad racy and not what you would imagine at all. It gave me quite a turn I tell you and Margaret had to pour me a stiff brandy even though it was only 10.15!
That sounds interesting Agatha dear, let me get settled and I’ll get my Lorgnette – can’t read a dashed thing without it. (Pause) My goodness dear! I see what you mean. If it wasn’t too early in the afternoon I’d ask for a brandy too.
That’s all right Mary, I’ll ring for one – I’m still recovering myself.
You know Agatha; this is just SO on topic, as they say.
What’s that dear? I haven’t been to the tropics, that was poor old Bertie Fry – got bitten by something nasty in the jungle, died horribly so I was told.
No, no dear – you really must clean your hearing trumpet! No, I’m talking about female spies. There’s a new book out by Natasha Walter called “A Quiet Life’ and its based, to some degree, on Melinda Maclean – you know Donald Maclean’s wife.
I’m sorry Mary dear, but I do think I need another brandy. What exactly has toothpaste got to do with spying?
Agatha you really are so infuriating and I do think you should see someone. Donald Maclean was a spy, one of the famous ones from Cambridge – you know along with Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt.
Oh, sorry dear. So female spies are all the rage then is that it?
Yes Agatha. There is even talk about the lovely Gillian Anderson playing Bond.
Now that’s a game I don’t know! (laughing). Oh I do so love winding you up Mary dear, you and Binkie are just the same. What a hoot! (pause). Let’s have another brandy. Yes a female 007 would be worth watching and Gillian would be superb, but don’t you think that Josephine Baker would have been good too, I mean, not only was she a famous artiste, but she helped the French Resistance during the war, she was decorated by Charles De Gaulle!
Its simply astonishing how many talented ladies were involved in helping our campaigns, and their efforts seem to be forgotten, at least not celebrated and understood by young gals today. There was also of course Hedy Lamarr – simply stunning gal and brainy too.
Didn’t she say “Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”?
Yes, I do believe so Agatha. Amazing what a spot of the hard stuff does for one’s brain during the afternoon. Anyway, don’t you think that being a spy is an absolutely the ticket for any young woman. I mean they’re just so much better a getting on with things.
Do you mean seducing men dear? As you know, my thighs put an end to that!
Not just that Agatha, but we’re better at keeping secrets, we look more glamorous even when we are just standing still! We’re generally more intelligent and creative and above all we’re more practical and we blend in more.
And don’t forget dear if you’re talented like dear Hedy was and a real stunner to boot, then you can just about do anything.
Absolutely, didn’t she invent that secret communication system that all this wi-fi stuff is based on? Anyway it seems that your darling Mama got up to quite a few games too.
Yes, quite surprised me. Another brandy dear?
Oh Agatha you’ll get me quite tipsy! But isn’t it just delish-ush???
Well, if you’re having another I don’t squeal to bad about one myself. But I don’t even thing Pa knew that she was working for the resistance but clearly Uncle Claude was in on it. She must have been sending back code to him.
Quite possibly Agatha dear. Do you know what, I think it’s simply marvellous that we can celebrate all these wonderful ladies. Its time we realised that, despite everything and that infernal glass ceiling, we can finally stand up and be recognised for everything that makes a woman great.
Well said dear. And, lets just say that we totally embrace our European friends, all those fabulous ladies who worked in France during the occupation, where would we be without them dear? We celebrate women, and their men, all over Europe from the past to the present day.
From sponge bakes to spying and from medals to motherhood, we just seem to take it all in our stride really.
Quite- apart from that early invention attempted by Aunt Maude of course – the world was simply not ready for mobile phones back then!
Yes, best forgotten I think. Ooh sponge, I almost forgot – cook has made Delia’s lovely Dundee cake.
Now she would have made a great spy….