Hello Agatha dear, do come in. The Count is a tad irascible today so I’ve left him in the East Wing with the Plumber!
Well, Mary dear I must admit I’m always very impressed with your handling of him. Has his snoring got any better dear? I only say that because you’re not looking as peaky as you did a couple of days ago.
Oh, thank you dear heart. Yes, I’ve got quite used to sleeping in this wing of the house – I can hardly hear him at all now!
I don’t suppose you’ve heard about Eileen? I was talking to the lovely Mrs Margaret Mounthill – as you know I hadn’t seen her for ages due to her gout – and she was telling me that she and Allan are moving to China.
Well, Margaret is certainly a dark horse. I thought she was happily married!
No Mary dear, Eileen and Allan are moving to China. I believe they go in about a month’s time.
Well, that’s further than Tuscany. What on earth has possessed them to go such a great distance? Have you upset her dear?
No, of course not. But they have always loved a challenge. This time, though, she has decided to join the Chinese State Circus. Apparently she heard about it through her drumming club, and she’s always been nimble, as you probably recall.
Oh yes, I do remember some nifty footwork at the last WI tea dance. So what will she be performing, dancing, clowning? Although I can’t see her with a large red nose somehow.
No, Mary dear, she is going to combine her drumming with some kind of high wire act.
How terribly brave and exciting. And is Allan going to be ringmaster? I can imagine him in a top hat and red tails.
Actually I think Allan is hoping to get a job as a Knife-Thrower. He’s certainly shown some talent in this field. Don’t you recall the summer fete you and the Count had in the grounds a few years ago when he won the Axe hurling event? Of course it was total carnage and fortunately Dickie Rainworth didn’t lose a leg, but goodness he’s certainly a showman!
Now Agatha dear, I think we are both a little discombobulated by this news.
Well, it’s all Greek to me dear!
Why don’t we have a lovely piece of this lovely Lemon Meringue that Martha baked this morning.
Ooh, delicious. I do hope it’s tart!
(Ignoring the comment completely) Agatha, our dear friend Eileen’s exciting plans have made me wonder about our own summer holiday. You know we usually go away for a fortnight together, somewhere to escape the dreadful British summer. Are you keen to do the same this year?
Won’t the Count mind? He seems to have got used to having you around more, since he moved here permanently from Verona.
Yes, that’s as maybe. But I do find he is under my feet a lot. Living in different countries is one thing, living under the same roof is no way to keep a marriage going, in my opinion. Anyway, can you tear yourself away from Binkie? He seems to have wormed his way into your affections in the last few months.
Oh Mary, (blushes) yes I must admit that the dear man has stolen my heart. But I do have a tiny suspicion that he is only after my money. Jonty left me well catered for, as you know dear.
What makes you think that? He always comes across as so sincere. And he has a bob or two himself, at least he was telling me so the other day as we had tea at Fortnum’s. He paid.
Quite. Well, perhaps I am worrying unnecessarily. It’s only that the other day I caught him eyeing my diamonds, and a few small bits of silver seem to have gone missing recently.
Come to think of it, Agatha. I did see a silver punch bowl in the local Antique shop which looked remarkably like the one you used to have sitting on your Grand Piano. Didn’t Binkie tell you he wanted to borrow it for a garden party?
Oh dear. Well, I suppose I shall have to confront him over it. What a bore! He’s so good in the bedroom department as well, doesn’t seem to mind my thighs at all.
Well, that settles it, Agatha. A holiday is just what the butler ordered. So let me get in touch with my man at Harrods Travel Agency and we can whisk all our troubles away on the Cote d’Azur.
Topping idea Mary. Looking on the bright side as always. You and I have been extremely fortunate in that we have both experienced the joys of being married to forward thinking men. When I think of the times that my darling Jonty told me ‘Agatha darling, you are not my Mother, and I am most certainly not going to treat you as such.” (wiping a tear away from her eye).
I know my dear. The Count, I believe, says much the same thing. Of course I don’t really understand a word he says, so I’m fortunate in that I just get on with things as I see fit. I am rather proud of the fact that I’ve raised Bertie and Algie to be feminists.
Oh I do think you’ve succeeded there dear. Could you freshen my cup?
Of course. This pie is rather delicious – another slice?
Please, Mary. I do like a tart with a nice crisp bottom.
Really, Agatha dear!
You are very touchy today, Mary dear. I knew missing the Gong bath was a mistake. It would have done us both such a lot of good. Still, couldn’t be helped, after all it would have been impossible to get there after Snetter managed to crash the Lagonda! It was just a blessing that he only reversed into the fountain and that no-one was hurt. The whole thing has been most distressing.
Yes, but maybe you shouldn’t have let him behind the wheel. After all Jones normally drives, and Snetter is good with a corkscrew but his driving skills leave a lot to be desired.
Yes, Mary. But poor old Jones had a nasty swelling on his foot after that blasted cat went for his plus fours, so I had no choice.
Indeed dear. Let’s raise our cups to our plucky friends Eileen and Allan. I hope the Chinese are ready for them!
Mary Berry’s Recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marys_lemon_meringue_pie_02330