Agatha dear, how you are you feeling? You don’t look as though you’re coping with your camel very well!
I must admit Mary that the saddle has been chafing in this heat and I will be mightily relieved to have a long cool dip in the pool. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden anything quite so lively!
Talking of that, how did it go with Binky before we left Blighty?
Well, he totally denied he’d trousered my silver punch bowl, maintained that one of the guests must have pinched it during the party when he was a little the worse for wear. Said he would do his utmost to retrieve it for me.
And do you believe him dear heart? I keep imagining he has followed us here. I thought I spotted someone with his particular air of entitlement wearing a straw hat and fake moustache in the hotel bar this morning. But I must be imagining things.
Don’t be fanciful, Mary. Perhaps you should wear a hat tomorrow, I think the sun has gone to your head. Anyway, it was certainly the right time to get away. I mean, I do adore the chap of course, but I am starting to wonder if I can really trust him after all. What with all the argy bargy I was feeling quite out of sorts. This hot Egyptian weather has certainly revived my spirits.
Yes, I had noticed. Who was that dashing gent you were sharing a gin sling with last night?
Bedouin dear. These are his camels, you know, such a charming chap and quite a knowledgeable type. He offered me his tent for the night, but I think he might have been more interested in my skills as a camel rider rather than anything else – so I gracefully declined. I think he was a little piqued at my refusal.
Goodness me! I did notice your unusual dismount yesterday, right down the neck of the poor beast. You executed a pretty nimble leap over his head as you reached the ground. It reminded me of an Olympic gymnastic movement dear one. Bravo!
Yes, well gripping with one’s thighs right up until the last moment is a good trick. Anyway, Mary. Did I hear you talking to Algie on the blower last night?
Yes, indeed. Need to keep up with one’s offspring. I do worry about them when I’m out of the country you know.
But Mary, both your boys are grown men, with children of their own, isn’t it time you loosened the apron strings a little?
Ideally, yes. But they are still my little cherubs, they need their dear old mama to pep them up sometimes. And Algie, particularly, is suffering Brexit wobble – doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. I think he’s more concerned about his father, the Count, who may be forced to return to Italy.
I think it’s a woman’s lot to worry about her children, whatever their age, Mary dear. We spend our lives fretting over what might happen, constantly vigilant to possible dangers. It’s simply exhausting. Do you remember when Edmund was born? Oh, the fussing I did!
Yes Agatha dear, you did take it all rather seriously as I remember. You coped better than I did of course – after all I had the twins to deal with and only a few staff at the time. Still – do continue while I adjust my stirrups, my steed seems to think I am some kind of ping pong ball, I need more purchase to stay on.
Clench your thighs dear, that’s the ticket. Yes, it still makes me blush just to remember all the precautions I took. Remember the giant hogweed in the garden? I had Jones grub it all up and the poor man came out in an awful rash – he was off work for a whole week and my borders ran to weed. Then I had some rather bonkers idea about Edmund catching Bird Flu from the peacocks. I made him wear a surgeon’s mask whilst playing in the garden that summer. In the end all my efforts were to no avail. I thought his number was up when he threw himself into the pond to catch the koi carp.
Yes, I was there. I think we had had rather too much Pimms, and were a little slow to reach the scene. But Edmund was triumphant, caught two with his bare hands, quite an achievement at the age of three, I always thought.
Yes, he was always a resourceful boy. I never stopped worrying of course. Even when he went up to Cambridge and joined the rowing team, I always imagined him getting walloped by a stray oar and flying headlong into the Cam. Of course, Jonty always maintained a stiff upper lip over these matters. Danger never seemed to register for him, even though I know he loved Edmund right up until his own demise under the wheels of that blasted lawnmower, driven erroneously by my cousin’s parrot.
Yes, we didn’t see that coming, did we Agatha? Poor Jonty. But I agree that it seems curious that men do not seem to fret as much as us on a daily basis.
I agree Mary. It’s a woman’s burden, and it doesn’t improve, even when they grow up and have children of their own. But, here we are, I can make out the hotel in the distance. Hang on to your pommel, the camels can smell water – (raises voice as camels pick up speed). Shall we take in the Cairo museum this evening? I would rather enjoy seeing the mummies up close.
Oh yes, (shouting as camels reach full gallop) lovely! I saw Tutankhamun when he came to England in the 1970s. I remember the miles and miles of queuing to take a peek for 30 seconds, quite glorious. It would be delightful to see it in it’s rightful setting.
Well, dear, (takes breath as camels slow down) that was exhilarating. I’m quite amazed that you managed to stay on Mary – are you alright – your hair looks a little askew.
Give me a moment (rearranges hair). I feel quite perked up by that. Unlike those poor souls who went through the mummification process. I always likened it to giving birth and the attendant responsibilities of motherhood.
Without removing the brain and the vast quantities of salt to dry out the body of course.
Well, no, but in the first year as a new mother I do remember feeling that my brain might have disappeared to be replaced by nappies and bottles. And as we get older we seem to do quite well at preserving ourselves in gin!
Absolutely dear. Let’s order a stiff one at the bar, and I fancy some of those delicious falafel.
Bless you Agatha.