Green Balls and Glitter


By Jove Agatha!  I must confess that was a surprise last week!

What on earth are you talking about Mary?  Has Mabel been spiking your tea again?

No, no dear.  Do calm yourself.  I was talking about Strictly Come Dancing and that politician chap with his green face and alarming yellow suit.  Did you watch it dear?

Oh, ab-SO-lutely dear heart.  It is quite the required viewing at la residence.  I always make sure Snetter brings me a large G&T and a plate of Cheese Straws before I settle down, but I must admit I get so excited that those little pastry flakes do find their way into the most unusual of places!

That sounds rather itchy dear.  I do hope that Ed Balls continues to do well, he really has thrown himself into the whole thing which is just so admirable; but of course there are some lovely dancers this season.

Indeed there are – it’s such a shame that ballroom isn’t taught in schools more.  Do you remember having to practice our Flying Skips together at class with Miss Trutchington?  


Indeed I do Agatha.  In fact, I am certain that the late, great Morecambe and Wise must have copied our moves for their end of show dance.

You are spot on Mary!  Although I would like to think that our rendition was a little more… feminine…. should we say!

Of course it was dear,  and everything was fine until those young chaps from Broadwick Grammar came to dance with us, but I do seem to remember a couple of them rather liked the fact that you were always taking the lead!

My goodness Mary, your memory is quite rapier sharp today.  But you’ve reminded me of that lovely man in America, Pierre Dulaine, who believed that dance could help the underperformers and trouble makers and enhance a child’s education and life.

Oh yes, I do remember something about him.  Didn’t they make a film about him?

Yes, indeed they did dear one.  It starred that delicious Antonio Banderas (sighs) and I believe it was called ‘Take the Lead’.  But, all this dancing is so romantic and stylish it does make me think of happier days when there was someone to share the excitement with.


Indeed Agatha dear, and I believe we need to find you an exciting man for the upcoming party season,  it simply won’t be the same without one.

Yes (looks wistfully at her cup of tea) I do miss old Binky.  I still feel a tad guilty about leaving him to rot in that Egyptian jail.  Maybe I could drop the charges and have him return to Blighty.

You are a soft touch Agatha.  I think you should leave him to his own devices, he needs to be taught a lesson, that you are not a woman to be trifled with.  And we need to “hook you up” as the young ones say, with a suitable gent.  In fact, you might meet someone if you join me at the party next week.

What party is that dear?  I don’t believe I have received any invitations for the forthcoming weekend.

Oh, well those charming people, the Jutting-Heskeths, have invited the Count and I to a ‘Strictly’ Halloween party.  I am determined to go, but sadly the Count will be entertaining Great Aunt Madrigal on her annual visit from Florence.  So you could be my “plus one”!  Apparently it’s going to be glitter and ghouls!  Their parties are quite the talk of society and invitations are only to a very select few.  I need to decide on my costume, of course.  

I don’t believe I do know them, dear, but it’s a thought.   Could we perhaps wear our belly dancing outfits?

Oh Agatha dear, that would certainly put the frighteners up them, and may scupper one’s chances of any more invitations.  I think I should go well covered, the less flesh on show the better in my view.  No, I was thinking more of Madame Arcarti – you know, the Medium from Blithe Spirit.


That would be too perfect, my dear.  And so elegant.  I can imagine you floating serenely through vaulted rooms wafting incense and predicting futures. And maybe I could dress up as the Spirit – paint my face green.  Perhaps I might attract the attentions of a charming politician if I am channelling Ed Balls?

Oh my goodness dear, I would advise caution.  After all, our old pal Gussie Twot-Wickham was involved with that MP for a while.  I believe he was mostly made of wood – right down to his handlebar moustache.  She used to complain it gave her splinters!  Still he was rather dashing and good at parties and the like.  Always had a ready anecdote with which to thrill the assembled company.  

Wasn’t he the one who was chums with that orange man with the strange hair in America. You know the one?  He keeps bothering women.

Trump dear?

No, not me dear.  I do believe it was the dog.

Oh no Agatha silly, I mean Donald Trump who’s running for President.

My goodness (fanning herself quickly) don’t mention his name!  Just the thought of him makes my head spin and my heart sink.  My equilibrium has been quite all over the place at the thought of him becoming President – I mean, can you imagine what the first lady would be like…. goodness, I believe the whole world would go backwards……women would be quite subjugated…..and then there’s the wall…. Oh I feel quite faint (swoons)

Agatha dear, pull yourself together and have some more Apple Tart!

Thank you Mary, (munching daintily) yes that does pep me up.  Maybe an MP is not such a good idea then?

I think not dear, but perhaps a spot of speed dating would give you a lift?

But Mary dear, you do talk nonsense!  You know that, at my age, nothing is ever done at speed! Which reminds me, isn’t that Lesley Joseph amazing – a true example to all of us who are trying to mature with grace and vigour.

Oh absolutely dear.  Who knows, after we’ve mastered belly dancing we could perhaps take up the Charleston?

Now, there is something to look forward to.  Would you like another slice of apple tart ?

Do you need ask?  This really is glorious – so seasonal, and the pastry is as light as a feather!


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My Random Musings


Twirling and Whirls


Agatha dear I feel quite invigorated after our first belly dancing lesson.

It was exhilarating Mary, exhilarating.  I feel quite 72 again.

I really was impressed with the ability of my new brassiere to hold everything in place – there were plenty of moments which could have resulted in a wardrobe malfunction.

Indeed Mary dear, it was quite a relief for all of us I’m sure.  Viennese Whirl?

Ooh please, how delicious.  Wasn’t Lucia Pintworth a gem – quite stunning in her crimson silk pantaloons,  she was the spit of that lovely Karen Clifton from Strictly, I thought.  And a youthful 59, if I understood her correctly.

Surely not, by the way she was bending backwards in such a supple fashion she can’t be more than 42.  But didn’t she marry Maxim as a result of a holiday romance when he was on a Grand Tour?

Goodness, I didn’t think anyone went on a Grand Tour nowadays dear one, well apart from those terribly rude Top Gear boys.  Anyway, there is a little more to the story of how Maxim met Lucia.  Did you not hear about the unpleasantness between him and Fortescue Warboys?

Really, Mary?  I am quite in the dark as to any kerfuffle between Max and Forty.  

Well,  some years ago he and Fortesque had a colossal ding dong at one of their table tennis tournaments in our games room. Maxim got quite out of hand, bordering on the violent.  As a result they smashed the display cabinets in the Count’s games room and nearly took out his favourite stuffed Parrot.  In fact, the dear old fruit was certain that there was going to be pistols at dawn!

Goodness Mary, I do believe your husband can get quite carried away sometimes!  I can imagine his Italian blood quite on fire at two English Toffs smashing their ping pong balls about and getting into a tizzy.

That is true dear, I had to calm him down with several large glasses of Chianti.  But the whole episode was really about Maxim wanting to marry Fortesque’s cousin, and dear old Forty went into a total fizz about the whole thing, protesting that Maxim was only after the Fabergé snuff box that the Tzar had supposedly given her.  Trouble was everyone, except Fortesque and Maxim, knew it was a fake!

He sounds too much like Binky dear, and we all know how that ended.

Yes Agatha dear!  Anyway, Maxim was shipped off to stop him from interfering and quite frankly at 78 he really was becoming a bit of a liability – (whispering) too many dalliances with the servants so they say.  So in Italy he met the delightful Lucia.

And such an asset she has turned out to be.  She has certainly calmed Maxim down, but she talks nineteen to the dozen and I think he just lets it wash over him, can’t understand more than one or two words of what she says.  Neither can I of course!

Well Agatha dear, I may have a solution to that, and it really is quite exciting when I think about it.  

I can see that dear.  You look positively overcome, fit to burst.  Tell me then, while I pour the tea.

Well, I’ve been thinking about this for some time now.  I’ve been reading articles about teaching yourself new things to stimulate the brain and stave off dementia.  So, I’ve decided to go back to School!

Oh Mary dear isn’t that a bit radical?  I don’t believe St Margaret for the Pure of Heart isn’t quite the same now.  I understand it’s a comprehensive and really quite modern!  And, erm, not wanting to put too fine a point on it dear, aren’t you a little old for gymslips and satchels now?  Although I must say you can’t beat a pleated skirt and a nice blazer – they’re quite ‘on trend’ this season I believe.

Oh Agatha sometimes you are just too old fashioned!  I have no intention of going back to my Almer Mater, I’m enrolling in one of those delightful online learning courses which means I can do everything from the luxury of my own home.  And besides, you know perfectly well what happened the last time I wore a gymslip and had to hang onto those bars in some kind of arcane ritual…


Golly yes, but you did look most decorative dear heart.  But anyway, what on earth has possessed you to take on this challenge dear?

Well, you know that The Count and I just about rub along due to the differences in our languages?  Well,  recently I have found myself wanting to have chats with the dear chap around subjects that are a little more in depth than one or two ice cubes in my G&T.  So, I am learning Italian!

How confusing dear, it means I won’t be able to understand either of you!  Don’t you think this is all a bit much Mary?  I mean we’re only just back from Egypt, and most of the time I had to get by with sign language and some charades – goodness know what language they were speaking!

I do believe it was English, Agatha.

Well, yes, but I struggled to understand our guide at the Goddess Temples in Luxor.  So at our age, do you think it’s possible to learn a new language?

I do believe that women – even chaps – can turn their hand to anything at any time of their life Agatha.  After all we hadn’t been belly dancing until tonight and look at the progress we’ve made – you managed to get your tassels twirling most becomingly.  Besides, the lovely people at Future Learn – the online education people – let you go at your own speed.  

Well if you must dear, but it’s all a bit beyond me I’m afraid.

Oh but Italian is such a wonderful language, and besides, I can now successfully order a glass of white wine – “Vorrei un bicchiere di vino bianco”

Oh, it sounds so much more sophisticated in Italian – I’m transported to the old days of elegant sipping and cocktail dresses *sighs*  


I know, so romantic is it not.  But that’s just the start of course.  It’s totally super that after just one lesson I can ask The Count for two different types of tipple!  Now I need to learn how to say “Please may I have another Viennese Whirl”

Free online language courses:


Viennese Whirl recipe:


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My Random Musings
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