Agatha darling do come in – The Count is playing billiards and the clattering of his balls is positively deafening in the downstairs parlour, so I thought we’d go through to the conservatory, and enjoy my orchids. Cook is practising her Linzertorte in advance of a small invasion of The Count’s cousins from Austria next week.
Are these the cousins who you suspect may have (whispers) “Nazi” leanings Mary dear?
Not any more Agatha. There was a time when their greeting caused alarm, the slight raising of the arm and clicking of the heels, but it seems that they were simply enjoying a joke at my expense! Of course, now my Italian is coming along, I can understand The Count’s explanation for their unusual behaviour.
That’s a relief dear one! And how lovely your orchids do look, particularly the Dracula Vampira – it always gives me a thrill.
Thank you dear. It is rather striking and disturbing, I agree. Now, do tell me what you’ve been up to.
I bumped into that lovely Miriam Shufflepuff the other day. I’m glad to say that she still says exactly what’s on her mind, it takes a lot of courage to be oneself, and she is the most courageous woman I know. It appears she was rather down in the dumps at not being invited to the Evangeline Hesketh’s Halloween party, but then to cap it all she didn’t get an invitation to The Club for Bonfire Night either. She said she was rather cross, as you and The Count had had lots of fireworks on Saturday and being of very small stature she hadn’t been able to see anything over the window ledge!
Well Agatha, it was all very last minute. As you know The Count can be quite explosive himself at times and a feeling of ‘joie de vivre’ really came over him. I tell you, I felt quite eighteen again, but I digress. So, Algie purchased some lovely fireworks for us and arranged it all. We had burgers on the back lawn – handmade by Martha of course, none of your pre-made patties. Of course I would have invited you my dear, but I knew that you were already previously engaged.
It all sounds thoroughly modern dear Mary, I mean, burgers for goodness’ sake! Last year you had stuffed quail and pheasant en-croute I seem to remember. This must be the influence of your boys I shouldn’t wonder.
Oh no dear, it was all my idea. I don’t want to fossilise. But I am sorry not to think of darling Miriam. However as you know my bosom does preclude me from noticing anything below waist level, so even if she was invited, I may have tripped over her in the dark.
Well, I think that we should definitely invite her to our charity fundraising with belly dancing later in the year – she’s always up for a laugh, and she may even join in. Imagine the scene. (Both fall silent for a moment.)
What a fantastic idea dear one. (Cries from the billiard room are heard).
My goodness Mary! Do you think the Count is alright? Should we send for Angus to go and check on him?
I should imagine he’s just sent a ball through a window dear, I took the precaution of removing Great Aunt Maud’s stuffed Iguana before he started playing. I’m sure if he had had an accident with a mis-timed cue we would soon find out about it. Now, have another coffee; this Linzertorte is quite exceptional. I believe the jam was from the raspberries in the kitchen garden.
Yes it really is delicious, the jam goes so well with the hazelnut pastry and the coffee. I really must ask cook for the recipe so that Ethel can master it too. You know it quite reminds me of when Dear Mama asked all those lovely politicians for recipes so she could put a book together and raise funds for the local Children’s home.
My goodness, I do remember that. We had quite some fun putting together and testing all those recipes.
Am I right in remembering Mary dear that the late Margaret Thatcher made a contribution?
Indeed, your memory is astonishing Agatha! Yes, Papa had it framed in his drawing room. I believe he had quite the crush on her, but that of course was in younger days before she was our PM.
Really? How amusing. I particularly loved those interviews conducted by the late lamented Jimmy Young. As an interviewer he certainly had a charming approach, and many criticised him for being too soft. But in reality he was an under-rated broadcasting pioneer. His softly softly approach got so much more out of his interviewees and I believe Maggie was quite smitten with him.
I agree dear one. Yes, so sad that he’s gone; but his methods were so those of a true gentleman. That style seems rather out of favour nowadays, of course. It’s all, what do they say? “wham bam thank you maam”. But it all ends up rather shouty with no real revelations.
Quite, one does not find this rather brutal approach very attractive. I remember there were several occasions when I was Head of Jam at the WI, and we had to raise funds from Corporate Clients. My negotiating style was criticised, and I was told in no uncertain terms to ‘man-up’. Well, save wearing a false moustache and a banana in my trouser pocket, I really wasn’t that sure how to do that.
And why would you want to anyway, Agatha dear?
Indeed, my dear. And Jimmy Young was told the same – that his approach wouldn’t work; that the interviews would not have any substance; but how wrong the world was. Of course tastes change and now that we have Mr Trump as President elect I think we will see more of it.
I believe so, and I appreciate that things much change. But was it not Kurt Cobain who said: Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
So, we should be true to ourselves and success will follow?
And this Linzertorte is certainly spot on Mary dear. Could I have another slice, while I top up our coffee?
With pleasure dear heart. We can work it off with our belly dancing lesson this afternoon. Did you remember to bring your tassels?
In my valise, dear.