Mary my dear, how lovely to see you, and goodness you do look flushed. Has the Count been making advances or are you just a bit wind beaten?
Agatha my dear, I am simply recovering from the onslaught of the Count’s relatives. They have finally left and I have been able to wander about in my own home without being accosted by Uncle Rasputin in the corridors. I had to wear my Barbour and Wellingtons indoors so I could make a hasty escape into the garden. I spent a lot of time out in the grounds, hiding. The elements certainly don’t help one’s complexion. I feel as though I need a holiday to rejuvenate myself.
Why don’t you try one of these Mary, Ethel has made some delightful little Financiers.
Do you mean tiny models of our lovely friend Derek who works in the City?
No dear. They are French almond cakes.
How fabulous darling. Yummy!
But I do agree with you about holidays dear. It feels that Egypt and all the joys, and camels, were several years ago. Now, do come into the drawing room, I ran into the lovely Dorothy Lanesborough last week and thought that we hadn’t had a good catch up with her for some time. She’s quite an inspiration you know.
Goodness me, I haven’t seen Dorothy for over twenty years; she was quite the gal about town if I remember correctly. Didn’t she go off to canoe down the Amazon for charity? The last I’d heard she’d married the head of some remote Amazonian tribe. Golly, it certainly will be good to catch up with her.
Yes, she was telling me all about them. They are the Nukak. A terrifically ingenious but terribly endangered tribe. I believe Dorothy has been helping to raise awareness of their plight at the hands of developers and drug lords
Tell me Agatha (as they walk down the hall towards the Drawing Room), is Dorothy quite changed?
Oh Mary dear, if you mean has she gone native, no she’s perfectly well dressed, in a manly fashion, but she is less pale than she used to be, and her hair has gone quite blonde from the Amazonian sunshine! In fact, despite her advancing years (sighs) she looks quite lovely.
Oh how absolutely ripping, I can’t wait to hear about some of her experiences.
(They both enter the drawing room to find Dorothy sitting perfectly on the chaise longue, the light silhouetting her form and making her hair glow).
Dorothy darling, how lovely to see you after all this time.
Blazes! Mary you look perfectly spiffing. Can’t remember how many millennia it’s been since I saw you. Goodness, you do look positively blooming!
Err, thank you dear. You look quite transformed. Tell me, how was the Amazon?
Well my dear old gal, it’s just as you’d expect really – hot, humid, full of creatures of all sorts. Life with the husband was lovely for a while, even though there was little we had in common and communication was extremely hard – I did become quite adept with a bow and arrow, and making my own clothing. I have brought back a suitcase full of interesting garments to see if I can raise some money.
More tea and another Financier Dorothy?
Coffee please, if you wouldn’t mind Agatha. I’ve got so used to living without tea that I really don’t think I’ll ever go back – the bush tea that we had was positively dreadful – bark and a few dried leaves from some tree or other. But the overall effect of eating fresh and natural foods has made a real difference to my health dear one!
I must say Dorothy, you are looking splendid. In fact you haven’t aged a jot in the last twenty two years. Here you are (as Agatha passes her coffee and cake). Now tell us, what you are up to at the moment?
Well, I was up in Wetherby the other day at the races and had a flutter on a filly called Actinpieces. Blow me down she came in first! But what’s more interesting is that she will not allow a male jockey to ride her. She bites them sharply on the bottom if they try to mount her.
Much like you with the Count, Mary dear.
Anyway. This plucky mare got me thinking about setting up a stables that is purely for women – give the men a run for their money what?
Well Dorothy, that certainly sounds a marvellous idea. After all darling Liz Taylor rode in the Grand National!
Agatha dear, that wasn’t real – it was a film with her and Mickey Rooney!
Balderdash! So Dorothy dear, would you be donning your jodhpurs for this venture? I can imagine you tearing down the gallops in gay abandon.
Quite possibly Agatha. But actually, my real reason for seeking a business opportunity is to support the Lullaby charity after my tragedy in the Amazon.
(Mary and Agatha sip their tea in silence, not sure what to say for once).
Dear husband and I were so delighted when our little girl arrived, she would be twenty today in fact. But we were so cut-off from the latest thinking about how to best care for babies. (Pauses) Well, all I can say is I wish I’d been here to read about the wonderful work that lovely Anne Diamond did following the loss of her son twenty five years ago. It may have saved husband and I a great deal of pain.
(Together) Dorothy dear, how dreadful for you. I certainly remember the campaign and how simply putting children on their backs has saved so many from cot death. It’s such a horrible way to lose a child, feeling that you should have been able to do something or done something differently.
Indeed my dears, but Anne was, and is, such an inspiration – turning all that anger and sorrow about her son’s death into such a positive cause, I wish I’d been able to do the same; but what can you do when you’re thousands of miles from civilisation and without a paddle!
Dorothy dear, you’re incredibly brave about it all.
Oh not really dear. It’s just that stiff upper lip stuff that Pa drummed into me – I’ve got quite used to hiding the pain after all these years. Can’t torture myself with going there any more, but it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten, (pauses) But I do hope that when I pass, I’ll see my beautiful daughter again; I’m hoping she’s waiting for me, ready to show me the way.
(All three sit in silence, in tribute to all those lost)
Mary dear, wouldn’t we be able to add her charity to the Bishop’s Christmas Show fund? We could do two sessions of belly dancing – one to support Refuge
and one for Lullaby
What’s that old fruit? You both do belly dancing?
Well, Mary is slightly better at it than me – she has much more of a rhythmic control of her bosom; but I’m not too bad when it comes to the leg department.
Is this something you’d consider Dorothy?
By Jove, ab-so-lute-ly my dear ladies! One is always keen to try out new things you know! Maybe it’ll help tone up the old lower regions so I can get into some decent jodhpurs!
Oh how marvellous, you can join Agatha and me next week. I believe Javala will be quite open to having a new victim, err, participant.
That’s completely spiffing dear ones. Now, did I tell you about the time I discovered the joy of topless weaving…..?