New Year, more cake



Mary dear how wonderful to see you looking so full of the festive vigours.  Do come through. Dorothy Lanesborough, Gussie Twot-Wickham and Javala are all in the lounge. We’re just reviewing the success of our belly dancing show at the Bishop’s Palace.

Ooh how delightful, I must say the Count was very impressed with everything.  He has been quite mute with admiration since, keeps asking me to show him some of my moves again.

So you’ve had a quiet Christmas then Mary?

Absolutely!  It’s been heaven (enters the drawing room with Agatha)  Darlings, how wonderful to see you all looking so vibrant.

Let me ring for Ethel and get us some more tea and some of that delicious mincemeat crumble cake that she’s been making for us.

Mary dear, how lovely to see you!   Have you quite recovered from your belly button jewel flying off and hitting the Bishop on the head?  I do believe he came over quite peculiar, but was soon brought round by some of Snetter’s special mulled wine.  

Oh Dorothy, yes it was a slightly un-nerving but I just didn’t want to upset the routine; particularly after Agatha had stunned so many of the audience with her amazing travelling hip swivels and alarming back bends.  


Yes , I noticed the concentration on your face, Agatha.  I also noticed that most of the gentlemen were not actually looking at your face, they seemed to find you quite distracting!

Really, at my age.  What a load of tosh, Gussie!  

But, my dears, it was a truly magnificent evening and I can’t thank you enough.  If the figures are to be believed we have raised an astonishing sum for Refuge and we still have some of the auction money to count too.

Fabulous news Gussie.  With the added benefit that one found the whole experience of twirling semi naked in public totally liberating.  I, for one, feel we should all continue into the new year.

(there are cheers all round, and Ethel brings in more tea and cake.)

You know ladies, I do feel that the most invigorating thing about our belly dancing is the way it has changed my view of our bodies.

How so Agatha dear?

Well, I was reading this month’s Vogue and there is a refreshingly honest article about Ashley Graham who is on the cover.  

But, darling what on earth has this Ashley Graham got to do with us and our bodies?  She is young and beautiful.

Mary dear, I quite agree but Ashley Graham is a ‘Plus-size model on a mission to reshape fashion’ and wants us all to embrace our shape, whatever it is, and love ourselves.  There is a wonderful TEDX talk that covers all aspects of her size and how women are unable to say that they love themselves.

Oh yes, Agatha, I did read about this.  She really is quite inspiring and says that she looked up to her Mother who told her that she should love herself from within.  Apparently her mother would say ‘If you call yourself fat, you’re going to be fat, if you say you’re stupid, you’re going to be stupid’.  

By jove Mary she sounds an entirely inspirational woman and hasn’t fallen into the trap that of trying to perpetuate the media’s idea of the ideal shape which is, quite frankly, unattainable for many without causing damage to body and mind.

Quite dears, and we should not wait until we have reached our grand old ages to finally accept ourselves for who we are.  It’s terrible to think that young women and girls today wish they looked like someone else.  How many of us have looked back at photographs of ourselves in our teens and twenties and wondered how we ever thought we were unattractive or the wrong shape back then?

Oh yes Agatha, it’s such a waste of youth.  And as the wonderful late Carrie Fisher said

“We treat beauty like an accomplishment, and that is insane. Everyone in L.A. says, ‘Oh, you look good,’ and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight. It’s never ‘How are you?’ or ‘You seem happy!'”


So in her memory, let’s have another slice of cake and keep dancing!

Absolutely darlings!



Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Tinsel, Baubles and Bling


There’s simply no point in resisting, Agatha darling.  The time has arrived and we must embrace the whole blasted fandago.

What on earth are you talking about Mary dear?  Have you been listening to Bohemian Rhapsody again?

No dear one.  Although I am partial to a spot of Freddie Mercury from time to time.  No I am talking about Christmas of course.  Have you put up your tree yet?

No Mary, not yet.  Snetter has been having a bit of trouble with the Pinetum this year.  He has struggled to find the right tree as we have had some squirrel damage.

Oh I say!  Nasty little critters aren’t they.

Yes, and in fact poor Snetter was bombarded with pine cones just last week.  I had to bandage his head as he took a glancing blow from a particularly large and spiky one. He swore blind that the creatures were ganging up on him.

Well, I have always said:  ‘tis better to purchase a tree from ye garden centre than suffer the slings and arrows of outraged squirrels.

You may have said that, but only after several glasses of mulled wine and one too many mince pies dear.

Anyway.  Why don’t I take you down to look at the selection they have this year.  That way you don’t have to ask poor old Snetter to do battle with the furry army.  We can travel down in the Land Rover, plenty of room in the back for an eight footer.  Would that be large enough for your needs dear?

Well Mary, we do normally go for twelve feet.  I prefer a large bushy one in my hallway, and I do like to toss my tinsel about with gay abandon, as you know dear.  Also I do have the entire cast of the Nutcracker Suite moulded into decorations from alabaster which does take up quite a large portion of the tree. Still, perhaps one should be frugal this year.  By the way, are you able to drive the old Landy?  I thought you came a cropper last time when you tried to do a three point turn at the Huffington-Smyth’s luncheon event in Pall Mall?

Oh, that’s all forgotten.  The nice policeman was very forgiving after I offered to buy him a new pair of boots and pay for his surgery.  No, I am perfectly confident we can get there and back in one piece.


By the way, Mary, that reminds me.  Are we inviting the Huffington-Smyths to our Christmas charity event at the Bishop’s palace?  I’m not sure Crispin would be quite strong enough to witness our belly dancing, he has a weak heart as you know.

Good point Agatha.  The other difficulty might be that his wife, Lucille, never got over the comments that Gussie Twot-Wickham made about her cockerpoo.  And Gussie is a major contributor to the event so it might be wise to leave them off the guest list.

Quite – one wouldn’t want to upset Gussie.  She is a force to be reckoned with, but we need her list of contacts in order to raise lots of lovely money for our charities.

Yes, I do admire the old bean in fact.  Gussie is pushing ninety and still works full time.  She makes such a contribution to her local community and one does feel, from time to time, that us oldies get overlooked, pushed aside and made invisible by society who seem to value youth over experience.  

Yes indeed, Mary dear.  We both know how it feels to be made to feel worthless once one is over a certain age.  Is it something to do with our grey hair, do you think?

Possibly, I imagine that once one starts fossilising, letting one’s hair reach it’s full silver potential, then the younger generation thinks one has lost one’s marbles and they simply don’t know what to say.

Which is patently ridiculous of course.  We both still have a full set of marbles despite our advancing age and creaking backs.  I mean, how could we possibly remember all that shimmying and hip thrusting at our belly dancing classes if we had gone gaga?

Quite!  Although, I do have my moments.  Only this morning I discovered I had put the Wedgwood in the washing machine and tried to wash my smalls in the dishwasher!

Easy mistake to make Mary.  Did the Wedgwood survive?

Happily yes dear.  I also forgot to switch on the machine, so all is well.  The Count was a little surprised when I got the tea cups out this morning and his underpants were lodged in one of them.  Still, he thought it was my eccentric English ways, rather than a senior moment.

We need to keep reminding people that we are alive and kicking and making a contribution.

And, remember the charity work we do, and many of our age group keep the charity shops going around the country, volunteering their time.  We should raise a glass to them, tell them that they are not invisible, that we need them still.

Oh yes, I agree.  Time for a small sherry and a mince pie dear?

Lovely.  So have you been practicing your hip thrusts and shimmys Agatha?

Only in the bathroom dear.  I don’t want to alarm the servants.  And you?

Yes, infact I do them in front of the Count.  It makes him quite unaccountably happy.

Mince Pie recipe:


3 Little Buttons