Never too old

russiagranniesAh Agatha dear heart.  Lovely to see you.  Come in and taste Ethel’s delectable meringues.

Mary dear, sounds delightful, and I am somewhat peckish after my morning pointing and sorting papers at our local polling station, you could say that we got into quite an Eton Mess with it all!

Well, we do have some cream and some of our lovely raspberries from the greenhouse to go with them.  I’d quite forgotten about that voting malarkey, which is a tad remiss of me considering all those wonderful women who suffered so that we could have the vote in the first place.

You are absolutely right dear friend, one has to try at least, even when it all looks rather like an uphill struggle.

I agree Agatha.  I say – you do seem a tad discombobulated today.  Perhaps you should stay off the gin until mid afternoon dear.

Mary!  I haven’t touched a drop.  But the Doctor advised I should try some new fangled pill and the side effects make me feel quite peculiar.  My mouth feels drier than the humour in the House of Lords.

Well, I prescribe some strong tea then.  I’ll ring for Ethel.

Thankyou dear.  Anyway, the voting started with quite a solid flow of suited and booted arriving early before going off to work, then mums with pushchairs and by 11am the geriatric brigade with their sticks and walking frames; I do believe they enjoy the trip out.

SUFFRAGETTE/MISS PANKHURST

And you are older than most of them dear.

As indeed we both are dear…but I must admit I’ve been particularly lucky to remain mobile and not to succumb to the family condition like poor Uncle Fortesque.  His ankles became quite the talk of society you know.  But I digress, shall you vote later?

Well, I’m sure Ethel’s tea and meringues will perk me right up and then I can toddle off down to the local village hall and put my mark on the paper.   But, dear, I have no idea who I’d currently vote for as I’ve not seen anything convincing from any party.

I know what you mean Mary dear, it’s as though Theresa had a new haircut to divert attention from the importance of the local elections.

Well, one must keep in mind the big one in June of course.  And despite the evidence that the result is a foregone conclusion, the pollsters have got it wrong before. It’s never over until the fat lady sings as they say.  Which reminds me.  You didn’t manage to hear Madelaine Cauli-Floret sing at the parish council event the other evening?

Oh yes, Mary dear, what an experience.  I had quite forgotten how …. individual….. a singer she is.  Some of the ladies went quite into a swoon at her rendition of Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden.  Fortunately she was prevented from completing an encore of ‘Three Little Maids’ by Bernard Snubbings.  He’s not a man I care to associate with, following that nasty incident with the mustard at the Little Milford Church Benevolent Fund Summer Feast last year.  It quite put me off my sausages.

It sounds eventful dear, and I am sorry that I missed it. I’ve been up to my eyes in all my sorting out and packing for our trip to Bangkok.  All my summer outfits seem to have unaccountably shrunk since last year.   I will be forced to purchase some news items which is such a bore.  

Oh a trip up to town might be just the tonic we need dear.  I can ask Snetter to drop us at the station.

Yes, of course that would be splendid.  But I can’t help worrying about people like the tuneful Madelaine, and my dear Count, who could be made to leave England if we experience a hard Brexit.

Oh Mary dear, don’t upset yourself I’m sure that it won’t come to that, we’ve been over this before if you recall.  You know our economy can’t survive without all our European colleagues and besides dear one, it is the Eurovision song contest this weekend.

Agatha, goodness you don’t still follow that do you?

Indeed I do dear one and I must say it is a tonic.  My darling Algie is coming over with his lovely partner Daniel Blyth-Williamson and we shall be decorating the house entirely in glitter balls.  I do believe Martha is going for quite a European themed buffet too.  You and the Count must come over.  I think it will cheer your spirits entirely.

eurovision

Do you believe we’ll get any points this year?

Well, it’s a long time certainly since we lifted the trophy dear one, but never say never. At least we can be thankful that that is one thing European that we will continue to support. And, between you and me, the rumour from Minnie Piersflight is that Prince Philip has retired precisely so he can watch the events from Thursday onwards.

Really dear, I didn’t know that he was a fan?

Oh absolutely, I would trust my crocheted hats to Minnie – whatever she says can be totally and discreetly relied upon.  Apparently it’s not a side of the Duke’s persona that he likes to publicise.  I do believe he even wrote a line or two for our dear Terry Wogan when he was compering the show!

Goodness me Agatha, that does explain a lot.  I do think he’s been an amazing ambassador though, despite some of his gaffes.  Of course it’s a shame that we won’t witness what he might have said to President Trump when he visits later this year.

Quite dear.  Perhaps it’s best Philip is retiring, given that the President appears rather quick to anger, and somewhat trigger-happy.

Perish the thought, Agatha.  More tea and another meringue?

htc-eton-mess

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/british/eton-mess

Gallivanting and Golf

8108_Lady-golfer-old

Ah, Mary dear, so glad you are here.  I just need you to witness my application form with your signature.

What’s this for Agatha?

Well, Muirfield Golf Club of course.

Golf!  You haven’t taken a swipe at a ball for many years dear heart.  Why now?

Because, I vowed to be one of the first ladies to join the club when they overturned their archaic ruling not to allow women members.  I wanted to be at the forefront of the revolution to see skirts abounding across the greens.

Jolly good show.  When do you plan to visit and sink a few balls then?

I thought we could trundle up there together at the weekend.  Are you free?  I can get Snetter to drive us in the Daimler so we should be comfortable.  And we can stop in Oxford to buy some proper golfing shoes with little spikes in.  Good for the grip don’t you know.

That sounds totally spiffing Agatha.  The Count is a visiting cousin in Italy at the weekend so I would love to join you.  Is there not a waiting list?

Funnily enough, there is.  But I have an old chum who can sign me in as a guest for now.  Do you remember Dougal Mactwittle?  He used to play the drums at our annual WI tea dance.  He always looked so splendid in his kilt twirling his sticks about.

007

Of course I do.  He always caused a stir, sitting up on the stage, legs akimbo, pounding away with his sticks.  It never seemed to be his drum skills that caused the sensation if I remember correctly.  I do remember that one time when Dorothea Andrews was quite in a swoon, simply saw what she’d never seen before, if I remember correctly.

Yes, very Aunt Ada Doom dear one, but I do hear that she is quite the liberated woman now.  I believe she even did some work for Good Housekeeping testing ladies toys of some kind I believe.  

By jingo, good for her!  That might explain the new glow she seems to have these days.

Well, as I was saying, whilst Dougal’s undergarments were somewhat lacking, his golfing skills are still rather top notch.   Anyway, he seemed surprised that I wanted to join the golf club at all, saying that it will take quite some time to move on from their rather Victorian culture.

Well, that’s as may be but unless we keep persevering and pushing through barriers nothing will change at all and we’ll all become quite invisible.

Indeed so Mary dear.  If I can wield a club and knock of few of those crusty old codgers off their pedestals it will be effort well spent.

Oh splendid Agatha, quite spiffingly splendid!  A jolly caper north of the border before we have to start using passports will be just the ticket.

Yes, indeed.  Goodness knows what the next few years will bring – maybe there’ll be another great wall between us and Scotland if they decide to leave us.

Goodness, we certainly live in worrying times dear one, but Agatha let us not lose hope.  Let us not drown in the sorrows of the world, let us rise above them and together challenge the oppressors and blow raspberries in their faces, let us not go into that dark night alone….

Oh Mary dear, do stop – you’ve gone quite Winston Churchill on me.  You’ve worked yourself up into quite a lather.  Here, have one of Ethel’s delicious éclairs.  The cream is quite delicious you know and besides you have your wonderful trip to Bangkok and beyond to look forward to.

Oh yes, we have already started packing.  I dug out my old bikini yesterday.  It was a bit the worse for wear after our wonderful trip to Egypt last year.  It still had sand in the cups.

Goodness, that sand did find it’s way into the most inconvenient places.   Why don’t you treat yourself to a new one, after all you don’t want to end up like Peggy in The Archers with nothing to cover her modesty but her arms and the water!

I say Agatha, you’ve got a point there.  The problem is the construction… you know perfectly well that there’s a limited range in the shops for my endowment.  We may have to go back to our dear lady at Rigby & Peller to see whether they can assist with an architectural project that will keep my frontage in check.

Well at least you still have the courage to wear a bikini.  I haven’t revealed my midriff since 1984.  And as for my thighs – well you know I make full use of my sarong at all times.  One really must consider one’s public you know.

I believe there is simply no point in caring what others think any more.  We are well into our dotage, Agatha dear, and I do not give a jot about fitting into some outdated stereotype of what a woman’s body should look like.  Mine has served me perfectly well for years.

By jove Mary, long may it continue to do so.  But remember when we were on the deck of our Nile cruiser last year?  We did elicit some alarm from some French tourists.  You know how slim they all are.  One poor lady choked on her Bellini when you whipped off your towel.

I do believe she was jealous!  Besides, they quickly became distracted when you dived in to rescue poor Binky; but you have given me an idea – perhaps I shall just go topless as they do in France – n’est pas?

Mary dear, Europe may be sad to see us leave, but I’m not sure if the world is quite ready for your unfettered frontage.

You might be right Agatha.  Perhaps we should call for some more tea and start to plan our route up to Scotland.  Wouldn’t it be fun to drop in on our dear friends Olive Croissant and Fanny Chevaux on our way?

What a splendid idea.  I am given to understand that they have expanded their cat’s home to incorporate training in acrobatics.

Acrobatics!  For cats?

cat

Yes indeed.  Who knew our furry friends could be so adept on the pommel horse and the parallel bars.  The mind quite boggles.

Quite.  Although perhaps the two ladies could be losing their grip on reality.  

No really, I have seen the photographs.  They do shows and are thinking about touring the country.  In fact they have been in touch with our dear Author friend Eileen who has been studying acrobatics in China.  She is flying back to give a masterclass.

How wonderful.  Tea dear?

Lovely.  Chin chin.

09-01-Trex-chocolate-eclairs-Lets-Bake-recipe-book_450x450

Recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pauls_chocolate_clairs_59944

 

Reasons to be cheerful – part two

laughing

Agatha dear, do come in.  I’ve got some rather spiffing news.

Oh what a thrill Mary dear.  One can always do with a little light entertainment to brighten the day.  Now, don’t tell me. Has the Count finally won the annual Little-Snetherton Ping Pong Championships?

Oh good gracious, no unfortunately not dear.  This news is far more exciting.

Well Mary, if that is indeed the case I feel that I may need some of Martha’s sterling bread pudding to steady the nerves.

Agatha dear, I feel we can do a tad better than that….Angus has found a rather topping bottle of the Bolly ’27.

Goodness!  Isn’t that a little excessive for elevenses?

Nonsense Agatha it’s in perfect keeping.  Now, do sit down before I burst!  Here (passes Agatha a glass of the aforementioned Bolly)…. The Count and I are going travelling.

I’m sorry dear, did you say that you AND THE COUNT are going travelling?  Are you feeling quite well?  I know that we found our sojourn to Egypt quite invigorating, but surely you realise that you are not spring chickens any more.  The thought of you struggling across windswept plains with a large knapksack strapped to your back, or staying in a hostel and smoking unusual plants makes me feel quite peculiar.

vinatge-style

Don’t fret my dear friend.  I have decided that it’s a corking plan.  Just what is needed at our time of life and I feel quite exhilarated by the whole idea.  I must say that the very thought of it has quite taken 10 years off of me and The Count is skipping about like a youthful seventy year old.

Mary dear, I think that may just simply be a side effect of the champagne.  But that said, you do seem to be quite fixed on the notion.

Agatha, indeed we are, but I must confess that there is a part of me that is a trifle concerned about leaving you behind.  Particularly as poor Binkie is no longer around to look after you.

Oh please don’t fret about me, my dear.  Binkie is reaping his just desserts and although I will always be fond of him, he will simply never change his conniving ways, even though I am the most determined woman there is nothing to be done.  Besides, Snetter manages the house very well and dear Algie is always on hand to guide me through any mishap.

Of course dear one.  How is Algie after his rather belated ‘coming out’?  I understand that it was quite a shock in some circles.

Mary dear, he is quite the changed man.  It’s as though the weight of the past years has been lifted and he is in a perpetual Disney movie, bursting into song when ever he gets the opportunity.  Of course the government pardoning so many gay gentlemen for their so-called crimes, has made a huge difference.  But, I do believe that Daniel has certainly played a part in his new-found happiness.

That wouldn’t be Daniel of the Blyth-Williamsons by any chance?  He’s a total charmer my dear, comes from a delightful family and all so well connected.  I believe they own quite a substantial amount of Shropshire.  Maud Clevington-Simms knows the whole crowd.

Yes, quite right Mary dear.  I must admit – he’s quite the scoop!  But goodness me, how is Maud?  I haven’t seen her since Fenella Hart-Worthy put mustard powder in her lingerie drawer when we were in the 4th form at St Margaret for the Pure of Heart.  Poor gal was in the infirmary for weeks and then when she recovered from the itching and embarrassment, her family packed her off to a finishing school in Switzerland.  I have only heard vague rumours about her rather unusual life from Fenella.  She never married, I heard.

No, but she had liaisons in several countries, and five children.  Made a bundle on those self help meditation books she wrote after her years out East.  But she looks chipper.  She keeps rabbits now, apparently her house is teeming with the little blighters, but she seems happy.  We met for tea at Claridges on Tuesday and she mentioned that she has friends out in Bangkok.  In fact she has put me in touch with a couple of chaps who may be able to help us find some accommodation.

Bangkok!  Are you sure dear?  I understand the city is a tad different to the rolling hills and leafy lanes of Sussex.  In fact, last year, before I discovered his true nature, Binky took me to a show in Brighton.  I thought it was going to be a rather splendid  Oscar Wilde type of thing.  But the Bangkok Lady Boys were quite a revelation.  I needed several stiff gins afterwards at the hotel to calm my nerves.

Don’t worry dear.  The Count is quite broad minded as you know.  And I am just looking forward to being immersed in something totally new, however risque.  It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry, the plan is to learn about other cultures and different ways of life.

the-white-temple-chiang-rai-2-1024x681

You know what Mary dear?  I do believe you’re onto something – wider understanding, wider horizons etc.  What with all this bally business of Brexit and Trump, perhaps your rather wild idea seems quite sensible.  Who knows, I may come out and join you.   When I was Head of Jam at the WI I worked with a charming chap.  He was Malaysian.  There’s a remote possibility that he’d still be alive I think.

Dear one, you can’t be serious!  Surely Che Cheng would be over a hundred by now?

Quite possibly Mary, quite possibly.  There’s always a chance though don’t you think?

Absolutely Agatha.  Now how about some more bubbly and a slice of that delicious bread pudding?

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/13355/bread-pudding

breadpudding

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

New Year, more cake

newyearcake

 

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.  

bellydancebend

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.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAgawjzimjc

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!'”

carrie-fisher-princess-leia-iii-by-dave-daring

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

Absolutely darlings!

mincemeatcake

http://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/m/mincemeat_crumble_cake.html

 

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Tinsel, Baubles and Bling

squirrell

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.

drinkinginfurs

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: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1813664/mince-pies

mincepie

3 Little Buttons

Hope and horses

gorilla

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.

_47339956_kayak512

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

http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/nukak

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.

mred

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

http://www.refuge.org.uk/

and one for Lullaby

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/ 

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…..?

financier

recipe:

How to make French financiers

3 Little Buttons
Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Spooky looks

1930s-makeup-the-jean-harlow-look2

Mary, dear one, what a treat to see you looking so happy.  Has anything particular happened this week to cause such a flush of joy across your cheeks.  Perhaps the Count has come up trumps with a romantic gesture?

Oh Agatha, how sweet of you to notice.  But no, my fresh faced appearance has nothing to do with the dear old fruit, but I did have my annual visit to my facialist this week.  She gave me a new treatment, something to do with hydraulics apparently.  Of course, at my age we need heavy lifting gear to alleviate the wrinkles, I think that’s what the lovely Gina said, anyway.

Is that Gina who works for the rogue cosmetic surgeon who has been hitting the headlines recently?

Yes, one and the same Agatha.  But Gina is totally above board and on the right side.  She doesn’t get involved in any of that invasive, injecting buttocks stuff.

Botox I think you mean.

Oh yes.  Well, Gina swears by natural remedies and plenty of exercise, with the odd facial peel thrown in to keep one looking youthful and vigorous.

Well Mary, you do look ever so well, tip top dear.  Perhaps I should pay her a visit?  Maybe eradicating a few lines will help me feel more attractive during the coming party season.  Perhaps, even, I might find a new beau?

Oh I do think the force of your personality is enough Agatha dear. After all, at our age, looks are not the first port of call when looking for a romantic companion.  One has to be careful about how far one goes with this kind of thing.

Well Mary, that is a rather ironic comment considering the money you have just spent having your skin pummelled and tightened.  I mean, if it’s good enough for you then it should be good enough for your oldest friend, don’t you think?

Oh but dear one, you do tend to get a little carried away sometimes.  But of course Agatha, I didn’t mean to be bossy (flushes) – but I know you.  You see a new thing and you go a little overboard.  I can imagine you being persuaded to have all sorts of procedures once you are sitting in that seductive environment, surrounded by images of ladies who have shed decades with one swipe of the knife.

Do you mean that I would go for a full face lift without batting an eyelid?

vintageimprovers

Possibly Agatha, and you wouldn’t be able to bat your eyelids for months afterwards!  Don’t you remember April Bartholomew?  She had a series of facial lifts and tucks and couldn’t blink at all by the end of it.  

Heavens dear – I hadn’t realised that was the reason she always wore dark glasses and had such a strained look about her.  I thought she was hoping to look like Victoria Beckham!  But you’re quite right Mary.  I always do get carried away.  After all, I did lose all sense of proportion over that rotter Binky.  Perhaps I should stick to the Estee Lauder counter at Selfridges, Daddy’s discount still applies there – amazing really after all these years, but I guess old man Selfridge must have been desperate.  Anyway, Florence really does look after me.  She always manages to find just the right foundation colour and texture for my skin.

And you always look glorious Agatha.  You are still a real head turner when you have had your hair done and you are wearing something expensive.  It’s your bone structure I have always admired.  Those cheek bones would shame the Duchess of Cambridge!

Thank you dear, they are a real asset as it means I’ll never really have to have any serious surgery.  But, that reminds me dear about that very sad story in the news last week.  Do you remember Pete Burns, that pop singer from the 1980s?

Oh yes indeed.  His band was Dead or Alive were they not?

That’s right dear.  Anyway, he met an untimely end last week, at the age of just 57 – so young and so tragic.

I did hear that, I agree so very tragic.  Such an interesting chap too.  I do remember being struck by his beauty when he was first on the scene.  Quite transcendent.

peteburns

Yes he was.  And for some reason he went totally overboard on plastic surgery.  One wonders what drove such a talented and good looking chap to such extremes.  He must have been quite insecure inside, I imagine.

Perhaps he was, Agatha dear.  I believe that it all started when he went to get his broken nose fixed and it went wrong.  

But isn’t that what happened to David Gest too?  Poor chap had some dreadful surgery that went horribly wrong and he too died before his time.  

Horribly tragic.  I believe dear Pete had admitted that being in the spotlight made him very conscious of how he looked.   It seems that nowadays you need more than talent to succeed in the world of popular music, you need to look a certain way.  It’s such unremitting pressure on the young ones.

I agree totally my dear.  One wonders what lengths people will go to to conform to some arbitrary standard of beauty.  

Yes Agatha, and of course, the pressure is on both men and women – it is a worry, particularly when you know that those images we are fed every day of perfect features are all air-brushed.  They are not real.

Well, let’s try and embrace the warts and all.  The good thing is that as one advances in age, one can join in the Halloween celebrations and look witchy and scary with very little makeup.

modern-covens-feature

Yes dear.  The only problem is that we sometimes scare ourselves too!  But do you remember the larks we used to have by simply putting a torch under the chin?  

Oh indeed Mary, a darkened hall and a torch was enough to make the bravest child quiver in fear.  Amazing how the simple things work best isn’t it?

Indeed Agatha dear and, talking of simple things how about a nice cup of tea and some of Ethel’s pumpkin pie?

I thought you’d never ask dear.

pumpkinpie_70659_16x9

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pumpkinpie_70659

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Green Balls and Glitter

green-disco-ball-bonanza

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?  

mw

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.  

http://www.pierredulaine.org/about-pierre/

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.

banderasdancing

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.

blithe-spirit-nichola-mcauliffe

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!

appletart

http://thecakedcrusader.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/apple-tart-maman-blanc.html

3 Little Buttons

My Random Musings

Revenge is…..

revenge-is-a-dish-best-served-cold-with-champagne-quote-1

Oh Mary dear, I am so glad to see you…

What ever is the matter Agatha dear?  You do look a tad agitated and rather flushed.  Are you sure I haven’t interrupted anything?

My goodness dear, you know Binky is rotting in an Egyptian jail, and I have certainly not taken on another lover, I’m not that fast these days!  No, I am in quite a quandary dear.  I must admit that I’ve not felt this way for some decades and really thought that I’d got over the whole sorry business.

Agatha please, do sit down.  Let me pour you a cup of Lapsang.  You really do need to calm down.  Now dear (passes her a cup of tea and a slice of Bakewell tart) do tell me whatever is the matter.

Well, you remember all those years ago when we were just gals and enjoying our school days away from the confines of parental control?

Of course I do dear.  Don’t you remember when Matron was convinced that Rose Laughton had the pox, when in reality she just didn’t have the right gym slip?

Goodness, what stuff you remember my dear! Yes I remember, the poor item was confined to the sick room for a whole week!   What ever happened to Rose?  Poor gal seemed to always to be prone to the the worst possible luck!

I believe she married well dear, Henry Thorny-Bottom I believe.  He died after a couple of years of marriage; rumour was that she wore him out!  I believe he left her an absolute fortune though and, if the society pages are anything to go by, she’s spent an awful lot of it on champagne and parties.  I’m told she looks quite young for her age and I hear her hair has turned quite blonde.

Well, I suppose it’s some compensation for her married name!   

But Agatha dear, do tell me what is worrying you.  It must be something serious if a slice of Ms Berry’s Bakewell doesn’t sooth you.  It’s not about the shenanigans going on at Bake Off I suppose?

No, Mary, I know it is wrong of me and I can’t seem to come to terms with it, but I must say something or else I’ll burst….

I’m all ears dear…

You do remember Miss Wilmington-Hurst from school don’t you?

trunchbull

How could I forget dear one, old frosty pants was positively vile!  I don’t know what we had ever done to her, but she hated us both with a vengeance and, if I remember rightly, took a particular dislike to you dear.  I do recall once when we were just sneaking back from the kitchen having snaffled a couple of tea cakes that cook had made that day and she accosted us in the corridor…

Don’t, dear one.  I remember it all too well.  She couldn’t resist the opportunity to launch a tirade of abuse at us, and the slipper.  She snatched those tea cakes away pretty sharpish too.

But Agatha what on earth does that have to do with the state you are currently in?

Well Mary dear, she’s died in rather a painful, and embarrassing way.

Crikey!

Yes, and the Omnibus didn’t come off that well either!  But the whole sorry episode has thrown me into a maelstrom of multitudinous emotions…..

screaminglady
Agatha dear, are you talking about retribution and forgiveness?

Indeed Mary.  My reaction when I heard the news was less than dignified.  I felt gleeful for a moment, then guilt, then joy, then more guilt.  It was all so confusing and brought back all those horrid and muddling memories of her treatment of us during our formative years.  

Oh Agatha dear, I know it was a hard time, particularly for you.  

I thought I had managed to put it all behind me though.  But to top it all, the news about that poor Helen Archer on the radio who, despite everything she has suffered at the hands of her husband,  still has to fight for the custody of her children, also brought back painful memories of being bullied by the vicious old crow and feeling helpless.  (Taking a breath) And there’s the rub.  How do you go about forgiving someone who has done you so much harm that your natural instincts tell you to relish any pain that they suffer?

(Sharp intake of breath) Oh hells bells.  I think we need something stronger than this delicious Lapsang; let me ring for Snetter.

(Pause)

Brandies please old chap; and make them large ones if you don’t mind.

Mary, (taking a large gulp of brandy) I feel terrible about my reaction.  I mean, she was a total rotter, but she didn’t deserve to die in such unpleasant circumstances.  So how should I react when I feel like dancing down the high street in my underwear singing “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead!”   It’s just all SO distressing.

witchisdead

Well, it would be most distressing if you did indeed dance about in your smalls in public. But you needn’t worry Agatha dear.  You were not driving the bus after all, and it’s perfectly natural to feel conflicted when the architect of your unhappiness meets an untimely end, after all you never had any apology or justice served from the school for the psychological damage that teacher inflicted on you.  You never healed dear one. (Pause) Of course, we must remember that retribution is a dangerous thing.  We must try and rise above it because if we don’t that feeling can become twisted within ourselves and then we run the danger of becoming what they were.

You are so wise Mary dear, but what do we do if our loved ones are victims too?

We do the same dear one, and endeavour to protect them as much as we are able.  Don’t forget, love will conquer all in the end.

How right you are – love and time.  Talking of which do we still have time for another slice of Bakewell before the theatre?

I believe we do dear, but I also think we should have a large coffee before we go.  One doesn’t want to be tottering down the aisle and making an exhibition of oneself.

It is an Oscar Wilde play tonight isn’t it?

Yes Agatha dear, it’s “A Woman of No Importance.”

awomanofnoimportancecover

Of course it is!  He always hit the spot, dear man.  I think his words certainly provide comfort and clarity.

Oh yes – he once said “ Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.”

bakewell_tart_90600_16x9

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/bakewell_tart_90600

 

 

3 Little Buttons
My Random Musings
R is for Hoppit

Return of the goddesses

liztaylor

Oh Mary dear, it was such a wonderful trip to Egypt.  Despite the colossal ding dong with Binky, my jewellery and him ending up floundering in the Nile, I feel quite refreshed and invigorated!

Yes Agatha, at it all ended quite splendidly I thought.  After all, you deserve better than a conniving snake for a partner, I always suspected he was being disingenuous about his adoration of your thighs.

Well, quite, but let us not fall into the trap of feeling worthy only because of our bodies.  Let’s face it dear one, they have lasted pretty well.  I was amazed at how sprightly you were at dodging the hashish sellers in the markets

Well… I do have a tiny confession to make Agatha.  I was not totally successful.  One rather persuasive gentleman did manage to convince me that his particular strain was pure and gorgeous so I did partake in a puff or two whilst you were having tea with that carpet seller!

casablanca-cigarette-bogart

I thought you were a little wide eyed and excitable afterwards dear, so that explains it.  So, did it take you to new heights of ecstasy Mary?

No, it just made me light headed and peckish.  Still, the delicious falafel and flatbreads afterwards took care of that side effect!

And now, here we are, back in Blighty with our Earl Grey and custard creams.  It all seems rather dull in comparison.

Not a bit of it.  Remember, dear, we have our annual underwear fitting at Rigby & Peller tomorrow.  Always something to look forward to.  Despite the extra poundage we have no doubt gathered on our travels, I am keen to see their new lines.

Oh yes, I had forgotten Agatha.  I agree, it’s quite a treat to be fitted for snug and supportive underwear by capable hands.  Isn’t the charming Ethel at the shop also underwear supplier to Her Majesty?

She used to be I believe, but since the incident with the mix up in the order – when apparently a box of racy lacy red frivolities was delivered instead of the sturdy cream numbers our beloved Queen prefers – dear old Ethel has been off the list.  Still, she looks after us very well.

Yes she does, and I am given to understand that she has some interesting pieces in this season.  I was reading an article on the aeroplane about how attractive undergarments are now available for the less than stick perfect figure.  It was that talented American, Lena Dunham, who has been getting her kit off again, this time in rather lovely lingerie to show women everywhere that your body should be celebrated, whatever it’s shape.

lena-dunham-600
Lena Dunham in Lonely lingerie

But Mary, surely at our age we should be acting, and dressing, appropriately?  I mean to say, youthful vigour is all very well in the young, but by the time you get to our age dear, most people just regard it as eccentricity

Absolutely not dear, you and I have always been eccentric – it runs in our families and age has nothing to do with it.  So let’s put propriety to one side tomorrow, and try out some daring lingerie.

Allright dear, just so long as it provides support where needed.  

Absolutely my dear, I managed to catch Woman’s Hour the other day and they had a lovely lady from Selfridges in who worked in the lingerie department ensuring that our bosoms are truly nurtured with the right underwear.  Interestingly she said that women, no matter what size or shape, are relentlessly hard on themselves about some aspect of their body.

But that is dreadful dear.  We really must be celebrating our bodies more.  I believe we should start wearing lingerie that suits us and makes us feel good, pamper ourselves with positive thoughts and dismiss that negative committee that tends to sit on one’s shoulders.

Yes, just like those Egyptian Goddesses, one of whom decided to sport a fake beard I understand – now that is eccentric!  

How completely magnificent Mary, and I must say it reminds me of your aunt Bernie, the one who used to dress as a chap.  Yes, she really was quite different, never gave a fig about what people thought of her.  Don’t you remember when she was playing Hamlet down in Minack as part of the summer festival and came on in the final scene wearing just a flimsy vest and pantaloons – no brassiere – she caused quite a stir.

judidench

My goodness dear I’d quite forgotten.  I do remember the critics being quite perplexed that a woman could play so convincing a role and be so liberated as to not give a hoot about convention.  Also I believe the audience sitting in the front row got quite an unexpected eyeful when the vest blew up over her head during a sharp gust of wind.

Yes indeed, and her large frontage was certainly passed down to you dear – happily you keep yours in check.  Still, it was a talking point amongst Shakespearian scholars, you know, the juxtaposition of the male and female, and Hamlet’s obsession with his mother embodied by him possessing breasts.

How we hooted with laughter dear!  Bernie was not making a point about anything, she simply had a wardrobe malfunction.

Isn’t it amazing how we tend to overthink these things dear.  I think we should all take a leaf out of dear Aunt Bernie’s book, and just be ourselves and throw caution to the wind.

Yes, just so long as it doesn’t lift up your shirt and reveal a little too much!

I believe you may have a point Mary dear.  Another custard cream?

Ooh yes please dear.  Home made?

Of course.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/food/recipes/classic-custard-creams-biscuits

 

https://www.rigbyandpeller.co.uk/what-s-new/2AF_AAABgW4AAAFCt7huWpjp

 

Life Love and Dirty Dishes
3 Little Buttons
My Random Musings