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The whole St Swithun day prognostication thingy seems irrelevant as

it appears to rain incessantly whatever the season.  A Dutchman

named Johan Huibers built an ark in Dordrecht, complete with plastic

animals.  Well, I suppose they would float in any deluge.

Such meteorological topics did not interest Tiger-Lily, nor

Scheherezade, who were caught up with their £40 sweepstake

winnings from Brassie and Cosmo’s Strictly party. They had

accurately predicted that Louis Smith would win the Strictly Come

Dancing finals and, being altruistic girls, they donated part of their

winnings to their favourite charity, Curs in Crisis.  This was in spite of

Andy, the destructive Border Terrier having chewed the Christmas

tree lights and having caused mayhem at the party by plunging everyone

into darkness at the opening of the show.

Tiger called in to see how her grandmother, Ginevra was, after

having been abandoned the previous evening, when everyone ran to

Sonia’s house, in order not to miss the opening group dance by the

professionals.  In actual fact, once Cosmo had woken the wheelchair-bound

guest, she had been refreshed and then no one could get her to stop partying

until 2am.

Tiger’s mum, Carrie had eventually put her mother-in-law to bed as

the carer was off duty.

As mum was busy helping Ginevra with her morning ablutions, Tiger

had been left relatively unsupervised and she had ‘Googled’ Louis

Smith.  Almost immediately a very saucy photograph of the said

Olympic gymnast had popped up and he was not wearing anything at

all. Tiger was intrigued.  She was frustrated by the strategically

placed champagne bottle.  Apparently it had been a feature from Heat

magazine -a publication that would never be afforded entry to

Nutwood Cottage.  She immediately printed it off and Blu-tacked it

to her wardrobe’s inner door.

Imagine Carrie’s volcanic eruption when she discovered the same

indecent image on hanging up her daughter’s beaded Jenny

Packham dress later that morning.  (Tiger kept on having to correct

her mother.  It was Packham and not Packman.  Carrie should have

realised that Jeremy was not into bugle beads and fringing.  At least,

she didn’t think so.  But Paxman was different again.  It was very


Whatever.  Carrie sustained a shock as sensational as that

experienced by Craig Revel Horwood– and indeed the rest of the

nation’s viewers- when Lisa Riley did the splits at Wembley.

Joy: Lisa pulls off the splits

It was painful to think that her sweet, innocent Tiger of tender years

had downloaded such an image.

Gyles!  she called and then thought better of involving him.

The bedroom door was open and she jumped as a voice asked: Did

you call, Mrs Brewer-Mead?

It was Mrs Hatch-Warren, her cleaner.  She had let herself in with the

key she had been given.  Carrie was so overwhelmed that she had

forgotten that she had asked her to come in early to do some

ironing and other chores.

Shall I start by vacuuming Tiger’s bedroom? she inquired.

No!  I mean yes. Eh…  Carrie turned red and it wasn’t a hot flush.

Are you all right, Mrs Brewer-Mead?  the kindly cleaner asked


Carrie gulped.  Mrs Hatch-Warren, I know that you are a

grandmother to a fifteen year old girl.  Well, do you mind me asking

if this is normal?

She opened the wardrobe door.

Ooooh!  I’d say it was more than normal.  I’d say it was b*****

fantastic!  Mrs Hatch-Warren was from Yorkshire where this rather

crude modifier was in constant use and was considered an intensifier,

rather than being tinged with any offence.

So you think I should ignore it?  Carrie was prepared to take the older

woman’s advice.

Ignore it!  No, not at all.  I should come in here every day and have a

good look myself.  Fab-u-lous!  It’s not just Len who would give him a


Mrs Hatch-Warren seemed energised and did all the ironing in

record time, but kept finding excuses to do more dusting in Tiger’s


Carrie was so shocked that she forgot to give the cleaner her

Christmas tip.  But the Yorkshire gran-with-attitude didn’t seem to

notice.  She felt she had had a huge bonus and spent the rest of the

day repeating Brucie’s catch-phrase: Nice to see you- to see you


Louis Smith wins Strictly Come Dancing