Ginevra and Magda, her Eastern European carer, arrived mid-afternoon and
avoided paying the entry fee as predicted. Ginevra turned her nose up at
the suggestion of an elderflower cordial and asked if there wasn’t anything
stronger on offer. Carrie went into the hall to see if there was any leftover
Bombay Sapphire in the wine cellar. Magda meanwhile wheeled the old girl
around the perimeter of the garden, so that she could smell the roses before
she pushed them up.
When Carrie emerged, she was stunned to see that the wheelchair had left
parallel ruts round the erstwhile perfect lawn. There was one anti-mole
petard left, butshe did not think it would have a powerful enough voltage
to blow her mother-in-law right out of her garden. Dommage!
There was little point in remonstrance with Ginevra and, in any case, the
gin-loving one was deep in earnest conversation with Carrie’s neighbour,
the vicar’s wife. The latter had taken some time off from typing her
husband’s suitably entitled column for the parish magazine: Rector’s
Ramblings, in order to engage in some floribunda espionage. This month
her husband’s theme was Franciscan: All Creatures Great and Small.
(Not that he was averse to sprinkling his hosta pots with slug pellets.)
As his amanuensis was nibbling a crystallised violet with her rather
rodent-like teeth, she nodded vigorously in response to Ginevra’s
expressed theological certainty that she had always believed that what
goes around comes around.
I think the Almighty must have some Aboriginal features, for He always
ensures that the boomerang returns to hit you in the back of the neck,
One is always hoisted by one’s own petard, she continued, glad of an
It was ever thus, agreed the vicar’s wife, wondering where the opinionated
one had found a gin. She had only been offered cordial. Why, oh why, did
people always assume that the clergy and their families were abstemious?
And so Ginevra was confirmed in her expressed philosophy when a week later,
Carrie and Gyles received a call from the anti-terrorist squad. Some mole had
informed them that the contents of their re-cycling bin had been reported and
a cardboard box which had contained an explosive device had been
discovered, having been brought into the country illegally. Would they care
to explain, or would they prefer to go straight to Guantanamo without passing
Go, or collecting £200?
Both Gyles and Carrie had needed a stiff gin after they had been invited to
clarify French methods of rodent destruction. This had been difficult as the
young officer had not studied any Modern Languages and, even if he had,
would not have understood the noun detaupeur. Gyles and Carrie claimed to
have believed that rules for pest control must be the same in all EU countries.
The interrogator had laughed comme un drain.
And later, somewhat drained also, they went to the cellar to locate the
Bombay Sapphire. Curiously the bottle had disappeared, as well as its
contents. It didn’t take too long for Carrie to recall who had been the
most recent imbiber.
Next year, they decided, they would remove the lawn and lay a patio.
And, they agreed, that worthy though the cause of anacondas was, they
would not open their garden to the public.