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Augustus Snodbury climbed onto the tour coach.

He was wearing a new ‘silk leather’ jacket (one size too

small) which he had purchased at the factory outlet

they had visited the previous day.  All the men had bought

one, slicking their receding hairlines back in a Fonz-like mime

of an attitudinal stanceattitudes they had never adopted,

even all those decades ago.  It was all down to the dirty

dancing from last night’s tourist show, no doubt.

Diana regarded him with scarcely masked distaste, as she

thought the garment made him look somewhat reptilian and it only

trumpeted his denial of being in a late-mid life crisis.  She mentally

bracketed leather jacket with woodlouse, or Sugar Daddy Long-legs.

No doubt the gyrations of the belly dancer the day before, aimed

specifically at those men in the audience who looked almost neutered,

had stirred the final glowing embers in a camp fire which had been

almost extinguished.  It now seemed that their gas was at a peep,

after all.

Horrid thought!

You’ll never guess...he began, addressing his daughter

and her mother, dragging the pockets down in a vain attempt

to look casual.

Geoffrey Poskett, interrupted Drusilla, getting it in one.

What is he doing here?  Is he stalking us, or what?

Gus looked crestfallen.  His coup de foudre had been

effectively conducted to earth and rendered impactless.

Apparently he and Milford-Haven responded to an advert for

an Anatolian trip, which had been placed in a music publication,

he began to explain.

Not that Classic FM magazine? Diana shuddered.

Gus ignored her and carried on.  They saw it just before half

term.

Milford-Haven?  Is Nigel here too?  Drusilla blushed.

Yes and no, Gus replied, somewhat cryptically.  He ate the

salad last night and forgot to clean his teeth with bottled water,

so he is resting at the hotel today.

Diana ate a pumpkin seed and looked less than riveted. So,

where are they, I mean their group, going next?

Oh, they’re off to Myra to see the the seat of Bishop Nicolas.

After Milford-Haven took the eponymous role in the school

concert he became fascinated by the character and decided to

follow in his footsteps. Odd that they didn’t mention their intended

trip in the staffroom.

Well, did you mention that we were coming here? Diana lobbed

him this query as fast as one of his Junior spin bowlers.

Eh, no.  I don’t recall that I did.

There you are then, she pronounced, spitting a seed into her

handkerchief. Typical man!

Drusilla watched the other coach drive off in a cloud of dust.

Horrors!  Poskett was waving and he blew her a kiss.  It had

been bad enough being under his baton in the concert, but

she had no intention of coming under him in any sense in the

future.  Egotistical little…

She hoped that Nigel would not contract hepatitis, or anything

sinister.  Poor love!

Drusilla!  Her mother bludgeoned her way into her reverie.

What?

Pardon? her mother corrected her.  She was wrong, but Dru let it

pass.  It was the same with napkin and serviette.  So non-U!  But

she had to admit that she was not a Mitford.  A Milford– maybe…but

she drew back from that sociological precipice.  A teacher marrying a

teacher.  It was like two recessive genes intermingling and would

probably result in a freckled offspring, with too much melamine.  Or

was it melatonin?  Whatever, as her boarders said. Anyway, any kid

they might have would look like a bird’s egg.

Eczane, her mother stated. Like Imodium.  That’s what he needs.

I bought some at the pharmacy yesterday, just in case.  We could

have sent him some via Poskett.

But Dru knew that Nigel would require something stronger to

restore his well-being once Poskett had blabbed that he had

missed seeing the angelic harpist who had tugged so endearingly

at their heartstrings in the concert. And all because he was lying in a

bed of sickness. (Horrible metaphor!)

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