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Two yellow arches joined together to form a rounded letter M

Brassie and I are in danger of becoming latte loungers– you know,

like those Koreans who hang around McDonalds, sharing a bag of

fries for hours on end.  Only we don’t eat chips.  We daren’t.

Another problem is that we don’t want to spend money on sweet

things which will make us fat.  It doesn’t take long to drink one cup

of anything.  Then each is thinking, I must go!  But we have a lot more

to say and we keep on talking.  We wouldn’t hang around if there

was a queue for a seat and table, but we are aware that we

probably overstay our commercial viability.

What have you been up to recently? I was asked.

Oh, just re-reading some Bronte novels.  What about you?

I’ve just been to the GP, remarked Brassica.

Everything okay?  I asked her.

Oh, just a couple of things I wanted to have checked.

Whom did you see?  I was feeling pedantic!

The first one I could get an appointment with, she replied.

Dr Brocklehurst I think it was, but they’re all the same.

The name sounds familiar, I reflected aloud.

None of them wants to actually lay a finger on you and you can

see them counting up their hours on a claims sheet. They can’t

wait to turn their backs on you and log on to their computer.  You

can see them typing Caps Lock-‘M’ for ‘Mad Woman.’

You need to wake them up by inserting a key word like ‘depression’,

or ‘meaninglessness,’ I suggested.  They really like something that

can be ticked in a box.  They are quite disappointed if you refuse

antidepressants and stubbornly insist on having an antibiotic, or,

even more outrageously, ask for a blood test.  But, anyway, what did

he say?

He said, Do you know where patients with your symptoms end up?

I replied, I think they go to hospital eventually.

And what might you mean by a ‘hospital’? he urged.

A unit where you might be abandoned on a trolley, dehydrated until you

resemble biltong and then perhaps put on the primrose path to the

everlasting bonfire, aka The Liverpool Pathway, I retorted.

I was surprised at Brassie’s vehemence.

Well, would you like a referral? he asked grudgingly.

No, not on your life, or on anyone’s.  Brassie was adamant.

So, how might you prevent this?  Brocklehurst interrogated.

I must keep in good health, not eat sugar and avoid coming here,

avowed Brassie.

That’s odd, I broke in.  This dialogue reminds me very much of

something I read in ‘Jane Eyre’.

What?  Are you typecasting me for a role as Madwoman in the Attic?

Brassie queried.

Only based on what I was told yesterday, I teased.  I heard that,

as pack leader, you’ve been indulging those pugs of yours in some bizarre

scheme which just might undermine any claim to sanity that you had left.

Well, at least I didn’t treat my daughter to a Disney Princess experience

at Harrods! she exclaimed.  Parting with £1,000 for that would be insane.

But you don’t have a daughter, do you? I pointed out.

Well, if I did…she excused her gaffe.

Don’t look now! I advised.  I could see in the reflection of the metal coffee

machine a woman coming in with a child dressed in a pink tulle dress with

a plastic tiara on its head.

Hi, Susan, Brassie greeted the woman.  Hello, Tallulah!  Are you not at

school today?

The scowling child banged a wand on the table and demanded

marshmallows on her hot chocolate.

She’s been suspended, confessed Susan in a whisper.

But she’s only eight!  Brassie was shocked.

Tiaras contravene the uniform code apparently and she won’t take

it off.  Susan looked at the end of her tether.  She thinks she really

is a Princess and has a Divine Right.

But only married women wear tiaras and only after dark, I said loudly.

Anyone with blue blood and of a royal house knows that.

I sneered at the child behind her mother’s back.  So last year! I


Tallulah scraped the foam from the bottom of her mug and licked the

spoon. Then she snatched the plastic coronet off her head and broke

it in two.

I’m really bored now, she advised her minion, I mean ‘mother‘.  Let’s go

back to school.

And that meant that Costamuchamoulah wasn’t quite so crowded, so

Brassie and I didn’t feel pressurised  to place another order.

We hadn’t even begun to update ourselves with the latest on Suttonford

residents’ previous weekend activities and were warming up to an in depth


But then Dr Brocklehurst came in with his laptop and squeezed into the seat

at the corner table.  We thought it was time to go.  So much for the

damnation of the white stuff- sugar- I mean: his hot chocolate was laden

with mini- marshmallows and liberally dusted with sprinklies.

Maybe Costamuchamoulah pays him in complementaries to come in and

clear the regulars!