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Just leave her alone, Gisela.  You can’t make someone care about

you.  You have your own narrative and your own life to live.  It’s her


Brassie’s counsel was directed at the rather disconsolate parent of

Juniper Boothroyd-Smythe, who hadn’t contacted her mother once

since swanning off to study at Glasgow’s infamous School of Art.

We were sitting round a table at Costamuchamoulah’s caffeine


One day she will wake up and smell the coffee, I ventured.  I

picked up an in-house copy of Country Life magazine and flicked

through its glossy pages.  Listen to this pretentiousness and have

a laugh!


I quote: ‘What sort of coffee are you sipping….?  Does it sparkle on

the palate…or is it darker, earthier, with a suggestion of leaf mould?’

Oh, that’s nothing, sniffed Gisela, already brightening up.  Some

people drink civet…

Ugh!  Kopi Lowak!  grimaced Brassie.  Who wants to imbibe an

infusion of liquid produced from the defecation of the Asian palm


Asian Palm Civet Over A Tree.jpg

Thousands of connoisseurs, apparently, I informed them.  The

first cuphye-house in Britain was opened in Oxford, for the learned

community, apparently.  The intellegentsia, or so-called, can be most

impressionable, so they are probably guzzling weird concoctions 

in gallons up there, even today.

Let me have a look at it.  Brassie grabbed the article from me, rather


I see what you mean by pretentiousness, she remarked after a few

seconds.  Hark at this! It says: a spokesman for coffee brokers says

‘entire countries unknown to the public, such as Rwanda, are coming

on-stream…’ As a member of the public, have you heard of Rwanda,


The latter was rhetorical and ironic.

We all saw ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, she replied.

Precisely.  How dare they assume that the public is geographically

ignorant!  Brassie’s fur was flying.

Gorillas In The Mist poster.jpg

I seem to remember that the Asian civet, Paradoxanus..

Paradoxurus, corrected Brassie.

Hermaphroditus, I flyted.  I know.  I know…was known as a toddy


Puts one off a hot night-cap, Brassie broke in.  And we all know how

partial she is to her little snifter-and not just for dental or medicinal

purposes.  (She probably only knew the Latin derivation because her

twins were doing a biology project on large mammals.)

Well, I must be off, said Gisela.  I can’t stay around coffee -housing

any longer.  But thanks, guys, for cheering me up.

Coffee-housing? we both queried.

Oh, a hunting term which indicates unnecessary chatter, Gisela


And somehow we didn’t find this pretentious at all, but rather

informative.  But then we love etymology.

You know, I feel sorry for Gisela, I commented when she had left.

That girl of hers is the limit.  She edits her own version of events and

can be quite manipulative.

She is a little devil, agreed Brassie.

A printer’s devil, I found myself saying.  Wait!  I retrieved my notebook

and pen and started scribbling:


So, you want to write me out of your life?

(I’ll finish it tonight and you can have it later on this week…)