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
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
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.
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…)