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File:Fish kettle.jpg

The ring had sparkled on Drusilla Fotheringay’s finger- so

much so that Lower Six spotted it immediately and one

forward type had commented, Oh, Miss, is that a zircon?

Dru then had had to prevent herself from using the sun’s rays

as a laser effect to bounce off the prism of her multi-

faceted stone, only for it to be directed forthwith into the pupils

of the aforesaid wag.

Pupils.  Hmmm, I must ask Dad what is the etymological

connection between students and eyes.  Maybe reading?

Or is it that nowadays they all seem to be the apple of their

father’s eyes? she had ‘mused‘.  Editor: Not ‘reflected’. 

She had sprung back to attention as she noticed that the class

had left a lumpily wrapped present on her desk.

It was obviously a fish kettle.  And there had been an

accompanying card, with the following : Men!-Don’t Let the

B******* get you down!

It had been signed by the whole class.

The legend had obviously been written by one of the more gender-

politicised members of the group.  Dru would choose to ignore

the inappropriate language, in favour of the spirit of the gift,

even if it had been Amarillo Guttersnipe’s mother’s unwanted

Christmas present.

That had been yesterday and today it was her morning off.  She

was enjoying a quiet interval in her flat, still in her pyjamas.  She

took her hot water and lemon slice and wandered into the hall, to

see if there was any post.

A pink envelope lay on the Turtle mat, which was very similar to the

doormat that had covered the very spot, over thirty years previously,

and which had been the location of her mother’s tragic mis-directed

missive- the one which Existentially might have opened a very different

sliding door.

When Diana, Dru’s mother, had been a ‘Lax‘ Mistress at St Vitus’ School

for the Academically-Challenged Girl, all those years ago, the ill-fated

Valentine card had slipped between the underlay and the carpet and

its interior proposal had been unread for decades.

(Editor:  The school’s name had been changed to accommodate the very

different type of clientele they were now receiving.)

Now there was a smart brass letterbox in the House Mistress’ door, so

the mail tended to reach its intended recipient.

Curioser and curioser… It seemed to have a Spanish stamp and was

franked with the dreaded Proper Noun: Magaluf.

Oh, it was a card from Juniper Boothroyd-Smythe, whose pesky little

brother was still at St Birinus Middle, where he continued to abuse Nigel.

Dru liked to have news from her ex-pupils, though, goodness only knew

how she had wished this one even further away than Glasgow School

of Art.

There was no denying that the girl had been creative and talented,


John had texted his big sister with the news of the teachers’ engagement.

Actually, he had worded it thus: We thought he was gay!

The card was made of hand-crafted paper, which looked like tissues that

had survived a 40 degree wash in some sleeve or other.  There was a

glued on stencilled depiction, a la Banksy, of a manacled woman, holding

out a begging bowl and wearing leg irons.  She was chained to a kitchen

sink. Below this image were the comments:

Who wants to live in an institution?

Congratulations, anyway!

No, she could never see Juniper settling down to domestic bliss.  In fact,

the appended news announced that the sender was having a whale of a

time as a jelly girl, earning more than Dru by selling Alcopop-shots to

the already wildly inebriated.

She came back to her sitting room- why it was called that, she didn’t

know. She scarcely ever had the time to sit.  Carefully, she added the

card to the growing collection on her faux mantelpiece.  She propped

it next to Nigel’s mum’s conventional offering of twin doves trailing a

ribbon, from which two rings were suspended.  It must have come

from a charity shop, as it was faded and had probably been printed in

the 1950s.  Medici it was not, though the spirit was almost Borgian.

On its front it said:  On Your Engagement and inside it more or less

repeated itself.  Best Wishes on Your Engagement.

  There was nothing else, except an acid comment worthy of

Lucrezia herself: I suppose I will have to get someone in to finish off the

skirting boards now that  Nigel is to be a married man.

There was a faint hint of malice aforethought which had made Dru

wash her hands on receipt, in case there had been any plutonium

in the envelope.

She walked into the kitchen area.  Brexit– yeah, that would be a good

name for a cereal.  Drat!  She had run out of Weetabix!  She had better

get a move on as she was down to cover a colleague’s General

Studies-type lesson.  When she had asked what the class were

doing‘, the teacher had humorously quipped: ‘Time‘ and then

had vaguely added, Oh, just  give them some provocative titles and

get them to plan a discursive essay.

Thanks for the clarification, Dru had thought.  She gazed at The Daily Mail

for inspiration.  There was a photo of the Pope.

I know, she said to herself, what about ‘Walls or Bridges?-which should we

build?  She could photocopy some stimulus-material, such as those  Robert

Frost poems.  He had had a mural obsession, she seemed to recall.

Donald Trump August 19, 2015 (cropped).jpg

(Mr Donald Trump in New Hampshire, 19th August, 2015.  By Michael Vadon.)

Is Donald Trump a Christian?  No, that might be too awkward if the parents

had any political predilections.

Amal Clooney or George Alamuddin?

Great!  Should be good for some gender-debate.  And the girls like

to see what the stylish lawyer is wearing. 

She would borrow some Vogues from the library, if the librarian would

allow her.  Usually teachers were not permitted to touch such publications.

Flicking through the fashion pages should keep the girls quiet during the

double lesson.

Should she change her name to Drusilla Milford-Haven?  She thought not.

She wondered if Virginia had accepted her father’s proposal.  Would she

change her name to Snodbury, or even Revelley?

Editor:  you really need to re-read past posts to keep up with all this!

It was at such significant times that she missed Great-Aunt Augusta.  All

right, she hadn’t really been her aunt, but she had performed the function

of one and she had always enjoyed hearing about a good family illness, or

a wedding.  It was such a shame that she was missing out.  You do, when

you’re deceased.  Pity!  Carpe diem, and all that.

Of course, the old bat had never married.  A lot of those old girls had not

had the opportunity after the war.  However, she had demonstrated the

powerful effect of relative celibacy on longevity and the advantages of

keeping safe Nerissa’s ring.‘ Dru just hoped that her decision was going to

be worth it.