14 Sunday Jul 2019
Posted Celebrities, History, News, Personal, Sport, Tennisin
14 Sunday Jul 2019
Posted Celebrities, History, News, Personal, Sport, Tennisin
06 Saturday Jul 2019
11 Wednesday Jul 2018
Posted Celebrities, History, News, Photography, Sport, Summer, Tennisin
02 Monday Feb 2015
Posted Celebrities, Film, History, Humour, Nature, News, Social Comment, Sport, television, Tennis, Travel, Writingin
Banjo Paterson, billabong, Bluntschli, bogan, Djokovic, hoon, Kim Sears, Mcdonalds, Melbourne Park, Norman Brookes, NSW, Orange, Paul Hogan, poms, Pretty Beach NSW, quokka soccer, Rod Laver, roo, rutting stags, Sergius, swagman, terpsichorean, The Briars Homestead, Thomas the Tank Engine, Tony Wilding, Woy Woy
Woy Woy- not an exophoric reference to a Chinese conceptual artist, but
a heartfelt expression of anguish as to the reason you not been reading my
posts, possums. A girl just has to swan off to Pretty Beach etc and suddenly
all her readers droine away.
Well, I have been amassing verbal deloights for your delectation. I am now
attuned to the twangs of the Aussie lingo. A two year old approached me in
a play park in Orange, in a perfectly innocent, trusting way, not noted in
British kids since the Sixties, and proffered his Thomas the Tank Engine
toi, before revoking his intention and pronouncing very definitely, That’s
I was then privy to an eavesdropping from a sheila who was
discussing her boyfriend as she walked down the street in Mornington, Victoria:
It’s not that koind of relationship.
Everyone is moaning about the unusually bad summer here, with all the roine.
They should read the weather reported for the UK in The Doily Moil. Even the
commentary from Melbourne Park was punctuated with strangulated
phonological approval when players hit it on a doime.
As well as the accentual points, the idiomatic phrases are ripper too. Goodness
knows what That was right in the honey hole for him! means literally, though
the sentiment is not lost in translation. It would sit well in Kim Sears’ ‘potty’
Even Mcdonalds has an advertising slogan here which doesn’t sound remotely
American: More bang for your buck. It sounds like something Banjo Paterson’s
terpsichorean swagman could have uttered by a billabong, or an ejaculation
by Paul Hogan, who might brandish a roo in a bap and pronounce emphatically:
Now that’s a burger!
No, Candia didn’t enter the hallowed grounds in Melbourne, but watched
Andy’s defeat on television, like the rest of you poms, whingeing or otherwise.
And, by the sound of the current meteorological reports, you have plenty to
He and Djokovic went at it like rutting stags, but the control of language by
the Serb reflected his greater mental restraint and focus.
(Now who does this remind me of?)
On this occasion, Sergius conquered Bluntschli.
How interesting was it for Candia today to stand on ground which reputedly
was once the tennis courts on which the first non-Briton to win Wimbledon
practised. Norman Brookes even won The Davis Cup in the USA, with Tony
Wilding and yet he warmed up on what was once a cattle station on this
Today the sacred spot is struggling lawn in front of The Briars Homestead,
whose grounds are now a Nature Conservancy Centre. I expect the expletive
was unheard of in this gracious residence, once upon a colonial toime. I doubt
Sir Norman was a cashed up bogan in pocket, or personal behaviour. Some of
the latter day sporting, or unsporting, hoons need to cease vocalising in the
parlance of those who indulge in activities such as quokka soccer. Return to
the days of Rod Laver and his self-disciplined behaviour and all will be foine.
06 Monday Oct 2014
Posted Celebrities, Family, Humour, Nature, News, Psychology, Social Comment, Sport, Suttonford, television, Tennis, Writingin
acronym, Andy Murray, Anish Kapoor, Avon, Bermuda shorts, Black Hole, Boson particle, Edinburgh panda, FT, hadron collider, hippocampus, Indyref#, Jess the cat, Michael Caine, Mrs Goggins, National Trust card, orthotic inserts, Postman Pat, Premium Bond, root vegetables, Royal Mail, SCD, sea-horse, short term memory, Strictly, terpsichorean, Weekend Section
No, it’s not Avon calling, since no one has rung the doorbell. Sadly, neither
is it an envelope bearing an address from the Indyref#supporting city of
Glasgow on its rear flap, indicating a life-changing Premium Bond re-
invested win of twenty-five quid. Nor is it a tax rebate. No, it is one of
those annoying red and white cards from Royal Mail which commands you
to rise, take up your bed and walk to the local office to pick up your parcel,
which was too large to be shredded through the letterbox.
Wait! I struggle to put on my shoes with their orthotic inserts and race out,
subsequently hoping I have put my door on its latch. Where is the wretched
Postman Pat? There’s no sign of a baseball cap, nor unseasonable Bermuda
shorts. There’s no sign of Jess, the cat, or Mrs Goggins.
There is a red trolley parked a couple of doors away, standing like an Anish
Kapoor sculpture in a sea of loom bands.. Hey! Maybe the parcel is still on
Apparently not. Don’t be stupid. They never had any intention to deliver it.
Did I detect a smirk?
No, the nuisance package is awaiting my collection at a local office which
has restricted opening hours. And it won’t be available till the next working
day after the non-event.
That will be Saturday. There is absolutely zero chance of The Husband’s short-
term memory system kicking in at the weekend. He is unable to simultaneously
hold the concepts of mail retrieval and FT purchase. Maybe it’s something to
do with his hippocampus. (I think that influences short term memory, but I
Anyway, forget seven items’ recall, plus or minus two. He struggles to
remember two. He seems to struggle to process what I’m talking about.
Naively, I expected him to follow my simple instructions to buy some carrots
and parsnips, along with his newspaper. But then, mentally over-loaded,
he wouldn’t have remembered to fetch the package, would he?.
I know that is a total of three things, but he could have grouped both
edibles under a superordinate term, such as ‘root vegetables’ and then he
would have only had two purchases to recall. You surely don’t have to be
Derren Brown to think of coping strategies.
Probably The Husband’s hippocampus shrank and re-absorbed itself, like
the Edinburgh panda did with its foetus, when he was faced with multi-
I bet male hippocampi don’t function like their namesake sea-horses, who
at least have the decency to share the female workload more equitably.
So, I get to go for the parcel and the parsnips. He’s already deep in The FT
‘Money’ supplement. He reminds me of that man who had to be rescued from
his bubble in the Atlantic. Except The Husband doesn’t want to be rescued.
He loves his bubble. And sometimes I like it too.
There’s a queue and the woman in front of me is being asked for ID. Okay, I
think smugly, I’ve got some bank cards and a National Trust card:
out-of-date- but nevertheless..
Zut alors! The parcel is addressed to The Husband. I don’t happen to be
carrying his passport, or driving licence on me. Do I have the STD card?
Supposed Time of Delivery? I think of Andy Murray and his novel
utilisation of the acronym. He was laughed down for texting his
terpsichorean mother to wish her good luck with the ‘STD’. I believe
he meant SCD, but he wasn’t being ‘Strictly‘ accurate.
Just keep serving!
Anyway, I digress..
It’s okay, I remonstrate. The postie knows me. We talk nearly every day,
mainly through the letter-flap, when he fails to close it and a howling gale
like a Boson particle zooming round a hadron collider whooshes down my
hall. He could push the vast wad of junk mail completely through, if he
feels that he really must burden the planet with it. Why doesn’t he just
dump it like some of his colleagues are wont to do? In a Black Hole,
This woman is as immoveable as a post-box.
No, we need proof of ID for the addressee. Names are very important
to us.Just like your custom.
Right, but that works both ways, I parry. You’re not so particular
when it comes to stuffing any old person’s correspondence and bank
statements through my front door. Anyhow, I can tell you that the box
contains a replacement fridge shelf. Not many people would know that.
So, it must be ours.
She doesn’t pick up on the Michael Caine reference.
Okay, you can have it just this once, she concedes, but next time I need
a couple of utility bills in his name.
Not Michael Caine’s then. I’m having fun.
I return to find The Husband still wading through the pink newspaper.
I picked up your parcel, I say.
(He’s not listening.)
You did get the carrots, didn’t you? I persevere. I can’t see them in my
fridge. No, our fridge. When I can’t see them in the first person
possessive plural’s fridge it means they are not there.
Sorry, I forgot, he confesses lamely.
And it’s then that I look in my bag and have to admit to myself that
I have forgotten to buy parsnips. But I don’t tell him. I just sneak out
while he reads his way through the rest of The Weekend Section.
I’m not infallible. But not many people are allowed to guess that.
19 Saturday Jul 2014
Posted Education, History, Literature, News, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Religion, Social Comment, Sport, television, Tennis, Travelin
Abandon hope!, aspic, belfry, bog cotton, Calvaries, church bells, Edwardian tennis, forced rhubarb, magnesium ribbon, MH17, Pandemonium, sandbags, shepherd's delight, sky burial, Somme, sunflower fields
Dusk in the balmy garden and church bells
ring changes from a mellow brick belfry,
clappers half-muffled by tumbling mill-race foam,
pealing the death toll we have heard tonight:
curious calm before the lightning strikes.
A century ago, lazy summer
solarised racquet-wielding Edwardians
in tolled moments, before magnesium fizzed,
immortalising ghosts on negatives,
preserving transient smiles, like forced rhubarb,
cloched; stiff attitudes in aspic.
Within a month, or so, haunted faces
would grin among stacked sandbags, before shells
shattered poppy fields and the bloom of youth.
This sky is roseate- shepherd’s delight.
Heat radiates from my garden wall and
the old house sighs. Swifts swoop, prelude to bats.
I go indoors to watch the latest news.
It shows some ravaged sunflower fields- a toy,
torn pages which a child has coloured in;
pixellated shapes amid fuselage.
Scavengers in balaclavas rifle
through a Pandemonium of small fires,
like unshocked devils, not so sick of sin.
Markers, like clouds of bog cotton, white flags,
or stars in a galaxy of hatred,
parody a kind of sky burial.
‘Abandon hope‘, I think, until I note
telegraph poles, like crosses standing firm
amid Man’s carnage, still Somme Calvaries.
A century, and yet we have not learned.
09 Tuesday Jul 2013
Posted Arts, Humour, Social Comment, Suttonford, Tennis, Writingin
amae, Djokovic, Hikikomori, Ibasho, Neet, Roundhead, sekentei, street art, Walker Art Gallery, Yarn bombing
Gisela Boothroyd-Smythe was becoming desperate. It was only the first week
of the holidays and she had been unable to persuade her pre-pubescent son,
John, to get up in the morning. She had called through the door of his
bedroom: Don’t be so monosyllabic! She had just about heard the reply:
Today she had heard nothing and was becoming concerned.
She had come across an article which stated that a million young people-
and some not so young- remained holed up in their bedrooms, sometimes
for decades at a time. They slept by day and stayed up all night, in a
withdrawn state known as HIKIKOMORI.
Gisela was afraid that John might be lapsing into such a condition. She
checked the article again. It commented that the youngsters often
exhibited infantile behaviour and could have violent outbursts. But, as
the French would say, for teenagers: C’est normal!
Was she worrying inordinately?
The Japanese feared loss of face, she’d read. Maybe if the children didn’t
do well in their exams, they and their parents, would experience SEKENTEI.
This might lead to AMAE, a kind of extreme dependence. In bad cases,
sufferers would have to be re-introduced to society through a halfway house,
or IBASHO. But when she had tried to discuss her worries with her soon-to-
be ex-husband, he had only scoffed: I’m already sekentei of you and the
children. Why do you think I left?
She hadn’t known that he took an interest in global culture.
It would be all too easy to become an over-pushy parent, like so many others
who sent their offspring to St Birinus’. It was just that she didn’t want John to
end up a NEET-(Not in Education, Training or Employment.)
It was so difficult as a virtually single parent and she was trying to be both
mother and father to her children, during the divorce period. They, of course,
were running rings round them both.
She returned to the article. Goodness, in Japan some parents approached an
agency which sent round hired, not assassins exactly, but strong persuaders,
who basically broke down the doors and hauled the hermits out, gave them a
severe dressing down and then took them away to a dormitory.
Well, she had already done something similar by sending him to boarding
school. But what was she to do in the holidays?
Maybe she should phone the mother of those twin boys who were in John’s
class- the ones with the ridiculously over-pretentious names. They seemed
quite nice and couldn’t help their parents’ labelling choices. A rose by any
other name would smell as sweet.
But they might not want to come round as John often teased his peers. This
verb was a euphemism and she knew it.
Just at that moment, with Gisela’s hand hovering over her mobile, her daughter,
Juniper sauntered into the kitchen, opened the fridge door and proceeded to
drink pure orange juice straight from the carton.
Gisela refrained from expressing her outrage and casually asked: When did
you last see John? She felt a role reversal, as if she was a blue satin-suited,
ringleted child being asked by a committee of Roundheads for information as
to the whereabouts of his Cavalier father. Wasn’t there a famous painting
of this subject? Her mind began to wander through Art History. Wasn’t it in
The Walker Art Gallery?
Ha! I was wondering when you would notice that little darling was missing,
sneered the evil Juniper. I yarn-bombed his door handle and connected it to
his window catch, so he can’t get out of his room. I’m writing it up for my
Street Art Project and it can go into my portfolio for A2. I’m calling it
‘Prisoners For Art.’
Mum! groaned a shaky voice from behind the door. Let me out! I’m hungry!
Clearly he had finished all the food stashes under his bed.
Juniper! You’re grounded!
But Juniper was already halfway down the street, having performed a Djokovic
slide on the kitchen tiles which continued down the laminated hallway, until she
laughed and ran out of the front door.
04 Thursday Jul 2013
Posted Celebrities, Film, Humour, Politics, Social Comment, Suttonford, Tennis, Writingin
Boris Becker, Boris Johnson, Cluedo, denunciation box, Ghostbusters, Liberace, Lloyds TSB, Michael Douglas, Perpetual Victim, quiz night, Wilderstein
The Running Sore, only one of Suttonford’s watering holes, once-favoured by
the droving community, had been refurbished by its dyslexic landlord. He had
decided to leave the pub sign as it was, in spite of many townspeople pointing
out the orthographical inaccuracy, or its similarity to Lloyd’s bank logo.
But how to draw in the hard-pressed-for-choice revellers? He was in
competition with The Ostlery and The Bugle, both with their particular themed
atmospheres, aimed at certain clientele.
Ah, he thought, as he read the latest news about Edinburgh being the
new location for an updated version of the popular board game,
‘Cluedo’, I will arrange teams who can play a Suttonford version on our
quiz night. There can be a prize for the team who is first to detect the
identity of the Perpetual Victim. Most people round here will be only
too quick to spot one, especially if they look in the mirror.
The game’s weaponry could be retained, except that the candlestick
would be upgraded to a candelabra, if the Liberace film hadn’t rendered
that item too lowbrow, by connotation with Michael Douglas.
Hmm, let me see, he cottagated, or was that cogitated? I will need to supply
six new characters. I could base them on regulars: what about Miss Melinda
D’Oyly Carter, the popular masseuse; Colonel Grump; ‘Lady’ Dyson, the
cleaner who loves frequenting the broom cupboards of householders to
consort , or besport, with butlers who resemble Borises Becker or Johnson;
the Rev Anna Baptiste: an heretical woman vicar- at least unorthodox in
the generally conservative ranks of Suttonford worshippers;
Mrs Everso-Peabrain, an easily recognisable ‘type’ whose cut glass
pronouncements often reverberate off the stuccoed walls of houses in
High Street (a lady who lunches as she goes about everyone else’s business.)
Finally, Sir Solly Senokat, retired military surgeon, whose third wife looks as if
she has gone under the scalpel nearly as often as a Wilderstein.
He would relocate the mansion to Royalist House, owned by Sonia, the town’s
medium. Then he could alter the apartments to boot room, minstrels’ gallery,
tack room, barrel-vaulted gin cellar and so on.
If anyone in the town had better suggestions, then they could post them
anonymously in the denunciation box which he would fix to the outside wall
of the pub.
He couldn’t wait to witness someone accusing Melinda of homicide inflicted by
a candelabra. Or anaphylactic shock provoked by maribou allergy!
More usually it was the Suttonford Wives who expressed such
murderous thoughts towards the hard-working physio and they expressed
these premeditated malice aforethoughts in Costamuchamoulah must-seen
cafe on a fairly regular basis. They weren’t postulating Death By Chocolate
for their bete noire, though the lady herself favoured that particular mode of
asphyxiation, it must be said.
And what would the prize for the winning team be?
Ah yes! An overnight stay in Sonia’s haunted attic with a boastgutser, namely
himself, with Sonia’s merpission. All lucre accrued could be donated to the
town’s favourite charity: Anacondas in Sad Verity!
With his creative character assassination, he only hoped that he would
not be found bludgeoned by the rival establishment’s hit men and floating
on Golden-Or-Otherwise Suttonford Pond, not waving, but drowning.
24 Monday Jun 2013
Posted Arts, Celebrities, Education, Film, History, Humour, Jane Austen, Literature, Social Comment, Suttonford, Tennis, Writingin
Ada Lovelace, Bank of England, Calendar Girls, Churchill, Currer Acton Bell, deep maths, Deep Throat, Elizabeth Fry, Ellis, Elsie Inglis, George Eliot, Good Queen Bess, Helen Mirren, Jane Austen, Katherine Jenkins, Lady Godiva, Linda Lovelace, Maggie Thatcher, Mark Carney, Mary Slessor, Mervyn King, Saatchi, Wimbledon
So, The Bank of England is withdrawing the face of Elizabeth Fry, the social
reformer, from our fivers, I remarked to Brassica, as I handed over a
couple of the aforementioned notes to the Costamuchamoulah cafe
assistant, in exchange for two Mochas and a shared chocolate slice.
Yes, but apparently there is a mystery female in reserve, in case
Churchill doesn’t turn out well in the engraving, Brassie elaborated.
Oh yes! I joked.
Brassie had a choco-powder moustache, but I wasn’t about to lean over and
erase it from her upper lip; Saatchi has deterred cafe goers everywhere from
making physical contact with their companions in public.
So, apart from the Queen, we are to have no female physiognomies on our
banknotes, I continued. Except in Scotland. I suppose that still
counts as the UK. The Scots have Mary Slessor, the missionary, and Elsie
Inglis, the suffragette, on their notes. But I bet they wouldn’t be accepted if
tendered in Costamuchamoulah.
The Scots or their currency? Brassie quipped.
Possibly both, I replied. I certainly couldn’t envisage a frugal Mary Slessor, nor
an earnest Inglis dropping by for a cappuccino and a tranche of Polenta cake.
Well, Brassie kept up the conversational momentum. There are some
names being currently proposed, such as Linda Lovelace.
I think you mean Ada Lovelace, the mathematician, I clarified, rather
pompously. There is a difference between deep maths and Deep Throat.
Anyway, your suggestion was an American.
Was she? Brassie said vaguely. She had detected the chocolate smear
and was concentrating on removing it. I thought Jane Austen had been
Well, she certainly understood currency, I agreed. And her brother, Henry had
a branch of his bank not too far from Suttonford, didn’t he? At least, before it
went bust and he joined the church! As someone who supported the concept
of thrift, maybe Jane would be a good choice.
We ought to canvass Costamuchamoulah customers, said Brassie brightly,
and then we could present a petition containing the most popular female
names to Mark Carney, when he takes up his new job as Bank of England
Governor, at the beginning of July.
Oh, he’ll probably be too busy at Wimbledon, I said. Mervyn King is always in
the Royal Box, so he’ll probably reserve a seat for him. Mind you, there’s
probably some Suttonfordians heading for Centre Court in the next week or
We could ask them to present our findings to him, even if he is off-duty, I
suppose, I granted.
Good idea! concurred Brassie and she was off with her paper napkin and a
pen before the starting gun had been fired. (I think she gets her prematurity
of behaviour from Cosmo, by all accounts.)
The first caffeine addict she approached was too quick to promote Maggie
Thatcher, which was predictable, given the territory, but I could see one or
two others within earshot- not difficult in Costamuchamoulah!- looking flushed,
or maybe enraged by the suggestion. So, before any iced cupcakes were
hurled by covert Lib Dems, I turned to an intelligent-looking female with a
laptop, in the corner.
What about George Eliot? she proffered.
Nah, love, interrupted one of two local workmen who could afford a daily fix
at this elite establishment. (I had previously observed their regularity of
attendance at about 3pm each day-an unsurprising habit, supported by the
prices they charge for basic DIY and maintenance. Mid afternoon seemed to
be their premature knocking off time. Not in any way a reference to
Cosmo’s entirely different, connubial activities, I must add.)
Nah! We were discussing wimmen, weren’t we? Not blokes! That Katherine
Jenkins is a bit of all right, i’n’t she? Whoarr! I wouldn’t mind seeing her on
a fifty quid note-preferably as Lady Godiva.
Yes, I suppose you handle a fair few of those denomination, I remarked
caustically. But she is Welsh, isn’t she? Maybe they will get their own
currency, or perhaps they’ll revert to Anglesey Druidic pennies.
I bet they wouldn’t charge her as much as they do for services rendered to
local households headed up by femmes d’un certain age!
Educated conversation is completely lost on the average Suttonfordian, I find.
No wonder they didn’t recognise the pseudonym of dear old Mary Ann Evans.
I expect that is why I seek an international audience, Dear Reader. So, I
refrained from adding my own Trinity of female talent: Acton, Ellis and Currer
I especially like the way that the male has been airbrushed out of the
picture. (Branwell knew that he wouldn’t be appearing on any bill of promise.)
The girl behind the counter suddenly said: What about Good Queen Bess?
Better, admitted Brassie, but there is a new book out by someone called
Steve Berry, which suggests that she was a man in disguise.
Maybe she had a moustache.
Or drank too many Mochas, I teased.
Women sometimes had to dress as men to achieve recognition, said
Brassie thoughtfully. You know, like Pope Joan.
I know, said the girl, who clearly hadn’t bee lstening. What about Helen
Well, I faltered. She was born Mirronoff, but I suppose she is as English as
the present Royals , so maybe she is as good a choice as any.
Yeah! Get her name down on your list, girls, approved what we might
laughingly term the ‘workmen’. She looked pretty good in Calendar
Girls and Costa here could supply the strategic cupcakes, couldn’t you,
I’m sorry, sirs. We don’t accept these, said the assistant, returning their
Mary Slessor. She would have in the normal scheme of transactions, but
customers who cheapened their brand by abbreviating its title were
personae non gratae. They had to substitute the note with another from
their rubber-banded wads of paper currency but left, quite cheered by their
ideal candidate for financial commemoration. They were only aware of one
promotional photo of the aforesaid actress and it was from a fair number
of years ago. They thought it would do nicely.
Number One: Helen Mirren, wrote Brassie on the napkin.
20 Saturday Oct 2012
Posted Arts, Celebrities, Humour, mythology, Philosophy, Social Comment, Sport, Summer 2012, Suttonford, television, Tennisin
Behemoth, Black Swan event, Brassica, Carrie, Dan Snow, David Cameron, Elle McPherson, FameDaddy, Ferdy, global weirding, hallowe'en, John, La Senza, Leda and swan, Philip Schofield, Richard Dawkins, Roger Federer
Brassica and I were in Costamuchamoulah must-seen café, looking for liquorice spiders for Hallowe’en, when Carrie rushed in. We made our ghoulish edible purchases and then all sat at a corner table to drink some coffee.
You will never guess what Ferdy told me after school? That awful John in his science class has been stirring things again, Carrie moaned.
Tell me about it, said Brassie, ruefully.
I was just going to, continued Carrie, who privately loathed Brassie’s
use of that expression.
Well, he sidled up to Ferdy and said, Why doesn’t your Mummy get fixed up with ‘FameDaddy’? Ferdy didn’t know what he was talking about. I think John’s mum must allow him to watch trashy ITV programmes as I Googled the name and it transpires that some CEO called Dan Richards was on a programme with Phillip Schofield, presenting a soon-to-be-launched-service, offering women who wanted to bear children with quality DNA to avail themselves of their sperm bank of celebrity donors.
Brassie looked interested, but she had already asked to be regaled with the facts, so she bit her tongue.
Yes, said Carrie, John then insulted Ferdy and his brothers-and, by implication, Gyles- by saying that if I had applied to ‘FameDaddy’, I wouldn’t have produced such useless kids and I still had time to produce a decent one.
How rude! What did Ferdy say?
He reminded him that he had beaten him at science and so John’s daddy couldn’t exactly have been Richard Dawkins.
But two wrongs don’t make a right, I interjected. Neither paid the slightest attention.
And then Ferdy- how can I put this?-punched his lights out.
Brassie clapped her hands and then desisted when she caught my disapproving look.
Was John all right afterwards? She feigned concern.
Oh, after he came round he said that he saw stars and Ferdy said, ‘Well, you always were on a different planet.’ Then he walked out of the locker room.
What did Mr Milford-Haven do when he discovered the boys had been fighting? I thought I’d try to bring some order to this exchange.
He took Ferdy aside and gave him a commendation and a mini-Mars bar, I believe.
But surely that was immoral? I insisted.
Yes, said Carrie. We don’t encourage sweets at home, so Ferdy brought it to me and I ate it for him.
No, I was becoming exasperated. I meant the violence.
Carrie looked a little discomfited and sipped her coffee which was tepid by now. Ferdy explained it to me. He said that it was the same as a burglar breaking into your home. John had invaded our privacy and stuck his nose into our business, so he had used proportionate force to repel him. David Cameron said that was okay.
Brassie looked wistful. I must say, Carrie, that I sometimes wish I had dipped into the gene pool of Dan Snow, or Roger Federer, instead of subjecting the twins to a possible genetic link to Cosmo’s mother.
I’d call that a black swan event, said Carrie comfortingly.
Brassie looked confused.
I mean, there may be a pattern and there may be a rare chance that they will fulfil a prediction, but it is unlikely.
More likely than you sharing your genes with Dan Snow, I added unkindly, before I could stop myself.
Carrie tried to draw attention away from my inappropriate remark:
Black swan events are linked to global weirding, she continued. You know- sunspots, extreme cyclical weather patterns, with rogue element exceptions. You can’t predict whether you will get out of a snow-bound Heathrow or not in the Christmas holidays.
I saw Horizon too, I remarked. She was beginning to sound like the tiresome John of the black eye. They said that you can’t really make 100% accurate predictions.
So, I might have a chance with Dan..
No, that’s a certainty: you won’t, I interjected firmly.
Well, what about that twenty five pounds that I paid Sonia to look into her crystal ball for me? asked Brassie, shaken in her simple faith.
That’s probably gone down a black hole, or gone up in a puff of smoke, I laughed caustically.
Carrie added, I think you would have been better advised to refer to a satellite, or to that meteorological computer, ‘Behemoth’, that generates 100 trillion predictions a second.
No wonder they get it so wrong all the time then, said Brassie naively. Yesterday they said it would be dry and I got soaked right down to my ‘La Senza’, standing in the yard, waiting for the twins to come out of their music lessons.
You have to take an umbrella with you at all times, laughed Carrie, then it will never rain! But, what’s all this obsession with spreading your genes, Brassie? You aren’t seriously thinking of having another baby? I thought you had enough on your plate with the twins?
The FameDaddy thing just sounded interesting, she said.
It was a hoax, Brassie, I laughed.
Oh, it’s just that you both have girls and I just got a little broody. It would be a black swan event if Cosmo and I got together. The chances would be about a trillion to one. He might as well be on a space station for all the likelihood of a conjunction between us. He’s taken to sleeping in the observatory in the garden.
I was sobering up. She seemed genuinely upset. I tried to comfort her. Have you heard of Leda and the swan?
What are you talking about, Candia? Carrie flashed me a warning look.
Just that swans can impregnate you when you are not expecting it, I muttered lamely.
The only genes I’m really after are Elle McPherson drainpipes. She tried to throw us off the scent. These are getting too tight.
Maybe you are already…? we both spoke simultaneously.
Brassie looked horrified.
Who’s the father? we enquired. Three more lattes, we instructed the waitress.