Augustus Snodbury climbed onto the tour coach.
He was wearing a new ‘silk leather’ jacket (one size too
small) which he had purchased at the factory outlet
they had visited the previous day. All the men had bought
one, slicking their receding hairlines back in a Fonz-like mime
of an attitudinal stanceattitudes they had never adopted,
even all those decades ago. It was all down to the dirty
dancing from last night’s tourist show, no doubt.
Diana regarded him with scarcely masked distaste, as she
thought the garment made him look somewhat reptilian and it only
trumpeted his denial of being in a late-mid life crisis. She mentally
bracketed leather jacket with woodlouse, or Sugar Daddy Long-legs.
No doubt the gyrations of the belly dancer the day before, aimed
specifically at those men in the audience who looked almost neutered,
had stirred the final glowing embers in a camp fire which had been
almost extinguished. It now seemed that their gas was at a peep,
You’ll never guess...he began, addressing his daughter
and her mother, dragging the pockets down in a vain attempt
to look casual.
Geoffrey Poskett, interrupted Drusilla, getting it in one.
What is he doing here? Is he stalking us, or what?
Gus looked crestfallen. His coup de foudre had been
effectively conducted to earth and rendered impactless.
Apparently he and Milford-Haven responded to an advert for
an Anatolian trip, which had been placed in a music publication,
he began to explain.
Not that Classic FM magazine? Diana shuddered.
Gus ignored her and carried on. They saw it just before half
Milford-Haven? Is Nigel here too? Drusilla blushed.
Yes and no, Gus replied, somewhat cryptically. He ate the
salad last night and forgot to clean his teeth with bottled water,
so he is resting at the hotel today.
Diana ate a pumpkin seed and looked less than riveted. So,
where are they, I mean their group, going next?
Oh, they’re off to Myra to see the the seat of Bishop Nicolas.
After Milford-Haven took the eponymous role in the school
concert he became fascinated by the character and decided to
follow in his footsteps. Odd that they didn’t mention their intended
trip in the staffroom.
Well, did you mention that we were coming here? Diana lobbed
him this query as fast as one of his Junior spin bowlers.
Eh, no. I don’t recall that I did.
There you are then, she pronounced, spitting a seed into her
handkerchief. Typical man!
Drusilla watched the other coach drive off in a cloud of dust.
Horrors! Poskett was waving and he blew her a kiss. It had
been bad enough being under his baton in the concert, but
she had no intention of coming under him in any sense in the
future. Egotistical little…
She hoped that Nigel would not contract hepatitis, or anything
sinister. Poor love!
Drusilla! Her mother bludgeoned her way into her reverie.
Pardon? her mother corrected her. She was wrong, but Dru let it
pass. It was the same with napkin and serviette. So non-U! But
she had to admit that she was not a Mitford. A Milford– maybe…but
she drew back from that sociological precipice. A teacher marrying a
teacher. It was like two recessive genes intermingling and would
probably result in a freckled offspring, with too much melamine. Or
was it melatonin? Whatever, as her boarders said. Anyway, any kid
they might have would look like a bird’s egg.
Eczane, her mother stated. Like Imodium. That’s what he needs.
I bought some at the pharmacy yesterday, just in case. We could
have sent him some via Poskett.
But Dru knew that Nigel would require something stronger to
restore his well-being once Poskett had blabbed that he had
missed seeing the angelic harpist who had tugged so endearingly
at their heartstrings in the concert. And all because he was lying in a
bed of sickness. (Horrible metaphor!)