The whole St Swithun day prognostication thingy seems irrelevant as
it appears to rain incessantly whatever the season. A Dutchman
named Johan Huibers built an ark in Dordrecht, complete with plastic
animals. Well, I suppose they would float in any deluge.
Such meteorological topics did not interest Tiger-Lily, nor
Scheherezade, who were caught up with their £40 sweepstake
winnings from Brassie and Cosmo’s Strictly party. They had
accurately predicted that Louis Smith would win the Strictly Come
Dancing finals and, being altruistic girls, they donated part of their
winnings to their favourite charity, Curs in Crisis. This was in spite of
Andy, the destructive Border Terrier having chewed the Christmas
tree lights and having caused mayhem at the party by plunging everyone
into darkness at the opening of the show.
Tiger called in to see how her grandmother, Ginevra was, after
having been abandoned the previous evening, when everyone ran to
Sonia’s house, in order not to miss the opening group dance by the
professionals. In actual fact, once Cosmo had woken the wheelchair-bound
guest, she had been refreshed and then no one could get her to stop partying
Tiger’s mum, Carrie had eventually put her mother-in-law to bed as
the carer was off duty.
As mum was busy helping Ginevra with her morning ablutions, Tiger
had been left relatively unsupervised and she had ‘Googled’ Louis
Smith. Almost immediately a very saucy photograph of the said
Olympic gymnast had popped up and he was not wearing anything at
all. Tiger was intrigued. She was frustrated by the strategically
placed champagne bottle. Apparently it had been a feature from Heat
magazine -a publication that would never be afforded entry to
Nutwood Cottage. She immediately printed it off and Blu-tacked it
to her wardrobe’s inner door.
Imagine Carrie’s volcanic eruption when she discovered the same
indecent image on hanging up her daughter’s beaded Jenny
Packham dress later that morning. (Tiger kept on having to correct
her mother. It was Packham and not Packman. Carrie should have
realised that Jeremy was not into bugle beads and fringing. At least,
she didn’t think so. But Paxman was different again. It was very
Whatever. Carrie sustained a shock as sensational as that
experienced by Craig Revel Horwood– and indeed the rest of the
nation’s viewers- when Lisa Riley did the splits at Wembley.
It was painful to think that her sweet, innocent Tiger of tender years
had downloaded such an image.
Gyles! she called and then thought better of involving him.
The bedroom door was open and she jumped as a voice asked: Did
you call, Mrs Brewer-Mead?
It was Mrs Hatch-Warren, her cleaner. She had let herself in with the
key she had been given. Carrie was so overwhelmed that she had
forgotten that she had asked her to come in early to do some
ironing and other chores.
Shall I start by vacuuming Tiger’s bedroom? she inquired.
No! I mean yes. Eh… Carrie turned red and it wasn’t a hot flush.
Are you all right, Mrs Brewer-Mead? the kindly cleaner asked
Carrie gulped. Mrs Hatch-Warren, I know that you are a
grandmother to a fifteen year old girl. Well, do you mind me asking
if this is normal?
She opened the wardrobe door.
Ooooh! I’d say it was more than normal. I’d say it was b*****
fantastic! Mrs Hatch-Warren was from Yorkshire where this rather
crude modifier was in constant use and was considered an intensifier,
rather than being tinged with any offence.
So you think I should ignore it? Carrie was prepared to take the older
Ignore it! No, not at all. I should come in here every day and have a
good look myself. Fab-u-lous! It’s not just Len who would give him a
Mrs Hatch-Warren seemed energised and did all the ironing in
record time, but kept finding excuses to do more dusting in Tiger’s
Carrie was so shocked that she forgot to give the cleaner her
Christmas tip. But the Yorkshire gran-with-attitude didn’t seem to
notice. She felt she had had a huge bonus and spent the rest of the
day repeating Brucie’s catch-phrase: Nice to see you- to see you