Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not much news of Louise or HHH, or of Jane for that matter

Dear [Son] ~

  It has not been a desperately amusing month here what with one thing or another. If you commit suicide you cannot get disposed of, as gravediggers and cremation workers are on strike. Well-meaning middle class ladies are queuing up for voluntary work in hospitals: they picture themselves dishing up lunch to dear little children and it comes as a painful surprise when they are asked to help with a ward of hideous adult lunatics who cannot feed themselves and have to have their clothes changed every few hours like a baby.

We went to a large drinks party at the Gaselees: there were a lot of people in a confined space and I could not hear a word anyone said which may not have been an intolerable deprivation. After-wards we had supper with the Surtees at the Swan, Great Shefford, kept by a somewhat enigmatic character called 'Jamie' who greeted me with an effusive bonhommie which I could well have dispensed with. We had two courses and a bottle of plonk: bill £30, which is fairly steep for a country pub.
On Friday the Hislops went to Sandown. On going to their car at 5pm they discovered that Mr H had put the keys into the pocket of a coat which he had unfortunately left in the self-locking boot. They had to hire a car in which to get home and the next day Mrs H had to take a Newbury taxi to 
Sandown with the spare keys.

I saw Fitz Fletcher at the Parkinsons. He had been completely marooned in Somerset with no water. The Surtees have got a new car, a red Volvo of immense length that would make a serviceable hearse. Poor Major S is having trouble with his partners, one of whom is only absolutely sober on fairly rare occasions and suing the firm over some grievance. The cottage has now been sold and paid for; the builders are busy gutting it completely. Farmer Luckes is in poor form and just sits staring into space.

The Hurt's house in Derbyshire is the feature article in the current number of Country Life. Unfortunately there is no picture of the Chicken. The dishwasher has broken down and the young man your mother hired to mend it made things a great deal worse. Mr Randall went up to London and saw the Esther Rantzen show which he greatly enjoyed. Not much news of Louise or HHH, or of Jane for that matter.
I thought I had received a rather nice invitation to dinner today but on closer examination I saw it was meant for Major Hamer who has been dead for seven years. However, my bookmaker has invited me to oysters and champagne in London. He is a good old male chauvinist (a bit King Lear, in fact) and never invites women to his better parties. Your mother bought some fish in Reading yesterday: it tasted a bit odd and we both had a very bad night. The de Mauleys came to lunch last week: Lady de M is putting on weight and Gerald is clearly not a member of the local Temperance Association. 

Do you remember the Philips at Winchfield? He has just left his ever-loving wife after thirty-two years and proposes to marry some woman he met in the local lunatic asylum where he spends a fair amount of his time. He once jumped in front of a taxi.                                                  Your affec. father, [__]       [ps] Yesterday I met an old buffer at Newbury who had been at the Gaselee's party. He tried out a new hearing aid there, switched it on to a maximum volume and has been stone deaf ever since.

Roger Mortimer and
  Charlie Mortimer
Dear Lupin ...
Constable, 2011©

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