There is something vaguely upsetting about the concept of taking innocent children to see Granddad in his retirement home and finding a red sock on his bedroom door which means that he is engaged with a sex worker. Now apparently a useful service to be provided to old persons in retirement homes and we are also told that pensioners are getting sexually transmitted diseases because they are all embarking on active sexual adventures without protection. I don’t know who all these people are, and where this research is coming from, but most grandparents I know including Moi are not in the frame for that sort of thing. It is absolutely horrible to think about, but does remind me of a very funny joke about a family who go to see granddad and find him engaged with a rubber life sized female blow up number and the son says, “We have seen this before but never with one who breaks wind and flies out of the window.” Of course this is a Jewish Joke they are always the best. I must fly now.
By and large I am one for respecting people’s privacy, and attempting to elevate my brilliant brain to subjects such as cruelty to animals .. the wonderful escapism of historical research and of course shopping. However sometimes one is forced into the dreary realm of domestic enquiry. One such has resulted in a fierce exchange of words with the Sainted One . This was a pity, as he had just about been rehabilitated after the Lavatory Brush Scandal. It is all about the mysterious brown bag he carts up and down to the Isle of Wight. I had begun to put two and two together and link this container to the constant drama of missing pyjamas . The awful truth was discovered…. the offending items are religiously conveyed to the Island each time we visit to be “finished off” before washing, a weekly only wash is set in stone, it is something to do with the war, that means that on day six they are transported to use for one more night and then go over the allotted time when cleansing is a matter of urgency . The grim truth is that there is no spare pair because that would be considered profligate …..now I have decided that travelling with a pair of dirty pyjamas is offensive, rather like having an accident and being found with soiled underwear. I will find a way of dealing with this just you wait and see.
Tonight we are dining with some hilarious people at a very gourmet place so am eating nothing until then, but have had the coffee with Baileys since I have undertaken to give up alcohol for lent, so it is vital to have as much fun as possible before this. We have been entertained for all meals during the weekend which I know has been noted for future reference when meal preparation becomes an issue and Moi gets kitchenitis. It is a great thing to be flexible, I think roles should not be defined and peoples usefulness should not be related to rigid concepts of role allocation, those of you who are very sharp will know what I mean.
I am presently researching the court of George 2nd . … Queen Caroline died of an umbilical hernia left untreated because she didn’t want anyone to see her naked. Finally when her insides burst out through the hole, the court physicians were able to see and promptly cut off her bowel instead of stuffing it back in . Of course they were all men and therefore peculiar. I do not believe a woman would have done such a thing . Sorry but there is much truth in this, perhaps this is why Call The Midwife is such a popular programme.
I had a conversation with a very nice man the other day about the Nuclear family. “No”, he said firmly “people are not meant to live like that, the Mormons have got it exactly right, a man should have several wives, women get on well together and bringing up the children is then a communal effort.” I thought about this a lot and have begun to think there something to be said for this. My reasoning is as follows, firstly it would avoid this blame the mother thing. You have committed a crime the moment you give birth it seems to me just by being a mother, a sitting duck to be blamed for everything . All psychotherapy will substantiate that, straight to the jugular every time “ tell me about your mother then”!!!!! Just imagine if there were a whole group of wives. Secondly, the man wouldn’t stand a chance, he would be kept in order I can tell you. It’s too late for me, but sisters all, if you get the opportunity think on this ; there was a picture of a group of Mormon wives in the paper the other day, all smiling and jolly. I looked at carefully and thought they were a happy crowd, like a family group of elephants, where all the lady elephants care for the babies while the male gets out of their hair and does what men really want to do, get out there and kill things.
There are many things about nuptial bliss which are sometimes hard to cope with, the awful word retirement should never be used; what it means for most women is this person moving in on your well-ordered life and thinking they could do it oh so very much better. A piece of advice for women faced with this alien in the home, if he starts to vacuum you have lost the battle go get yourself a good lawyer. But by and large I am very lucky because the Sainted One does look quite nice and respects my obsession with personal hygiene. I had a terrible experience sitting next to nasal hair the other day. I had just recovered from this by thinking about Hugh Jackman quite lot, he has rather flared nostrils perfectly hair free. But unfortunately we went out to dinner and a man had what looked like a mountain blizzard coming out of his ears. We had a very nice pudding with icing sugar on it which I could not eat. Really, you see, if these men had a troupe of wives they would never be allowed to get away with it.
We are in our Island home and the one log routine is getting worse, the Sainted One has a thing about keeping a fire going with one log. It is a ritual which can go on for half the evening, the trick is to keep turning it over until the last ember has turned to ash. There is a wonderful song I know it’s called “Big John” It has a great chorus which goes “ big John big bad John”. The lyrics are excellent for word changing there is one verse which goes, “ He was broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip and everyone knew you didn’t give no lip to Big John.” I must be a ghastly person to live with in some respects, there are some glorious versions of this which I have perfected over the years . My God daughter and I got rather merry recently and the Sainted One burst into rendition of Blue Moon and we behaved very badly changing the words especially “ you saw me standing alone, you knew just what I was there for,” I won’t write them here because they are not suitable for family reading . I am terrible at laughing at my own jokes they keep me happy for hours. The less they are appreciated ( by some people!) the more hilarious they become.
Basically “carpe diem” from Horace’s Odes tells us to eat drink and be merry because frankly that’s what you’ve got, just that single moment when you burn the potatoes, which I do a lot. I am all for that, but the Sainted One is very structured, for example, fairy lights are for Christmas or may be Coronations , but those are mercifully rare, well you know what I mean. Anyway there is a daily issue about the lights in the garden , one of the nine sets which appear at Christmas, I will not allow these to be removed as they cheer us all up in these dog days of winter. There is another male in the house who has begun to mention this, and it may be developing into an issue, but the lights are staying, you hear me people.
This brings me to the subject of the glass of wine; one is often asked if you are the glass half full or the glass half empty type? In fact I was asked this only yesterday. My immediate response was, glass not half anything, completely full is the only way. But round here this is difficult. A request for a glass of wine is greeted with “are you sure because you had one yesterday?” This is followed by references to the Baileys consumed with the cleaning assistant with elevenses and of course the cherry brandy before lunch for medicinal purposes. By the time the inquisition has finished one’s desire for a nice glass of red wine has disappeared completely. Maybe this is a good technique and the Sainted One would be great working in a home for alcoholics but as he would say, that is exactly what this house is so bring on the gin?
Last Night four of us went to the ballet Eugene Onegin at Covent Garden, many people around us held up mobile phone screens and seemed to think it was acceptable to film sequences of the ballet and send them to friends. Of course moi did a lot of shoulder tapping and “excuse would you mind tuning that off”, stuff. Once all this had stopped it was beautiful and uplifting. I think the Sainted One adored it but one can never really tell. I hope so because I took out another mortgage to pay for the tickets, but that’s what I mean about Horace’s words, they say it all, it’s a great evening for the price of two parking tickets, as Paul Maze, my mentor once said, “My dear you will only regret the things you have not done , never the things you have done.” Now there is a man who never wasted a minute of his life. How right he was, last night set us all up for weeks. The lights are still on. I hope you all liked the picture of my dog taken by a very talented woman , now there is a dog who knows how to live she just goes for it. But it is true to say she does make mistakes, she is an escapologist; she gets into the next garden, nobody knows how, and then she has hysterics and can’t get back, but then life is a bit like that, but I always rescue her.
Photo M G Nicolls
Yes there is a connection …… the accident of birth which decides your sexuality. It must be awful to be born with an ambivalence about this, but as a friend of mine who has the driest sense of humour I know, and I still laugh about things she said thirty years ago, said yesterday, “ I have an issue with transsexuals, they chop off their dicks, stuff themselves with hormones and call themselves a woman , give us a break”. Well actually I see what she means but this brings me to the male conspiracy. Why is it that such a large proportion of the women who get into Parliament are completely feckless as instanced by the stupid waste of Parliamentary time, at a moment of dire national crisis, devoted to remarks made in a “free press” alluding to Brazilian Transsexuals , in what I thought was a rather flattering light? Can you imagine the sea of grey suits lifting their eyebrows and sniggering behind their order papers? Well of course you can, believe me these women do democracy a disservice by being so trivially idiotic. I wonder if the answer might be for us to have more transsexual people in Parliament, I say more because these days one can never be sure can one? There is definitely a male conspiracy at work, it serves them well you see to have silly women in Parliament, the more they blab on the fewer there will be. Personally I think I have come up with a great idea, but then I would think that wouldn’t I?…. Now she who first said that or something like it, would have been great in Parliament because she was clever … very clever.
I may have mentioned before that I am rather accident prone, I did one of my best the other night. I was at a very smart occasion actually and would love to say who was there , but I do so hate name dropping, so I won’t, but believe me it was very A list! Well the star of the show was cordially embracing me, (as people do you know) at the end of this delightful soiree when her earring caught in my casually draped silk scarf. At first I didn’t notice, but her shrieks of pain as her ears were lacerated whilst I drew away to talk to other guests alerted me, as did the expression of horror on the hostesses’ face. To be thus attached to so smart a clever a person, even by a silken thread from Florence ( I hope you all got that) was terribly awkward and embarrassing, but she handled it beautifully and removed the earring before blood was drawn.
Once at Covent Garden, I was with a man who got the long hair of the girl in front, as she flicked it back over the seat ( in a rather ostentatious way I thought ) caught in his fly. The opening bars of Don Giovanni have never been the same for me. It took a full five minutes of fiddling with her head bent back as if in magnificent climactic appreciation of the music to extricate the poor man. Actually I behaved terribly badly and made the fiddling ( down there) much worse by pretending to help. That is one reason I don’t want to see Don Giovanni. People know this I think.
A very smart journalist wrote a very germane piece in the New Statesman in which she said women are angry because they think they are not loved as much as they should be and want to have gorgeous bodies resembling , and I quote here “ the ideal body shape like a Brazilian transsexual” yep I go along with that all of it, and for the record I am a heterosexual. I am sure I would be loved more, especially by the Sainted One( presently away with a food parcel) if I had a glorious, slim, perfectly toned hairless body with enormous breasts which did not sag at all, and fabulous thin ankles and legs like a race horse. I mean let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to look like that? But these comments have apparently caused great offence to transsexuals and resignations have been called for, and questions were asked in the House Of Commons by some ridiculous woman “member”. Apparently it was all in the wording, it would have been Ok if it had read “transsexual people” I don’t get it, are there such things as transsexual poultry, cows, horses zebras … let’s do a paper on this. The author of the piece Suzanna Moore would do it well, she is hilarious, her reply to this “storm in a merkin” was to say “people can F…. off really. Cut their dicks off and be more feminist than me” . The woman is a riot .
Now to the subject of “She Wolves”… I pointed out to the author of said book last night that women who are ruthless enough to make it as leaders, are vile to other women. They are the most sexist and anti feminist of all homo sapiens, and would never give another woman a leg up ( excuse the genre) and would never dream of appointing a successor at all, because they never think they are going to die, and if confronted with this inevitability, it would never be another woman. I always feel nervous in the company of really powerful women and one thing I notice is that they have a horrible old age, because they have no women friends, and are consequently very lonely.
There are several things going on here. Last night I was invited by a very intellectual friend to a very select club in Pall Mall to listen to a talk given by a brilliant and most beautiful woman called Doctor Helen Castor. The subject was Queens of Power in Medieval and Tudor England. It was a joy to listen to, this woman constructs the most perfect and musical sentences and knows exactly how to connect with a room full of people whatever their cerebral capabilities. Above all she does not talk down and feel it necessary to tell you how clever she is , actually she doesn’t need to. Now for the connection with the above , there was a very annoying male person in the audience, with a high opinion of himself, who kept interrupting whenever the thing got anywhere near something biological such as Queen Elizabeth the first’s virginity. I cast a disapproving glance in this persons’ direction and noticed that he had a rain forest of nasal hair and dreaded the thought that I might be seated next to him at dinner. You see in Lambeth we live in a nuclear free zone, as we are informed reassuringly various road signs. Our house is also a “nasal hair free zone “ I am very severe on the subject and I am glad to say have not had reason recently to implement any penalties against a flouting of this sacred rule. I perused in my mind just what I would do if the seating plan put me in such an unpleasant position at dinner later and recalled how that great Queen Elizabeth reacted when Lord Oxford accidentally broke wind at court the great Queen banished him for twenty years and when he finally returned she announced “ Lord Oxford we have forgot the fart” .
The door bell rang back later!!!!!!