Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Manor is Sold

The lane into the village is really so very muddy Boy ends up well and truly splattered on our walk up to the Post Office to collect the morning's newspaper. I normally have 2 dailies, The Tellygraff and Midshire Daily Post. These are suplimented on Thursdays by the local weekly, Angelfield Post. The Post Office made a nice warm treat as it was a chilly march through the fog today. Mrs Blacker always has a jug of hot chocolate sat on top of the old stove, just the ticket to revive the numb extremities and today was no different, a drop of glorious gloppy chocolate with a dash of brandy to help widen the arteries.

We were all gathered around the little pot bellied stove, myself, Mrs Blacker and Mrs De la Pole, when Old Blaster comes roaring in blustering like an exploding grenade, hot air erupting from all available orifices, a sure sign of something of outstanding gossip-worthiness. I pulled up a chair for him to fall into whilst Mrs Blacker added an extra slug of brandy to his hot chocolate and Mrs De La Pole wafted an eau de cologne scented lace edge handkerchief. Once the situation had calmed a little bit and Old Blaster had got his breathing under control we all drew our rickety old chairs closer in order to hear, in intimate detail, what was causing Old Blaster to get so excited.

By now the shop was filling up with villagers, and we were all waiting.................... Old Blaster began, " Longshot manor has been sold" he blurted out, spraying spittle from the corners of his mouth. Well this was news to us, how on earth had it been kept so quiet, usually the village gossips, of which l am not one, can smell a rumour before it has actually happened. Old Blaster continued as we by now holding our breath and clasping the edge of our chairs, " It has been bought by a polo playing entrepreneur from up north somewhere. He has made millions in the fish and chip business". Silence. No one made a sound, you could hear the clock ticking slowly in the background... suddenly there was a sharp intake of breath followed by the sucking in on false teeth and then whoosh, everyone was talking at once like a flock of geese flying in formation. Who is it? He's from where? Ergh?

By now Old Blaster had risen to the occasion, a captive audience, a rare event nowadays indeed. The new owner had bought, sight unseen from the previous incumbent on meeting with her son in St Morritz a few weeks ago at an ice polo match. The new owner a Mr Oily-Clarke, apparently well known in the polo world having been featured in gossip columns escorting numerous super models and fathering many children, all of whom lived with him, and were part of, according the the Prattler, his entourage. Mr O-C, so we were informed by Old Blaster, who was settling comfortably into his role as storyteller, held himself in very high esteem, with a full PR Team churning out fabulous features about him and his family. Myself and the villagers were stunned.

What on earth was happening to our haven of piece and quiet amidst the turmoil of the outside world? As old Blaster came to the end of the 'known' facts, we sat there, Mrs Blacker brewed up a large pot of hot chocolate to which she added a good bottle of damson gin........

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Old friends and troublesome brothers

I have been home now for about a week and it would appear little has changed in the village. The gates to the Manor have been re-gilded and Mrs De la Pole has pulled a muscle in her back after attempting to limbo dance at the Old Folks New Year's Eve Party held in the village hall, Mr Frankish died suddenly whilst out walking his dog on Hampton Hill, so it's much ado about normal. It is such a relief to know that when you travel, things at home remain unchanged.

It is some time since l did a rapid drop of the hat and exit promptly, well this time l can blame in on my dear old brother, he always was a cheeky one even as a child. This Christmas he really lived up to his nick name 'Monks' as in Monkey! To fill you in on the fun, Christmas Eve saw all us villagers invited to the grand house for a cocktail party, l ask you how exciting was that? Anyway, the Post Office was full of gossip about who was going whilst the nearly new shop in Little Dimchurch was doing a roaring trade in the used dress department. Christmas Eve arrived and l had arranged to go with Monks. He duly arrived looking extremely dapper in his black tie although he did look a little odd wearing his black carpet slippers, anyway l digress, he also had tagging along with him, one of his old chums, Humph. Well, l haven't seen Humph for more years than l care to remember, l think the last time would have been in the early 1950s when we flew an old tiger moth to Le Touquet for lunch? Such a surprise especially as he was last heard of digging an old site in Peru.

The party was l am afraid to say all bling and pink champagne. The Prattler photographer was everywhere. Not to my taste is all l can say really as l do find jacuzzi and home cinemas just a little common, but we did all have fun chatting about the' good old days' when people knew their place. The outcome of this rather heavy topic of conversation was that Humph announced that he was hiring a dahabiya at Luxor and would Monks and I like to come on over to Egypt with him and help set up the new excavation on the West Bank, the departure date was the 27th.

On the morning of the 27th we duly checked in on the British Airways fight to Cairo.