03 June 2006

To the manure borne

Eheu! The sacrifices I make for my demanding and voracious readership.

Hardly to the manner born, I'm unlikely now to the manor even to be invited.

Once the central figures identify themselves, that'll be my chances shot of hobbing further with the nobs.

And we're talking corpuscles bleus here: the sort of chinless wonder ancestor who hovered with the royal blotter as King John scrawled his moniker on the Magna Carta.

But first some padding so the culprit story falls beneath the fold and their eye glides over and on to some posher bloggeria.

Today's events brought me in touch with a world removed from the sordid life through which you and I trudge. Indeed, it reminded me of the moment when the Crown realised it had lost its case against "Lady Chatterly's Lover". Do you remember the immortal moment when prosecution counsel turned to the jury and asked,

"Members of the jury, I want you to ask yourselves, is this a book that I would permit my wife or servants to read?"
From that moment on, Allen Lane publishers had won the day and the floodgates were open.

In the same vein, this marvelous - almost certainly apocryphal - tale of M'Lud passing judgment on a boozy old soak.

Picture the hapless meths-swigging soak in the dock for the umpteenth time for wandering abroad sozzled out of his mind.

Justice Ponsonby has reached his verdict.

"Now I've heard the defence and I've decided to take you at your word that you intend to reform your ways. I'm going to be lenient this time, but Heaven help you if you appear before this Court again.

I'm imposing no fine but I want your assurance that you'll desist from your alcoholic ways:

No more drink, do you hear?

And I mean it. Not even a dry sherry before luncheon."

Is it just me? I find it absolutely hilarious.

Alors, now for *my* tale: It's another garden tour for the favoured ("And are you also a gardener?" "Not by a single frond or fern, not by seed, stamen or stem." Nervous chuckle: "Ha ha. Most amusing.")

The traipse over, we retire for drinks on the terrace and mezzes served by our adorable Aphrodite.

One of the party is clicking away with some costly camera and snaps a few of A as she bobs, hovers and curtseys.

"Oh, I say, Dickie, do look at this one. It's a lovely one of the ... I'm terribly sorry, I've forgotten your name."

"Aphrodite," I offer.

"Of course. They do have the  most divine classical names. Regardez, Aphrodite - this is you." Bob and curtsey; terrified smile as she looks to me for a cue.

"I know, Christopher - ask her for her email and we'll send copies when we get home."

Dear darling Aph' - mid-30s, Albanian peasant stock, two kids, three jobs, and a husband with two. Moves her lips as she reads.

She looks at me: "What is the kyria saying?"

In Greek: "You're fine. Hey, any more of those cheese pies? Delicious!"

"More heating in the oven. I'll fetch."

"When you've a moment."

To Yvonne: "Ah! The trials of the wired! They're being reconfigured for wireless and Otenet are being absolute bores over the broadband upgrade."

"You too! Dickie had *such* a time with British Telecom getting them to add it to the cottage. Tell her it's well worth waiting for - isn't it, darling? - she can get the news just like that and the videos they run these days are almost as good as the tele - aren't they, darling?"

I turn to A: "The cheese pies now. The kyria says they are the most delicious she has tasted in all of Greece."

Curtsey, gleaming blush and smile: "Tell her I can give her the recipe if she wants to make them back in Angleeya. Is very easy."

Rictus smile: "No need. Her Ladyship knows they won't taste like yours."

Bob and smile and off she darts.

"Such a charming gel."

"Indeed. Oh look, your husband has persuaded my mother to part with a cutting of the Aloha. Clever man!"

"So he has! Geofrrey, you're absolutely incorrigible."

"Yvonne, that Campari cries out for a reviver."

"It does rather, doesn't it? How clever of you. Marjorie, I'm absolutely besotted with your son; may I kidnap him for The Season?"

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