25 November 2010

SMOKERY POKERY

Ever since that Cassandra Nevada vixen cut me to the quick by pointing out that Gwyn 'Dai the Folly' ran a wittier humorous blog than moi, I've been brooding on my soggy bloggy efforts to be the new William Hickey-cum-Quentin Letts.

She and he are right: posts should be punchy whiplash in/out observations.

An email just in heads me in the right direction.

A lady - literal Lady, chattel of a knight - writes to me with a memory I don't actually remember.

Seems I was at a dinner where I'd been beefing about how people went on about jardinerie: "I don't suddenly wade in with tedious chatter about plunking a guitar, or amusing tricks with HTML, or snapping busty babes on the sly - why do 'gardening' enthusiasts feel the right to suddenly launch into their hobby without craving indulgence from any other diners who find the past-time a crashing bore.

Ignored and shouted down, of course.

I don't recall the incident but certainly take credit for such foolhardiness: apparently, dessert served and coffee and liqueurs circling, and still the chatter droning on about drooping daturae and wanton wisteria, I whispered a request to the butler to bring me an ashtray and proceeded to light up.

Host:

"Actually, Christopher, I personally don't mind if you smoke but there might be others who find the habit objectionable.

At my table, it's customary to ask permission before lighting up."

Nods and grunts.

Me - look of apologetic surprise -

"I'm terribly sorry. I personally don't object to people monopolising the conversation with tales of their hobbying but I find many others of us find it tedious after a while and are grateful for the custom of asking permission before launching into 'grandes histoires botaniques'.

You clearly run a more relaxed table so I thought that I, too, might dispense with such starched etiquette.

Of course, I will extinguish my cigarette herewith and we can clear the air with an equally more tolerable thread of conversation."

My correspondent:

"My dear, you could have heard a pin drop. In fact, I'm sure I popped more than one trying to contain my laughter.

Anyway, I'm writing to say that I used the exact same ploy at a dinner with my husband and golf cronies and it worked a treat.

Are you insular this Christmas as your mother visits Italy as usual? I don't know how she does it at her age. I can hardly drag myself out of bed to totter down the road to Partridges.

Absolutely dreading the drive down to Devon ... etc"

OK OK, still hot as an air balloon but I'm working on it.

Dai Folly would have it nailed:

"Blah blah, garden garden, sod this pour une alouette ... anyone got a gasper? Say what, guv'? Yachy da, beg pardon, all."

4 comments :

Simon Baddeley said...

There are people who without embarrassment will discuss sport in the presence of complete strangers.

Corfucius said...

see? theyre everywhere. no shame. alice, pass me my meerschaum

seacat said...

very very well done, cholmes. By the way, a stroll thru my garden yesterday reminded me that the season is nigh for composting leaves into the future tomato beds and growing winter clover where beans will soon be. It seems a sleepy time of year only to those who don't understand that the most important work of all begins now. Even as the sun sets so far on the southern horizon as to make one fear for the end times, yet that is exactly when you should pull on those knee high gardening boots, the ones with happy colors and flowers embossed on rubberized plastic, and get thee out there in the sod. And with "sod" I will toss you a soft, slow pitch right over the plate. xoxo

Corfucius said...

That 'Seacat' and her soft lobs over the plate. Ain't touching that curved ball, babe.

Bend it like Bezos, yo.