Now, it is an interesting fact that when Dear Mama is out perambulating with members of her family, it is she who asks the questions and she to whom one addresses the answers. She is the one clearly most possessed of erudition, loquaciousness and a voice which sounds as though it were trained at Roedean. (This is, you understand, partly why I like her. The other reason is that she’s straight, and straight people are not as common as they ought to be.) And so a short conversation was had with Dear Mama.
By contrast, the other members of the retinue – all highly likeable, I must stress – were somewhat more reticent. Honourable Sister restricted her contribution to the two words she usually affords me (‘hi, Jeff’), the little princess held me with that mildly discomfiting stare to which 2-year-olds are generally given, and Ivy barked aggressively while simultaneously wagging her tail to add a note of confusion to proceedings. And a good time was had by all.
And it occurred to me that Dear Mama looked a lot younger than she has a right to look. In fact, Dear Mama seems to look younger every time I see her. I considered asking her whether she was in possession of one of those pictures so I might warn her of the consequences, but decided that Oscar Wilde and his decadent creation would not be her choice of reading matter. So I didn’t.
I have no idea where the Lady B and the other little princess were at the time. It strikes me that the answer might be unpalatable.