Thursday, December 15, 2005

A cautionary tale

I reject yet another invitation to spend Christmas with the Windsor-Mountbattens.

I gave in one year - I wasn’t feeling well, and cannot describe you truly awful it was. I refused to wear formal attire, and they didn’t take kindly to this. Being vegetarian was frowned on also, and for Christmas lunch I had a plateful of lukewarm mashed turnips. I think that was Philip’s idea. At lunch, the womenfolk all wore paper hats, while the chaps each had one of Liz’s spare tiaras. Apart from the turnip joke, Philip’s idea of merriment was to pretend that Timmy Laurence (who was dressed in naval uniform, God knows why, not many ships in bloody Norfolk (or anything else of interest either)), was one of the footmen. This was before the days of Camilla, and so there were no fart cushions or naked men jumping out of the pudding. The queen mother was obsessed with the idea that she could do Marlene Dietrich impressions, and spoke throughout in an accent that was a mixture of Welsh and South African: no one had any idea what she was saying, although they all seemed to view this behaviour as perfectly normal. At one point, one of the servants brought her a kipper wrapped in the Daily Express, she had a minor tantrum, but no one was able to understand what she had really asked for. The only good thing about this little episode was that it wiped the smugness from Phil’s face, and obviously made him forget about any more jokes at my expense. He became quite taciturn.

The worst moments were when Fergie turned up and banged on the window trying to get in. Everyone affected to ignore her, although Andy didn’t fare too well – he spent sixteen minutes trying to cut his roast potato with the blunt side of the knife. It could be argued that this was just normal for him, but he was not his normal cheerful moronic self. Eventually the old ratbag was carried away screaming across the lawn by two secret service chaps.

After lunch, Charles wandered off to make a telephone call, Phil and Anne had a blazing row about whether the sum of the IQs of her husbands reached 60 or some such, the York children played a game based, as far as I could tell, on Elizabeth the first and Mary queen of Scots. I was left with bloody Teddy, who seemed to think I was some sort of theatrical sort, despite my telling him several times that I had never been in ‘Brideshead’, and started telling me some bollocknumbingly dull story about Peggy Ashcroft.

At three o’clock we were forced to gather round the television. We knew what to expect, and were not surprised when as soon as the programme started Liz put on her Yorkshire accent (I have to say it sounded very good to me), “Ee! Look at yon bag! Ah’ve seen better clothes on ‘donkey down ‘pit!”

After that little episode, new year with John and Norma Major was positively refreshing.


Simon Holledge said...

Ah! Peggy Ashcroft - at last someone I know!

[This eyesight test is a real pain!]

Mrs Pissed-Off (Hon) from North island said...

Honesty Vics, you are SO under rated (is that one word?) when you do this stuff. Why does no one else find it howlingly funny? You need to try and keep you metal about you and do another Princess Margaret and mullgatatawny story. Your finest moment.

bugger it - who cares? said...

I spelled the soup wrong didn't I?