Astute readers (pls to avoid oxymorons. Ed.) will have noticed that the princess royal, or “bouncy tits” as her equestrian friends know her, does not appear as often in my journal as other members of the SC&G clan. This is not because of any particular frostiness in our relationship, but due to her seldom venturing indoors during the hours of daylight, apart from the occasional gallop (on horseback, of course) through the dining room at Sandringham or Windsor to grab a scone or flask of chicken noodle soup. (She only does this to annoy Philip, and has perfected a way of squeezing the stomach of a mare so that it passes wind immediately. Unlike her siblings, she has never been intimidated by Old Marbleless, as she wittily calls him.) She seldom has time to chat on the telephone, and as I equate equestrian activities with entertainment for the brain dead, we seldom communicate.
I was not surprised, however, to find her on the telephone this week. I do keep abreast of international news as I find that it sometimes gives a clue as to what these people are talking about – not a skill acquired easily, I can tell you.
For those of you, and you only have yourselves to blame, who do not keep themselves up to date with the “Auckland Advertiser”, I can report that a young lady with the unlikely name of Denise L'Estrange-Corbet (real name Mavis Dawkins) was reported to have described Mrs Lawrence as “as boring as fucking bat shit”. No reports that I can find define whether she used that ubiquitous and unnecessary expletive as a verb or adjective. I am not particularly troubled by this gap in my vast knowledge, but feel it would give some insight into the psychiatric map of Ms L’Estrange-Corbet. I also feel that the comparison was a tad unfair. Those who saw the excellent episode in the Attenborough comedies where the hero met a huge pile of bat shit would have been far more enthralled than had they been called upon to converse with a member of the house of Windsor.
Without pausing to ask about my health (I have been a little under the weather these few days with a seasonal cold), Anne launched in to a florid description of the event. “For the love of buggery”, she began, “I travelled right the way round the naffing world to one of the most anachronistic cities on the planet”, she is virtually unique in the family for having mastered the art of the use of multi-syllabic words, “and even find time to attend a ‘Save the Children’ fundraiser. You know what they’re like, don’t you? Full of well-intentioned but very dull and dim people.”
“Just like home from home then”, I interjected.
“Apart from the ‘well-intentioned’ bit” we both said in harmony.
“Any road up”, she continued, determined not to be put off her stride, “I politely make my way round the room, and eventually find myself face to face with this ghastly wench who looks like a knickerbocker glory with acne, and all she wants to talk about are the piss-poor clothes that she designs. So, as I do on these occasions, I affect not to understand her accent. I ask her to repeat everything that she says, and then reply very slowly in the same way that I talk to my horses, or used to talk to Mark, and hope that she will shut the buggery up. It’s at times like these that I miss daddy. He would have said something witty, such as “are you wearing those clothes to win a bet?” or “why don’t you shut your poxy gob”, but I am always too drained. Eventually I just ran out of energy altogether, and fell back on asking her if she had come far in reply to everything she said. After that the twenty minutes I spent chatting to the transgender nun who had been a flanker for the All Blacks about his, her or its latest project – something to do with recycling – seemed like the most interesting conversation I had ever had.”