‘Milla’s Diary: The Land of the Thistle, circa Autumn 2015

NOTE: This is affectionately written fiction. Any resemblance to royals, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This piece is copyright protected.


Been binge-watching Indian Summers while Dear One is away on the Royal Round. Love that calling! Coo-ee! The colonial version of  s’up! Like a colonial hoodie bashing down the street. Ah the old days……

To bring you up to date, we’re still marooned up here enjoying the bracing Autumn weather in the last few days of our holiday. Overall it’s been quite the letdown this year. It’s really only Esteban (my life coach) who has made it all endurable. Well, that and gin of course! Dear One officially banned Esteban, but who does he think he is? No self-respecting wife would “obey” that sort of thing. We obey things that matter–such as sending out a team of flunkies to scour the countryside for a bottle of Dubonnet in case the Mother-in-law shows up. (Note to self: Ring Julian Fellows to see where they purchase it for the set of Downton Abbey or if they use a fake.) No one drinks it anymore. Difficult to buy on the open market.

Anyway, Esteban and I were Skyp-inig on the desktop. He’s such a lamb! And that Hibernian massage method his Cambodian Johnny uses is to. die. for! Let me tell you. When that little man arrived,he was a gift from God. My back feels simply BRILLIANT now! I went for the deluxe package: soothing music of an era I can understand, candles that smell like roasting grouse and the dogs were allowed to snuggle with me. So that Dear One won’t come apart at the seams I did have him massage me thru my sheerest cotton nightie. What bliss! He warms his hands first, then, pours the wine–wine is a huge factor in the success of this type massage. Who knew Cambodia even grew grapes? Must order a case or two and have the Filipino kitchen made print up new labels attesting to their Fair Trade Status  even though they’re probably from chemically fertilized near-slave grown grapes in a communist country. Never mind all that, I always say. Good wine is good wine!

I’m getting old, mind wanders. So, as I was saying, Esteban and I were Skyping and he was relating to me a wonderful way to visualize success in relationships. Dear One and I get along swimmingly most of the time–in part because of our swimming in the tub together on a regular basis. So good for stress-reduction. Esteban thinks it’s crucial that one visualize one’s self saving the significant other from disasters. Imagine, say, he’s taken the Land Rover over the cliff and needs extracting. Rather than create the fuss of calling the Boy and his Air Ambulance I should visualize myself repelling down the cliff, freeing Dear One, and helping him back up the top. That sort of thing. Well, I ask you? Haven’t I been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the death threats? So, while he was nattering on this on the desktop I was catching up the Street on the iPad–had my hair arranged to hide an earbud. Multi-tasking. Mummies perfected it once nannies left the scene. So very useful. Well, I caught a bit of him expounding on underwater rescue and the kiss of life and how that can rev things up and thought it worth a try.

Dear One was off playing navy for real, and I must say the trip was a grind for him. I do wish he’d be sensible and let the Cambodian chappie have a go, but no! That would get in the press. It would become a bromacce or more, yada yada yada. So I suggested a plunge in the tub with yours truly. Offer accepted. His valet is currently on strike over his holiday living accommodations–let’s just say they’re not the sort of door Carson would darken and leave it at that, shall we? So that left one to play valet. It’s always up to one. Just as we were getting to the fun bits Dear One’s mobile blared the national anthem. The Batphone, one might say.

Dear One hurriedly answered, “Good evening Mummy, what a lovely surprise having you ring…”

Those were the only words he got in poor lamb! Soon the color drained from his face and then he was miming “drink” with great ferocity. Sadly I could hear it all. The Mother-in-law in force Pip gale screaming down her mobile about “treachery” and “no concern” and “never helpful in your life….” and “jealous.” He mimed “smoke” and I lit a fag cigarette and gave it to him. That’s a first…..

It was “jealous” that set him over the edge. He was wrung out, you see. Knackered. Un-Caffeinated. Non-alcoholic. Overly-tired. Probably hungry (it’s the uniform–they cost a mint and its getting tight). And freezing since his shirt, socks and undershirt were in a heap on the floor. Plus we’d planned our usual post-Navy visit review of our own little bath-time submarine fleet and bang went that! Well at last I heard words I never thought I’d hear. And even though uttered in that side-of-the-mouth-gangster way, they still stopped my heart: “Now. See. Here. Mummy.”

Well! My knees trembled and my heart raced. I took a slug of gin straight from the bottle then passed it off to him. He gulped, swallowed and returned to his hind legs.

“You know Whitehall is very ‘on’ about the Prince Regent idea…”

Total. Silence.

Dear One looked smug. Mary Crawley smug. He preened. He pumped his fist. He threw me a kiss.

He fell to his knees as the tirade began.

“Don’t you ever talk to your……”

He wilted. He went to the fetal position. He protected his head. He rejected another puff of my fag cigarette

The phone switched off. He got to his hands and knees, then to his feet.

“Fresh shirt, I think, darling. I’m due at Mummy’s in ten minutes. You can drive…..”

Turns out in the course of one little review of a ship he managed to insult Randy, besmirch his do-nothing daughters and cast “aspersions” –that was the word, “aspersions” on Edith. And I ducked out to watch the Street! I missed all the fun. So, not only was the Mother-in-law against him, but Pip too since little Edith’s honor was involved, too.

Dear One managed to do up his own buttons while I hauled on Spanx, stockings and modest evening attire. Don’t want to face today’s version of Old Lady Grantham in trainers, wool socks, jeans and an Eton Cricket jumper left behind by my son. Wouldn’t be conducive. We roared up the hill in a geriatric Land Rover that maxed out at approximately 22 miles per hour. Flunkeys were out waiting for us, but happily with out the Queen Victoria-era torches the Mother-in-law usually employs on night tme maneuvers. Had to make due with the solar lights.

We were silently conducted to THE PRESENCE. I was greeted with air kisses, a polite inquiry as to the dogs’ health and sent over to the drinks tray to serve myself. Another first. No footman. I guess tearing a strip off the Heir is not done in the presence of the Help anymore.

Once the question of when Dear One would be granted power was established as the very day after hell freezes solid, it was Pip’s turn. Only, poor dear, his brain box had signed off for the night and he took Dear One’s hand and said “How did you come here, by train or by car?”

The Mother-in-law rolled her eyes. Dear One fought a giggle. The Mother-in-law gave a hoot of laughter. Pip let rip a room-clearer and I dashed for the window. The corgis growled.

“Drink, darling?” The Mother-in-law asked, taking Pip’s hand tenderly,  pretending not to notice the aroma. Dear One signaled to me and mixed a drink and brought it to Pip. He set it aside absently, looked at the Mother-in-Law and said, “Marigold, dear, it’s been too long.”

Need to know Who’s Who? Check out the first installment of ‘Milla’s Diary.

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