Friday, July 28, 2006

AFTER THE PARTY

I went to a party the other night. It could have been one of those kind of parties. You know, where you wonder who is who and who are you and then it’s all nonsense anyway and you end up wondering why you went in the first place. Life in the London fast lane.

Except this one was different because I cared about being there. And there were several reasons why I cared.

The first one is that the film company releasing this film cares about making great movies. And how many film companies can you say that about these days. This company pioneers great film making. So I really wanted to see the film they were premiering. Suffice it to say they recognised and distributed “Super Size Me” in England.

One of the other reasons I wanted to see this film was because it stars Kate Blanchett and Sam Neill, both of whom I consider to be extremely fine actors with Kate Blanchett verging on Goddess like status in my eyes. So the opportunity to participate in a Questions and Answers session with actors of this calibre after the film was reason enough alone to whip out the gold dress. Then there was the fact that I really love Australians and this was a film set in Australia. Oh and the other thing is that my son is working for this film company as a runner at the moment. So you see, as I said, there were a lot of reasons to attend this premier and the party after the film.

It was a very hot day in London town. Regent’s Park was packed with the sort of people I wouldn’t mind having around my dinner table or lunch table or any other kind of table, judging by the picnic hampers filled with delicious food they were unpacking all around us. The musician wanted nothing more than a deck chair and a snooze, so we found a spot and sat for a bit before strolling back home to prepare for the start of the late afternoon premier.

The car driving us to the cinema was stylish and new, the driver was charming and better still, he was playing Al Green singing “Let’s Stay Together” on the very good stereo. Nothing but nothing can improve my mood more than great music and I think it made him happy when I asked him to turn it up, well actually I know it did because he and I were both singing along, discreetly of course, no one sings over Al Green, but still it was one of those perfect moments. Being driven through London on a beautiful sunny day, dressed in pretty clothes and listening to wonderful music. Even the musician was humming.

When we arrived at the cinema there was a bit of a flurry, a bit of who are we, more like who were we in our case but it’s still exciting when you pull up and there are banks of camera’s and crowds behind barrier’s, all straining to see the stars. It still makes you stand tall and feel glad you went on that diet and could easily fit into that dress. Well quite easily.

I want to congratulate the people who made this film. And the actors who who starred in it. It is a gritty, disturbing view of real life Australia that I don’t think we get to see too often. It makes for harsh reality which is not necessarily the vision I wanted in my head on that lovely afternoon but it is courageous and real, the acting is excellent and I’m really glad I have seen it.

Afterwards there was a party at the Australian Embassy. It was like all those other parties where people have to stand around chatting to people they would not necessarily socialise with, which is what we did for a while, but because there were a lot of Australian’s there from the Embassy it didn’t feel like some of those ghastly, watch your back and keep looking over your shoulder events we have attended over the years in London. Sam Neill is one of the most quick-witted, funny, self deprecating and charming actor’s I have met in a very long time. I wish I had spoken to Kate Blanchett when we first arrived and there were only about five people in the huge room, but you know what it’s like. My friend had told me that if I met her, I must tell Kate Blanchett that she should have definitely won the Oscar that year for “Elizabeth”. I wish I had told her because it’s definately true, but I’m sure she hears it all the time anyway. I hope she does.

The best part of the evening, despite the film and the party and fantastic, totally Australian goody bags containing amongst other things, jars of Vegimite and a spider catcher, the best part was when I got home.

Because there, snuggled up together on the sofa when we walked in was my son and his very adorable girlfriend.

It’s not just that she is so beautiful, which she is, all long-limbs, delicate features and honey kissed hair smelling sweeter than any scent I have yet to encounter, it is the fact that she is so totally unaffected by her beauty and by the whole girlie thing in general. There is a tranquility about her, an air of being unaffected that is so refreshing compared to other girls of her age and yet she is just as stylish, if not more so than the girls I watch preening along the High Street. It’s just that it is a style all of her own

I have this pair of Chanel earrings. I have loads of vintage Chanel jewellery, collected over the last twenty years, which I will never wear again and which now sits, alongside all the old designer clothes, in the back of one of my cupboards in the flat. I had looked at the jewellery when I returned to London recently and thought of her.

That night, on impulse, I gave her a pair of earrings. I was so nervous. More nervous then at any time during the party we had just attended, chatting to all those different people. What if she didn’t like them? She might be too embarrassed to tell me. But what if I didn’t give them to her and she might have loved them and I would never know. All these thoughts passed through my head as I went to find the black box with the white writing. The earring were cute, little quilted clips with dangly tags that said Chanel Paris, not too grown up but still obviously vintage Chanel. I prayed her face wouldn’t fall when she opened the box.

She loved them. The next morning after she had left, I opened my laptop and there was the tiniest note, so very her, slipped in between the keyboard and the screen, thanking me and telling me she really loved them and I think she really does.

My heart is still singing about that.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Loving London this Week


I don’t want to be in Somerset at the moment. I love being here. Right from the moment I arrived last week, London has enchanted me. Maybe it’s just where I live, Marylebone is pretty much as good as it gets, what with the park and the High Street and the farmer’s market on Sunday, but it must also have something to do with the sunshine and the beautiful people of all nations that I see strolling around, smiling at each other because they all look so gorgeous and the weather is so good.

Whatever it is, I feel so happy to be here. Especially now the parties have been attented and I can just sit on my terrace and listen as London life goes on around me.

There is a pub around the corner from where we live. This pub has become something special to me. It is my home from home, even though I am generally not a pub kind of person. It is the place where I pop to meet friends and it looks like the kind of pub that every Londener dreams of knowing. It is real. Also, the people that own it just happen to be the nicest, kindest and most interesting people I’ve met in a very long time, as far removed from superficial world as you could hope to get and they just happen to be the parents of three extremely handsome sons, all in their thirties. Which is another reason why I like going there. The musician is still making the second album. I have a lot of time.

I definately like being in London right now.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back on the Diet

Both me and Teddy have been dieting since we got back down here from London and we both feel a lot better. Well I know I do, Teddy doesn’t say much but he’s looking less like a whale and more like a Bichon which is a good thing because we have to go to London next week and there are parties I have to attend and parks Teddy has to appear in and it’s just not good when we are fat.

I’ve been doing the boiled egg diet, it’s not for everyone but it works for me, based on the ridiculous principle that eating is not for pleasure. I know, I know, but being the sort of person that can eat, cook, read, watch and talk about food all day, I have found the only way I can loose weight is to reduce food to something that is irrelevant, merely a source of energy. Obviously this only works for a limited time, a girl can only have so much willpower for goodness sake, but I find it quite easy during the week when I’m on my own and then I can go mad at weekends when the musician and other people are down here. It’s not so easy in London when I am cooking all the time for the musician and my darling son, but there I am tragically motivated by my ego rather than my appetite.

A couple of scary parties on the horizon and the need to fit into a certain dress will sure as hell stifle any urge for that late night bowl of pasta. Of course this same train of thought will also ensure that I need for two bowls of pasta just as soon as the parties are over, but hey that’s life when you’re eating for pleasure.

The premise of the boiled egg diet is very simple. You basically eat nothing all day (this may not work for some, but history has shown it works for me because as soon as I eat, I will think about what to eat next). Then, early evening, as good wine is one of my other greatest pleasures and in order to not feel totally deprived, I have a big glass of white wine, one being in this instance quite enough, two and I will fall over if I haven’t eaten all day (I did say big though) and then, when you feel all nice and relaxed and starving, eat two hard boiled eggs dipped in mayonnaise.

I always eat some sort of fruit or salad with the eggs, you can eat fruit all day if you want, but that’s it and I swear I won’t feel hungry for the rest of the evening which is the whole point. I know it sounds odd but for some reason this works for me, even though the mayonnaise is so fattening, because you only need about a tablespoon with the eggs and the wine covers the pleasure factor. Okay it’s not a great way to spend the night but I swear it works.

I’ve been doing it on and off for years because even though I swear I am trying to perfect that whole everything in moderation thing, which I KNOW is the right way, the only way to eat, I am above all a hedonist and let’s face it, hedonism will out. So when I fall off the food moderation wagon as I did recently in London, it’s back on the hard boiled egg diet for a couple of weeks until I’ve reigned my body in - again.

Teddy has been on another equally strict diet. His is called the “I live with this really cruel woman who refuses to feed me enough’ diet. For a dog who lives to eat, two small meals a day and no snacks is tantamount to starvation and the expression on his face says it all.

Both diets have worked though, that and daily exercise Now we’re both looking lithe and lovely and ready to party. Well, not really. I am looking forward to some sushi though. And Teddy can’t wait to raid some London bins.
Neighbours

The first proper West Country person I got to know down here was Bess. Well, know would be too strong a word, as an outsider, getting to know someone born and raised down here can take a lifetime, no, it would be more appropriate to say that Bess and me became friends.

Like her older sister Primrose, Bess had been born on the estate near my house and they had both lived here all their lives. Their father had been the head gardener and their mother the cook in the big house so recently acquired and then quickly abandoned by my new friend Cosima. They came from an era when the house and surrounding land had been run as a huge, working estate and there isn't much that the two sisters don't know about life around here over the past hundred years.

Primrose and her daughter Maggie now live in the old farm house at one end of the drive and Bess lives in a little cottage at the other end, on the corner where the drive met the lane and where I used to walk every day with the dogs when Max was still alive.

By the time I moved here both sisters were widows, well into their eighties although they looked easily ten years younger. During the first months my relations with Primrose and her daughter had not ventured past a brief wave as they passed in their little blue car and I suspect things would have stayed that way for many years had it not been for my friendship with Bess.

Of the two sisters, although there was a hint of untold sophistication in Primrose’s ever present dash of red lipstick and gleam of blue eyeshadow that I had noticed, it was Bess’s gentle face and shy manner that I was more drawn to. That and the fact that she was a excellent storyteller.

My early morning walks with the dogs often coincided with her tending to the front of the cottage, if she wasn’t working in the pretty little cottage garden, she would be sweeping the stone entrance or polishing the brass door handle, Bess is always busy.

Our friendship, as with all good friendships, started slowly but as the months passed we progressed from a cheery good morning to exchanging a word or two and then one day we began to talk and have never looked back.

Bess’s stories are often from a time gone by and they are always fascinating, she has the storyteller’s gift of making any topic interesting. If I’m lucky I can get her on to the subject of the old estate, tales of days spent with her father in the walled vegetable garden and how she would go with him up to the big house each morning to ask her mother in the kitchen what vegetables were required that day.

Sometimes she will describe days spent with her mother in the kitchen, the enormous meals that were prepared, how the mistress of the house sometimes suddenly appeared and Bess would hide shyly behind her mother’s vast, white apron whilst they discussed menu’s. She can still remember the days when there were horse drawn carriages and a railway station in the village. She and her family used to travel the line all the way to the sea. Sadly, like so many things, the railway line has long since been abandoned, how I would have loved to have taken that journey.

I’ve come to rely on Bess’s opinion regarding most things to do with living here. What to do with baby birds that can’t fly and sheep that suddenly appear lame, how to get the best out of my Aga and how to treat insect bites. She is a veritable Who’s Who of the village but she is never a gossip. She can make my day when I’m not having much of one just by mentioning that she had seen me running the day before and thought it was a young girl in the lane, or she will ring me out of the blue early evening to tell me there is a sunset I have to come and see.

Something of our friendship must have eventually filtered back to her sister because after a while I became the recipient of little acts of kindness from Primrose and her daughter that continue to this day. At first it was the odd bag of windfall apples, then sacks of kindling guaranteed to get a huge fire going in seconds, at Christmas there will always be a cheerful plant and an enormous tin of the best mince pies I have ever tasted. I will find bundles of rhubarb by the door and bags of freshly dug potatoes, I also know I need never worry that our house is unprotected when we are away.

I won’t go so far as to say we are accepted down here but I do think we passed the first test. For some reason that means a very great deal to me.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Meanwhile Back in the Walled Garden

The pleasure field at the front of the house is not the only place where things are happening around here. The walled garden at the back has been a pretty exciting place this week, what with the little wren building a nest in the wood store and the discovery of the Nicotina plants. Unlike in sheep world however, both these events are fraught with problems.

For a start, the wren’s choice of location to build a family home looks on principle like a really good idea. It’s a nice area, secluded spot, not much in the way of neighbours, all of which is true, except in this case, it’s a bit like building a house and then finding out too late that it’s right next to a motorway because at this time of year, for almost every weekend, the walled garden has more traffic than the M25. And the wood store is built right on the corridor which leads through to the next garden, rather like where the M25 joining the M6, so everything that comes from the kitchen, i.e. bottles, glasses, crockery, cutlery, food, people, all have to pass this junction every time they make the journey from one garden to the other.

I’ve been watching the little wren all week and the poor thing hasn’t stopped for a minute. She must be exhausted from all that too-ing and fro-ing with twigs and leaves and other nest building stuff in her mouth. I’m sure she’s really looking forward to a quiet weekend in her lovely new home and that’s what worries me, because this weekend we’re having a huge house party.

The walled garden will be transformed into a sort of disco kitchen where I grill all the food, play music and have people standing round drinking and chatting to me whilst I do the cooking. The other garden is where we eat, sit and generally lay about all hours of the day and night. Can you imagine? And this is just the start. What will it be like once the Wren children are born?

And that’s the trouble with wrens, they always build nests really near to where we have to do things. One year we had one right next to a door that leads from another part of the garden, we named her door bird for obvious reasons and no matter how carefully I tried to open the door she used to give me a heart attack every time by suddenly fleeing the scene in a huge panic, screaming her head off. I don’t know whose nerves were worse by the time the babies had flown the nest, but to this day I can’t open that door without feeling guilty.

So, much as I love the idea of the little wren in the wood store, I know already that the next few weeks are going to be incredibly stressful for all concerned.

Then there are the Nicotina plants. I was so thrilled when one suddenly randomly appeared last year in a crack in the paving stone. It went on to grow to the size of a triffid, filling the walled garden with it’s heavenly scent each night and looking so beautiful with it’s ghostly white flowers glowing in the dark. It even placed itself right next to the other pots in the centre of the paving stones so it looked as if I’d been really clever and somehow managed to cultivate this wonderful plant without even using a pot.

I was hoping like mad that it would return this year and it has, which is wonderful but it must have really liked growing there because it came back with a few relations - six to be precise - which is fine, I mean I’m really, really happy at the thought of the whole garden filled with Nicotina, except that now I have to remember to do these really intricate Fred Astaire type moves every time I’m out there so I don’t trample on any of them as they’ve taken a very cavalier attitude to where they’re growing this time, popping up all over the place. I am going to have to get the musician to build little cages to go round them this weekend so that all the guests dance like I do, which could make things very complicated.

And it has crossed my mind that if they all grow to even half the size of the one last year, we could be looking at some kind of Nicotina forest out there later in the year which would certainly be interesting in terms of a new horticultural experience, but I can’t help thinking it could seriously curtail life in the disco kitchen.

What with one thing and another, I’m finding the walled garden a pretty stressful place at the moment.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

THE PLEASURE FIELD

The sheep are grazing in the field right next to the house at the moment. Sometimes they are in the other field but they were moved to this one a few days ago and at first I thought it was just because the grass was longer, but now I know it’s for quite a different reason. Now I know it’s nothing less than a pleasure field.

I discovered this fact when I walked past with Teddy the other evening and noticed that three of the sheep were wearing waistcoats, well a sort of cross between a waistcoat and a gun holster, giving them a vaguely sinister, vaguely sophisticated, James Bond type air.

Teddy and I both stopped in our tracks and did a double take. Was the farmer really so bored that he’d started dressing up the sheep? Was this some sort of sheep soap opera? I hastily searched the field for other characters but could see none. Just the three in waistcoats, who, it has to be said, were actually looking quite cool.

From the first time we’d met this particular farmer we’d named him Casey Jones, even though his name was actually Eric, because he looked exactly like the character from the American TV series we’d watched as children. He even wore the same little cap, dungarees and bandanna tied round his neck, the main difference of course being that he drove a tractor instead of a train and had a broad West Country accent as opposed to an American one. Maybe he secretly really did want to be Casey Jones, reeling and a’rollin’ as the song used to say and he was using the sheep as bit part actors? He practically fell over laughing when I met him a short time later in the lane and asked him if he was branching out into the film world.

Well at least I wasn’t so wrong about the 007 thing. The three gunslinger’s were rams and the waistcoats were to ensure that they could be easily identified in a field of white. And they were there on an assignment all right, Casey Jones said guffawing loudly and giving my elbow a sharp nudge, but it sure as hell wasn’t spying, it was the other thing that James Bond was famous for.

There are over fifty sheep in that field and the rams were there to casually work their way through the lot of them. I stared hard at the faces of all the girls on the way back to the house, but they just stared back at me then carried on eating the grass and weeing at the same tim like they always do. Nothing to indicate they were now living in a pleasure palace and having the time of their lives but hey, I’ve heard there are women like that too.

The three rams were standing in a small group to one side, I would not have been surprised to see them smoking. How could I have been so stupid not to realise they were men sheep, even if they hadn’t been wearing their cool waistcoats? Their faces were so totally different to the girls and besides, how could I not have noticed the spectacularly large set of balls swinging between their legs that I was now staring at in fascination, well that along with their table manners once they started eating. All around was the gentle sound of sheep grazing, but these guys were something else, they were literally scoffing the grass, grunting away as they shovelled in huge mouthfuls, rather like the musician and friends hunched over a curry after a full night on the beer.

Two were okay looking but the other one was really ugly, a sort of sheep version of a football hooligan and this was the one who suddenly stopped scoffing and looked up to fix Teddy with a slit-eyed, speculative gaze that made us both feel uncomfortable.

Teddy who it has to be said, is more sheep like than ever since he got his summer hair cut, gave the football hooligan a look that was positively flouncy and headed quickly off home. The football hooligan watched his little fat bottom go with more than a casual interest before returning his attention to the rest of the field. He was hardly a man desperate for action.

Anyway, I’ve been taking a close interest in the field these past couple of days and there are a couple of things that stand out. One is that rams don’t do much in the line of foreplay although, given the way sheep behave, you can hardly blame them. I’d say the rams must be pretty confident they’re on a result every time because believe me sheep certainly don’t do much in the line playing hard to get.

In sheep world, the extent of male wooing seems to be that you basically have to walk up and have a bit of a sniff and you’re in. You climb on, do the job and then it’s back to grazing everyone.
Sometimes the sheep actually carry on grazing whilst the ram is on the job which I think personally is taking casual a bit too far. I mean I’ve heard of people smoking after sex but eating during?

No wonder the ram never wants to see them again, not that the sheep seem to mind. Unlike cows who can be so bitchy, sheep are all really laid back, hanging out together regardless of who is sleeping with who, spending all day eating or huddled close under a tree if it’s raining and you know, despite spending all that time together, I’ve never yet heard sheep arguing.

Actually, now I come to think about it, if I’m reincarnated it would be quite nice to come back as a sheep. Or a ram.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Adorable Hairdresser

I used to go to one of those hairdresser’s in London. You know the sort where you can get a manicure, pedicure, glass of champagne, tray of sushi, three course lunch and a so called top stylist all for the price of a weekend break in Paris.....er, if you were flying first class that is and staying at the Ritz, oh and shopping in Chanel all day. The prices at this place really are obscene.

But it wasn’t so much the price - although the musician did get that look on his face every time I mentioned I needed to get my hair cut - the sort of look he gets when I tell him I need to switch the central heating on in the house down here - it’s the look of a cornered beast, but that was not why I stopped going to that hair salon

It wasn’t even the fact that walking into that place, where you could suddenly find yourself sitting next Kiera Knightly or, even more bizarrely one time Chelsea Clinton, when you’ve got your head covered in tin foil, made it feel like each time I had to think about booking an appointment was similar to having to attend one of those parties I was talking about, because in hair salons like this one, even the people that shampoo your hair do the mwah mwah kissing and looking over your shoulder thing as they’re rinsing away at the sink.

No, the reason I finally stopped going was quite simply because I hated my hair every time they did it. And not just the way it looked after the blow-dry, I mean, that’s taken as given with any hairdresser right? They blow-dry your hair and no matter how often you see them or how hard you try to explain that you’re self-image is not that of the CEO of a bank or someone selling jewellery on the shopping channel, you will end up having to go home and wash it, just so that you don’t feel too sick every time you look in the mirror and think of how much you just paid to end up looking that way. You also have to wash it immediately to get rid of all the products they put in it, even though you told them not to use any, which make your hair end up looking and feeling like it’s been smeared with 3-1 car grease.

And it wasn’t just the cut, it was often the colour too, all that layering of ten different shades, painting this and streaking that until it sounded like I had Monet working on my re-growth. I was like, look, all I want is for the roots to match the rest of my hair. But no, they would dick about with it until my whole head looked an entirely different colour to the one I came in with, which I had actually really liked, and then it would take about a month for it to fade back to how I liked it, but by then the roots would need doing again and we’d be back to square one.

I used to dread going but I dreaded the thought of going somewhere else even more because what if the next one made me look even worse and cost even more. And that’s how they get you, by fear.

Then one day, fate took a hand. That was the day I met Lucy.

It was during one of those periods where I had been down here for ages and when I was in London for any reason, my stylist/socialite hairdresser wasn’t, he was always off on some photo shoot or on holiday so finally, when my roots and my hair were getting so long I was being mistaken for other people and not in a good way, I took the plunge and rang the little hair salon I had spotted in the next village. After all what did I have to loose?

This little shop is about as far removed from the London salon as you could possibly envisage. For a start the whole place is the size of the reception area in London. It’s the sort of place where they still do a shampoo and set and the only thing they offer for refreshment is a cup of tea or coffee which is such a relief after London where it increasingly feels like your having your hair cut in a restaurant, which incidentally is a concept I find really off-putting when you consider all the snippets of hair and hair products and God knows what else that can fall in your food whilst you’re sitting there enjoying your Salad Nicoise. and a glass of wine.

The main difference however is Lucy.

Lucy is about 20, perhaps even younger. She was born and raised in the village and has worked there ever since she left school. She is a pretty, plump, merry little thing, who runs the whole shop on her own since her boss branched out and opened another salon in another village. Now it’s just Lucy on her own. I’ve been going there for over a year now, it costs me as much to have my hair coloured and cut as I used to spend at the other place on just tipping the staff and I’m not kidding.

But do you know the most ridiculous thing? I have never, ever had so many compliments about my hair as I do now. It now looks twice as thick as it did and the colour is as near to perfect as I have ever dreamed or tried to explain throughout all those years in London

It took a while to get it this good because we had to wait for all the chopping and changing, or shall we just call it butchering it had suffered in the hands of the London stylist, before we could even think about re-creating a style I really wanted. Now I can honestly say my hair has never looked or felt better.

I used to spend a whole afternoon in the place in London and it drove me insane because I am so not one of those women who likes being fussed over. Lucy does my hair in just over an hour, start to finish. I leave the shop with my hair wet and dry it at home because the shop is five minutes in the car from where I live. My hair looks brilliant as soon as I’ve dried it and best of all, it looks totally natural.

I don’t even have to talk when I’m there, Lucy established on the first visit that she’s very happy to work in absolute silence, but as I’ve come to know her better, she’s opened up and there is something very cosy about listening to all the local gossip and you get good tips on which pub is best and where to find the best local produce when she is chatting to one of her other clients and sometimes if we’re on our own, Lucy tells me tales of the village.

The last time I was there she told me the story of the 91 year old gypsy who has been coming for as long as Lucy has worked there. One day she brought Lucy a present, a beautiful, big, red, silk lined lacquered box covered in Oriental writing.

I listened in something close to awe as she described it, not least because I was wondering where this ancient gypsy, living for the past fifty years in the same caravan on the outskirts of the village could have come across such a thing. What was inside it? I waited with baited breath, was it some sort of ancient charm? A potion? Even the thought of a doll with pins stuck in it crossed my mind, maybe Lucy had once given her a bad shampoo and set.

But no, as one box was opened to reveal yet a smaller box and then an even smaller box, Lucy said her excitement was mounting just like mine now. So what was in it, I asked, barely able to contain myself. Cakes, she replied matter of factly, snipping away expertly at my hair. Cakes I repeated, what do you mean, what sort of cakes? Well, stale cakes obviously, she replied as if I was stupid, each one individually wrapped in cellophane and each one with it’s own tiny plastic fork lying next to it. She had never seen such a thing.

The gypsy woman told her she had had them lying around her caravan for years and thought Lucy might like them. Did you throw them away, I asked, trying to imagine what 100 year old cakes would look like. Perhaps they were some sort of delicacy, you know, the way the Chinese eat 100 year old eggs. Well I was going to throw them away Lucy laughed, but I showed them to my mum and she said, don’t be daft Luce, you can’t just throw away a present like this from a gypsy, what if she asked to see them again and finds out you threw them away, you could get cursed. And she’s right you know, Lucy continued reasonably, because you just never know where you are with gypsies and it’s best to err on the side of caution don’t you think? I nodded heartily in agreement. So I’ve got them in my bedroom, she continued, right next to the window and of course, the box is very nice.

I often think fondly of that elaborate box of ancient cakes sitting in Lucy’s bedroom. I’m sure they bring her luck. I hope so, she’s the best hairdresser I’ve ever had.