HUNGARY FOR LOVE Serialisation

Chapter 19. Vinyl Booty

From half a mile up the street, we could hear the wild, primitive, thumping, thudding and vibrating, of the music (music, being a term I use loosely on this occasion).
There was a mile long queue lining the street to the entrance of the club and over six bouncers were manning the entrance.
It would take hours to get in, and even then, we might be rejected, depending on whether we looked dressed the part or not.
Although I was quite confident that Spats and I would pass the dress code, I wasn't so sure about Cynthia. Cynth had changed into a rather short pink chiffon dress, worn over pink cotton shorts and with rather high white patent ankle boots. I had never seen her in such outrageous clothes and I couldn't help thinking that it made her look rather tarty.
Spats, on the other hand, reckoned that Cynthia had more chance of gaining access than either of us did.
Admittedly, she did have youth on her side, whereas I was in my prime.
Leave this to me, I said, and strode over to speak to one of the big guys keeping the crowd in line.
I mentioned our close acquaintance with Campelot and that seemed to be the magic word, further explaining, that we were family to the artist who had had the private view in his gallery, that very evening.
The bouncers confirmed, via walkie-talky, that we were indeed guests of Pridines exclusive posse, and we were allowed to enter the hallowed portals of this gyrating world of flesh and drugs.
Christ! This is awful, announced Spats, as we surveyed the horrors presented before us. Drugged up teenagers all bouncing around manically to the kind of music you could torture a hostage with if you needed a quick confession.
No longer were we in the club, than we wanted out.
Sebs way of thinking, was that as we had made the effort to get here, we might as well have just one drink before returning to the delightful cocoon of our comfortable hotel rooms. Cynthia was already caught up in the crowd and was jumping up and down along with the worst of them.
Good job you wore the shorts young lady, I thought, a prudent measure after all.
The place was heaving, you couldn't hear yourself think, let alone talk! There was no room for any kind of real dancing, not like in the days of Saturday Night Fever, and I figured that it would take Sebs at least an hour to get to the bar to order a drink.
Spats just looked shell-shocked.
Hell on earth Spats! I remarked. What was that line in Casablanca? “Of all the dens and all of the inequity, you had to walk into mine”.
Then the crowd suddenly went reached a whole new level of crazy.
The announcement for the next DJ's to take the stage had just been made.
The star turn! the coolest! the best! Specially flown in for the night all the way from Ibiza! The new and utterly fabtastick, 'Vinyl Booty'! Yea!
Well, we couldn't believe it. The club music momentarily stopped and the theme to 'Space Odyssey 2001' was pumped out at a deafening volume through each and every speaker. Dry ice billowed in from either side of the stage. Multicoloured strobe effect lighting came into play and thousands of glittery pieces of paper rained down on us. Then suddenly, from high up in the very enclaves of the club ceiling, two, seemingly hallowed beings, were lowered into the presence of their worshippers.
It was the terrible twins, clad in the tightest, smallest, silver lame pants and bras I
had ever seen, with feathered angel wings attached to their backs and gold halo's fixed to their heads.
We were aghast!
Spats and Sebs were left almost speechless, except for one word, magnificent!
I just stood there contemplating whether the twins had genuinely squeezed themselves into the shorts or whether they had been sewn into them.
For a few seconds, everything went deadly silent as the audience waited with bated breath for the twins to speak.
Hello, London! Hello, clubland! Let's mix things up and scratch some asses! Yo!
After which, they positioned themselves behind two record decks and the whole hideous noise started up again.
By this point, we were certain of two things, one, it wasn't really worth trying to fight our way up to the stage to say hello to the twins and inquire as to their well-being, two, this was not our world. The centrally heated, fresh sheeted, mini bar boasting, mood lighting, tastefully furnished, power showering, flat screening world of a four-star hotel, was where we belonged.
Let's call it a rap, I said to Spats, and let's get the hell out of here!
Sebs had no choice but to stay on as he needed to locate Cynthia, who was by now lost somewhere in amongst the maddening crowd.
We wished him luck and hurried off out into the cool night air.

Chapter 20. Press Attention

The next morning, Spats and I awoke early feeling fairly well rested.
As soon as we arrived back in our hotel room, we had thrown ourselves onto the crisp white sheets of our king size, with gay abandon, and fallen fast asleep. I even broke my golden rule of make-up removal.
Admittedly, in the morning, I was initially concerned by how marked the pillows were with smears of mascara and black eyeliner (not easy to get out), but what did I care, the room cost enough. Furthermore, Spats had already spilt a glass of red wine all over the cream carpet within an hour of our arrival. We had asked for room service to send up some salt, obviously without telling them why, so that we could put into practice a handy household tip I had learned on daytime television. It didn't work, of course. The programme had advised its viewers that the simple and most effective answer to spilt wine on a carpet was to sprinkle table salt all over it. The theory being, that it would absorb the wine and thus, absorb the stain. You were then advised to brush or hoovered up the salt crystals and, hey presto, there you had it, stain gone.
This was not the case. Once the dry caking of salt had absorbed the fluid and been brushed away, all we were left with was a rather ugly dirty looking stain of no discernible origin. If anything, this stain was more damning than the first.
After a refreshing shower, using the designer toiletries, we rang the others.
We asked mum to join us in the 'Triple Suite' before going down for breakfast.
It was very hard to gauge her mood.
She seemed rather anxious and edgy, complaining of palpitations and again, looking so pale she reminded me of the eyeliner guy.
Spats put it all down to the stress and the emotional demands of the night before. I was quite amazed by his foresight and agreed.
You know mum, I said, it all went off wonderfully well, you have nothing to worry about, you were an absolute star! Also, I heard a number of people commenting on how many red stickers there were next to your work, with the implication that this was a good thing. I'm not sure what the sticker obsession was all about, all I do know is that, it was certainly something positive.
Sebs and Cynthia then joined us for a coffee before heading down for breakfast. We hadn't used the tea and coffee making facilities since arriving and it seemed rather a waste not to do so, especially as there were chocolate digestives.
Sebs said that he had quite enjoyed the evening, although it had been rather weird.
He also felt fairly flat about the lack of anyone famous making an appearance at the show.
Apparently, at one point in the evening, he had expressed this disappointment to some skinny guy in heavy-rimmed glasses, professing to be the lead singer in a band called pump, or something. Sebs told me that this guy had agreed, he'd said the whole gig was just full of common people, and the only reason he had turned up was so he could crash the club and check out Vinyl.
I had no idea what he was talking about at the time, now I get it, said Sebs, he was referring to the twins.
I couldn't believe it!
Sebs, I said, for goodness sake, that was Jarvis Cocker from Pulp. Surely you would recognise him?
I did think he looked really familiar, admitted Sebs, I just thought maybe I had known him from Uni or something. He hadn't seemed to recognise me, anyway, so I decided not to bother asking.
Mind you, I did bump into Marilyn Manson while I was trying to fight my way through the crowd while searching for Cynthia at the club, so that was pretty rad!
As we made our way to the breakfast room, Spats picked up a collection of the daily papers, which had just been delivered and were free for the enjoyment of guests.
We took our seats and a waitress asked us whether we wanted tea or coffee.
There was a long interim before we realised that the invitation for tea or coffee was the only one we were going to get. Cynthia noted that everyone else was moving into one of two rooms and returning to their tables with food.
It seemed that, in one area, you could make a selection from continental, and in the opposing area, from a full English breakfast, or, in fact, mix up the two. You could take a plate, veer left, grab a croissant and piece of fruit, even a doughnut, then shimmy over to the right and throw in some fried bread, beans, bacon and eggs.
During the rather long wait, before the penny dropped and we realised that we were expected to get up and make our own selection, we had time to survey the dailies.
Mum was the first to see the cover of the 'Mail'.
Goodness! She screeched. If I didn't know any better, I would say that those two scantily clad young ladies on the front cover, were my granddaughters! What an uncanny likeness... And they're also twins.
We explained to her that the picture she saw before her, was indeed, a photograph of the terrible twins. Then we gave her a detailed account of the performance we had witnessed at the club the night before.
More pictures inside it says!
She turned a couple of pages and there they were again.
Well, all I can say is, that's really rather vulgar and unnecessary! I don't think Tiffs has brought those girls up properly, at all.
Sebs and Spats prized the paper from mother grasp to see exactly how unnecessary the pictures were.
Spats agreed, they were very unnecessary. Still, he remarked, with fame comes exposure and those two have made sure that they got lots of it. Well photographed too, he added, good angle, good job they're wearing those hot pants rather than the minis you saw them in that time, Eva, that's all I can say.
Some of the other papers were also featuring pictures of the twins. The most popular image being, one of them being lowered onto the stage in their angel wings.
One paper declared that the twins were now the most talked about new DJ duo since Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. Whoever they might be, I thought.
Once the novelty of seeing the twins staring back at us out of the tabloids had worn off, we decided to look in the arts section of the broadsheets.
Now we were all looking at a photograph of mum in her long shiny dress, smiling broadly at the camera, something she has never been known to do before, with Pridine Campelot on one side and Leonardo Di Caprio on the other!
Did you know who that is? We all asked
Yes, it's Mr Campelot!
Was she being deliberately obtuse? I think she was, I knew mum was a big a fan of Leo, as indeed was I.
No, the other one, it's Leonardo! So, he was actually there after all! I read in some article that he's really into his art. Loves the stuff, and has a massive collection!
Spats told me to calm down.
Sebs and I could not believe that we had missed a chance to be introduced and felt horribly cheated out of what could only be, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Oh well, mused Sebs, we probably would have only had a brief handshake and a hello, it's not as if we'd all have ended up best buddies or anything. It's not as if Leo would have suddenly turned around and invited us out to LA to hang out with him in his mansion or anything.
Has he got a mansion in Los Angeles? I asked Sebs.
Sebs didn't really know, but felt that it was more than likely that he did as all the famous people had mansions there.
Still, a photo with him would have been something to show off to the girls back home! I thought. It's just as well he didn't touch my hand though, I wouldn't have been able to ever wash it again.
The article on mother's show was entitled:
FROM OUT OF THE DARK & INTO THE LIGHT. The tragedy behind the talent.
Article written by Clarissa Longbarge.
I tried, yet failed, to wrestle the paper from mum before she had time to read it.
She looked increasingly confused, and more than slightly annoyed, as her eyes scanned the wording.
Honestly, these journalists will make up anything for a story, she eventually declared, with an air of immense indignation.
Listen to this! She demanded.
Apparently, I was a refugee in the war! Stupid woman, I was an evacuee, not a refugee.
What's the big deal between an evacuee and a refugee? I wanted to know. I mean, they are practically the same word really. They both mean people having to move somewhere else when they don't want to, don't they?
No one responded to this comment of mine and Spats just looked at me in a pitying way, which I found rather patronising.
Apparently, went on mum, I arrived on the Dorset shores from France by boat, after having to flee the invading Gestapo with my Jewish mother!
My mother's not Jewish!
We were to be taken to Devon to stay with an Uncle Joe and Auntie Rita. I mean really, where do they get this stuff from!
Finding out on our arrival that Joe and Rita were long gone (having died a few years earlier from food poisoning after picking the wrong mushrooms), mother and I were taken in to live with sympathisers. Then, a few weeks later, a wealthy, yet childless woman, took a shine to me in particular and insisted that I went to live with her in her country mansion.
Ha! this is amazing. Listen to this!
It was during this time, whilst living the life of an aristocrat's daughter in the big house, that I became educated and introduced to some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, including Picasso! I wish.
Oh, this is just ludicrous! It says here, during these formative years, tragedy struck and marred much of my early life. My mother died of a wasting disease brought on by heartbreak and neglect.
It's a good job your granny Beaty is in that home and probably won't get to see this Eva.
First, she would have to read that she was French and Jewish, when in fact she was born in Clapham and of Welsh descent, then she would have found out that she was also dead! It doesn't get any better either.
It seems that after the war, and all those years surrounded by luxury, with a bevvy of servants attending to my every whim, and constantly plying me with cake and marzipan, I was forced, by my dominating and cruel father, to leave this new life and live with him and his sister in the slums of London. It was a difficult time, apparently. My father was a raging alcoholic and my aunt a melancholy woman who never really liked children!
Poor granddad, just think Eva, If he were alive today to see himself described as cruel and dominating he would be devastated! Your granddad Morris was the sweetest, loveliest gentleman, and a devoted father, I adored him. Also, as you know, aunty Margaret had five children and lived with uncle Melvin in Tower Hamlets!
This is a disgrace. I may have to sue!
Then, it goes on, in my early teens, I became pregnant out of wedlock by your father, a hotel porter at the time. Mind you, that bits quite funny. Your father would have really blown a fuse if he had read that he had started out as a hotel porter. I would love to have seen his face, well maybe not. Anyway, there's more.
He then went on to make a living making goblets in a pottery factory. Just managing to scrape by on hardly any income at all and an evening meal often consisted of nothing more than home-made soda bread and the blackberries the children were encouraged to go out and forage for amongst the hedgerows.
Where on earth did the woman get that from? Your father taught pottery at the local grammar school, he didn't work in a pottery. Actually, I'm beginning to see the funny side of this now.
Oh, I do hope so, I thought, it could be very awkward if mum really did decide to sue the paper for libel. Difficult questions would need to be answered. Mind you, I could deny everything, and let's face it, this Camilla person had wildly exaggerated most of what I had told her.
Yet there was more to come...
Having said that, oh, now, this part is really annoying.
It says here, that I started painting after your father died as a way of dealing with my intense grief. Ha! Perhaps it's a typo, maybe she meant to write relief, rather than grief.
OK, that's it, that is the last straw! This Clamissa woman has gone on to describe me as Bi-Polar, as at one end of the spectrum I paint deep, dark, moving pictures, and then, on the one hand, I arrived at the private viewing in an extraordinarily flamboyant, garish, lame and beaded dress!
How dare she! The blood had drained form mums face at this point.
I have never been Bi anything! Certainly not Polar, whatever that is! Some innuendo no doubt, with regards to my sexual preferences, by the sound of it!
Didn't I say, Eva, everyone's obsessed these days with sex.
Apart from choosing not to explain to her what being, 'Bi-Polar' actually meant (as it was far funnier letting her think her sexual orientation had been questioned), I couldn't resist pointing out that I had advised her to go down a more demure route regarding her outfit.
There's no need to get on your high fashion horse, she snapped back. It's not only my fashion choice that has received the thumbs down. It goes on...
Apart from the artist's daughter-in-law, Cynthia, who turned up for the event in a stunning vintage Biba trouser suit, which perfectly accentuated her long lean model-like figure, the rest of the family looked eccentric, to say the least, and not in a good way.
The daughter, who I spoke to and who introduced herself as Evette, insisted that she was in fashion. Hardly I thought! Daughter Evette, had come styled (if that could conceivably be considered the correct word), as a troubled teenager of the early nineteen-eighties. Unfortunately for her, she was certainly a good few years in advance of teenager-hood, and let's face it, the eighties was just about the worst decade with regards to street fashion.
The son, Sebastian, was wearing the most extraordinary mishmash of clothes, representing a combination of styles from the last four decades. What's more, none of his clothes seemed to fit properly. The jacket and trousers looked as if they had been shrunk in the wash. Whereas Evette's partner, called Spats or Pratts, or something, looked like he had been transported through time into the wrong era. He arrived wearing an original nineteen forties dinner jacket, shoes, spats and a trilby hat, the overall effect making him look as if he was auditioning for a role as a henchman in an old black and white gangster movie.
I quickly glanced over at Spats to see how the Clammidia woman's cruel gibes had affected him. Fortunately, Spats was unruffled by her comments.
Excellent, he said, that's exactly the look I was going for. I'm impressed that this journalist woman could at least distinguish that the suit, shoes, and hat, were all original 1940's and not some cheap high street copy.
There's going to be a lawsuit winging it's way to this paper once we get home, I can tell you! Fumed mum.
She was more than angry, and by now, so was I.
Ha, I scoffed, what would she know about fashion. She was wearing some tatty old 1950's floral dress with bright yellow patent DrMartens. Probably a lesbian, she certainly seems to have become rather over besotted with our Cynthia here.
Sebs offered to get up and procure mother a buttered croissant from the continental to distract her from reading any more reviews.
You know Sebs, she remarked pointedly, I'm not actually of French descent, don't believe everything you read in the papers! I don't want a damn croissant, I want a proper English with fried bread, sausage, beans and mushrooms! Though leave off the soggy cooked tomato on the side, I hate those.
We continued to plough through some of the other more artsy papers. All of which carried varying, and conflicting, stories of mums torrid past.
In a way, I thought, this was good. She could hardly afford to drag all the papers through the courts.
The fact that they have written these quite different and bizarre stories, is not such a bad thing if you think about it, I suggested.
How is that Eva, or am I now to start calling you, Evette? How on earth are these insane tales, without one ounce of truth in them, not such a bad thing?
For that very reason, I explained, they're all so different, no one will believe any of them.
This did seem to cheer her somewhat, as she could see the logic in this theory.
Then her mood dramatically improved. Oh, look, read this one! It seems I have practically sold out!
During my brief perusal of mothers paintings the night before, I could not help noticing that again, her prices seemed to have risen considerably. It didn't take me long to calculate quite how well off this show was going to make her. She was about to become a rather wealthy artist. Someone was going to need to keep an eye on her assets.
After breakfast, we strolled through the entrance hall with a new air of importance.
Some of the guests came forward to congratulate mum, and a few even asked for her autograph.
This is so surreal! Observed Sebs, our mums becoming a celebrity.
Realising her new status as a person of interest, so to speak, we decided to position ourselves either side of her. Spats and I, on one side, and Sebs and Cynthia on the other. Making it quite clear that if anyone wanted an audience with our mother, they would have to get through us first.
Then all of a sudden, a man entered the hotel foyer and came running over towards us.
Quite instinctively, and without any thought for his own safety, Spats stepped in front of mum to protect her from, what looked like, a possible attack.
We all knew how crazy the public can be about famous people.
As the man showed no signs of holding back, Spats was forced to land one of his large fists in the man's face, totally flooring him on the spot.
We hadn't noticed the film crew hot on his heels. It turned out that he was a well-known presenter on a news channel and had just wanted a quick interview for the late night arts review section.
A paramedic was called, announced that the presenter man would be fine, bar the broken nose, and apologies were later accepted.
As I said to Spats, it wasn't your fault, they should have telephoned and asked permission for an interview, not just come barging in!
I decided to inform the reception staff that anyone wishing to speak to my mother, either in person, or via the telephone, would need to talk to me first as I was her
We were just about to ascend the stairs to our rooms, when we heard the most incredible commotion outside the hotel. Ear-splitting screaming and whooping.
This is getting way out of hand, I thought. I know artists have more of a celebrity status these days, however, this is ridiculous and actually quite terrifying. I was going to have to employ some real bodyguards to protect mum. It would be too large a task for Spats alone.
We peered through the glass entrance doors and witnessed the arrival of a long white stretch limo.
The throng of teenage girls and boys went wild and we realised, at this point, that mother was not the target of their adoration.
Two tall, handsome, men clad in the traditional dark suits and shades emerged from the front seats and after assessing the size and mood of the crowd, leaned back into the car and informed the passengers that it was safe to follow.
Out of the car, still in rather meagre sparkly outfits, although this time, both wearing huge furry orange coats, not unlike mine, I noted.
It was the twins.

Chapter 21. Home Time

As they strode purposefully towards the hotel in their ludicrously high stiletto boots, the crowd parted and there was a momentary silence.
A few of the fans even fainted, including one of the hotel porters, that had been standing at the entrance, after one of the twins had blown him a kiss.
Seconds later the paparazzi turned up and in a blaze of lights and, 'Hey, look this way loves!', the girls moved forward and in through the entrance portal in a manner suggesting that they were totally unaware of all the attention bestowed upon them. Then they looked around the foyer, spotted their grandma and the rest of us, and ran over.
Though how they managed to run in those heels without doing themselves a major injury I don't know. Tiffs would have to have words with them.
Gran! They screamed. Wow, we heard all about your gig at the Existential. That's so cool. Found out you were hiding out here and decided to come over and see you before we fly back to Ibiza this-afters. You look wild!
Mum looked both bemused and wild, as lights flashed and hundreds of photographs were taken of her and the twins, all in what seemed like a matter of seconds.
I feel quite dizzy, Eva, she said, it's a good job I'm not epileptic.
Rather rudely, the rest of us had been asked to step aside.
Having said that, I hadn't really paid much attention to the application of my make-up that morning and my hair was rather a mess, so, just as well really.
Then Pridine turned up and insisted on taking us all for lunch.
Darlings! He screeched. I demand that you all come and dine with me at Que Vadis, and what joyous good fortune to find you two ravishing beauties here amongst our throng. Then, taking the twins hands and elaborately planting a kiss on each, he insisted that they join us for lunch. Hooking his arms in both of theirs, he led them to the rear exit of the hotel.
This was our cue to follow and once again there was a manic flashing of cameras before the paps decided that they had all that was required for the next days spread and left.
Pridine had arranged for a less conspicuous car, a yellow Lamborghini, to pull up outside the exit door and whisk us away to his private club.
Do you think Leonardo might still be in town, do you think he might be at the club? asked Cynthia.
I do hope so, I said, the man is an absolute God to me. Can't wait to tell Flo, Zoe and Jackie about this!
Although the food was delicious and there was much talk and a fair amount of laughter, deep down, I couldn't help feeling that sitting in this stuffy old club wasn't a patch on having lunch at 'Cosmos' with my friends. I liked the potato skins with sour cream dip, nachos with cheese and guacamole, tempura fish and fried halloumi. Above all else, I liked the easy atmosphere and ease of spirit one can only truly enjoy with those closest to us.
Neither Matt, Kylie, or Leonardo, showed up and we realised, that in a way, we didn't really want them to.
The twins shocked and enthralled us with tales of the Ibiza nightlife, though Tiffs would have been pleased to hear that, since they had become celebrities, they preferred to keep very much to themselves when not at work.
The thing is, we're getting kind of homesick, they confessed. The manager of Edge has offered us a permanent gig, so we are going to head back to the good old U of K, and rent an apartment in London. We really miss all our friends down in Penswithian too and we're planning to come down and do a special night at Barnacles club, for way less than our usual fee, obviously.
By mid-afternoon, the girls had to leave for their flight back to Ibiza.
It had been good to see them. Tiffs would be sorry she had missed out on their visit. Still, a return was planned, so we would all be seeing a lot more of the twins soon and so would everyone else, no doubt.
After they left, the Lamborghini drove the rest of us back to the hotel.
Initially, we had intended to have dinner either in the hotel restaurant, or go out on the town for our last night in London. Instead, we decided that we should all head back up to the Triple suite and just order some more wine and canap├ęs. We had really had quite enough to eat over the three-hour lunch.
In truth, so much had happened in such a short space of time, we all just wanted to be together in our own private family space for a while.
Although Spats and I had really enjoyed ourselves, we were now begging to look forward to the return home. Spats was never really happier than when he was sitting behind his old shop counter waiting to see if some interesting artefact, or stuffed animal, would come through the door.
For my part, I had big plans for 'Tres Elegante'.
My venture into the world of London fashion had been an inspiration. Out with what I could now only see as the frumpy and thermal, and in with something new. Time to reconsider the stock. My first move on our return would be to place a considerable order of big bright furry jackets just like the ones the twins had been wearing at the hotel (and so similar to the one I had worn for the private view!).
It suddenly occurred to me, that over the last couple of days I had experienced far more than just a train journey and a party. I had undergone a personal journey, an awakening. All these new experiences had given me an opportunity to analyse my own natural instincts for style. I realised that 'Tres Elegante' could have been far more successful if I had simply had the confidence in my own aptitude for trend prediction.
Get in some of that clubbing gear too, I thought, and appeal to every age, especially the young and fashion fickle. If I could encourage the youths that thronged to the 'Barnacles' club on a Saturday night to buy their gear from me, then maybe the shop might really start to finally show some kind of a profit.
In fact, thinking about it, I should also capitalise, as much as possible, on the twins moderate fame and reputation. Get them to model some of the clothes, have them photographed coming into the shop, tell them to mention 'Tres Elegante' in any interviews. By this time next year, I could be opening a second boutique on the back of all the free publicity the twins could generate! Actually, thinking about it, maybe it was time to refurbish the whole shop. Get in some brightly coloured paint, disco lighting and perhaps even change the name. Something more fitting to the planned changes, 'Nuit Societe perhaps or 'Rendez-Vous De Mode'. The possibilities were endless.
Or would translating French prove too challenging for the average teenager today?
Maybe I should just call it Edge after the London club. That would be a great idea! The clothes would be edgy, the shop would look edgy, and I would be edgy.
Mum, on the other hand, was simply keen to get back to her house and implement further home improvements. She had been extremely impressed by the marvellous high-tech hydrotherapy bathtub with ambient LED's that had only just recently been installed in our suite. We had been thrilled and delighted to discover this previously unspecified extra to our hotel comforts.
Neither Sebs, Cynthia, or mum had one in their rooms. We had let them all have a turn in ours, and now there was no going back. Mum had decided that she just couldn't live without one.
Well, I said, you can certainly afford such luxuries after your sell-out show. As soon as the cheque from the show finds it's way through your letterbox, you'll have far more money than you could ever have imagined, to waste on whatever you like.
Sebs wanted to know if she might perhaps help him out with the purchase of a new computer upgrade which would be vital to the expansion of his business.
Technology is moving so fast mother, he explained, you buy something today and in six months time, it's out of date and worthless. You have to stay ahead of the game. It's especially important for me as a web designer, clients expect to see me working with the very latest hard and software. It would be a real investment.
Playing the all-important, ' I need it for work card', was a strategy that paid off for Sebs. Mum had been persuaded and Sebs fired up his laptop for a spree of online shopping right there and then.
Cynthia had some rather extraordinary and unexpected news for us. One of the journalists at the show had honed in on her and they had got talking. During their chat, Cynthia had mentioned her degree in journalism and how hard she was finding it to even get an interview at a decent newspaper or magazine. The journalist had then decided to introduce her to the editor of the paper he worked for, and Cynth had been offered a freelance position on the papers Sunday fashion supplement.
I must say, I did not begrudge dear Cynthia this lucky career break. However, it seemed to me, that just happening across the right outfit for an art show, and then looking good in it, hardly qualified you as a fashion oracle. My knowledge and eye for a trend far outweighed Cynthia's. I'm sure if I hadn't been stuck talking about mother to that irritating Clarissa person I might have made some useful contacts of my own.
Well done Cynthia, I declared, magnanimously, and don't forget, I am at your disposal should you need some pointers as to which way trends are turning. Having a boutique gives me a unique insight into the psyche of the fashion conscious woman and what might be the next big thing.
I suspect we all dreamt big dreams for our futures that night.
As a new day dawned we made the most of our last visitation to the breakfast buffets to enjoy the medley of both continental and English cuisine (I stuffed a pork sausage into a warm croissant, it was delicious).
During lunch the previous day, Pridine had insisted on sending his own private car around to the hotel, the following morning, so that his man Jenkins could take us to the station. At first, he had tried to insist that we let Jenkins take us all the way back to Penswithian.
Darlings! I simply cannot let you travel down on public, take my car! He had implored.
However, we all agreed that we were actually looking forward to the return train journey. It would be far more fun than sitting in the back of a car, even if it was a Rolls with a drinks cabinet full of champagne.
We needed to come back down to earth and reacquaint ourselves with own version of normality.
Having said that, we did allow the hotel to make us up a special picnic for the return trip.
Sebs and Cynthia had to say goodbye to us at the station.
Take care you two, I said. See you at Easter.
I would have loved them to have been able to come back down on the train to Penswithian with us. It was hard to part ways after all the experiences we had shared over the last twenty-four hours.
Fancy another vol-au-vent de caviar, asked Spats, as the train stopped briefly at Newton Abbot.
Actually no, I thought, enough of the caviar.
Let's go back and boil up a nice gammon and wash it down with a good Chianti, said mum.
The End

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