A family interlude with a (hopefully) familiar character that I have used from time to time.
Teeing off with a Boiled Egg!
It was Sunday morning, and Hugh Bottomley, Head of Communications at The Department for Humanities and Informed Knowledge (DHIK) was in a good mood. A good night’s sleep, and up bright and early with the promise of a day’s golfing ahead invariably raised Bottomley’s spirits, and today was no exception.
Drawn to partner the Club Captain in the annual President’s Trophy, Bottomley had every intention of milking every drop from this this networking opportunity, for his Captain was none other than Sir Ranulph Fforbes-Forster, a Senior Law Officer in The Attorney General’s Office. At breakfast Hugh’s wife greeted him briskly …
“Sit down Hughie, no dawdling over breakfast this morning as I’ve invited Olivia and Robert to lunch … they will be here by eleven with the children, an opportunity for young Jamie to get to know his Grandpa a little better”.
“Lunch?” spluttered Bottomley, “You know that I’m partnering Fforbes-Forster in the pairs today … I won’t be here for lunch”.
“You will now, Hughie dear … Sir Ranulph Phuf-Phuf just phoned to say that he has a touch of gout so you’re paired up with Hermione Cholmondeley the ladies captain”.
“I absolutely detest that woman” exploded Bottomley.
“Yes I know dear … so I told him that your back is playing up and you were just about to phone him to cry off as well … now you both have a day off”.
“Damn and buggeration, I’ve waited years to get in a round with Fforbes-Forster … he’s been offish ever since he got embroiled in that damned James affair when she ran off with that Frog diplomat. I’ve always thought that he blamed me for that … I doubt there’s anything wrong with his bloody foot”.
“It’s not his foot dear, it’s in his knee, and please don’t swear, you’re not in the office today”, soothed Harriet, “ I thought that when Olivia and Robert arrive you can take little Jamie to see your pigeons, he’s six next week and you can find out what he might like for his birthday”.
A grumpy Bottomley yanked the chair noisily from under the kitchen table, slumped down, and slurped his orange juice.
“Hughie, stop scraping the tiles with that chair when you sit down, Mrs. Walters complains every week about the marks from your chair … no-one else does it … just you” scolded Harriet, “Cleaners don’t grow on trees you know … at least not kind of village locals you expect me to employ”.
“Hrmmph!” said Bottomley irritably, “Where’s my Sunday Times, and there’s no cutlery on the table … why no knife and fork?”
“No need for cutlery this morning Hughie … or reading, you’re having a boiled egg with me”, chirped Harriet.
“A boiled egg!”
“Yes! And if you stop shouting”, she continued loftily, “I’ll do some soldiers for you just like your mother used to do, your father always said that your mother had a special way with soldiers … I assume it was eggy soldiers that he meant.”
Bottomley ignored Harriet’s obliquely barbed reference to his mother and fired off a retreating shot.
“The world doesn’t come to an end just because darling son-in-law Robert is coming to lunch, Harriet Bottomley”, he whined, ““You know I always have kippers for breakfast on Sunday … always!”
“Well not today you don’t Mr. High and Mighty, and please don’t call me Bottomley … I was born a Robinson and always will be”, bridled Harriet, “As to your precious kipper, to use one of your hackneyed Westminster excuses, it’s something of a fait accompli”.
“Meaning?” said Bottomley truculently.
Harriet smiled sweetly… “Meaning, as you were last to bed and I heard you in the kitchen just before you retired, then it was you that left the larder door open … so the fact that the cat savaged your kipper beyond salvation is your fault … it’s eggs, or muesli, or nothing”.
She placed the egg before him …
“You might bully your long-suffering staff during the week Hughie, but it’s Sunday and when you are under this roof I expect you to act like a human being … today you will be Grandpa to little Jamie”.
The soldiers followed, along with this final coup de grâce …
“And lastly, Hughie, if you tell dear little Jamie that racing pigeons arriving home late are christened Brenda before you wring their neck, I will be wringing your’s!”
“Now shut up and eat your egg!”