Tuesday, November 6

Tea & Scones.

I have been thinking about 'social niceties'. Acceptable behaviour in company. The variety of 'faces' used for differing circumstances.

Today is Melbourne Cup day here in Australia. For those who may not be aware, Melbourne Cup is a horse race, the Cup is the prize- along with hefty wads of prize money, to say nothing of the Prestige, of being the winner of the Race.

In fact the running of the Melbourne Cup generally stopped the whole country of New Zealand, also, for the duration of that one magic race. The winner has been a New Zealand horse, on more than one occasion. The Kiwi breeders were reknowned for their horses. A small town not far from by birthplace, Cambridge is beautiful, & known for it's beautiful racing Stables, & Studs.

I am not much of a horsing person. Not given to worry about it. Never interested in the gamble of horse races. Of course when we had our Hotel life, we always ran sweeps in the bars, always had a 'little flutter' to keep the interest going.

We would have huge crowds in the Hotel, to watch the running of the Cup. It always generated a great atmosphere, & there would be groans or cheers as the winners were announced & the Sweepstake winnings were collected, -and frequently spent!

We would usually watch with friends, gathered in the bar. We had a group of friends who regularly came together for Friday night drinks, & some laughs. We were a mixed bunch, Gom & I proprietors of the Hotel, a Barrister, a trotting Horse trainer & farmer, a Managing Director of a Printing house, with his wife, an elderly retired man or two. Other Friday night couples who came to spend an evening with us.

The Barrister & his mate the Trotting Trainer had been friends from school days. They were like Chalk & Cheese, not only in their personalities, but also in their physical differences. Bas, as I shall call the legal eagle, was chubby & dark of hair, masses of curly hair, brown twinkly eyes, with a ready smile & a huge belly laugh. Chas, as I shall call the trainer, was of slight tall build, with barely any hair left on his head, what there was, thin, & blonde. His eyes were blue with that slightly faded look, from working out on the track, with his beloved horses. Not given to laugh easily, but when he did, he everyone heard it.

These two friends never seemed to have any serious girlfriends in those days. Both claimed to be waiting for the 'right one.' In Chas' case, he rarely left his farm, except for visits in to the city on Friday nights. He didn't get much chance to meet girls. As for Bas, well I suspect his intellect left many girls somewhat intimidated.

They did, however have a mutual girl friend, who seemed to equally keen on both young men. I am certain had one made a serious play for her, she would have been his. I will call her Claire. Claire was a tall dark haired girl, who was always immaculate. She dressed like a model, had a figure to match, & spoke with the very posh accent her Extremely Exclusive Boarding School had given her. Claire never had a hair out of place, her makeup was perfection.

Claire was the only daughter of parents who had left their run for parenthood until late in their lives. I suspect she felt she was an accident, in her parents otherwise unflawed lives, which had been spent travelling about the world, enjoying using their seemingly huge family fortune. Claire always referred to her mother most scathingly as 'That Rich Old Bitch'. I suspect her father had been so old he was dead, by the time we met her.

I always had the feeling that Claire could never quite forgive them for having her so late in their lives. I think she felt unwanted.

Claire's intellect would have been a match for Bas any day. She was an extremely clever girl, & had achieved high academic qualifications. In fact sometimes I felt even Bas was a little in awe of her.

Claire had a flaw. Her nickname among the 'boys' was 'Tea & Scones'.
Tea & Scones, because she had a mouth on her that made hardened men blanche in the pub! Turn appoplectic in shock, at words such as she used, pouring forth from her immaculate, beautifully made up face. Almost every second word she uttered was f&*k! Or words relating to. All uttered in her beautifully modulated, posh Upper Crust Boarding Shcool accent.

As the lads said, they could not have risked taking her home to meet "Mother". As "Mother" offered her tea & scones, she would likely burst forth with language the like of which "Mother" may never have heard. "Hah fecking scones eh? What bloody sh!te type of Tea is this F$%&*g swill then!"

"Tell you what, how about getting out the F&%$g whisky? Give us a real drink!"

The endless scenarios they would paint, at the thought of taking Claire home to meet the family. She once brought her aged tottery mother to the Hotel to meet Bas & Chas. Her mother was dressed in one of those old Fox Stoles, complete with head & tail, of the hapless animal, draped over her suit. Her stockinged spindly little legs ending in her slim aristocraticly narrow feet carefully wedged into ludicrously high heeled shoes. Leaning on a sliver tipped walking stick.

Tea & Scones proceeded to cus & swear in her usual manner, much to the surprise & alarm of all who watched. " It is ok" she said, "That Rich Old Bitch is deaf! She is too vain to admit it, wont get a hearing aid! Feel free to swear at her!"

Thankfully, no one did. So Claire took her off out again, & drove her off in the family Daimler.

Last I heard of Tea & Scones she had actually married, & had 2 children. I hope she is happy.

Bas is married, but sadly -or not- Chas remains a bachelor.

This is a view last evening from our balcony. I had hoped the Jacaranda would show brighter than they have in this rather dull looking photo. There is a huge Magnolia tree there too, & it's perfume is a joy.

Someone asked how long the Jacarandas flower. They are at their best for about a fortnight, & as the blossom is shed the leaves come out. Which is why the blossom looks so pretty when it is all out, & there are no leaves to cover their glory.

Ottmar Liebert, Nuevo Mexico


Elaine Adair said...

Another delightful story - thank you.

joyce said...

You have known some very interesting people. It's fun hearing about them.

Aunty Evil said...

That tree looks like it is getting closer Meggie! I think it likes you...

Tanya Brown said...

One of the things I adore about your stories is the characters' names. "Tea and Scones" is especially good.

Granny J said...

Lovely tale, Meggie. You reminded my bro, sitting here beside me, of why he couldn't reach his wife when he called tonight -- the Cup!

bluemountainsmary said...

Who needs a big thick trashy novel when I can come here and delight in true life stories of trashy mouthed women!!

Fairlie said...

I wonder if Tea & Scones modified her language and swapped to G-rated expletives once she had children? :)

What a great story.

jellyhead said...

Thanks for my 'Meggie fix' for the day.... it's always a delight to read your blog!

meggie said...

Hi All, I always look back on these people with a slight sense of disbelief, but I assure you they are/were all real. Allowing for the fact that some of them may well be dead & gone.
Tea & Scones was a truly beautiful girl, but once she spoke people would suddenly find excuses to be elsewhere. I felt she was in love with Bas, but he was gifted, clever, & not ready to settle at that stage of his life. He has remained a wonderful friend, & treates us to an absolute banquet in his mansion in the hills, last time we returned 'home' for a liesurely visit to Christchurch. He prepared all the food himself, & was a wonderful host, generous to a fault.
I loved your remark Mary!
I cannot take credit for 'Tea & Scones' as it was Bas who initially named her.
They were fun days. It was hard work, running an inner city Hotel, but the wealth of stories & wonderful people, made it all worth the pain, looking back.

Tanya said...

What a beautiful tree! I don't recall seeing jacarandas in Japan... I wonder if we don't have them.

You paint such a vivid picture of all the people you have known and the things that they did. I always need to take time out just to relax and enjoy your posts.

Mike said...

Dropping the occasional F-bomb is perfectly acceptable, but I hate it when people use it every other word. They obviously have no idea how bad it sounds.

Andrea said...

Another great story. I detest bad language although my son is adamant I once said s**t - lol !

Ian Lidster said...

You have to love a cursing pretty woman. I knew a young woman who was a stunning creature. She was an Israeli and a former commando there. When I knew her she was a local police officer with the RCMP. I was 'embedded' with the police for a while with my news beat. Dispel thoughts that I would have like to have been 'embedded' with her, too. However, once, on a sortee of sorts, I was just amazed how she could use the 'F' word in literally every sentence, and sometimes twice, and use it as all parts of speech. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? was the thought that came to mind.

Molly said...

Just proves money doesn't neccessarily bring you happiness, I guess.....

ancient one said...

Oh, I love this story you wrote. I have known people like this. Meggie you definitely have a talent for story telling...

Thimbleanna said...

Another great story Meggie. Your view is beautiful -- the jacaranda might not appear as bright as you'd like, but it sure looks great!

sheoflittlebrain said...

A huge magnolia tree, how perfectly lovely!
Tea and Scones! You've drawn all these characters so well that anyone can easily see them..definately one for your book:)

smilnsigh said...

I still think you should compile these stories, to sell them. Instead of giving them away free, here.