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