July 5 1999
3A Hyde Park Terrace
LONDON W2 5ZZ
I had a slight setback to my emotions this morning, over at the Denizens café, pre-opening-hours. I have agreed with Alison – the very decent young manager there – that I might embark on setting out some flower decorations on the table. Unluckily, Alison did, at the same time, remark to a lady called Mavis (stood behind me at the counter), “Well you weren’t very good at it were you Mavis?” This Mavis – who otherwise mops out the toilets in exchange for breakfast – naturally glowered at this. This lady seems to be one of those who has somewhat of a chip on her shoulder and, scarily, she reminds me of my former housekeeper Mrs Macey. As you know, I did finally get shot of this latter personage when Austen left me for Ariel – but not before enduring quite some years of snub and slights.
Anyway, this morning I decided to visit the Denizens café to give a final polish to the glass vessels I had left in the utility room (adjacent to the toilets). And what has set me back, is the fact that my largest – and finest – glass vessel (destined for a plum spot in the centre of the room) now has a visible crack running half way down its length. Someone has somehow bashed it against the metal water pipe running behind the back of the shelf. Call me imaginative if you like Mum, but I know I left this glass vessel some way away from the pipe – and I think Mavis might have given way to a moment of malevolence. And, examining this issue in its larger sense, I have also come to feel that the most violent events in life – large-scale massacres and the like – are commonly due to individuals becoming overwhelmed with resentment at others’ apparent success and their lack of it. But now what Mum? How far will some people go?
On a cheerier note, I have also attended the Parade Street auction house in my search for charger plates, glass vessels and blue ware. And turning up bright and early, in the hours before the auction was due to commence, I did succeed in examining various lots comprising ceramics, glass and metal ware. It did occur to me that there might not be too much competition for these lots, because most of them were in crates, under tables, on the floor. And it certainly takes a non-arthritic bidder to engage on dusty crawling about, in order to examine them. And, looking about me at other potential bidders, it did also occur to me that I might fit in more if I arrived with a magnifying glass in hand and arrayed in a deer stalker hat!
One useful facility housed within the auction house, was a small café located in the basement. So once I’d decided upon the lot I wished to bid upon, I retired there for a cheese scone and to peruse some old editions of ‘Country Life.’ Actually Mum, gazing about me at the other people also sitting eating, I did happen to notice one or two very personable-looking males. Several even had a full head of hair and twinkly-blue eyes and, as you know, I do have rather a penchant for males of this type. I know I shouldn’t mention this – given one or two recent disasters – but I found myself listening in for resonant masculine tones and licking my lips as I munched my way through the scone on my plate.
Unluckily, however, I missed bidding on my lot as it was a long way down the list and they only get through 100 lots per hour. I had to place a ‘commission bid’ which means that the auctioneer bids for you in your absence, once you have signified the maximum amount that you are willing to pay. However, after close of business that same day, I got a phone call from them to say that my bid had been successful and could I turn up to collect (and pay for) it. So I whizzed over Mum to stash the three trays on the back seat of my car. They are crafty I must say because, although the contents of one tray are exactly what I want, the other two trays comprise the most frightful old tat – and it is going to take me quite some weeks to get rid of it at charity shops. Who is going to want two black china cows with their ears broken off for instance?
Love as ever