We can all learn from Alice

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

'Dahling Alice, this is all very well my deah, but is this really the right time to swan about off your face on morphine, seducing all the neighbours, banging away at your ukelele, swathed in jewels and keeping a black panther when the country doesn't even have a Prime Minister?'

Loyal readers will remember the obsession I have with the mystery surrounding the murder of Lord Erroll in Kenya in the first half of the last century and how unspeakably dull and hectoring I can become on the subject at the drop of a pith helmet. Well, it would appear it was Alice de Janze wot done it - portrayed with glazed and dirty elegance by Sarah Mills in White Mischief. For the past week or so, I have been glued to this book every waking minute. She was riddled with madness and style, abandoning her sons and adopting a baby leopard. The writing is a little wooden, but her fascinating story is gripping and well overdue.

Which is a shame, because while I have been hiding in Happy Valley, we have elected a schizophrenic Government, Greece is in economic and civil meltdown and Freddie's school swimming trunks are now budgie smugglers. He told Edward 'Mummy bought them three years ago and they're so small now. I'm worried I might hurt myself.'

So I need to get my maternal finger out and save his manhood, my professional finger out and go to Wales for two days and organise training on some hijusly dull bit of obscure legislation then my culinary finger out for two lovely weekend houseguests.

Then I am shoving my cloche hat on, parking my arse on the verandah, under a leopard, shouting at the houseboy to bring me gin and opium and shooting dead anyone that annoys me.

No changes there, then.


  1. Calm yourself, my dear. I have found some left over morphine from my recent brush with back pain. I'll slip a few drops of that in your gin and you'll feel no need to shoot me or anyone else. The Houseboy.x

  2. Sounds like a fascinating read! Mysterious murder and 'madness and style' is right up my alley, off to Amazon and on the hunt!

  3. If the position of houseboy in Kenya ever becomes open, I'd like to apply. Unless of course the Colonel currently holds the position,. He performs duties that I never could and would be a hard act to follow. Kenya between the wars is one of my favorite times in history. Beyrl Markham's life has always me intrigued me.

  4. I'm so glad you're back my darling. You know how much I need a fix of fabulous writing, great wit and superior intelligence.


    p.s.: I do so agree, madness and style essential ingredients for an interesting woman. I think the combo is less fascinating in men -- though I could be wrong.

  5. Budgie smugglers. I've heard it all now.

  6. Fixing Freddie's "situation" trumps all other issues in play.


  7. do say to the WAG building for me if you're in cardiff.... my housemate did the mosaic out in front of it.

    ... and we used to call them "grape smugglers".

  8. Just stumbled (in my usual accident prone fashion) over your blog. What a happy accident! Your writing style is very witty. Anyhoo, wanted to say, have you read The Bolter by Frances Osbourne. It is about Idina Sackville but Alice features in it. Lots about life in Happy Valley and being 'disgracefully liberated'. PS - I'm only anon. coz I'm too lazy (or thick) to get a proper name/account.

  9. You've just saved my future grandchildren your concern about Freddie has prompted late night maternal panic about own boys. Think 2 -3 year old pants a tad small for a seven year old. Ordered suitable smalls on line!

  10. Reminds me of when I was India hunting the great white tiger. We were very near a clearing when I turned to my gun bearer and asked for the Holis .470 Boxlock. Just then, from out of the jungle this huge tiger leaps at me from the brush with this huge RRROOAAARRRR! Upon telling this same story at Whites my old friend Ronnie gasped, "My God, Tintin. You must've shit your pants." And I said, "I did. Not then but just now when I went, "RRRRROOOOOAAAARRRR!"

  11. ha ha Tintin! love this post,love it! can't really idenfity with the leopard/orgy/morphine/Happy Valley goings on (although I once went to Hemel Hemstead) but recognise only too well the too small trunks/pants crisis and accompanying maternal guilt about not providing enough room in the trouser department..


Please leave a comment if you can be remotely bothered - anything you have to say is valuable and I absolutely love hearing from you all. Elizabeth