Saturday, 28 July 2012

Revenge, at last, on the village gossips

The North Bucks Rural Womens' Society - a ridiculous, ostentatious title for the 'blue rinse' brigade - hold meetings in the old tin shed, which serves as the village's meeting hall, to talk about rural affairs, cookery, wines, art, nature, etc.  Rather, a very old girl called Beryl gives a 3-hour monologue on the techniques associated with Macramé Cross-Stitch or how to get the best Windsor Fondant Butter Icing, followed by a deafening rendition of All Things Bright And Beautiful.

How riveting.  If there was ever any evidence that this remote but bucolic corner of Buckinghamshire was a cultural wasteland, it is apparent now.

This is Beryl, my village's oldest pensioner with expert knowledge she loves to share on 
how to dust high-backed, winged chairs; how to shake 'n' vac on deep shagpile carpets; 
and the best way to get grease-stains out of anti-macassars.  
Described locally as "Indispensible and gripping, she's a mine of relevant information".

I don't get involved in village affairs.  However, apparently the North Bucks Rural Womens' Society heard on the 'local grapevine' that I'd recently moved to the village and of my love of film as well as my extraordinary collection dating back to the 1920s, and they asked if I could lend them a good, heart-warming film for them to watch at their next meet, this evening.

Despite being in the age of internet, email and mobile phones,
this grapevine is the sole means of communication in rural areas of England.

I went straight to my film library housed in the west wing.  It takes up a whole room.  "Something educational, inspiring.  Something that all sensibilities will enjoy.  One of the classic films, if you please." said the little note scribbled on lilac paper.

"And it's U-R-G-E-N-T" was the valedictory remark, written in two-inch high letters, yet without a word of thanks.

I was repulsed by the writer's choice of stationery.  Lilac paper?  What is the writer trying to say to me?  What an extraordinary  faux pas.

 Lilac writing paper - used in many rural areas as a hidden, coded message to make indecent propositions of a lesbian nature upon an unsuspecting party

Of course, I replied immediately, writing on ordinary white un-lesbian paper with a quill pen, suggesting Gone With The Wind, a historical, epic film and Purlizter prize-winner.   Nothing is more legendary than Vivien Leigh's performance as Scarlett O'Hara.

The suggestion of a screening of Gone With The Wind was duly accepted, again coming back to me on lesbian lilac notepaper, and it was then I realised who was behind the little note asking for help.

Let's just nickname her Mrs Blackpudding.  

I don't like her at all.  

Let me describe her, so you know her if you see her:  she runs their little, secret society with military precision, yellow clipboard tucked under her arm. 

She's clearly a "sandwich short of a picnic", as she has a very odd way of speaking, referring to children in the village as "insubordinates" and once describing my poodle with no small amount of joy as "A curious, hirsute object, it does have odd locomotion don't you think? I think it uncanny how pets look like their owners. Do you sleep with it?".

She's utterly humourless, with the face of a shrew, and is never seen without her pillbox hat, no doubt trying to create a false impression of Victorian self-righteousness.

She boasts about making her own perfume from rose petals squashed into old jam-jars full of water, which would explain the malodorous air about her.

I suspect she 'drinks from the furry cup', since she runs a cafe-cum-shop called The Ginger Pig, selling Buckinghamshire Black Puddings; black pudding production itself is a well-documented lesbian vocation.   

She gave a scathing reading last week to all those assembled at the village hall entitled "All Men Are Pigs".  Clearly, she has in-depth knowledge on the subject given that she rears pigs only to make black pudding out of them and sell it to the village.

I usually go and vandalise her shop's signs late at night, after too much vodka.  

She wrote a letter of complaint recently about the height of my topiary hedge, claiming its design was "grossly inappropriate" and detracted from the village's intrinsic beauty. 

I fail to see anything grossly inappropriate about the above photo of my front lawn.

Therefore, I swapped the video, just to teach her a lesson she'll not forget.  

Whilst the video box says Gone With The Wind, and she's announced to the entire village that is what will be screened, what they'll actually be getting is this:

I do hope they enjoy, although the ones who've clearly lost their marbles probably won't even notice the difference.  They'll be too engrossed drinking their piping-hot tea, which comes thick with unstrained tea-leaves and floating lumps of limescale from the filthy, ancient tea urn, and is served in plastic beakers, despite the presence of nice china cups in the cupboard.  

And if Mrs Blackpudding ever takes issue with me about giving her the wrong film, my response will be as Clark Gable in his final line to Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Swimming at Chapman's Pool, Dorset

The English climate is the Bipolar Disorder of all climates - up and down, always at the extreme end with nothing in the middle, and prone to sudden change.  

Weeks of Satanic weather cleared on Sunday and it's been Caribbean weather since: Tuesday 24th July was the hottest day of the year, peaking at 31c, with flawless blue skies. 

Villagers here complained it was too hot, the tarmac was melting, they couldn't sleep or even think straight.  They forgot that 5 days ago, they were complaining it had rained for 40 days and 40 nights, their streets were flooded, mildew was forming between their ears and that they were ready to sell up and move to Ethiopia.  Now they're praying for rain again.  I don't think there is pleasing some people. 

I live in a rural North Buckinghamshire village and I don't suppose they're accustomed to high fashion.   I recently purchased this adorable set of designer flip-flops, for just £2,750.  A mere snip for such uber-chic footwear.  No doubt me being seen wearing these has put some locals' noses out of joint.

Apparently, fashionistas in New York and Milan are raving about these flipflops, all the catwalk models are seen in them.

In order to make the most of the weather, I rose at the crack of dawn and my butler, Juan, gave my green Jaguar XKE a fine-tune, ready for a day's drive to the coast; not to the kiss-me-quick, 'all-you-can-eat' and candyfloss tatt of Southend or brash Brighton but the peaceful beauty of the Dorset coastline. 

Wearing a peacock-patterned Hermes scarf around my head, and driving with the roof down, it took just three hours to reach Chapman's Pool, a small, isolated cove of fine shingle, to the west of Worth Matravers.

The magnificent cliffs, grazed by sheep and divided by thick hedges and scored with fox-ridden lanes, are rich in fossils and I believe the Jurassic Coast runs through here.  It's not easy to get to, but is very quiet, with not a single hotel, town or building anywhere close - that's the untouched quality of the Dorset coastline.  

I change into my peppermint-coloured, diamond-studded bathing costume and make my way down to the beach, my fish flip-flops attracting some admiring glances.  I spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the English Channel.

The sea, here more of a lagoon, is perfectly still, and pale blue like old people's eyes.   

Tourists visiting London for the Olympics and reading this should make the effort to leave the capital and visit the Dorset coast.  It's a world away from the England that the metropolis represents, like comparing chalk with cheese.  When the sun is shining, its rare beauty rivals many more exotic countries that I've had the opportunity to visit. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mr. Puffywuffycutesweetgummywummygumdrop

I grew up with dogs on a remote farm in Texas and have always loved dogs with all my heart.   It's something that's been on my mind for a while now, and a week ago I decided that I was going to bring a dog into my life, for the companionship.  Whilst the cocktail parties and photo-shoots allow me to mix with a wide range of people, I always feel that a transvestite's best friend is a dog - Barbara Cartland always thought so.

Today, I purchased a pure-white 3-year old male poodle from a respected breeder in Aylesbury.  

I named him  

Mr. Puffywuffycutesweetgummywummygumdrop.  

He has the most doleful eyes, yet is playful and loving.  I'm going to be spending a lot of time with him and have opened up my entire home to him.  He will have manicures and backscratches and ear massages and all the canine beauty treatments money can buy, as I've also appointed an assistant to take care of Mr P.

This is a closeup of how he looked this morning when I picked him up.

The canine beauty therapist came with some great experience - 6 years grooming pedigree dogs and she also claims she was the coiffurist for an A-list celebrity - and so the therapist advised me to allow Mr P a complete makeover, to bring out his beauty.

Here's Mr. Puffywuffycutesweetgummywummygumdrop after a 2-hour session in the salon. 

Friday, 20 July 2012

The perfect climate - Britain

I strongly recommend tourists planning to visit Great Britain to bring this device along.  It's an old-fashioned, 3-minute sand timer, usually sold for a couple of dollars, occasionally used for boiling eggs.

Culinary aspirations aside, on a visit to the British Isles, it's an absolutely essential item to include in your luggage because it precisely measures the length of the British summertime.  Yes, that's right, the sun really does shine for just 3 minutes annually in the British Isles.   

Having grown up in balmy Southern Texas, we used to - like many countries - enjoy summer by visiting the beach, such as in the following picture of Fanny about to go surfing (naked) in the Gulf of Mexico:

But in Britian, visiting the beach is simply not possible due to the acute shortness of the summer.  The 3-minute Summer Solstice is therefore not traditionally celebrated on a Cornish beach or watching a Punch 'n' Judy show on the Yorkshire coast, but by the curious sport of bog-snorkelling.

Bog-snorkellers don snorkels, flippers and wetsuits, making them look like ridiculous, shiney, overgrown sea-lions, and jump unashamedly and unmedicated into the deep, flooded peat bogs north of the remote Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells, swimming back and forth, as frozen as a marrow, in the 55-metre long trench, its waters as brown and dreggy as onion soup.  

It seems a very bizarre habit to me, more of a fetish really.  Maybe I'm a little reserved.   As an American living in England, it's going to be a very difficult adjustment process getting used to the filthy delights of a watery ditch in Wales, but you cannot argue their exquisite taste.  Then again, if you don't like bog-snorkelling the other summer-time outdoor options practised by the British (particularly the Welsh) are binge-drinking, punch-ups and booze-fuelled violence.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

He forced his jumbo jet into my hangar

I've been in a continual black mood due to weeks of apocalyptic weather; my all-over tan has faded suddenly from Hawaiian Sunset to the unflattering pallor of a shelled, boiled egg, something I find intolerable.

Growing up in the aridness of Southern Texas, I am not at all accustomed to this dankness.  It seems that light is literally at the end of the tunnel, as meteorologists claim sunny weather begins in the next few days.   Given the vagaries of the English climate, I am planning to buy a third home in the gorgeous country of Portugal - I'll post more on that subject soon.

In the meantime, stuck indoors with rain hammering against the French doors and the fire lit at 10 in the morning, I've been reading classical porn from my library, although I should make the point that this is not trashy porn or chic-lit, which I find insulting to my intelligence, but soft-core porn from the Golden Era.  I'll not bore you with too many details, only to say how wonderfully evocative I found the following expression:

"He forced his jumbo jet into my hangar"

 It does conjure a wonderful mental image, doesn't it?