Sunday, 22 February 2015

A taste of the green fairy

Is it the green hour yet?   I have a deep and ardent affection for a soothing glass of absinthe.  What is absinthe, I hear you softly murmur?

Absinthe is a wonderful little 'pick-me-up' containing sweet fennel, green anise, and the curiously-named wormwood, itself a plant grown in the Caucasus hills, better known to botanists as Artemisia absinthium.   It is the fennel and anise which gives absinthe its characteristic licorice flavour.   The crushed flowers and leaves of wormwood impart a bitter flavour, quite unique; these small, innocent-looking fronds are the source of absinthe’s famed jade-green hue.  Generally, one pours the absinthe into a glass over a white sugar-cube held by a special perforated or slotted spoon, but here I am using brown sugar-cubes and slices of lime, and of course, an ordinary teaspoon.   Sugar is dissolved to counteract the bitterness.
A timeless, vintage poster for absinthe
Here at Raffles, I've been known to down a bottle or two of absinthe in one sitting - usually before a public appearance, or a speech on World Peace at the local grammar school, or cutting the ribbon to officially open a shopping mall - to help loosen my tongue and lubricate my larynx, only for medicinal purposes, you understand, and on the advice of my doctor and fitness instructor. 

Absinthe is also good for exercising.  I drink it the same way athletes drink Lucozade (and in the same unstinting quantity).  Here I am, working up a sweat on the treadmill at the gym, after having quaffed a heavy shot of absinthe.

Fanny loves to go jogging on the treadmill after a shot of absinthe.  It's part of the my daily exercise regimen.

 Absinthe rose to great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Owing in part to its association with bohemian culture, the consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists.   Consequently, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Baudelaire, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde were all known absinthe drinkers.

One of my favourite paintings: The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva (April 24, 1861 – April 5, 1928).  Viktor Oliva was a Czech painter who was drawn to the Montmarte area of Paris in 1888.  He socialised in Bohemian circles and, in some sources, it is claimed his love of drinking absinthe greatly improved his artistic ability.   Fanny attempted to buy this painting from the Czechs, but they snubbed her offer of £250,000, describing her in a leaked memorandum as "an avid art-collector who also happens to be as mad as a hatter".  Yes, well, the same could be said of Brian Sewell.

 Absinthe is commonly referred to in historical literature as la fée verte or the green fairy.  In France in the 1860s, the drink became so popular in bars and bistros that the hour of 5pm became known as l'heure verte or the green hour.

Absinthe has always had its critics, though: namely bookish, teetotaler lesbians who have never touched a drop, yet stolidly claim that "absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant".  

Warnings that too much of the stuff can cause hallucinations are rife, but likely to be exaggerated poppycock, methinks; conversely, many notable artists and poets claim to have found artistic enlightenment, poetic inspiration and a freer state of mind through the practice of frequently imbibing the green fairy. 

Darlings... it's 7.26am on a cold Sunday morning in February, I'm still in my eiderdown goose-feather dressing gown, the dogs are slumbering, Juan is fast asleep no doubt dreaming of our torrid lovemaking last night, so now must be the celebrated green hour.  Go on, pour me a glass of the green stuff.  That's a pint glass, if you please.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

And why not?

I was just on my way to my local Post Office at Brill to send a telegram to Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United States of England, when I spotted this sign on a residential door in the village.

It made bile rise in the back of my gullet.  How inappropriate to display this sign in a village!  This is a conservation zone, and an Area of Upstanding Natural Beauteousness (the Chiltern Hills, and my own abode, Raffles, the Home of Fanny Love, of course).

I'd like to know why there are no prostitutes at that address?!  They should be everywhere, especially in a little village like this.  The National Economy depends upon them!  And so does little ole me.  Don't knock them... they keep old trannies (I'm 40 this year, y'er know!) very happy during the winter months.

I went straight back home after sending the telegram (I'm running for local MP for my area, and hoped to rustle up support from the top man himself) and sat down to do some embroidery and crochet-work whilst gently sipping absinthe and sucking a lollipop.

Two bottles of absinthe later, here are my finished works.



Tomorrow, a beauty therapist is visiting chez moi to perform a new treatment involving snails.  I cannot wait.

Friday, 20 February 2015

A new pink car

Do you like my new car?   Now that Spring has sprung and the mercury is edging 8°c, I felt it was high time for a new vehicle befitting of sunnier weather.  

It's a Pink Panther.   It's very luxurious inside, done out in finest, pink, clipped, ostrich feathers.

As I'm quite short (5ft 6") I usually wear these when driving it, just so I can reach the pedals.  No, they're not Barbours or Wellington Boots, usually seen worn by the 'country set' in these parts, but they do keep the mud off my pedicure.

I do sometimes walk the two dogs whilst wearing these

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Dress your man in gold

Men.. they're nothing but ornaments as far as I'm concerned... luxury items who are there to look pretty but say very little.  The less said the better.  I dress my man - Juan, the Brazilian chauffeur who speaks not a single word of English - up in this little gold outfit, purchased from E-bay.  It may be winter here, but Ba Humbug! to those souls who say this reveal-all outfit is inappropriate for my conservative village.  You won't find my staff here at Fanny Towers dressed in Primark denimwear or hand-me-downs.

I'm lovingly adding a bit of glamour to northwest Buckinghamshire.  

What am I wearing, right now, you ask?

Well, this....  I made it myself.  It's called "Fanny Love's Approach of Spring" Dress made from lambs' wool with real moss plucked from the banks of the River Cherwell.  The hat is a bit uncomfortable, I must confess, made as it is from a long, narrow plant pot once full of geraniums.  I'm never seen out of doors without one of my famous hats!

However, not all of my staff get to wear the finest couture.  No.. my current, insubordinate maid, Basil, has just been handed this bespoke uniform to wear.  Her employment contract has just been re-issued stating she must wear this 24 hours a day.  Isn't it divine?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A lovely day for a drive

Here I am, enjoying the mid-February sunshine. It's lovely to take a tour of the countryside, isn't it?  We stopped at a lovely picnic site and went looking for badgers... (a little bit like this)


The maid and the cream egg

A staple of the British breakfast since the early 1800s, the Cadbury's cream egg is 100% fat with zero vitamins and minerals.  Imagine the horror to find your maid lying on her back, in the scullery, gobbling down these chocolate eggs like a pig snuffling truffles.  The wretched maid had molten chocolate all over her whiskers and pinafore.  And this at 8.10am.  I got Juan to load her into the wheelbarrow and take her out into the gardens, for fear that she would explode all over my newly-installed Vestril-Virgin-with-Angels ceiling mosaic.  Next she tells me she's undertaking the Ferrero Rocher 2-minute challenge, in a bid to get in the Guinness Book of Records. 

I had only just bought the maid a new uniform.  She wasn't wearing it during her recent chocolate-binge.  Needless to say, I'm dreading Easter when she goes all wide-eyed and pushes her nose up against the chocolatier's window and starts slavering for what lies displayed within. She has threatened to issue a Press Release to the paparazzi and tell all to The Sun and The Daily Mail (extraneous wrapping paper used in the United Kingdom to wrap up fried fish/chips and never actually read).  By doing so would bring eternal Hell and social disrepute upon my household.  The maid must be hushed before her sordid little tale gets told!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Signs of doom?

My chauffeur pulled up outside a certain London hang-out of high society.  No sooner had I trotted out onto the pavement in my 12-inch heels and stared up at the neon sign, then something struck me as being very wrong.  All thoughts of what I'd imagined to be a lavish occasion disintegrated like a puff of smoke.  Oh jeopardy lay within, my waters kept telling me. 

Deeply superstitious of dark forces at work, I got back in the Rolls and ordered Juan to pootle round the block and find somewhere more suitable for a lady of my standing, before the evening was well and truly scuppered.  He suggested the Angus Steak House.

But judging by the all-telling neon, all was not well here either. 

In the end, after 2 hours of prevarication, we drove to the only suitable place we could find -  McDonalds in East Barnet - where we had a 79p McFlurry sandwich and a pint of Coke, before ending up in this lounge, somewhere off gay Old Compton Street (no surprises there, given the name of the establishment and its location).  This time, I'm not complaining!

But, of course, it happened a fourth time, these dastardly subliminal messages being sent to me by ordinary neon signs! As we stopped for petrol just off the M40.... this apparition of things to come:  

On second thoughts, we were at the M40 services just outside Beaconsfield, which has, in certain quarters, been described as a mini-Hell on the edge of the Chiltern Hills.

Make-your- own Pearl Necklace

It all started with my Pearl Necklace: a 16th century, Parisian heirloom, with pearls plucked from oyster shells at La Rochelle,  sconced in 68-carat gold and set in lapis lazuli, once worn by Madam Bovary and Russell Harty, and bearing the almost invisible inscription "Made in Taiwan".  The Tragedy of the Pearls - as it would later be known - manifested itself during a heavy S&M session with Juan (him dressed as a Spanish conquistador; me dressed as poor white trash; he ruthlessly hung me from the banquet-room chandelier by my Pearl Necklace and systematically abused me with his pet anaconda), but once the reverie of the act had died (and the swelling had gone down) I found my precious little antique necklace snapped into forty different pieces, lying on my boudoir floor, as much cop as a nun in a whorehouse.  Anyone for a game of marbles?

With an impending high-society soirée at some gaff called The Ritz, what was I do to?  It would be social shame of the highest order to be seen out-of-doors without my famous pearls.

Here's my solution:

Send the maid to 99p Store and get the bitch to buy some white polished stones for your fish-tank, get her to polish them to a high shine, and then Super-glue them all together on a piece of shoelace sprayed with silver glitter.  Voila!  You now have a pearl necklace. Can't find any white polished stones from 99p Store?  Use White Chocolate Maltesers instead!  They don't last as long, but still look good.

Basil the maid enjoyed her visit to 99p Stores, Hemel Hempstead branch.  She enjoyed the sights of the 1960s high street, so typical of the New Towns:   alcoholics, violent beggars, Nigerians selling scam lottery tickets and psychopathic elderly citizens with umbrellas used as weapons.  Basil the maid tells me she was followed down an alley-way and offered a "five-fingered shuffle" from a 19-year old chav wearing a filthy tracksuit and drinking Stella straight from the can.

White Maltesers, wear them round your neck.  And if you get peckish,
even after the main course,
you can eat your own necklace.

And so, with pearls a-jiggling around my neck, I was chauffeured off into the night.... bound for The Ritz.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Romance from Morrissons?

It was whilst reading the blog of my gorgeous friend, MitziclutterfromtheGutter, that I came up with the idea of placing a lonely heart's ad on the community noticeboard at Morrisons.

Despite retaining my fastidious loathing of the working classes, I felt it was high time to get what on the scene is known as some "rough trade".  I vowed to boldly go where no upper-class lady has gone before.  I meekly presented my typewritten personal ad to Customer Services, having waded through a sea of blue-rinsed, comb-over wildebeests.

I then scuttled off home and got Cook to make me breakfast.  Pondering what I had done, I sat slurping my Egg Nog and Bacon (spirits such as brandy or rum or bourbon are often added; can't choose which?  Do as I do, and add all three!), whilst waiting nervously for the first love-letter to come through my letterbox.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Hats off to Soho drag queens

"Isn't it time you bought a new hat?" whispered 1950s drag-queen-cum-benefit-fraudster Penelope Hardpotts (pictured above) into my ear, all too loudly, as I was enjoying a Friday night-out in Soho.  Some time later, I staggered round the back of Madame Jojo's for a quick tinkle behind a skip, whilst waiting for Juan to pick me up in the Rolls, a virtually impossible feat in 9-inch heels.

As I was about to leave something caught my eye, lying abandoned in the skip.  It looked like an old filthy cushion but was in fact.... a hat.  What a coincidence.  I whipped it out and stuffed it in my handbag.  Upon arriving back home, I ordered my maid to put the hat into the washing machine.   Tonight, I'm going out to a high society social event at a place in London called The Ritz and I want to look my best.  Rather than spend a small fortune at a London milliners, I'm rather pleased with my find from last night.  Here I am wearing my new hat.  If this is the quality of hat anyone can find abandoned in a skip in a back-alley in Soho, then the drag queens that frequent the district have more money than sense!