1 May 2011

Dear Sophisticated Ladies

My apologies if you are not a cat person as this week’s missive is liberally sprinkles with the antics of Arabella. Bella, my seven week old kitten, is delicious; there is nothing like the innocence of tiny creature to make one smile. I have decided that her name is Arabella, Bella for short. This addition somehow feels more complete. Although if twinkle toes, who can usually be trusted to snooze on my knee whilst I’m working doesn’t do just that this missive is going to take rather longer than usual to craft!

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Tudors but Arabella Stuart was part of this dynasty. Although more accurately I should say Arbella but this doesn’t have quite the same neatness to it and you know how picky I can be! I grew up going to Hardwick Hall; the home of Bess of Hardwick a several times married legend in her own lifetime. Hardwick was built in the days when glass was a sign of wealth, hence the saying ‘Hardwick Hall more glass than wall’, as many of the windows have wall behind them. Like magnificent blind all seeing eyes they survey the estate lands of Derbyshire. Hardwick is one of the jewels in the National Trust’s estate in my humble opinion.

You will not be surprised to hear that I have long admired Bess of Hardwick as she was a successful landowner who accumulated her vast estate as she tended to outlive her somewhat sickly husbands; one after the other. A business strategy of sorts although I genuinely don’t think she was premeditated in actions; she just was attracted to weak physical specimens! I’m sure some of us can relate to this one!

For the full tiny feline experience you will need to go to the https://victoriousendeavours.wordpress.com/ where there will be pictures and short video clips! In fact it would make me VERY happy if more of you would subscribe so I could slim down the emailing lists ~ currently the weekly missive is sent to around 130 sophisticated ladies. And yes you are all sophisticated in my eyes ~ you know the way a mother loves her offspring.

When I meet you randomly during the course of the week I am touched by how many of you say how much you look forward to receiving the missive and it always makes you smile if not laugh out loud ~ please never debase my elegant prose by describing it as ‘LOL’; such behavior would not be look on favourably!

On a related point I do get feedback from you individually and if you were signed to the blog you would be able to share your thoughts. Quite whether I’m ready for my curious form of slightly bizarre behavior to be the subject of exchange I’m not sure but I’m willing to expose myself should you choose to engage. As one of you said mumsnet is now consulted by the Coalition Government on matter of great import; education, healthcare and the like. Surely single unencumbered sophisticated women also have something equally important to contribute. Of course we do and practically speaking we probably have more time to vote but would we want to make the lives of those we have elected easier? Something to mull over.

And of course dear readers I am not forgetting those of you who are not single and unencumbered; for what characterized us beyond our marital status, (which after all isn’t necessarily constant), is our intellectual curiosity and desire to enjoy our lives!

Back to a Bella Sprinkle (not a tinkle as thankfully we seem to have the toilet training sown up. When she arrived she squeaked when she needed the tray and if I placed her in the heap of Sophisticat, (it’s actually call this and is pink), – she performed and then after extended rearranging of said aloe vera scented litter hopped out!

I confess that Bella arrived before I was ready and I hadn’t got a kitten sized litter tray to hand so I used the next best thing, an adult sized orange version. The problem was that her short legs meant she had to take a leap to get in there and this was not ideal in a hurry! So after a trip to Pets R Us we have four small kitten scale pink litter trays liberally scattered around the house! It is rather cute and amusing that when mummy pops to the loo before going to bed Bella comes too!)

The other evening I was taking off my trousers the other evening, cream Toast Combats (bought in the Village Hall sale), and I noticed blood on the back of the lower leg. I stood puzzling what had resulted in this unattractive spotting. Simultaneously thanking the world for the invention of Vanish and the fact it’s not summer, I remembered that Bella likes to climb up my legs, inside my trousers! Obviously I’m not a wearer of leggings or skinny jeans as this behavior could be even more painful than it already is ~ you should see the state of my calves! Still there’s another excuse not to shave the offending area so it’s not all bad; I do however hope her tiny needle sharp claws don’t scar!

Before I get onto the subject of THE event of the week, le wedding, indulge me whilst I have a small rant. You may be aware that the Pope was beatifying the late Pope John Paul II in Vatican City today (Sunday). Whether you consider this to be appropriate in terms of his achievements; bringing more young people to the Church and allegedly doing his best to obstructed taking action or making public the child abuse scandal across the Globe – the two not being in any way related you understand – is not my point of contention here.

The presence of Robert Mugabe, the political despot who runs Zimbabwe, at the ceremony is my issue. Because the Vatican State is a Sovereign State the European wide travel ban current placed on Mr Mugabe does not apply. At least one European State, Italy I understand, had to allow him to change planes to get to his destination. Passengers in transit are not officially entering the State on which they simple change planes.    

Mr Mugabe, as a good Catholic you understand, only wanted to pay his respects. Law and rhetoric is only as good as the spirit in which it is applied. We know this in terms of good practice; it’s just that how good the practical implementation is. Double standards of this kind are dishonest in the extreme. It’s not funny to play it down or belittle behavior that is at odds with good practice.

And it’s not because I don’t have a sense of humour either (Mr Cameron; reference ‘Calm down dear’ comment in the House of Parliament this week. Michael Winner is paid in the context of an advert and I can turn him off. You, as so called Premier of the Country, should know better; come on boys you aren’t on the fields of Eton anymore).

On a slightly linked point my darling father arrived recently with a new door bell. We had tried before with a wireless version that failed to transmit through my thick house walls. So the new version simply required sticking onto the front door and being plugged into a socket; the ugly white plastic thing works irritatingly. There are reasons I haven’t prioritized fixing the bell; I listen out for people I know are coming and don’t for the rest.

This week the door bell goes and I dutifully answer it to find someone canvassing for the Labour Party. Hello he says I have you down as someone who might support us in the forthcoming election. Thanks to the local candidate’s husband who I have worked for recently. I have a postal vote so it’s already taken care of I say and he smiles victoriously without my having given any indication as to where I put my 3 crosses: local, regional, voting system.

Another small Bella Sprinkle: as a new mummy all over again I am awfully worried that she might drown in the toilet if she loses her balance in kitten curious exploits. The problem is the seat snapped off the loo upstairs and no one has been able to replace the seat as the design is awfully tricky. I shall have to remember to shut the bathroom door; and with my memory I still forget lighted candles! But still a little life might just prod me, I do hope so..

So finally le Wedding ladies. I confess I was out at a photo shoot for my new website all morning, and early afternoon which meant I was shoddily late for lunch. The salad nicoise was without hard boiled eggs and my guest noticed (and picked me up on the omission)! I did think about the eggs as I drove swiftly across Cardiff and did decide to leave them out so it wasn’t exact an omission; well it was a deliberate omission. One can only ever hope to create one’s own version of any dish that everyone has experienced in a multitude of venues! Said guest was very nice about it and I do love someone with an appetite (by the time we ate I was starving myself!).

So the photo shoot over ran as I range of poses and outfits were taken. My photographer is out of the country after this week so we needed to cover all bases. The lovely Roy Campbell Moore, known affectionately as Roy Campbell Soup, took the iconic one I use for Victorious Endeavours; everyone loves it as it has captured the essence of moi!

I didn’t watch the wedding until the evening and haven’t seen any papers either.  So my exposure to the event is rather more limited than I imagine most of yours. And yes fashion is a matter of personal choice, but I thought the dress was understated and sophisticated in a Grace Kelly style. She was demure and in control during the ceremony; relaxed on the balcony; and oozed confidence I thought.

Her sister was beautiful and composed under stress; she has attracted some unpleasant and uncalled for criticism. I was amused by the camaraderie between her and her new brother in law as they walked out of the Abbey. I wondered how that would work if the best man and the head bridesmaid hit it off as it were. Perhaps she could be the woman to control those unruly red locks!

I watched closely when the National Anthem was sung and giggled seeing Prince Philip standing singing next to his wife the Queen. He never had a chance did he, poor mortal no wonder you occasionally slipped off message! Best he doesn’t offer to help his home land in their hour of need.

The final word I leave to the ‘ugly sisters’ or ‘pantomime dames’ i.e. the daughters of Andrew and Fergie. What were you thinking? I can’t forgive you for wearing Vivienne Westwood so very badly; she is a designer who deserves more respect in my opinion!

In conclusion I had hoped to be able to confirm the Salon dates this weekend but please still hold the 4 July. The 23 May is not an option anymore so I am looking at early June. Perhaps the arrival of Arabella will hone my skills at organisation who knows!

In sophistication as always

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