Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Charles and Camilla Generation

If you've been keeping up, you will know I was at a wedding last weekend in the Cotswolds. It was between a 61 year old man and a 57 year old woman, who have been in love off and on for the best part of 50 years.
Now I hear that this is becoming quite the thing.
A young lady told me that her Grandfather, a scion of a rich family in Scotland, never married until the girl he loved was widowed when she was 65. He promptly married her and left his money to her children when he eventually died, never having had any of his own.
Two of our male friends have recently "got together with" ladies of similar age, in both cases extremely well dressed and on their own for decades.
It raises an interesting point. In the old days, widows tended to remain widows - the men had all died out - but now that seems to be happening less. It's clearly a function of our lasting longer.
It's rather a nice thought. The picture of Charles and Camilla on their trip to the Middle East, walking hand in hand up a slope touched me. They're clearly just a couple of comfy buddies - somewhat pampered, but then some of us are.
Just a sidelight on Camilla. Our daily insists that her name is " Camelia" Oh well, each to their own.
The finest example of a C & M moment was a very old friend of one of my long deceased batty aunts. She owned a major tourist attraction which she had inherited from her husband, whom she had married after he proposed for the 25th time, once every year for 25 years. She, too, was somewhat batty, but had a wicked sense of humour, and particularly liked to tease my aunt who, although great fun, was frequently the butt of family japes.
To cut a long story short, our large and disparate family were holidaying abroad. There were always so many of us that we always had about 4 or 5 cars on any trip for dinner, and on the way back, I, as a small boy, was with my aunt's friend ( Mrs. Tourist Attraction) and another. We were leading the pack home by quite a margin. There had been talk of Mrs. TA's daughter arriving sometime - an oboeist in an orchestra in Roma ( Don't ask).
No sooner did we get back to the villa than Mrs. TA disappeared at a clip. A few moments later, her head popped round the corner of a door and said "When the others get back, tell them my daughter has arrived."
Within 5 or 10 minutes the rest were back, and I duly piped up that Mrs TA's daughter had arrived.
To be fair, everyone had had what used to be called a skinful - no breathalysers in those days, and, in any case, being in France noone paid any attention anyway. Drinks were poured, and my mother tried to persuade me to go to bed, but I was determined to meet Miss Oboeist.
With a crash, the door to where we were all sitting was flung open and an extremely unlikely figure shouted " HERLER".
She was dressed in a kaftan with a large fur hat and a scarf. " I'm Miss Oboeist" and with a manly stride and a firm grip she shook hands with all the people present, who were dumbstruck in the extreme.
" Can't stay, " she shouted, " Got to get to Monaco!" and she disappeared through the front door.
About 10 seconds later, Mrs. TA appeared from the back of the house,saying, " Oh, has she gone? "
In case you haven't guessed, it was Mrs. TA in disguise ( bloody clever too), but the drink, the dim lights and the general astonishment meant that to the day she died my aunt was convinced she had met her friend's daughter.
The only unbeliever was my aunt's husband, a large genial American, who sidled up to me and said " Whatever you do, don't tell your aunt the truth. "
He claimed that he had glimpsed Miss Oboeist's ankle as she rushed out the door, ".. and that, my boy, was no 20 year old's ankle."

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