I've been saddened by the recent death of a cousin of mine, who was variously known as Mrs.Posh,The Hoor, and the Alkie.
This might make you think she was less than loved, but, as I was brought up with her, I never felt less than great affection for her.
Being some 9 years older than me, as a very little boy I'm sure I had to perform as her baby whilst she played little mother, and in the old days when you could dial only local numbers,she and I used to dial random numbers and ask to speak to odd people, then slam the phone down shrieking with laughter.
She hated school, and my father, who sort of looked after family matters, was continually having to take her back and ask for another chance at a whole string of places. The one school she quite liked was at Rolle in Switzerland, where she was able to get out and indulge her taste for both men and drink.
She crashed her father's Rolls into the side of her ( much older) future husband's Alfa Spider in order to make sure she got his attention. That was in the South of France when she was 18, and had just done the season - and a lot of the deb's delights too.
She married at 19 an ex-Austrian Swiss National 24 years older than herself ( having paid to repair the Spider) who had escaped from Hitler and done well. He was to go on and produce Peter Seller's films and The Go Between with her money. But he really made his wealth from buying up all the French films after the war for $10 each and then renting them worldwide at $1000 a time.
When they divorced three children later, it was - and remains - the second most expensive divorce case ever, second only to Margaret, Duchess of Argyle.
She married again and had a further son, but the marriage was short lived.
I always felt very sorry for her in that she never appeared to have any enjoyment in her life - sex and booze yes, but not contentment and happiness. It later years, even if the world was coming to an end, her response was usually that she was having problems with the swimming pool, or the staff - or both.
Just one story.
As I've said, her husband was Swiss. In those days, Swiss jurisdiction meant that she could never have her children, as they automatically became wards of the father.
Stupidly, she allowed her ex-husband to take them on a skiing trip to Switzerland, where they were promptly purloined legally by the father.
My cousin immediately appealed to my father for help. As all his brothers and sisters said he was the cleverest of them, and, rather like myself, was not one for sitting back. He was a man of instant action and reaction.
He drove immediately from London to Villars with my cousin and me. He dropped me in Geneva with airline tickets in my name and those of my cousin and her three children for the following afternoon.
At Villars, he managed to collect the children early from ski-school, and raced off south to the St.Bernard tunnel, crossing into Italy before 7pm. Luckily, as was the way in those days, children were on their mother's passport until they turned 16. My cousin and her children caught the early flight to London from Milan, and by lunch time were wards of the English Court - delegating custody to the mother.
Father (wisely) set off back to London via France.
In the meantime I was still in Geneva, and sauntered up to the check -in desk at the appointed time - whereupon several burly Swiss policemen and my cousin's husband descended on me.
Needless to say, like Manuel, I knew Nathing.
Of course, eventually the Swiss figured it out and my father was persona non-grata for a few years.
But he was always rather pleased with his escapade.
And her husband is still alive and well...