Call off the search

I have said before that I sometimes get the feeling that my life is not my own anymore. This week, in particular, has been something of a roller coaster ride. From my unexpected shopping trip with Dorothy and Angela to yesterday evenings dressing down over my decision to take my secretary for lunch, I have been at the mercy of the women who are playing an increasingly active role in my affairs.

Today has been no exception to that.

Following the events of Wednesday, and particularly the talking to I had from both Dorothy and Aunt Murdock, I set aside a little time this morning to speak to Hope about Cambridge’ charity event next weekend. Having given the situation some thought I have to agree that is was very lax of me to have overlooked the transport side of things.

So, with a coffee and one of Mrs Kaczka’s chruściki cakes to fortify me (her pastries are truly wonderful), I relaxed into my favourite armchair and telephoned the gallery. I don’t know whether it was the caffeine or the sweet pastry, but my first two attempts to call resulted in wrong numbers. The first turned out to be a laundry service, the second some poor chap who thought I was some kind of religious fanatic. I managed to get through on the third attempt, only to be told that Hope was not in the gallery until after lunch as she had meetings all morning. I had a strange feeling of déjà vu – she is obviously a very busy woman.

I made several further attempts to speak to Hope throughout the day, but each time I was unsuccessful. It was as if the Fates themselves were fighting over the thread of my life and had wound up tied in knots. They have certainly been spinning a very strange kind of tale. In fact, the near misses and changes of direction I have seen today were reminiscent of an old-fashioned farce. I can almost see myself as a Brian Rix style character running around the stage in total confusion and disarray.

I spent much of the afternoon at the Club, catching up with a couple of the chaps who have just returned from a trip to the Caribean. Apparently, they got away just before the storms struck and have been recovering in Las Vegas ever since.

By the late afternoon, I was beginning to think I was never going to manage to speak to Hope and had all but decided to leave it until tomorrow. But that was when Aunt Murdock stepped in. I had arrived home a little after 4 o’clock to find her waiting to ambush me in the study.

I had no time to compose myself, or even to pour a drink before she was upon me like an enraged tiger. It took a little while to explain to her that I had been trying to contact Hope all day, but had so far failed totally. I could tell that this was not the answer she was expecting or wanted. The look of disappointment on her face told me everything I needed to know.

At that stage I was somewhat at a loss as to why she was getting so impatient and, it has to be said, angry over the whole thing. Yes, she was right about getting me to arrange to pick Hope up on the way to the ball (or whatever it is), but her reaction to my inability to actually speak to Hope about it seemed more than a little excessive to me.

At Aunt Murdocks direct instruction and under her watchful eyes, I made what I was determined would be my last attempt for the day. It was a little before 9 o’clock and as far as I am concerned you only contact anyone after this in cases of dire emergency. The only exception I make to that as when offering invitations to meet friends for drinks. It is not unknown for me to be contacting some of the chaps well beyond my 9 o’clock watershed.

Anyway, I made the call which was answered by young Charlotte, Hope’s youngest daughter who I had met at the gallery couple of weeks ago. At least, I think that’s who it was. It certainly sounded like her. But with a sense of deja vu, she told me that Hope had been called back to the gallery as the alarm was going off. She is almost as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel and I was beginning to wonder if she was, in fact, ignoring me.

But I needn’t have worried. At about half-past nine the telephone rang. It was so unexpected that I almost dropped my glass of Brandy. Fortunately, I recovered from the shock very quickly and was able to save the glass before it hit the floor. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky with the contents which have left a small stain on the carpet by the television.

“Call off the search” she laughed by way of greeting. I was then able to make arrangements to collect her from her flat on the way to the ball, so it all worked out in the end. Although our conversation was brief, it was very nice to speak to her again. Hope has one of those husky voices that many men find so attractive, and I could picture the smile on her face as she laughed at me about my numerous successful attempts to contact her. Anyway, I now have her mobile telephone number so I shouldn’t have the same problems in future, should we continue to be friends.

She asked me for my mobile number and was shocked when I told her I didn’t have one. I did have one a couple of years ago but had never bothered to replace it after it was damaged when I dropped it down the stairs one morning whilst still under the influence of alcohol.

Despite everything, I think the day ended fairly well. I think Aunt Murdock is still a little bit upset with me lover yesterday’s lunch with Miss Drayton, but I am sure she will get over it.

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