Good to be back

I must say it is rather jolly to be back in my own study, settling down to my old routines. The last couple of weeks have been somewhat unusual, but one cannot dwell on things one cannot change. Onwards and upwards as my old father used to say.

But I have to admit that returning from an evening out to find one’s home simply crawling with police is just not the sort of thing one expects. And as fond as I am of dear Nigel, to discover he has been using my study and computer for some kind of nefarious activities on the internet has left me more than a little upset. I must say though that the young police officers with whom I spent a large part of the evening “helping police with their enquiries” were rather charming. in their way and did seem to accept my total ignorance of what has been going on.

It was all rather a shock and absolutely nothing at all like the crime dramas one sees on the television or in the cinema.

Anyway, I do not want to dwell on that particular episode. Drama like that is so much more interesting on the screen than off. Nigel has explained that it is all a misunderstanding and has apologised most profusely for the inconvenience the whole affair has caused me. Obviously, I couldn’t stay in the house but I was able to secure rooms at the Savoy until things got back to normal.

Being without my computer was a bit of a blow. I am by no means an avid or expert user of all this modern technology, but without my trusty PC I have been unable to keep up with my journal or work on my little family tree project.

So this morning young Charlotte arrived on my doorstep carrying one of those rather smart looking laptop computers. I don’t understand all this Giga this and mega that, but it looks very nice on my desk and it takes up far less room than the one Nigel had acquired for me. Charlotte very kindly set me up on this new machine and even managed to get me back into my journal.

IN fact, Charlotte stayed for most of the day and we had a jolly good chat about her mother and sister and her plans for the future. The one worrying note was her belief that Hope’s beloved gallery is not doing as well financially as she had hoped it would. From what Charlotte says her mother may have to face some difficult decisions very soon about its future. There is the very real possibility that she may have to close. I am sure one can imagine this was something of a surprise and a great disappointment. I know just how much the gallery means to Hope and the very idea she could lose it makes me very sad indeed. But what can one do?

Charlotte is quite clear where the blame for these difficulties lie. She has no hesitation in pointing a very determined and forthright finger at our present government. And whilst I cannot share her certainty, one has to admit that this current climate is not good for business. Even my own business is beginning to feel the pressure. Only last week we had to make some very drastic cuts to help maintain the value of investments. At least that is what I have been told. I don’t really understand it all and rely totally on my managers and fellow board members to steer the Dimbelby-Smyth ship through the stormy waters.

Hope has told me on many occasions that I need to take a greater interest but all that financial and legal waffle goes right over my head. We have discussed some aspects of the business and Hope has offered some very insightful and interesting ideas but so far they have not met with the support of others in the business.

Anyway, I don’t want to spend too long here – I have agreed to meet Cambridge at the CLub so will have to get moving. He has been talking about taking a little trip to the South of France where he has a rather nice little yacht. He persists in asking me to join him but so far have resisted. However, after the events of the last few weeks, I just might take him up on the offer this time around.

Sailing is not something I generally do these days, at least not since my parents’ accident. But Cambridge is a proficient a yachtsman as most and his boat is apparently quite something.

 

Guns, Valentine’s and Sunday Lunch!

Yesterday evening at the Club the conversation was all about one thing – the dreadful shooting in America that left so many young people dead or injured. I know that a lot has already been said and written about this appaling incident, so I am not going to add much more to the debate, except to say that even those of the chaps who own and regularly shoot guns think that something needs to be done to end all this pointless waste of life.

The gun totting side of the debate will undoubtedly continue to claim their right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution, but what about the innocents that find themselves the targets of these madmen and cowards? What of their right to freedom from the fear of being shot on the way to school?

And yes, I did say cowards. It is hardly the act of a brave man to open fire on unarmed members of the public. And it seems that the perpetrator of this latest outrage was a very troubled soul, the last person in the world who should have been in possession of weapons of any kind. Of course, if these poor students had been brought down by anything other than bullets there would be immediate calls for either the cause to be outlawed, any faults corrected or for tighter restrictions. But we all know that so long as the damage is inflicted by the seemingly sacred gun.

As I said, the chaps at the Club were unanimous in their condemnation of a regime that continues to condone such mindless slaughter in the name of the object they revere above all others.

Talk at the bar meandered around for a little before finally settling on thoughts of the other big event of the week – Valentine’s Day. On this particular subject, there was anything but unanimity. Some of the younger chaps were all in favour of the modern approach of wining and dining the young ladies, along with an abundance of flowers and far too much chocolate. One or two of the married gentlemen admitted that they had forgotten all about it and their better halves had given them hell over it.

The main problem I have with Valentine’s Day is the expectation that there is something special about the day, which, of course, there isn’t. Far too much is made of the whole thing in my view. And I was pleased to discover that a good few of my drinking chums feel the same way. I have never sent flowers to anyone on Valentine’s Day and I am not going to start now.

This afternoon I made a quick call to Hope at her gallery and she has agreed to join me for Sunday lunch here at chez Dimbelby. Hopefully, this will give us a real opportunity to chat. I am still concerned about how things went with Emily and I am hoping that some light can be shed on the matter. I am also popping down to the country on Monday and I wanted to see her before I left. In fact, I am considering arranging a visit for my birthday in April and may invite Hope and Charlotte to join me. Dorothy thinks I should arrange some kind of party, but I am not sure and anyway, it is probably getting a little late to organise something like that. I will ask hope what she thinks over our Sunday lunch.

Nigel called around a little earlier this evening, but he didn’t stay for long. I have not seen a great deal of him recently. It seems his new business venture is taking up a lot of his time. That and his romance with my Aunt Sarah. He seems to think I don’t know about it, but I believe that it is one of the worst-kept secrets in the family at the moment. I wish he would just come out and announce that they are a couple, then we could all relax around them and celebrate their relationship. I do not understand why he can’t just be honest with me. Maybe he will in bis own time.

A busy weekend

The weather may be absolutely appaling, but there is a ray of sunshine on the horizon, for me at least.

Thursday’s lunch with the Greenwood’s did not go the way I had hoped. Emily’s antipathy towards me was as surprising as it was unexplained. I do understand that we will obviously have some very different perspectives on the world, but I did not expect that I would have to spend the afternoon defending my position on what are, in reality, very minor points. I hate to think what would have happened if we had been discussing religion.

Anyway, yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call from Hope apologising for Emily’s behaviour over lunch. It seems that she has been having personal problems, something to do with her relationship with her current boyfriend. According to Hope, she was an absolute horror all week and had fallen out with Charlotte over something a nothing. She says they will both let out a huge sigh of relief when she returns to Manchester this evening.

So, during our brief chat, Hope asked me to join her on Tuesday evening. She has been invited to a dinner party at the home of an old school friend and wondered if I would like to join her. Of course, I said yes, even though I do not know the hosts or any of the other guests. Generally speaking, I would try to avoid such events as I find them to be tedious and embarrassing, but I am sure that it will not be anything like that. I just hope that they are not all arty types; that is one thing that would make the evening very difficult. Art is not my thing and attempting to keep up a dialogue on the subject, particularly with total strangers, can be very taxing. But I am sure we will have a wonderful evening.

Yesterday I invited Dorothy and Angela out for the evening. They are both very fond of jazz music so I decided I would treat them to an evening at a jazz bar that one of the chaps at the Club had recommended. It is not really my thing, but I was happy to sample the atmosphere and the food, which I had heard was very good. And I have to admit that I actually found the music quite pleasant. I would not go so far as to say I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it as unpleasant as I had imagined it might be. As for the food, that turned out to be everything I was told it would be. Dorothy and Angela seemed to enjoy the combination and we had a very jolly time. In fact, it was actually quite late by the time we got home and I was feeling just a little tipsy. I may have had one or two single malts more than I should have, but if one can’t enjoy yourself when you are out with friends, when can one?

I have had a rather quiet day today spent mainly with the girls. I had originally planned to spend the afternoon at the Club, reading the newspapers and sharing a drink or two with some of my chums. But when I awoke this morning I was feeling a little delicate so decided that in the end I would just stay at home and relax which turned out to have been a very good decision. Shortly after lunch, I received a visit from young Nigel. Normally he is a very confident young man, very sure of himself and his decisions, but today I saw a very different side of him. Over drinks in the lounge, Nigel confided in me that he was becoming very serious with a particular young lady and wanted my advice. Why he came to me I really don’t know. My history with the ladies hardly marks me out as any kind of expert where romance is concerned. I actually find the idea of talking about these things very uncomfortable. I never know the right thing to say. So, I did the best thing I could think of, I called for Dorothy and Angela.

Nigel made me promise not to say anything to anyone about our little chat so I will leave it there for now. Suffice to say that I was not totally surprised by his revelations, only by his indecision. I think that we all have times when the road ahead seems unclear and need the guidance of others to help us find the correct path. I just hope that things work out for him.

I will be on my way to the Club shortly for a few drinks and a light supper. I had invited Nigel to join me but he declined as he had a previous engagement elsewhere. I just hope that the snow stays away.