Am I losing control of my own life?

This morning I had an unexpected, but a very welcome telephone call from Hope Greenwood. She hasn’t returned home yet but is in Edinburgh staying with an old friend. Apparently, she has been having a short break and visiting a few artists in Scotland. She told me that she heard yesterday that I had visited her gallery – it seems that the helpful young lady I spoke to on Wednesday was Hope’s youngest daughter, Charlotte.

It was just a brief call as she had an appointment, but she told me she will be back in London tomorrow. There wasn’t enough time to discuss the invitation to old Cambridge’s soiree but I told her I would call into the gallery again on Wednesday. Maybe this time I can take her out for that lunch I promised myself.

Whilst I was on the phone talking to Hope, Dorothy walked in and did a little eavesdropping. At times she is like an old mother hen, fussing and manoeuvring. I sometimes think she is taking tips from old Mad Duck. She may even be some kind of third columnist, planted by the old dear to spy on me. Nothing would surprise me where Aunt Murdock is concerned.

According to Dorothy, if I’m going to meet Hope for lunch again, I am going to need some new clothes. She told me that my current wardrobe is a little too conservative and old fashioned. I am not sure I agree with her, but she seems to have set her heart on taking me out shopping. Of course, I have said I couldn’t possibly find the time, but I know Dorothy well enough by now to know that she won’t let a simple matter such as being far too busy get in the way of a good plan. I am sure that now she has suggested going clothes shopping, as far she is concerned it is going to happen.

The more I think about it, the more I worry that my life is being controlled by the various women around me. I mean, there is Aunt Murdock trying to get me married off, Dorothy doing her best to “modernise” me, and even Miss Drayton seems to be trying to turn me into a business man. I know they mean well. They all seem to think they are doing what is best for me, and I am sure that in some ways they may even be right, but surely a chap needs to have some control over his own life.


Under the thumb!

It has been rather busy around here lately, what with Dorothy moving in, Aunt Murdock insisting that I take a more active role in the business and finding the time to look into my family tree. But that does not mean that I have ignored my friends. However, I have noticed that my dear old friend Dorchester has not visited me for quite some time. Of course, I have seen him occasionally at the Club, but he hasn’t even been there as much as he used to.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised really. I have seen this kind of thing happen before on numerous occasions. A chap gets involved with a young lady and they immediately begin to drop out of society. It seems that some ladies can be very demanding and once they have a chap in their grips, they begin to change them, starting with forcing a wedge between the poor chap and his friends. It always reminds me of a show that Aunt Murdock dragged me to a while ago: I love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!

I had thought that Dorchester was above this kind of thing. He has had plenty of lady friends before but they have never come between us, until now. I have to admit that I am not particularly fond of Annabelle, his latest girlfriend. Her being an American is only part of the problem. Whilst we were together at Wimbledon this summer I found her to be a little over powering, as it seems is the nature of most Americans. They appear to have no sense of protocol or even simple good manners.

So it seems that Annabelle has well and truly sunk her claws into poor old Dorchester. A couple of the chaps and myself were discussing this only yesterday evening at the Club. None of us have seen much of him this summer and, according to old George behind the bar, he has not been at the Club for at least a week, maybe more.

I really must ask Dorothy about this tendency by the ladies to want to monopolise their partner’s social life. I can understand they don’t want their beau to be out every night drinking and socialising when they could be spending time with them, but to brow beat the poor chap into giving up all connections from his past is just not on. Is it insecurity, jealousy or some genetically inbuilt drive that compels them to try to keep the man in their life under their control? It really isn’t on keeping a chap away from his friends.

It is all very sad. I hope that poor Dorchester escapes from Annabelle’s clutches before it is too late. The poor chap is so obviously well and truly under her well-manicured thumb!


A friend of Dorothy

This afternoon I had arranged to meet with my cousin Dorothy and her friend Angela for a spot of lunch. The whole thing was arranged to appease my Aunt Murdock who had well and truly set us up. It is all part of her new campaign to get me married off to some worthy (and preferably wealthy) heiress or other. But this time she has failed most spectacularly.

I had invited the girls to meet me at the Savoy and was surprised when Dorothy arrived alone. When I asked where Angela was, she told me that she was far too embarrassed after what had happened on Monday. Neither of them were aware of Mad Duck’s plot to do a little matchmaking until they arrived, so were on the back foot so to speak. According to Dorothy, Aunt Murdock had asked them to join her and “a friend” with a view to discussing her future plans once her current show closes at the end of the week. She had invested quite heavily in Dorothy’s production and was disappointed to see it close early, but was already looking for the next project she might encourage Dorothy to take a part in.

Aunt Murdock and I share a love of theatre, but seldom see eye-to-eye on style or quality. I enjoy good comedies and murder mysteries, whilst she is always on the look out for serious drama, one women shows and art house projects that I simply do not understand.

Some of the chaps have suggested that I invest a little of my time and money in the theatre, but in truth I don’t really know much about what goes on behind the scenes, so to speak. Not that I think Aunt Murdock has either, but she makes up for it with great enthusiasm and a larger-than-life personality that demands attention from everyone she comes into contact with. She is a frightful force of nature my aunt.

Anyway, back to my lunch and it turns out that Angela is “a friend of Dorothy” in more ways than one!  I mean, I knew from our previous meeting (once again instigated by Mad Duck) that Dorothy was gay, so there is never going to be anything of a romantic nature between us, but what was plain to me but not mad Duck, was that Angela is gay too. In fact, Angela is Dorothy’s current girl friend. This is something that dear old Mad Duck would never even consider as a possibility, and she was completely oblivious to the obvious intimacy the two girls shared when we met them over lunch.

I had suspected as much and was not really surprised when Dorothy gave me the full story. Anyway, our little lunch engagement gave us an opportunity to make arrangements for her moving in at the weekend.

I must say that now I have had to consider the idea further, I am quite looking forward to having Dorothy around the old place. The house is a little on the large side for one person, even with staff, and it will be good to see some of it used a little more. My only concern though is the kitchen. Now, I personally hardly ever venture into the part of the house. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I went into the kitchen. After all, that is what staff are for. I know from our previous conversations that Dorothy is a very keen cook and I suspect that she will want to do her own cooking. How this will go down with old Mrs Kaczka, who looks after the house and me, I just don’t know. I do hope that they get along; I would hate to see them clash over the use of the kitchen.

Actually, Mrs Kaczka is a very fine cook indeed and I suspect that Dorothy might like to learn a thing or two about polish cuisine. Her Gulasz and Sernik are particular favourites of mine.

I am certain there will be some teething problems having someone else about the place, but I don’t expect them be unsurmountable. The biggest issue we face is Aunt Murdock’s reaction. Someone will have to tell her she was barking up the wrong tree when she thought that either Dorothy or Angela were suitable contenders to be a future bride. That will teach her to interfere with her matchmaking, but I am sure it won’t stop her.



No job for a woman

Thankfully it has been a quiet day today, one of those rare Sundays when no one calls or is expecting me to be anywhere. I have made the most of the opportunity to catch up with some correspondence and television programmes that I have recorded recently. Which has reminded me of a conversation myself and some of the chaps had in the Club on Friday evening.

We generally meet up on a Friday for a spot of snooker and a few drinks. I have to be honest and admit that I am not a particularly good player, but it is sport I enjoy participating in. At least it doesn’t involve too much physical exertion or training. However, this week I did rather well, winning two frames against old Cambridge. It was quite a jolly evening on the whole, and I found myself more than happy to stay behind for a drink or three afterwards.

Old George on the bar had discovered a very fine 18-year-old Edradour in the Club’s cellar. George has a keen nose for a good whiskey and this particular bottle is certainly one of his better finds.

Anyway, whilst we sampled the delights of this rather fine highland single malt, conversation settled on the recent news stories about women on the BBC. The reports were all about how much some of the corporation’s stars are being paid for their services, but things have inevitably focused on the differential between how much women receive compared to men. I think I can safely say that as far as most of the chaps were concerned, this focus should not be on how much less the women on our screen are paid, rather that the men on the list are paid far too much. To a man they are paid far beyond their worth. I mean, I have met most of these so-called stars on a number of occasions over the years, mainly at parties and other events, and have been singularly unimpressed by them. Of course, in the main I don’t actually know who they are what they do as I don’t watch the kind of programmes that most of them make. I prefer documentaries and dramas. I am particularly fond of murder mysteries which is where I have a problem with the way things are going with TV these days.

Regardless of who is paid the most, there are some things about casting that have changed far too much recently. As I said, I am quite fond of a good crime drama or murder mystery, and settled down this afternoon to catch up on one or two recent productions. Now, I don’t want anyone thinking that I am chauvinistic in any way. I will be the first to agree that there should be more good parts for women on the television, but it seems that the PC brigade have gone a little too far. The trouble now is that almost all the leading parts in the most recent dramas are played by women, with men playing either the villains or in supporting roles.

Of course, to even think such a thing will be seen by some people as proof that I am old fashioned and out of touch, which anyone who knows me will attest that I most certainly am not. Not at all. I am a very modern man. But there are some roles suitable for men and some for women. As far as I am concerned, the part of the detective is a male one. I know that more women are moving up the employment ladder in all kinds of occupations, but I am sure that not many real-life detectives are female. On the screen however, virtually all of them are these days.

And it is not just the detective stories that have been hijacked by the political correctness brigade. Almost everything you see on film or television these days has a female in the main part. Personally, I am getting rather tired of this messing about with traditional roles and would like to see a return to the gender balance we had before.

Bring back Morse, Poirot and Barnaby, and let’s have a little less of these women please. And I’m not the only one who thinks thing have gone too far. All the chaps feel the same.

And talking about women, dear old Aunt Murdock wants to meet me again tomorrow afternoon for a spot of lunch. This time I know it isn’t about business. I am sure she has plans to set me up with one of her chosen suitable young potential brides. Wish me luck…