Stephie journal – Day 9

Now not sure what I’ve done letting Roger loose on Alison. At least he seems to be enjoying himself. Shame about everyone else.

I’ve had ancient relatives rising up kraken like to ask what’s occurring with my acquaintance Alison and wondering I might consider knocking some sense into her.

Truth is I don’t even know what Roger has done which alerted the relics to his presence. I thought he was going to subtly persuade Alison that there is more to life than Anthony, not barge in being a danger to shipping.

With all that personal chaos going on it was handy that at work the new girl, Joanna, has arrived. Hope she cuts it.


Stephie journal – Day 8

I woke on the Wednesday and got ready to go in early. I have a routine, such as it is, and I always stick to it – except when I don’t. What I mean is that the actively getting ready portion takes about the exact same time every day. I do sometimes shift things around by either determining to go in early, or late, or just by finishing my book before heading in. I feel like I can justify this as having a widely read editor is crucial for, said editor, to be proficient in cancelling your best work.

Now I don’t mind moving my start time around if need be, but I do not take kindly to having my start time moved for me. This morning the cab was delayed when a man, quite crazed, was running in the middle of the road. The cars and cabs had to stop just to avoid running him down (although my driver was keener to run him down and be done with it – I was a steadying hand).

When I eventually arrived at the office my meeting had started without me. I spent the whole day being physically 5 minutes late to everything but feeling about 10 minutes late. Not helpful at all.

The day had gone so badly I decided to leave early. As my grandfather said, “you should never be late twice in the same day”.


What’s in my fridge

The magazine was short of a feature this week so they asked me to contribute with my answers to the following questions: What’s in my fridge, What’s in my freezer, What’s my favourite meal, and what’s a food I hate.

What’s in my fridge?

Gave Claude a bit of a shock today when I suggested I wanted to see what was going on in the fridge. He started to feel upset that I was suggesting he couldn’t anticipate my every need, but he started to calm down when he realised that it was for your benefit not his. So here it is: 3 bottles dom perignon, 1 jar caviar, salted and unsalted butter ready to be put out. Salmon (smoked), ham ready to be carved, leftover beef from Sunday, some salad leaves and some radishes. Milk, for guests, can’t abide it myself and a selection of cheeses from Fortenhams which need eating by the smell. A half dozen eggs sit on the top shelf next to some home made raspberry jam from when I got carried away last year.

Not sure we have a freezer.

My favourite meal

My favourite meal is actually scrambled eggs on toast. I get to go out to so many lavish wonderful meals, each lovely in its way, but I don’t want to eat much and it makes me feel guilty to waste it. Much nicer to come home of an evening and have something simple. Scrambled egg on toast fits, bit of pepper. Maybe, just maybe, some cress.

A food I hate

Never have been a particular fan of bacon. Not sure why, just never have been. Actually that’s a lie, I know exactly why. Once when I was a girl I was called with an aunt to the vets as one of her dogs needed an operation. They needed to cauterise the wound and the smell of that burning dog reminded me of bacon. I can eat it, can eat anything if decorum finds it necessary but I’m not a fan.



I’m not particularly sure why I keep the umbrella in my bag still. It’s not going to rain and there’s always a cab but I feel I don’t want to be surprised by the consequences of a sudden rainfall. When I was a girl I would love to walk out of an afternoon, get the resolute drenching I deserved and then trudge home and be fussed over. I suppose my worry is that now I would be judged rather than fussed over. Actually am I more concerned with being fussed over? Not very comfortable with that.

The umbrella is a midnight blue affair with a series of parading scotty dogs over the arc of the thing. Not terribly sure where this scotty dog thing started. I remember being given a broach when I was young by Aunt Clara. Not sure I had much of a choice about wearing the dratted thing after that. The rule seemed to be that on each subsequent visit of any significant dignitary one should be wearing or holding as much of the previously proffered clobber as one could reasonably manage and remain standing.

I think it was mainly that the broach was easy to pop on top of anything and therefore stood me in good staid incase of unexpected Aunt based activity. This, I think, broadcast to everyone that I had a particular affinity for the blasted scotty dogs when, in fact, I was trying to show an affinity for father’s sister.

So why now this umbrella? I have mainly put away such childish pooches but I saw this new invention, a handbag sized brolly, with dogs upon it and it seemed designed for an echo of me. But shoot me if I ever buy an actual dog.


Stephie journal – Day 7

I allowed Roger to have telephoned three times before I permitted the call to be put through to me. Yes I did think things were different than before. Yes I did think Alison was worried. And I agreed that she did, as Roger suggested, need a shoulder to cry on. I listened to quite a detailed description of said shoulder. I’m not sure that chiselled features are that comfortable to rest upon if I’m honest – but perhaps that’s just me.

Roger seemed to have fully moved from a funeral march to Yankee-doodle-dandy in terms of changing his tune. Now he was keen to prove that he could be an adequate friend for Alison in this terribly manufactured time of need.

This happily left me in the position of having set the ships off into the ocean without having to fully consider the ruddy great icebergs that said ships were heading pell-mell towards.

As I considered it I wasn’t sure I had totally agreed to it conceptually. I really worried that these two wouldn’t be terribly suited. The only countervailing thought was that Anthony and Alison were the worst possible sickly combination of coupling. Boring to all outside their own bubble. And then the fear struck me, what had I done? What if I was valuing the deterioration of my relationship with my friend above her happiness. That couldn’t be true – she was missable with him – or was she?

What had most worried me about yesterday was Roger’s sense not to mess with bliss. Why was a plank like Roger able to take avoiding action when I had no common sense? Please don’t answer that.


Stephie Journal – Day 6

Back to getting on with things today at work. One of those rare normal days. At the beginning of the day there was something that pro-ported to be a plan and it was followed almost to the end.

We had meetings with decisions, meetings that needed decisions and meetings that sounded like they were going nowhere but where we decided at the last minute to decide that some decisions might not be as bad an idea as we might have done when we all walked in.

Decided, having had a bit of sleep, to go fully for planned insertion of spanners into relevant nuptial works. I telephoned Roger and arranged to meet him for luncheon. I think, at first, he thought we were meeting for my own benefit. He told an absolute stonker of a story involving the archdeacon, a lady of ill repute and small yapping dog that wouldn’t shut up. When I revealed that I wasn’t interested I could see that he was upset that he had used his “A” material on someone who didn’t matter and might be called upon to listen and laugh at the story again.

“Isn’t Alison getting married,” he cut rough with my idea of teasing the issue out.
“Not necessarily,” I said.
“Yes necessarily,” he said, “imagine I was in the other posish? Couldn’t stand it.”
“And that’s going to hold you back?” I asked.
“Of course, not my usual MO Stephie, not keen on this sort of thing as a rule.”
“But you know Anthony, he’s s drip of the first order.”
“No argument from me, but he has a proposal from a decent lady, actually from a stonkingly brilliant lady, and that’s a bit of fair play as far as I can tell.”

The good news was this confirmed my view in Roger’s essential decency, this was clearly wonderful. But in practical terms in relation to booting Anthony out of the picture it didn’t seem terribly positive.

Decided to apologise to Roger for wasting his time and offer him a rematch at dinner. “The topic of Anthony and Alison will not cross my lips, a dinner just about the world of Roger – what do you think?” He seemed to be quite amiable to this idea.

I wonder how truly shocked he was when only a few hours later I “had to” cancel because I had to urgently meet with Anthony who was “questioning everything”.

I, of course, had no such dinner. I went home, Claude pulled together something lamb based which was more than acceptable and I went to bed knowing that I had achieved a good day.


Stephie Journal – Day 5

Almost the first thing I saw when I woke up was the tulips. The weather has improved again and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the light dappled on the tulips I might allow that it played a bit.

All of this made me think of Spring springing and new beginnings getting their start in life. As I thought this I started to feel guilty about Alison. She wasn’t dull. Life, and Anthony, had made her so. Wasn’t it my job, as her pro-ported friend to shake her from the shackles of drudgery? Of course it was. How to do it though?

I got up and considered the situation while dealing with my face. A grey eyebrow hair and a spot on the nose were pretty clear blocks to being able to focus objectively on my friend’s future. While the eyebrow hair needed dispatching I was heartened to discover that the nose spot was actually a stain from peony pollen, so I didn’t have to get so Lady Macbeth about the whole thing.

Clearly Alison needed shaking out of her decision to marry. One could always persuade some far more eligible alternative to start sidling in her general vicinity. Finding one of those wouldn’t be tricky, but finding one who would actually go through with the whole popping of said question was a little trickier. I wasn’t sure how Alison would feel about trading the bird in her hand for a flighty alternative, even if her bird was a certified dodo.

There was always Roger. He was pretty good at making sure people had a good time, and I couldn’t help but feel that Alison needed a bit of that. Could he be pinned down though? Many had tried, especially Aunt Clara, but even the hollow threat of withdrawal of allowance hadn’t caused the desired outcome. Perhaps because it was patently hollow, perhaps because he couldn’t be moved out of bachelor life. It hadn’t been tested. I rather agreed with Clara, unusually, that once he tried monogamy he might prefer it.

Of course there was always Simon-from-the-office but… No. That would work a bit too well for my liking. I’m not willing to keep going to sea without my life-raft. Let’s punt on how long that can work without my addressing it. I’m making progress for Alison today, don’t let’s start bringing me into it.


Stephie Journal – Day 4

It had been such a week I was starting to feel I might become like the Gosports and fade fast. I might be tired but duty, seems necessary when remembered, but is easily forgotten when ignored.

There were things that needed to be done. A visit with Aunt Clara first thing seemed advised. She’s a good egg is Clara and she tends to keep the other aunts in line. She seemed a little distracted on arrival but she explained it was because her dog, Badger, had taken ill and she’d just received a letter about it. Obviously I didn’t want anything upsetting to happen to the blighter but if I am correct in my identification of animalis woofious then I remember this particular pooch being a trifle more romantically affectionate of my left leg than I prefer in man’s best friend, so I might not have been as considerate as I might have been. Luckily Clara was so cut up about it she didn’t notice and was keen to send me packing so she could head off.

This meant I got a spare ten minutes to myself before Alison arrived for luncheon. I filled it by merely staring completely into space. It was the first ten minutes apart from sleep I’d had alone all week. I was quite shocked when Alison arrived to find myself still in the restaurant. We chatted about her upcoming nuptials and all of the arrangements. She’s become more boring since she paired off with Anthony and that’s saying something.

We went shopping together all afternoon and then for dinner we made a three with the one and only Anthony at Sparges. Anthony is a prize drip. Nowadays Alison is as dull as an unpolished doorknob but Anthony makes her look good, not by applying a bit of brasso and giving her a rub, but rather by sitting there an even duller doorknob in the hope she looks good in comparison.

I hated the whole sorry lot of it. Time to go home. On the opening of the front door I could smell something that required immediate action. Peonies might be the bees knees but I still had to chuck them. I’m not sure there really is such a thing as a stench of death among humans, but I’m not really the person to ask. I can tell you that when it comes to peonies that once they turn against you the all pervading smell will tend to remind you that the end is neigh. So I put them in the bin, and cut some tulips to put in their place.


Stephie Journal – Day 3

After the usual warp and weft of the day I had Audrey and Neville Gosport to supper. I don’t know where these two old relics had been dragged up from but Simon-in-the-office insisted on having them come barging into my abode and helping themselves to the good stuff. The most ridiculous part, to my mind, is that this was all done in the name of getting old Gosport to place some advertising in the magazine. It made me feel rather glum as I chased the peas round the plate with my fork to think of Claude’s cold cuts as being offered up as advertising for the the advertising.

All of a sudden during a bit of a lull in the proceedings Audrey actually nodded off. “Ho Ho” I thought. This should set old Gosport off, he won’t like this. I waited for the action, poised with a slab of ham inches from the mandibles in case I needed to deploy some emergency verbiage. Would you believe it but Gosport hadn’t noticed? He just chuntered on as though the whole world must be as fascinated with his collection of various diameter screwdrivers as he was. After a few more minutes he suddenly said “oh Audrey’s nodded off”.

I started to say something about it when he fell fast asleep himself. That, I must say, brightened my evening quite considerably. I called for more claret and tiptoed through the desert. After a further half an hour I woke them, assured them they’d had a lovely evening and called them a cab.

Now bed.


Stephie Journal – Day 2

I went to a wonderful party last night with work colleagues. One of them is leaving, I’m sad about that but I’m not ready to write about it yet. One chap there kept going on about resilience, I suppose people have since the war, but I wish it wasn’t so. We all need to bend a bit more than we did back then, not everyone is right all of the time, can’t be, stands to reason. Despite absolute patent logic he kept banging on about resilience this, resilience that. I told him that we must have a lot of resilience he didn’t know about.
“How so,” he asked?
“To put up with you,” I answered.
One advantage of being the boss is that they do have to listen to you. The boys ragged on him a bit, which I’m sure was as much about being cut down to size by a woman, as that it was a good line. He’ll be plotting against me again before too long.

Probably drank too much, but had a good time. I got home and decided not to make the carrot cake as planned, might have set the house on fire. I was so tired. Work was a bit of a wash out today, lots to do for the new edition and everyone was a bit flat after the party. Hey-ho, nobody likes it if they can’t have fun sometimes.