Fortunately, the craze for round-robin Christmas letters seems to have passed. We did receive this one this morning, though, from someone who just signed herself ‘xxxx’. If you know who she is, please give her our best wishes and tell her not to write to us again…
What a year! First the move in April – of course that went wrong, mainly because of some stupid muddle about feet and metres with the carpets. S says he wouldn’t pay a penny so that’s all still up in the air. Then the Polish builders were here for ages, in fact S thinks they had something to do with the fire (I’m sure you heard about the fire!!!). The insurance co. said they couldn’t understand how a fire had started in the bathroom, so S has had to sue. I thought about telling them of that fire in the chalet loo in Austria (Pippa and Beaky will know what I mean!) but decided against.
Come May it transpired Fiona needed an operation on her teeth so we were back and forth to the hospital for weeks. To make matters worse S’s car was stolen from right outside the house – turned out it was used in a jewel raid! At first the police thought S was involved, but he wasn’t (no diamonds for me!!) but we still haven’t got it back. Evidence they say, so S had to sue. The man we used was sinister Welshman with buck teeth and a t-t-terrible stammer and he wasn’t any good. It came to court and the police said they had reason to believe S was drunk – of course he’s hardly touched a drop since that scene in the butchers last year but we had to let sleeping dogs lie (sl-sl-sleeping d-d-dogs lie as the solicitor put it). S is now s-s-suing the solicitor.
So, back to Fiona’s teeth! Total nightmare, just as her GCSEs were coming up. Only my 4×4 banger to transport her to and fro due to jewel-theft business. Then she needed an operation. BUPA obviously weren’t interested – and have you any idea what dentists charge? Obviously we had to be extra careful because of her flute (teeth v. important for flute, apparently). Then the operation went wrong and she needed six teeth out – she’s only sixteen, poor girl. Obviously the ombudsman didn’t want to know so we’re sending her to a clinic in Johannesburg where there’s this new technique, costing an arm and a leg. S did a sponsored parachute jump to raise money but broke his ankle, so now he’s off work and suing the pilot.
Usual au pair problems continue – the latest the agency sent was Unpronouncableski from Ukraine, who immediately got pregnant. Before that there was another one who lasted five minutes before Hugo bit her and she fled in tears! No one to replace the famous Magda, alas – 18 hours a day, worked like a Trojan (and H never bit her!). She’s back in Gdansk now with Piotr (remember Piotr at the party last year when he tried to carry all those canapés!!)
On a positive note, my father won his case against that Frenchman. £10,000! Mind you, he hasn’t got it yet, and does have to send the photos back. Plus S’s mother’s hip has given her a new lease of life and she’s even bought that Fiat that Giles was trying to sell her at Sophie B’s christening (well done Giles!)
Anyway, the main thing this year of course has been the children. Where to start? Tamsin’s Spanish stood us in good stead in Peru this summer (Maccu Piccu fantastic at sunset), and of course the men were all over her! Blonde, 5’ 10”, bilingual, 26” waist (grrr!) who can blame them? Of course her violin is the no. 1 thing and it looks like the RAM beckons. Second interview next week, bur Sir L said she’s as good as in. Blissy boyfriend in the background (of course we’ve hardly been able to catch more than a glimpse) who’s writing a novel if you please (at 19!!), probably about all our wacky goings-on I wouldn’t be surprised!!
Notwithstanding the teeth thing, Fiona got straight As in her GCSEs (12 of them, bless!) which Mrs Prentice is the best they’ve ever had. Mrs P went to Somerville, Oxon, and has made a few calls, so here’s hoping! All that money spent with the Montasorri (never remember how to spell that!!) obviously not wasted even though Stella the headmistress used to drink like a fish.
Ben is ten (easy to remember!). Captain of cricket, football and rugger, so we’re off every weekend, rain or shine, to watch his team win (which they usually do!). Mr Brown says he’s a natural. Terrible struggle between Mr B and his Gifted Pupil Assistant who says that he’s her best maths student in 18 years – so that’s another long day every Monday and Thursday to get him to Maths Club and Chess Club! Grandmaster Ben one of these days!
Hugo still very much Hugo! Seven last week and never stops, always trying to keep up with his more gifted siblings! Having three gifted children is a bit of a curse (as the headmistress reminds me), but poor H does his best to make me feel like a normal mum! The biting is still a problem (at least we don’t have the cat any more!). A bit clingy still (you know how men are, girls!!) and of course the stammer doesn’t help. Still, the good news is that the stomach problem has cleared up (remember last Easter!) as have most of the boils.
Do write and let us know how your talented (!) (?) children are getting on and whether your “better (!) half” is, like S, slumped in front of Top Gear with a bottle of Scruttocks Old Repulsive. Only hope his ankle heals before we jet off to the Seychelles for Xmas!!!