About a month after my rabble and I returned to the village, another family moved in.
They arrived in a spotless Range Rover and the weeks following their appearance heralded delivery van after delivery van from posh shops. On one occasion a Harrods lorry drove through a puddle, soaking the dog and me in road-gunk and oily water. Left standing in the vehicles wake, the dripping dog and I looked at each other and I think I sensed that even he was becoming disillusioned with this thing called life.
When the lay-dee of the house did emerge, she was, as you’d probably expect, flawless.
Her clothes looked dead expensive (probably silk from some distant oriental port I’ll warrant) and she shimmered from within a delicate cloud of scent (probably spices from some distant oriental …yada yada – you get the picture).
I heard on the grape-vine, during the subsequent months, that she and her family were lately of London town but as the circles in which we move are rather different, I didn’t have occasion to make her acquaintance until just this very day.
The intervening months have wrought quite a change as she has now, apparently, turned into a mental.
I was walking the dog this afternoon, pondering on why the entire village smells of pig shit these days, when both Hector and I were startled as a large bush started to shake and emit squeaking noises (since it wasn’t singing, I was fairly sure that Annabelle wasn’t executing an ambush). My hound, in true attack doggy mode, shot behind me and peered between my legs as the foliage parted and a human form emerged.
The creature turned out to be female, her fair hair was standing on end, decorated with twigs and other assorted woodland garlands. Her mouth, smeared with blackberry juice, was wide open and cackling, half chewed blackberries flying haphazardly in all directions but credit where credit’s due, she did seem remarkably upbeat.
It slowly dawned on me that this lately-of-the-attic critture was none other than Her-Poshliness from thither mansion.
Clearly taking a liking to me, she followed me back toward the, from mine and the dogs perspective, safety of the village explaining how she has found a new lease of life in the beauty of nature. Her blackberry stained arms flailing as she pointed out various trees, flowers and birds (which, having grown up in the country myself, I am fairly sure she was making up as I have never, ever heard of a Twitchit tree).
There was only one rather alarming moment when midway through a rambling dialogue about the benefits of making your own clothes she ran at me rather abruptly with her skirt hitched around her unmentionables to show me the stitching on her, well, I suppose you would loosely describe it as a dress.
It is my strong feeling that the next time that one goes for a ramble, moonlit or otherwise, that a butterfly net and a tranquilizer dart won’t be far behind.