Catapulted Straight to the Remote Marches from the London Bowl in London

Tuesday 5th September 2017

Harry Rollo gave a children’s performance at the London Bowl in London. He’s never deployed children before, particularly en masse. They stretched as far as the eye could see. I had high outfit satisfaction although in an old Prada factory shop white summer short-sleeved and Zara spray-ons in black. But nobody knew I was there. Not even Reggie Cresswell, who knows everything, so Harry says. It didn’t help that I couldn’t do backers nor the pre- in the Prince Gloom Room nor the interval in the Prince Gloom Room – owing to pressure of engagements. If it goes on like this, I’ll disappear altogether. On the other hand, rarity can be successful, but you don’t want to push it too far.

The children performed a fertility rite with Harry, under strict supervision of course and it was art. Some of them had the most incredibly challenging banging to do on a high platform in full view of everybody. It was vital that they wacked at the right moment. Harry was incredibly caring and they felt they could manage their tremendous roles. Then there was a perf of Harry’s own devising (the fertility rite was by another), about the stars and how the world started and what it was like in the early days – just so pure, floaty but rigorous. Princess Irina, Prince Dmitri’s sister, said she preferred it to the fertility rite. She’d devoted the day to watching Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 9 on Netflix, having never heard of Rupaul’s Drag Race at all until the day before.

I couldn’t even go to the hotel for the eats afterwards. I had to cavort directly to the remote Marches for Anneli Dumbarton-Nevil’s Sixtieth Birthday the next day. She is Robert Nevil’s sister. I changed into the Topman Limited Edition Queen Mother Powder Blue suitlette on arrival. As you know, (and what could be more topical with this new film out, God’s Own Country, about farming) farms are not especially tidy. In Robert Nevil’s mother’s day, cats swirled in the sink, and Morgan la Fay, the femme de menage, had never been known to penetrate beyond the kitchen whose floor she washed miserably only for it to be instantly churned with a 1st World War of gumboots and labradors. No wonder she died before her time.

But on the occasion of Anneli Dumbarton-Nevil’s Sixtieth Birthday the first thing you saw was a horse-box converted into a luxury toilet-block and then a massive marquee flung up on the lawn. It was to be a seated luncheon. I had no idea. The equestrian glamour element, brought in by Anneli, had prevailed although the raw drive of the farm persists, of course. Respectable relations had been summoned from Budleigh, with good braying voices, and the 104-year-old mother-in-law remained in her place for 8 hours. She said the first thing they taught her at school (this would have been in 1919) was how to knit. She’s remained a champion knitswoman ever since. Still knitting today but only small projects in case, as she says, she doesn’t live to complete them. Her grasp of the outlying villages of Birmingham is complete as well as which of her relations are not on speakers. They all speak to her.  She does not crave death but will take it when it comes. As she said last year, when it seemed there was nobody to look after her while Anneli and Dale were on holiday: ‘If I fall, I fall. Maybe nobody’ll come for me and that’ll be it.’

Anneli’s school friends were all at one table. Once they had each had their own pony. Anneli herself went to school on her pony. They may not have their own ponies now, but there was a distinct equestrian roar of hooves in the air, a sense of rears being whacked as mounted women took to the field in hot pursuit. Robert Nevil made an impertinent speech. He described the Clubhouse at the nearby airfield as a wife-swapping opportunity. He said that Anneli, aged 6 or so, had driven her pony right into the path of the cine camera that was supposed to be filming him and made horrid faces.  But it did no good, possibly merely provoked the horsewomen to drive their animals on even harder. Even, I, Adrian Edge, was not spared.  My tiny powder-blue suitlette, straining at the thighs, so commonplace in London – well, it had to be conquered. Later another horsewoman emerged, a key player in Anneli’s stable. She was up for knocking back until late into the evening. Her man was securely strapped to her side; he’d been living undiscovered in her street for years apparently and appeared to be reeling still from the thrilling shock of her discovery.

The other guests were neighbouring farmers and the tenant farmers, in the distinct Sunday best of the farmer, outfits gained from those country outfitters only found in country towns and unwillingly worn most intermittently. Their faces were red to begin with from their lusty farming and animal spirits transmitted from the animals and soon were even redder as Anneli administered the fizz. The statement pearls of the farmer’s wife spoke of a good tax-free easement to an electricity company, a sudden squirt of thousands. The tenant farmers were bulging with money, a father and two splendid sons; you could see it when they stood up and advanced gleaming on the buffet with frank, manly strides.

In the end, only the Budleigh cousins were upright, although growing less respectable by the minute, and ready for a second assault on the buffet. Returning the next day to London, the Official Car with Zenon driving lights was several times to be seen lurching to a sudden halt in gateways and lay-bys for the emergency emergence of Robert Nevil.




Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2017 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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