In the Old Man’s bedroom I found another of my baby congratulations cards. This was from the Deceased Lady’s cousin Evelina and her husband Edgar, and their daughter cousin N — who would have been very young at the time.
Lunch at Mr & Mrs CJ’s house lasted from 13:00 to 15:40. There were three courses, plus coffee.
I could see that Mrs CJ, who was sitting opposite me, became just a little tearful when she was talking about her late mother.
Mrs CJ also told me about a friend of theirs who had started as an accountant, and had made a very successful career in business, moving from company to company and from country to country. He had outbid a B-list celebrity for a classic car. His teenage daughter had had an eye-opening experience in a third-world country: the poverty there was something outside her previous experience. She now wants to enter some career in which she will help alleviate the problems of the undeveloped world.
Mr & Mrs CJ also told me about an ex-policeman whom they both know well. Once when he was off-duty, someone head-butted him and broke his nose. He decided not to press charges: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Knowing the culprit’s name and car-registration-number, the policeman and a colleague exacted revenge over the next year or so.
Mrs CJ’s father was a lorry-driver. One day when her brother was little, someone from their father’s firm called at the house with a message: their father would be driving to Peat Inn [a place in Fifeshire] the next day. Mrs CJ’s brother relayed the message in a garbled form: “Dad’s driving to Peking tomorrow.” Their father, dryly, warned all the family that he might be away until “sometime next year”.
The CJs’ daughter and son-in-law (Della and Del) have still not been able to sell their house. Karl, who turns five in November 2011, is enjoying school. If Del’s promotion is confirmed, Della hopes to reduce her working week from three days to two. Del works as a “hatchet man” (Mrs CJ’s choice of words), like Mr & Mrs CJ’s wealthy friend, cutting costs and jobs at his company.
[Original posting 9 October 2012]