We thought we had our week nicely sorted, Beagle and I.
His Excellency was leaving for a couple of days to attend a conference in some particularly unappealing location and for once wives were not, as he so undiplomatically put it, An Issue. This may have meant that exotic hostesses were served up side by side with the complimentary cocktails, but I suspect it had more to do with the fact that none of the other delegates were bringing their significant others and thus I would not be called upon to accompany them around the street markets. I have no illusions about my intellectual contribution on such occasions, but the good news was that this particular bit of accompanying baggage was off duty.
So this was the plan.
I calculated that I had gained sufficient indulgences over the past months, not to mention years, polishing the egos of visiting politicians and their credit card happy wives, to merit a couple of days staying with friends in the country. We pictured ourselves, Beagle and I, having long walkies chasing imaginary rabbits, then curling up around a roaring log fire with the book I had been waiting weeks to start reading whilst toying, respectively, with the family Yorkshire Terrier and a large glass of something seriously warming in the evening.
Think again.
International NewspapersDid someone mention human rights ? Forget it. It seemed we were expecting yet another Important House Guest. Yes, I had seen that in the diary, but I had also done my homework well in advance, Googled him and given him my own personal classification of « C minus ». C minus guests, in my esteemed opinion, are of insufficient political, economic or social significance to warrant the full flowers in bedroom and whiskey bottle by pillow treatment. You can get by with just feeding and watering (euphemism) them at intervals and giving them a front door key. Basically they are under our accommodating roof in order to save on expenses. Theirs. So I was at a loss to understand why this particular gentleman should require my gracious 24 hour presence. Discuss.
Please ?
Of course. There were shufflings in the air. If A was promoted to D and B was pushed upstairs to replace K and G was relocated to Timbuktu, that might conceivably, if the political wind were in the right direction and the stockmarkets were to heave themselves back off the ropes, leave Mr. C minus in a position of great power and influence. Also, he was bringing his girlfriend who didn’t speak the language and would be at a loose end whilst he was out changing the face of the world. And whilst I was about it, could I review the placement for the dinner we were giving on Friday night and put in an appearance at a couple of National Day parties and check out the stores and ascertain whether we needed to replenish the wine cellar yet.
I very much fear we most certainly will need to do just that by the time he returns.
So if you should perchance to spy a dipso bag and Beagle chained to the Embassy railings with their noses deep into book, bottle and bone, you will understand the reason why. We are demonstrating for our Rights.