July. My annual rant at the Birthday Honours list. More creeping, fawning, sycophants. At least I got to have a fortnight away from the walrus on the couch. Close season? Committee meetings, touch rugby tournaments, tour planning meetings.
The common denominator in all of these events? Beer. He went off on the Veterans' Tour to Cornwall, but managed to leave a message on my mobile. I eventually was able to decipher a slurred communication made from a tour bus. "Letter . Birthday . Honours List . Palace . new frock . use my credit card."
At last, I have been recognised for my achievements. Maybe I was wrong about the creeps and crawlers. The June learning and leisure committee was dead easy, and I was sweetness and light to all the councillors. I was dying to tell someone of my elevation to the ranks of the great and the good of Scottish Education, but I knew I was sworn to secrecy. Anyway, the letter was obviously in the post. Would Her Majesty have put a second- class stamp on it?
The outfit was duly purchased after a mere 13 hours of searching, and I must admit I took a perverse delight in using Himself's credit card - as instructed. Hat, shoes and handbag were duly added after another expedition, and the credit limit must have been within touching distance. Still no OHMS letter received.
The usual prize-givings and sports days were attended and platitudes and prizes presented. Would I still do this after my elevation? Would I need new business cards? Should I put my new title on my headed notepaper? Who else might be in the frame for a gong? Judith? Graham? Walter?
Each morning I rushed down to collect "the" envelope, but nothing was there. I checked at the GPO. Nothing. I rehearsed my curtsy in front of the hall mirror. Over and over again. What shall I say to HM? We could talk about Ballater; I've been there. Or maybe gardening, horses or hill- walking. HM was cutting it fine. Maybe she had forgotten the stamp?
Yesterday, my world was shattered. I had a phone call from Peter Laird. He informed me that I hadn't replied to the invitation he had given to my beloved. It was to his wife, Honor's 50th birthday, and he had prepared a list of her best friends to join them in a surprise banquet at the Dragon Palace Chinese Restaurant in Glasgow. My heart sank almost as rapidly as the remaining balance on Himself's credit card.
The idiot! For Birthday Honours list read Honor's birthday list. For Buckingham Palace read the Dragon Palace. For kind husband, read drunken, muddled oaf. Anyway, why would I want to join the ranks of the subservient, hand-wringers who join in that charade? What kind of sycophant do you take me for?