Charmaine has returned home from her stint at being a genius crossword compiler. Apparently there was an ‘incident’ at Cousin Windsor’s [a right Batarde] that she will not speak of. Knowing my Cousin Windsor, trying to forget about it is the best way forward, and I will not press her further for information. With her she brought a picnic basket, which upon arrival she dumped in the hallway before ascending to her rightful place in my attic. Such a pity that in her absence the attic sprang a leak, so it came as no surprise to hear her shouting, screaming, and possibly stamping a bit before stomping back downstairs to disturb my revelry by bursting into my studio in an overtly stroppy manner.
‘What is the problem, child?’ I asked, barely looking up from whatever I was looking at.
‘The roof is leaking, all my clothes are soaked through and there is bird poo all over my vintage bakelite collection. And I bet you haven’t paid this?’
Charmaine stood in front of my desk waving a piece of paper. It was the electricity bill. I smiled wanly as the lights dimmed and then went out.
‘Obvously not,’ I said.
‘There’s nothing else for it, Aunt Scarlet, you’ll have to reopen the wedding calligraphy business, we can’t carry on living like this.’
And I said, ‘NO, NO, NO!’
I sighed, she did have a point, I had rather let things slide over the past five months, and it was true the roof was leaking, the paint was peeling and, much much worse than this, we were running out of gruel. Thankfully, at the back of my mind I had a spare plan.
I looked Charmaine up and down and considered how much money I could get for her if I advertised her dextrous skills on the right type of Internet site. She could look quite fetching in the dark, it suited her skin tone.
‘NO, NO, NO!’ Shrieked Charmaine as if reading my blog post over my shoulder as I typed.
‘Well, what do you suggest we do?’
‘These,’ said Charmaine, stabbing my latest creations with her stumpy index finger, ‘flog these, everybody loves a bit of gold and a bit of bling.’
‘Don’t worry, Aunt Scarlet, leave the marketing to me, I have ideas, and Asmodeus will help.’
With the hazy image of Asmodeus hanging in the air, Charmaine flounced out of my studio in a purposeful, determined, #girlboss sort of way. Who the hell was Asmodeus? I shook my head dismissively. The girl had obviously gone a bit peculiar, but still, her positive ‘can do’ attitude had made me feel uneasy. Cousin Windsor had obviously instilled these ideas, ideas that were well above her station, and possibly above the steeple at the end of the lane, which was very high above indeed. I shuddered in my seat and felt a little faint because if she was successful it would mean that I would [heaven forbid] have to work.