Flappy was an early riser. Kenneth was not. On top of that he snored, which was a consequence of drinking indecent amounts of red wine every evening, so Flappy had banished him to his bed in his dressing room, where he could grunt to his heart’s content like a happy pig and lie in until nine. This banishment had started as a temporary measure so that Flappy could get her beauty sleep and dress in the morning without having to mind that she was disturbing her snoring husband. But the routine had set, as routines so quickly do, and it had now been eight years since Kenneth had slept in the marital bed. As for sex, Flappy considered it ‘bestial’ and was only too happy when, on turning fifty, she put an end to it once and for all. She announced to her husband that she would no longer be available for that kind of activity and he’d be well advised to put any excess energy into golf. This he did, with a great deal more passion than he had ever put into his wife.

Flappy Enetertains

Flappy Enetertains

By nine o’clock, when Persephone waited in the hall as requested, in a black pencil skirt that fell just below the knee, Flappy Entertains 3rd.indd 16 18/11/2020 16:25 Flappy Entertains 17 a crisp blue shirt, shiny brown hair tied into a ponytail and a notebook and pen at the ready, Flappy had already done an hour of yoga in the gym (which was located next to the indoor swimming pool), spoken to her daughter Mathilda, who lived with her husband and children in Sydney, and read the Daily Mail before anyone arrived to see that that was her newspaper of choice. She breezed into the hall in a pair of khaki cotton trousers, a tailored white shirt (inspired by Meryl Streep’s Karen Blixen), elegant gold jewellery and smelling of Jo Malone’s tuberose, and greeted her new PA with a smile. ‘Ready for a very busy day?’ she asked.

Persephone nodded. ‘Absolutely, Mrs Scott-Booth.’

‘Wonderful. Follow me.’

Flappy had set up a desk for Persephone in the library, a room which Kenneth never entered and Flappy only occasionally, to look something up or to show off to a visitor she wanted to impress, for impressive it was, the library at Darnley. Kenneth made no secret of the fact that he didn’t read books, but he did manage to keep the secret that the rows and rows of beautifully glossy tomes had been bought en masse from a company that specialized in rich people’s collections. Flappy, though never having opened a single one, claimed to be the intellectual in the family. ‘If I don’t have at least three books on the go, I feel bereft,’ she would claim, before listing those she knew would impress.

Persephone placed her laptop on the desk, which was positioned in front of a wide window with a pretty view of a little garden enclosed by tall yew hedges (the Yew Garden), and waited for Flappy to give her her orders.

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We were sitting in the reception area of The Beeches Care Home, she and Scamp in a large armchair and me on the end of an uncomfortable sofa. Thomas, the nice man behind the reception desk, caught my eye and smiled. He’d told me the first time I met him that most of the clients here weren’t happy unless they were moaning about something. It was visiting hour and people were coming and going all the time but nobody bothered us in our quiet corner. ‘But looking on the bright side,’ I said, pulling out a packet of chocolate digestives from my bag with a flourish, 'there’s more room for dunking in a mug.’... to read more click HERE