Quarantaintment—Pandemic Diversions for the Homebound

FICTION

Stagecraft

By Colin Brezicki

 

So he’s gone to collect her after all. How convenient for her. It’s a long drive for Philip—Phil, she calls him—there and back on a hot day, but I doubt she thinks of that. I told him she should come by bus and he could pick her up at the station, but he just smiled, the way he does when he thinks I’ve said something outrageous.

I do hope the weekend will be pleasant. She can send me up the wall without even trying. Sometimes I think she does try. But I won’t be baited. I shall be the pattern of all patience. King Lear. Not someone she’s heard of, I’m sure.

I’ll spend time in the garden and let them have the place to themselves. I must deadhead the roses anyway, and the shrubs need pruning. She offered to help last time but she’s not a gardener. What can you expect from someone who lives in a high rise? A garden’s a window box for her. I’d go bloody bonkers in a place like that, however grand the lake view; but condo life suits her down to the ground she says, having no clue how stupid that sounds when she lives fifty stories above it.

“Oh but it’s all so convenient, Mrs. Mosley. You just step into the elevator and bingo, you’re at the gym, the stores, restaurants, hairdresser, without ever going outside. Just think of that.” What I think is that her elevator stops well short of the top floor and the doors don’t always open. It’s not her mind that’s enthralled Philip.

She’s comely enough for her age, I’ll give her that. Graying around the edges, mind. I could give her some clues about tinting but she’ll have to ask me first. You can see she was attractive once and she still has those come hither eyes. Almond-ish. Medusa eyes to turn a man to stone. And she has the hair—all wild and corkscrewed—though with her it’s more burst mattress than live snakes. But the eyes still have it when everything else goes south as my father always said.

I’ve gone a little south over the years but people still notice my eyes. Philip said so last time they were here. He’s so aware. Takes after his father. James never missed a trick, and such a wonderful actor. Philip looks so like him, more than ever now he’s—how shall I put it—seasoned.

She didn’t comment when Philip mentioned my eyes. I imagine she was a little put out that he would compliment someone else. You can tell she’s obsessed with her appearance. Getting a little desperate now I should think. It’s not just the crow’s feet. She’s got duck’s feet as well. More than a hint of a waddle in that step. She runs to keep herself young looking—so does everyone now—but I can’t think how she runs on those feet. She wears orthotics for her shin splints she says. It’s all a bit technical for me, but if she’s not careful she’ll be getting artificial knees or even a new hip before she’s fifty.

Still, she has to make it to fifty and I’m not putting money on that. She has her issues, as they say. I thought she was thin when Philip introduced us, but really she’s bordering on an eating disorder. The divorce didn’t help, I suppose, though apparently she took her ex to the cleaners, which explains her condo on the lakefront. You don’t make that kind of money as a minor administrator in the health services. All right, he had an affair, Philip says. But I say if a man chooses to have his dinner out when there’s dinner at home then maybe he has his reasons—maybe dinner at home is overcooked, or it’s TV dinner or takeaway, or pizza delivered to the side door.

She found his emails. What business did she have poking among his emails in the first place? I wonder if that ever occurred to Philip.

I hear the car, so I must make myself presentable. I’ll delay my entrance until they’re in the lounge.

Trevor Nunn—I’m sure it was Trevor—said my entrances were a delight. But because I played only small parts for him, my delightful entrances were soon followed by—how did he put it—much-anticipated exits. So very droll, Trevor, and a wonderful director.

I enter the lounge and right away I see she’s wearing those jeans again. She could sit on a nickel wearing those and tell you if it was heads or tails.

“Mrs. Mosley, it’s so nice to see you again. Thank you for having me to stay.”

“Hello Angela, how are you, darling? Lovely to have you here again so soon. How was the drive?”

“Oh, slow, you know, traffic on a holiday weekend. But Phil got us here safe and sound. Didn’t you, Hon?”

“You must be exhausted, Son. Can I make you both some tea?”

“Actually Mother, thank you, but we’re going into the town. I’ll take Angela’s case upstairs and then we’ll be off. It’s such a beautiful afternoon.”

“But you’ve only just arrived. Surely some tea on the patio before you go.” I thought they’d at least have tea and a visit, especially after the traffic and the heat. But of course I must give them what Philip calls their space—not a word he used until he took up with her.

“Angela wants to wander around the shops and then she’s taking me to dinner. We’ll have a stroll by the water afterwards. Can we bring you anything?”

“No, that’s fine, Son. You just go and enjoy yourselves.” What did he have in mind for me? Another knick-knack for the granny flat she’ll have him stick me into when they’ve taken over the house proper? A doggy bag from the Charles Inn? We were all to have dinner here, I thought, but of course she’s talked him out of it.

“We’ll be back in time for some evening together, Mrs. Mosley. Perhaps a digestif?”

“Oh, don’t you worry about me, my dear. I have Poirot this evening, and we have the whole weekend for visiting.” A digestif? I could use one right now.

But I make tea when they’ve gone and take it out to the patio. The garden is so beautiful at this time of year, the hydrangeas jouncing in the breeze like pompoms, and the cardinals at the feeder. They can be so intimidating. The hydrangeas I mean. They’re so self-assured and they demand to be looked at. I’ve always loved hydrangeas. Cardinals I find surprisingly timid.

Philip did look tired. Tomorrow would have been a better day for them to go into the town. Angela should be more considerate. I know she’s smitten, by the way she clings to him, but she could show some restraint for his sake. And mine. Hello. I’m here too and it’s still my house.

I’ll deadhead after my tea and then I’ll have earned my gin and lime. Tonight I’ll make a simple salad to go with yesterday’s leftover ham.

Donald Sinden—it was at the Savoy, I believe—asked the maître d’ if they served a ham salad.

“Indeed we do, sir. We serve our salads to anyone.”

Apparently Sinden laughed. Such class. I saw his Lear many years ago at The Aldwych.

Philip will do the lamb on the barbecue tomorrow. I wonder where they’ll dine tonight? We often go to the Oban. I so love the Oban. It’s not the Savoy, but still. James and I dined at the Oban when we played the Shaw together.

His Inspector was his last role. When I say that to visitors they look vacant. Priestley, I tell them. An Inspector Calls. Honestly, some people.

Before Philip was born I played minor roles in my husband’s productions. I met James at the London Academy and I knew even then he would be a star. In the early days he played Bottom at the Old Vic and he was a very good Philip in Relatively Speaking, with, would you believe, Celia Johnson and Michael Hordern. James loved the role. It’s why we named our son Philip.

He never made the National though. A shame that, but they had so many rising stars then: McKellen, Stewart, Jacobi, Irons, Pryce, Gambon—my goodness, the list goes on. So we did West End before Robin Phillips invited James to come out here and do Stratford. Maggie Smith was already playing at the Festival. After two years Paxton enticed us to come to the Shaw. Our little Philip came along soon after we moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake and that was curtains for my career. But I was happy to disappear into the wings and let James have the spotlight.

Our little Philip was often confused because he didn’t know which father would appear at breakfast the morning after a show. Higgins? Undershaft? Shotover? James could never leave it in the green room. The best of the best just can’t, you see. So little Philip had to eat breakfast with whomever his father had played the night before. I’m surprised he wasn’t inspired to go on the stage himself. But he chose writing.

They’re back and they seem excited. A quick look at her left hand and I can see why, though I’ll pretend not to notice.

“Mother, we have something to tell you.”

Dear Philip. He’s still a child in some ways. “Let’s all sit down and then you can tell me. Who would like a drink?”

“Why don’t we tell you first and then we can make it a toast?”

“If it’s all the same with everyone I’d like a drink now. Philip would you do the honours?”

“If you insist. What would you like, darling?”

“My usual, Philip.”

“Oh—oh, yes, Mother. Of course. And you, Angela?”

“Just sparkling water for me please, Phil.”

“Right. Sparkling for you, my darling, and another gin and lime for Mother.”

He goes out to pour the drinks and I glance again at her finger. At least it’s discreet. But that’s Philip. Large diamonds are so common and not really us.

“Now Angela, how was your afternoon in the town? Did you find anything interesting in the shops?”

“Oh my god, so many things, Mrs. Mosley. But today we just looked. Then we dined at the Oban. Phil had reserved a table by the window with a lovely view of the lake. After, we strolled on the promenade. Such a lovely breeze off the water this evening. And the tree lanterns make everything look so grand.”

She does have very large teeth, and I wish she wouldn’t call him Phil. Diminutives are so vulgar. And there she goes again with grand. Really, does she think she’s the Duchess of Kent or something? But I carry on.

“James and I adored the Oban. We would take our supper in the pub section. That’s where the actors gathered after a show—you know, the room with the so outré tartan wallpaper and that lovely portrait of Shaw in the middle of all the actors’ photos. Did Philip show you his father hanging in the picture gallery?”

“I saw it the last time.”

“Yes, of course. I forgot you’d eaten there before. And what did you have this time?”

“We shared the steamed mussels for our starter. Then I had a lovely rainbow trout and Phil had lamb.”

“Oh dear. I hope he knows we’re having lamb tomorrow.”

“He didn’t say. He was in such a happy mood and I said he should have what ever he wanted. So he chose the lamb.”

“That’s so nice, dear.”

I’ve run out of things to ask her now and she seems unwilling or unable to return the ball. The young no longer value the social graces, I know, but at her age she should be more adept. I won’t mention the ring.

Right on cue, thank god, Philip arrives with the drinks. When we’re all ready he lifts his glass.

“I wish to make a toast, Mother. To your—how else can I say it—to your future daughter-in-law!”

He looks at Angela and grins from ear to bloody ear thinking he’s surprised me.

“My darlings, how absolutely wonderful! I wasn’t aware you were this far along. Oh dear, that didn’t come out right. I’m so sorry. Only I keep thinking you’ve just met.”

I raise my drink and smile at Angela.

“I’m so happy for you both.”

Then I wave my hand for her to come over and show me the ring. She pirouettes across the room like she was in some silly romantic comedy and presents her hand, her fingers fluttering until I grab them so I can look at the ring up close. Then she wraps her arms around my neck, so now I’m overpowered by her Champs-Élysées Par Nuit, or whatever it is she wears. Philip comes over too and I give him a hug.

“Thank you, Mrs. Mosley. Phil and I are so happy. My jaw dropped when he proposed. I had no idea.”

She looks at Philip like she could devour him along with his tumbler of whisky, but she’s not a drinker—or so she’d like me to believe.

He looks at her as if I’m not in the room. I could disappear right where I’m sitting and they wouldn’t notice.

I swallow my gin and think I must do something about the awkward silence. I’m uncomfortable now and in my own house. It’s different when you deliberately plant a silence to unsettle someone else. That’s aplomb. This is just rude.

“So tell me, when is the big day? I must prepare my lists.”

Now they look at each other like there’s a bad smell in the room. Then they walk back to the sofa and sit. She steals a glance at him and ever so slightly shrugs her shoulders like whatever’s going on has nothing to do with her.

“August, Mother, but it will be a private ceremony. Just ourselves, two witnesses and the minister. Not even Angela’s family. So no need for you to make lists.”

He glances at her and she nods. She’s still nodding, like one of those plastic bobble-head things, when she turns to me and bares her teeth again, but says nothing.

“I see. Philip, darling, could I have another gin and lime please?”

He takes my glass and goes into the kitchen.

If it was up to him I know he’d have a proper wedding, but she wants it on the quiet. Not that she could parade down a church aisle in a white gown, not at her age and not with, shall I say, her experience.

“My dear girl you must be so excited.”

“I am excited, Mrs. Mosley. I can’t tell you how happy we are.”

“Please my dear, call me Imogen. We are to be family after all.”

“Thank you. Imogen. That’s grand.”

“Nonsense, darling. If I’d known you were this far—oh dear, there I go again—I would have told you to call me Imogen ages ago.”

That’s it, I’m done. It’s her turn. I refuse to do all the work.

She stands up and angles her thumb towards the hallway like she’s hitchhiking. “Excuse me, Imogen, I’m just going to powder my nose.”

I nod and watch her leave the room. There’s no sign of a bump. Anyway she’s all of forty, I believe. Still, not too old to be “in the club,” as we used to say, but children would not be a good idea at her age. So much can go wrong. And Philip is fifty-five—not a good age to be a father for the first time. I mean, think of it, when the child’s ten he’ll be sixty-five. I’ll be ninety if I’m here at all. And she’ll be whatever she is. He’d be up against it with a child, what with writing his books and keeping her ladyship happy and making sure I’m all right. I don’t make demands now but who knows what I’ll be like when I’m ninety?

He returns with my drink. I’ll have to sip this one. I wouldn’t want them to think I enjoy it more than I should, though I could drain the bloody bottle right now. I hold on until she returns and then I raise my glass.

“Cheers again, my darlings. Here’s to your hearts’ desire.” And she can take that to mean whatever she likes.

We raise our glasses and I take a good swill.

“Your father proposed to me in London, you know. At The Ivy. Did I ever tell you, Philip? Oh. I did? Anyway my dear Angela, it was the final night of Arsenic and Old Lace, and the Royal Court had just signed James on for the next season. He ordered champagne, naturally. When it came he popped the cork and went down on his knee to pop the question. Everyone turned to watch. Peggy Ashcroft and a rather young Helen Mirren were at the next table. I tried to speak but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t, and so with tears in my eyes from laughing I just nodded my head. Everyone cheered and clapped and ordered more champagne. We stayed on until well after midnight, and the cabs were lined up at the door. It was a glorious night.”

I really wonder about that girl. She just smiles and stares at her feet. At least Philip, who’s already heard the story, has the grace to laugh and raise his glass again, covering nicely for her lack of savoir-faire. So, bravo, Philip, I say. But now I can see he wants to speak.

“Another announcement, Mother. Tomorrow we’re taking you to Arms and the Man. Angela bought tickets for the matinée. We’ll come back here afterwards and have that lovely dinner you’ve planned. What do you say?”

“Marvelous, Darling. Thank you so much. Angela—you’re sure you don’t mind my coming along? I’m quite happy to pay my way you know.”

“Absolutely not, Imogen. I want to do this. You’ve been so kind to me. And we’ve got front row.”

He must have told her about my hearing impairment. What am I saying? I’m near enough deaf. Call a spade a spade. People are afraid to speak the truth these days. You can’t say crippled or blind or stupid or deaf any more. Though if you’re old you’re still fair game it seems.

“Thank you Angela.”

I don’t trust her at all. She’s currying favour now, that’s obvious. Still, Arms and the Man does take me back.

“James played Bluntschli at The Haymarket. Alec Guinness was Major Petkoff and, can you believe it, a very young Judi Dench was Raina. It won an Evening Standard award and dear James was forever after my Chocolate Cream Soldier.”

I have to say our Chocolate Cream Soldier at the Shaw was damned awful. More like the Steadfast Tin version—rigid doesn’t begin to describe him. He walked the stage like he was squeezing a pomegranate between his buttocks. Naturally I didn’t share this with Philip and the grand duchess. I just said it was a marvelous show, which it was, except for his royal stiffness.

Things become unpleasant after we get home, as I feared they might. We’ve just finished our lamb on the patio and Philip’s discussing a film option on his book when Angela says right out of the blue, “Hon, are you going to tell Imogen about our plans or would you rather I did?”

Incredible! Poor Philip’s knocked right off his plate, and he stares at her for a moment.

“Well?” she says, smiling at him like butter wouldn’t melt. At least she doesn’t say Hun again. Hun was a Vandal and his name was Attila, not Phil.

He shifts in his chair and looks at me. I raise an eyebrow and hold it just so as I wait for him to speak. He clears his throat. “Angela and I plan to live in her condo when we’re married. We talked about it last night and I wanted to tell you.”

I smile and look at her. Her face is quite set but she doesn’t look up because she’s laying down her knife and fork—four o’clock on the plate, not six, dear girl.

“We hope you understand, Mother. Naturally I’ll be moving my things out when the time comes. And then you’ll have the house to yourself again.”

What can I say? Of course this is her doing. With her parents long dead and her children grown up three’s a crowd. Scheming cow. She’s been around the block a few times, you can see. And Philip is so naïve. She’s wound him ‘round her little finger along with that bloody ring, all the while pretending to be so simpering and—what—vestal, I suppose. Well, that’s long gone girl, and you do have grown-up children, remember?

“Mother?”

“Oh goodness me. I’m sorry. I went blank. What’s there to understand? You must do as you wish, Son. This has nothing to do with me or what I understand or don’t understand. It’s your life.” God, I nearly said funeral. Caught myself in time. I must watch what I drink.

“Thank you, Mother. We don’t want to upset you. I know it’ll be a big change. But we’ll visit often. And you must come up and stay with us. Angela’s condo is quite large. Right, darling?”

She smiles again. Just a simper this time, and not the whole ivory brigade. I’ll bet she’s a different kettle of fish when she’s dropped her knickers and got her legs up in the air.

“Of course this will take some getting used to, Son. Naturally I thought Angela might want to get out of the city and move down here though I know she likes the view from on high. But the house is more than big enough and of course I’d be quite happy with the granny flat. It’s as much as I need. But no, you two must be together wherever you think best.”

“Thank you, Imogen. You’re very understanding. I intend to keep my job and I’d hate to be far from Emily and Ethan. So it makes sense on all counts, really.”

I look away before she can smile again. “Indeed it does my dear, but please don’t give it another thought.”

We have dessert and coffee. She declines my offer of brandy—a digestif, my dear?—and offers to clear up in the kitchen while Philip and I retire to the lounge. I want to talk to him about what I’m absolutely certain is her plan. She’s a big-city girl who needs the bright lights and refuses to work down here even with a brand new hospital in the area. You’d think she’d want to work in what they call a state-of-the-art facility rather than that decrepit Victorian mausoleum.

But the brandy has made me sleepy and I know Philip wants time with her. I collect my book from the mantelpiece and he accompanies me to the kitchen so I can say goodnight.

“My dear Angela, this has been such an exciting evening and thank you so much for clearing up. Oh, and for the show this afternoon. I’m off to bed and will leave you two lovebirds alone at last. I have to be up early and water my annuals before the sun gets too hot. After breakfast we can do a walk around the garden. Everything’s so fresh then, and you’ll see how busy I’ve been with my secateurs. Snip snip. Anyway, I’ll say goodnight.”

“Goodnight, Imogen. Thank you for a lovely day.”

“Goodnight, Mother.”

“Goodnight, Son. Goodnight, my dear.” After hugs all round I leave them standing together in the kitchen and think again that my poor boy has no idea what he’s got himself into. Even when she bade me goodnight she was looking at him like she couldn’t wait to maul him to death.

How will he fit in when they are married? Her children already bounce back and forth between her and their father and now they’ll have to make room for a stepfather they hardly know. I’m thinking of Christmas and birthdays and vacations. Who gets to decide what? She does, of course. It’s not Philip’s thing. He isn’t used to complications—he writes mysteries.

I’m awake by seven. The house is quiet. Not surprising after the night they had. Regrettably, I left my window open for the breeze. She’s a shouter that one.

I come downstairs and go into his study. I pull out the chair and switch on his computer.

An hour later I have all I need. It’ll take me a while to get the right medications but I have the time. And I have my source. Mr. Carey does owe me a favour—in over his head he was, before my—intervention. It wasn’t difficult to persuade dear old Eugenia Morris that he was really an excellent pharmacist who just happened to make an honest mistake with her prescription. Her medications are never straightforward, I reminded her, and she takes so many.

They’ll be away for a few weeks, then I’ll host a little reception when they return. Lots of lovely chilled sparkling water for Angela.

I must manage this carefully and not overlook anything. I hope he’s not allowed himself to get too attached to her. He’s made commitments before and he always managed to find a way out. Well, he won’t have to this time.

He’ll be fine on his own. A movie contract now. He’s such a clever writer. What an imagination. And thank you, who’s his mother? The apple and the tree and all that. And it was James who gave him his way with words.

Philip wrote his father’s eulogy, though he didn’t deliver it himself. He asked Trevor Peacock, who had acted with James in The Homecoming. I didn’t much like the play because of the language. Pinter’s not my cup of tea. James knew Harold of course. Years before in London he was in The Caretaker with that lovely man Lee Lawson who married Twiggy. Anyway, Harold was quite ill himself in London when James passed away but he sent a lovely tribute that someone else read at the memorial. Glenda Jackson and Judi Dench sent condolences, as did Maggie of course—Maggie adored James’s work. Patrick Stewart and Michael Gambon each sent a very funny anecdote about James. Michael said something quite cheeky about James’s Bottom.

When he comes downstairs I’ll mention my predicament. It can’t wait any longer.

Finally I hear him go into the study. He always checks his messages first thing. But when he comes out again he seems agitated. He’s looking at me rather strangely and I can see he wants to say something, but I make him sit down and be quiet while I pour his coffee. She’s still upstairs in bed, no doubt still worn out from all that activity. I wish he had gagged her. But he seems sprightly enough this morning, at fifty-five no less. He’s not his father’s son for nothing.

“I have more money than I need, my darling boy,” I begin, “and I have my health. But all this is a bit of a blow and I need time to absorb it.” He shakes his head and starts to speak.

“Please don’t interrupt me, because I must say my piece. You and your Angela will have a wonderful life together, at least I hope so. But she already has a family, so you’ll always be the outsider and you have no idea how that will complicate things for you. She’s an attractive girl, in a spare sort of way of course, and I know you’re infatuated. But there’s something else.”

I wave his hand away.

“Although I’m in no way dependent on you, we have lived under this same roof for ten years since your father died and I’m not getting any younger.”

I can see he doesn’t like what I’m telling him but it’s high time he heard me out. I can be firm when I have to be.

“So what arrangements will you make for me when I’m on my own and unable to look after myself? Angela has responsibilities to her son and daughter and you have yours to me, though I would never say that in so many words. What happens when that day comes Philip? The day I can’t get out of bed or the day I do get out of bed and break a hip? My mind is sound enough but I can do nothing about my body getting older. I still have some friends here, I know. They’re not all dead yet but they’ll peg out soon enough. Eugenia’s slowly going gaga among her azaleas and Sally’s become a recluse since she took to drink. Mabel’s in a home—I see her twice a week. Not a pleasant experience though it’s a nice enough place. It costs her family an arm and leg to keep her there but they can afford it. Did I tell you? Someone tipped them off about Nortel and they sold before it went belly up. I have my volunteering, too. But now they’re saying people my age should have to retake the driving test. Well, that would do it for me. With public transport what it is out here in the country, or rather with what it isn’t, I’ll be in a spot. The same spot day and night. This very spot. A cavernous house with me knocking about in it while you’re a hundred miles away and fifty stories up in a condo with your new wife, though you never had an old wife, except now you do, old and new at the same time if you see what I mean. Why are you getting up? I’m not finished.”

He stares at me—for the longest time. I’m about to tell him he’s being rude, but then he speaks.

“Is it Angela or me that you have it in for?”

“What on earth are you talking about? Have it in for? What do you mean, Philip?”

“I was on my computer just now and had to go to my browser history. You don’t know much about these things, Mother, but unless you clear the history it shows where you’ve been. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“No. I mean, yes. I don’t know.”

“Is it Angela or me?”

I let my face go limp. I know Philip, he caves so easily. My secret is always to underplay a reaction. I lower my face into my hands and do the stirred-not-shaken routine. I’ve done it many times. The Lyceum, Old Vic, Haymarket, Drury Lane. I owe it all to Anthony Quayle, best director ever. He once said to me, “Imogen, darling, if you want your audience to feel pity, then you must hold back. Look like you’re resisting and not giving in.” I was understudy for Hero in Much Ado at the time. Sadly, Felicity Kendal never missed a performance so I only ever got to rehearse the part. Anthony called me his beautifully understated understudy. Such a sweet man.

But I sense the stirred-not-shaken routine isn’t working. Philip is being a stone. It’s not like him. Being with her has hardened him. I could burst into real tears at the thought. When I raise my head, he’s still staring at me.

“Don’t play the victim, Mother. Not now. Every site you went to this morning gives details about poisons that can’t be detected in an autopsy—those are the words you Googled. So who were you planning to do in? Or was it both of us together?”

I don’t like him talking to me this way—I’m his mother. But I say nothing.

“Did you plan to do it this weekend? Or when we got back? I feel sorry for you, Mother. Living out your theatre fantasies is one thing but this is a whole different ballgame. I think I must have you committed.”

He’s upset but he’ll come round. He’s my Philip. Oh dear, but he’s still not finished.

“Angela and I are leaving this morning. We can’t stay here now. If you’re ever in a terrible way you must call me. You have my cell. Otherwise, you’ll understand why we can’t come back here.”

That’s how we finish. I don’t know what he tells Angela. When the time comes she says an awkward goodbye and slides into the car without looking at me. But she never had the graces.

He’ll come back if I call, but I won’t call. I won’t give him the satisfaction. Maybe that’s been his game all along, to make me dependent. Well, it won’t happen.

I do wish I’d known about that whole history thing on the computer. A forgivable oversight really, and he’s quite right, I don’t know much about technology.

But my time wasn’t wasted. The medications will still work for me, even better with gin and lime and not sparkling water.

He’ll get the house and what money I have. And maybe a storyline for his next project.

Imogen Mosley plays tragic leading role in a new drama by son Philip.

How I do wish he wrote for the theatre. James would have been so proud. He would have thought it grand. ◆