I need not explain why I was reading a list of school reunions, when my eye fell on what follows: the address of a girls' school in Llandudno, and the notification that it was the "Final Old Girls' Reunion". Next April it will occur; the information tolled in my ears: why is it the last, how can anyone know? It may be that the organiser has just got tired of doing all the work: that fewer and fewer old girls are turning up, that some of them are shrill and grubby and have vodka bottles in their bags, and piercings, and toyboys in tow: or that Llandudno is just too hard to get to. But sadder explanations suggest themselves. Are there only two old girls left, and has one of them been given a bad prognosis? I can't help thinking what it would be like, two sassy old dames crumbling a final scone together, replacing in its saucer the teacup drained of Darjeeling, polishing their noses with a crumpled tissue: "Well, Blinky, old thing . . ." "Well, Nodders, old girl . . ."; brushing crumbs from their laps, laying down the final butterknife, stepping into separate taxis to go their final ways. Surely there's a short story in it. But it's not mine, is it? It's one for Jane Gardam.
Friday, November 13, 2009
The butterknives of others
Hilary Mantel in the Guardian, via Light reading: