So having made some pretty scurrilous claims about the past two Labour leaders, we somehow got onto her trips abroad. She regaled with tales about her time at the foot of the Himalayas: “Have you ever played croquet?”, I had not. Well, apparently it’s really different on elephant back.
More risky of course if you fall off. She enjoyed it the first year, but the second year war had broken out without the rebels, so the people at the elephant croquet place couldn’t use any firearms. This meant scarring off wild elephants was very difficult, and one particular rogue kept coming into the enclosure and having his way with the females. It was hard to scare him off and he kept coming back. However, one time he came by during the day, and saw the elephants mid-croquet game. He his expressed his disgust with a mighty roar, and was never seen again.
Then we moved onto her time helping to run an African game reserve with the local tribe’s people. The nominated chief of the tribe had left many years previously and become an engineer. But he was tempted back and later went onto to enjoy 13 wives. This of course is the problem, too many of the tribe’s young people are being sent a way to get an education. They make most of their money from letting very rich people hunt there. The one thing they hated was gap year students; too much work to take care for, they didn’t really care about the land, they wouldn’t work very hard, and they just got stoned all the time. This apparently put her at odds with many charities.
I managed to get a few words in and mentioned my recent trip to India, and the conversation gradually moved towards the natural stomach problems I experienced. Apparently banana’s and Coke-A-Cola is best for diarrhoea , she was told that by the personal doctor to one of the more rebellious leader’s in Africa, who was also Glenn Close’s father.
Finally we went back to her childhood growing up in Scotland. Her father ran a few a whisky factories which boomed after prohibition ended, shipping most of their wares to America, but this boom didn’t last forever. He was partnered with a man who had strong ties to the mafia, and who also employed one of President Kennedy’s bodyguards. He frequently spoke ill of JFK, which came as a shock because he had near saint like status. Her father would eventually go on to be director of Playtex.
One of the fond memories she does have of her childhood is that of the Warner Brothers coming around for tea. The two of them would sit in front of the telly, timing the adverts. Commercial television has only just been introduced and they wanted to know how long the adverts really were.
It was at this point that the train stopped for a while and the seat opposite became free. She bought a copy of the Mail and decided to put her feet up there. This was after 3 and a half hours of solid talking. I always take long books with me when I go on long journeys, so I can really get stuck in. I think I got less than 15 pages read before the journey ended.
We eventually arrived at Edinburgh. We spoke a little while we collected our luggage, but as soon as the train was stopped, she charged off, past the shop and down the aisle past the toilet and out of sight. I went on in pursuit, hoping to catch up with her, but alas, she was gone.
I never did get her name. Who was she? I’ve already had one comment with a suggestion, but it’s unfortunately, not that easy...
TO BE CONTINUED