Fam­ily mat­ters: Pat McDer­mott hits high so­ci­ety

Hold the so­cial pages! Pat McDer­mott is tak­ing her lead from the up­per ech­e­lons of so­ci­ety and vow­ing to dress for the oc­ca­sion.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

I’m a prac­ti­cal per­son. I never run out of tea or toi­let pa­per and, af­ter rais­ing five kids, still get out of bed at 3am to check the porch light is off and the milk is back in the fridge. I iron tea tow­els. And sin­glets. For years, the fam­ily ig­nored my ad­vice. They top­pled out of mango trees, dated the wrong peo­ple, dis­lo­cated shoul­ders play­ing rugby and got park­ing fines. “Don’t ig­nore that ticket,” I’d warn. “Other­wise, you could spend the rest of your life be­hind bars!” The un­opened en­ve­lope turned into a coaster for drippy cof­fee cups, then some­thing to scrib­ble shop­ping lists and tele­phone num­bers on. In des­per­a­tion, I paid the fine. Just like they knew I would.

I’m telling you this be­cause even though I iron tea tow­els and wash colours separately, I do have a wild side. It’s com­pletely out of char­ac­ter, but I adore glossy fash­ion mags, es­pe­cially toney Bri­tish ones full of pretty, shiny peo­ple with silly names. Please say hello to my friends Poppy, Feli­cia, Ru­pert and Dougie-dar­ling!

I can’t help it. I love “top” peo­ple – the more “ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous” they are, the bet­ter! They’re straight out of Brid­get Jones’s Diary and shiv­er­ing in stately piles all over Eng­land.

Of course, to be clas­si­fied as “stately”, a house must be damp and draughty at the same time. Crum­bling ceil­ings and a dodgy boiler are to be ex­pected. You will find large wet dogs doz­ing on price­less 16th-cen­tury so­fas. “Why is that?” “Sweetie dar­ling, I would have thought it was per­fectly ob­vi­ous. The dog­gies are sim­ply fright­fully tired!”

Top peo­ple al­ways have im­pec­ca­ble man­ners. If Dougie, Ru­pert, Poppy and Feli­cia spent the week­end at your place, they’d make the most ter­rific mess, drink all the gin and creep into each other’s bed­rooms late at night, but you should ex­pect charm­ing thank-you notes by Tues­day.

These days, sadly, top peo­ple are of­ten stony broke. You might want to count the sil­ver be­fore they leave.

Top peo­ple are very good at wear­ing the right clothes for every oc­ca­sion. Top women wear filmy dresses, no dis­cernible un­der­gar­ments and heels so high their heads float above the crowd. This makes it dead easy to find some­one more in­ter­est­ing to talk to than the per­son they’re with. “Dar­ling, I must have a quick snog with Lord Delaware. Of course I’ll be back! But not, per­haps, in your life­time.”

I opened my diary and re­alised it’s full of spe­cial oc­ca­sions, too. This year, I plan to dress the part!

What I’m wear­ing To have a mam­mo­gram A stiff up­per lip and a blouse that but­tons down the front. I will ob­serve the cone of si­lence in the wait­ing room and rip The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly recipes out dis­creetly.

For a Pap smear

A shirt the size of a circus tent to make up for to­tal ab­sence of undies, dar­ling! I will re­lax and think of Eng­land. If that doesn’t work, I’ll count the holes in the acous­tic tiles. I won’t men­tion Don­ald Trump be­cause top peo­ple

never dis­cuss pol­i­tics.

To take my grand­daugh­ters (six and three) to a café for lunch

Noise-ex­clud­ing head­phones. I will tell peo­ple I don’t speak English and, any­way, those aren’t my chil­dren.

To pick up an old friend at the air­port af­ter a long flight

No make-up, baggy track pants and a T-shirt with a hole in it. Top peo­ple al­ways make friends look good.

To a fu­neral

A “touch of green”, a “splash of red” or a “cham­ber-pot on my head” if that’s what Un­cle Joe wanted. Per­haps I’m men­tioned in the will. Not that it mat­ters.

At the end of my tether

A smile. Top peo­ple know you’re never fully

dressed with­out one.

Even though I iron tea tow­els and wash colours separately, I do have a wild side.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.