MOD­ERN STEREO­TYPES

The med­dling aunt

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

Aunt Lavinia has no chil­dren of her own and is thus magic at in­ter­fer­ing with other peo­ple’s. Neph­ews, nieces and god­chil­dren, (plus Ty­rone, her daily’s son), are re­cep­ta­cles of her gen­eros­ity and wis­dom. Presents with cor­rec­tion flow from her sit­ting room in the Dower House. Jasper (nephew) will be bunged the nec­es­sary to buy a suit for his grand­fa­ther’s fu­neral, but told firmly that Grand­papa is dead, not passed, not passed away, not gone to the happy hunt­ing ground, just dead. “It is an un­for­tu­nate flaw of your gen­er­a­tion, Jasper, that you don’t seem to be able to say good­bye with de­cency. Dead is dead, good­bye is good­bye, not ‘See you later’.”

Chloe ( god-daugh­ter) has been given a rav­ish­ing neck­lace from J.crew (oh yes, Lavinia does get out of the Dower House, es­pe­cially to the flesh­pots of Sloane Square) but in­ter­ro­gated about in­ter­net dat­ing. “Why can’t you meet a nice young man of the right sort at a din­ner party?” Chloe’s mummy says that class doesn’t mat­ter any more, to which Lavinia snorts “Stuff and non­sense!”, stubs her cig­a­rette out on her cof­fee saucer and asks for a gin and tonic – “and less of the tonic”.

Un­cle Archibald has long given up sug­gest­ing that other peo­ple’s mar­riages, dog train­ing and herba­ceous bor­ders are none of Lavinia’s busi­ness. There might be the up­set­ting re­sult that she would in­ter­fere with his golf.

Per­haps she could solve Brexit? Surely a mat­ter of mo­ments in be­tween do­ing the cross­word. Aunt Lavinia is quite the whizz at the cryptic clues and now has a part­ner: Alexa. Lavinia can shout the tricky ana­grams at Alexa and be pleased as punch when she (Alexa, not Lavinia) comes up with the wrong an­swer.

Those who haven’t been mor­tally up­set by their aunt’s ad­vice will at least ad­mit that she’s rather a one with tech­nol­ogy. Rely on Lavinia to have recorded the must-see drama on telly.

There are mod­ern in­ven­tions which, like mod­ern youth, need a good kick­ing. Like the faulty park­ing ma­chine at Chavmin­ster sta­tion to which Aunt Lavinia gave a pur­ple sav­aging. Her heroine, Lady Trump­ing­ton, RIP, would have been proud of her.

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