The meddling aunt
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.