Date: 16 December
Subject: Trout’s Wish List
I reckon Trouty old Carla is using her position to go shopping for a new squeeze. Since I know Barry Manilow and George Clooney make her go weak at the knees, I’d expect the guy to have bucket loads of cheese. However, on the kind of budget ma will allow? Could be the leader of your local Beaver group or perhaps the vicar’s side kick? Honestly, haven’t a clue but I do suspect her motives!
Am dying to hear how life in the global emporium of heavenly metal garden furniture delights goes. Does Carla dress up especially for work?
Ha, ha! Rose x
Family Business Part 10
Date: 19 December
Subject: Herb Wintergarden
Things have been moving rather fast so I thought I’d wait and send you a full report. Her Troutness kicked off the week by a) throwing her weight around irritatingly at work and b) going on a series of very hush-hush super important meeting/lunch dates. Actually, there was nothing too secret about the lunch dates – she’s been schmoozing that garden designer from Channel 5, Herb Wintergarden (you know, the poor man’s Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen in gumboots).
The first time she was in there with him, Massimo was at the bar (trying to get back into Lucie’s good books I fear) and the second time, Charlie & me found ourselves sitting at the next table which was a bit embarrassing since we’d snuck off there expressly to bitch about how dreadfully she’d been behaving in the office. Anyway poor mad Herb (I think he smokes too much homegrown) seems to have fallen for Carla’s charms. I’ve never seen her more frightful – simpering away and twiddling her curls like she’s an extra at a Jane Austen tea party.
Herb’s agreed to be the public face of Edge garden furniture and they’re filming a commercial for the local cinema, plus he’s doing some public appearances at the Chelsea Flower Show etc. They seem to need to work on the script an awful lot! Call me old fashioned, but surely there isn’t actually very much one can say about a set of aluminium garden furniture! Seems that Herb’s parents live quite locally so he’s keen to be involved with a local business. Hasn’t stopped him checking into the Country Club though. Flora rang me to say that she had an awkward moment when she caught Carla sneaking out of his bedroom in a disheveled state in the middle of the afternoon. Apparently the old Trout muttered something about garden designers being very physical people so they’d need to really act out the script in private. Can’t wait to see the ad for the cinema – might perk up their evening screenings a bit by the sounds of it!
We all met Herb properly when he came to the farm on the day of the shoot. Actually, Flora did them a deal and they’ve filmed the thing at the Club, but before they got going, Herb was actually here in ma’s kitchen. It was hilarious. Firstly, Carla had clearly come straight from the hairdresser although it was only 9:30am. She’d splashed out on a hideous baby pink fur coat and thigh high tan leather boots. She must think she looked like Barbie. That she did not. More like an exploded cushion from Dunelm. Herb kept calling her “his inspiration, his babe”. Lorenzo is too much of a sucker-upper to object to the outrageous flirting. Instead, he kept throwing his weight around and puffing out his chest to show how important he is. Maria also made a rare morning appearance. She’d taken a leaf out of her mother’s book and was looking equally inappropriate.
Mum went into Italian Matriarch Overdrive, force feeding everyone cappuccino and panettone which she told Herb she’d made that morning. Whopping lie of course! She didn’t even have time to throw the packaging away properly so she made Ant sit on it. He was there to act as a runner for the day. Poor kid was too scared of mum to move so had to stay rooted to the spot till everyone had gone. I’m sure Herb was wise to it but bless him he was too sweet to comment. Mum went all girlish and giggly with him too. Honestly, I don’t know what it is about our family and a sniff of celebrity. They all go bonkers.
Must dash off now, Charlie’s promised to take me out for a drink at the Club so we can talk tactics on how to deal with Madam Trout. He’s clearly not prepared to put up with her – but having just got his feet under the desk, he’ll have to play it carefully.
Family Business Part 10
Date: 20 December
Subject: Have you heard about Maria?
I don’t know how much you’ve gathered but Lorenzo rang me last night about Maria and he’s asked me to fill you in since he can’t bear talking about it. In a nutshell, he’s found out about Garry. He confronted Garry at work and was horrified to hear Garry say that it was serious. It seems that Garry’s told his wife and he’s planning to leave home. Maria’s going to move in with him after she’s done her GSCEs! See, how responsible Garry’s being? She’s only 16 for heaven’s sake! Lorenzo unsurprisingly went ballistic and has told Garry to ‘clear his desk’ (ie park the fork lift and fork lift off …
In turn, Maria went mental and she’s run away. We can only hope she’s shacked up with horrible Garry in some bedsit. Ant doesn’t seem to have heard from her and it’s been two days now. It’s really throwing all the Christmas plans into chaos. I don’t think Lorenzo and Carla will come to stay if they haven’t found her.
What a hideous mess! Tell me some good news for a change – Paul’s due back tomorrow isn’t he?
Lots of love
Family Business Part 10
Date: 21 December
Thanks for filling me in. I could tell something was up in the office – I’ve never seen Lorenzo so angry with Carla, who’s wearing a sulky ‘don’t blame me’ expression all the time. It runs in the family genes (hers) apparently. They have this amazing magnetism that men can’t resist. Apparently. Anyway, the hideous old Trout is taking solace in her new best friend – Christmas shopping with Herb, would you believe it? No neither would I! But, she’s sold it to Lorenzo that Herb’s the ideal person to help her pick out something for his pressie, and he’ll need really cheering up this year. She doesn’t seem to realize that all Lorenzo can think about is Maria. What’s wrong with her – she’s her mother after all?
What makes matters worse is that Garry’s wife is pregnant – Flora’s having to pick up the pieces at the Club. She’s furious at having to give the poor girl so much leave just in the run up to Christmas when everyone’s so stretched. It’s a really awkward situation since our family’s basically responsible for her misery in the first place, so Flora’s being forced into being more understanding than she’d normally be!
Paul’s actually back tomorrow so I thought I’d email now while I have time to myself. I can’t wait. What a relief to have a normal person to talk to. And, we’re moving back home! I don’t think it’s very good for your psyche to sleep in your teenage bedroom when you are in your forties. It definitely brings out the worst in one.
Oh, and the other bad bit of news is that a buyer’s come forward for Oak Farm. It’s slightly below the asking price, thank goodness, so mum hasn’t agreed to the sale yet. Frank seems to be pushing her to accept, but I think the realization of what she’s about to do has sunk in and she keeps getting all weepy. I hope it’s making her see Frank in a truer light. She has never liked being told what to do and his obsession with money has never been more in your face. I think I’ve persuaded mum to postpone making a decision until after Christmas, but it is hanging over all of us.