Bunty was in a hurry, the parking had been an awful fag, she had stopped for supplies and knew the only way Lola would sit through an evening of competition flower arranging would be to load her up with plenty of hard liquor and cigarettes. The event had already started and she grabbed an usherette to show her to the front row.
“My friend has baggsied some seats” she hissed trying not to clank the bottles too loudly.
“Lady Diana” had started and she quietly followed the girl to the front.
“It’s all right – I see her” she left the girl and followed the waving hand holding an empty bottle of Pimms
Bunty collapsed into the seat next to Lola
“Bloody hell Lola I thought I’d never get here! The Daimler will only go in reverse for some reason.” Bunty fished in the bag and rustled around trying to find her bag of boiled sweets.
Some of the other women were tutting and making shushing noises, Lola quelled them with a look.
At last Bunty settled and started paying attention to the performance. She had just unwrapped a chocolate eclair when she espied the flower arranger and her jaw dropped; the eclair lay forgotten in her sweaty hand.
Lady Diana was busy making a towering edifice with some Delphinium and hydrangea. She deftly wove the stems in and out and within minutes created a lavish recreation of the double border in the garden of Ricketts.
The ladies of the Worshipful Order of Swiss Flower Arranging Societies who had arrived on several buses booked for this evening, all stood and applauded loudly; some even fainted as they had never seen anything like it.
lady Diana bowed and then curtsied and hurried off stage. When the frenzy had died down the next contestant came on and attempted to enthrall the audience by making some arrangement and then launched into a verse or two of ‘Come into the garden Maud’ in a high falsetto voice that sounded like a cat caught in a mangle.
At the end of the competition there was a lull while the judges concurred with each other.
“Bunty, tell me why your gardener is dressed up and performing in very bad drag?”
“I have no idea Lola” said Bunty. “I think he should win though”
“Yes, and with what he wins perhaps he should invest in some therapy”
“Lola there will be a perfectly rational explanation” said Bunty with some authority although deep down she could not hazard a guess why he was here.
Branwell sat on a stool in the wings. He forgot himself and sat in a very masculine way, his hairy legs barely concealed by some thick woollen stockings he found.
The other competitors were all known to each other on the flower arranging circuit and muttered to each other about this infiltrator.
“There is definitely something fishy about her” said one “She looks like she knows her stuff though” said another
Daphne, the acknowledged leader was just about to approach Branwell to give him a good grilling when the judges called them all on stage and announced that ‘Lady Diana Heliotrope’ was indeed the winner of the cash prize and awarded the winning trophy!
“Just a minute” came a voice from the back of the stalls.