After some determined shopping and terse telephone exchanges Lola had with those “jumped up trolls at Cunard” she managed to secure some very nice staterooms on their latest ship the SS Nosferatu that was about to set sail on a cruise around the Med.
“Pack your bags Bunty we are off in the morning!” said Lola highly pleased that her verbal onslaught gained a satisfactory conclusion.
“You were very good Lola” Bunty said admiringly when she heard of the various concessions she had achieved;
“And how did you manage to wangle a martini account credited to £300?”
“I’m not really sure” replied Lola “I just made them think we deserved it”
The next day they turned up at the dock to view their home for the next month. It was a splendid ship, gleaming in the morning sun, the water rippling around the vessel and slapping gently against the pier.
Bunty and Lola walked up the gang-plank and the various officers stood greeting their guests, welcoming one and all to this, the maiden voyage.
They were escorted by obliging members of the crew to their staterooms.
Bunty declined the offer of them to carry her bag of bowls and cradled them to her ample, but tightly laced bosom.
They stood on their balcony surveying their fellow guest as they came aboard.
“Look at him Bunty, what a funny little man all prissy with a little moustache and beady eyes.”
“I hope there are some worthy opponents among them, I am expecting some decent competition in the deck bowls!”
As if to agree with her the lurch of the ships engines springing into life made the bowls roll together with a click. Deep inside one of the bowls something stirred and started to chew, relentlessly.
Back home Branwell was making great strides with his magnum opus, the workmen had taken apart the old manor house and were building it up again on the plot he had bought. It was looking good, especially since he had turned the plans around the right way for them,
“I wondered why you wanted a chimney in the basement” the former ‘gaffer’ had asked.
“I will have a place that my Bunty will marvel at when she comes back” thought Branwell as he pensively twirled the rather luxuriant moustache he had stared to grow.
Two days into the cruise Bunty came charging into Lola’s room while she was having her nails done by a young Balinese lady who was buffing like her life depended on it.
“Well thought you would like to know I am officially top of the league in the bowls tournament and deck quoits! Blasted some major into the middle of next week” she sat down happily and poured herself a large Martini from the cocktail shaker.
“Bunty” Lola drawled, your hair is becoming unruly in the salty air, you better let the beauty salon sort you out.
Tomorrow we land in Nice and a visit to the casino in Monte Carlo will be just the thing for us, make sure you are in good shape.”
Bunty jumped off the sofa, ” I will play poker” said Bunty “I have always been good at bluffing!” she fiddled in her various bags and brought out a visor and a large, partly smoked cigar.
“Tools of the trade” she winked and then told Lola how several of her kin had taken part in the first recorded episode of breaking the bank at Monte Carlo.