“Show me what you can do Branners! Hold nothing back and I want to hear your voice; a bit of singing, at the right moment will have them begging for more!” enthused Vita

He launched into a pleasing rendition of “Come into the garden Maude” that made Vita dab her eyes with her lacy handkerchief.

Branwell  returned to Vita’s the very next day to commence rehearsals for the “Branwell Experience” as she called it. Branwell was commanded by Vita to turn up wearing something body hugging so she could turn him into an artiste! he was a little nonplussed at her instructions and decided his winter thermals would have to do.

He knocked at her door and she flung it wide to let him in. Vita was wearing flowing robes and a long scarf wrapped around her head. She ushered him into the ballroom where a barre was set up and a dizzying amount of mirrors.

“Right then let’s set to, get your leg over” she barked.

The omnivorous munching bug was still hungry, the bowling ball had been tasty but not as filling as you might imagine. It had a preference for wood and found the steamer chairs quite delicious.

Monsieur Puree, Bunty and Lola swiftly alerted the Captain who immediately rallied the crew to search for the caterpillar.  He had been rather distracted by an iceberg which turned out to be a prop from the theatre that had been tossed overboard by the “high steppers” musical group after a rowdy evening back stage.

The trail of destruction was easy to follow and narrowed the search down to the first class state rooms.

Monsieur Puree, who seemed to know everything about the caterpillar also enjoyed annoying Lola.

“I don’t think we will be able to capture it without creating a lure” he said

“Surely the caterpillar has to turn into whatever it turns into and then mates” said Lola stabbing out her cigarette with venom

Puree swished a few motes of cigarette stub from his perfectly cut jacket.

“Yes you would think so but this particular bug likes to find its mate and they chrysalis together, emerging as one as the splendid African Button Stone Moth”

Bunty looked horrified, she dragged Lola to one side.

“What! I was just about to burn a hole in his waistcoat – insufferable little man!”

“Lola, didn’t you hear what he said! I thought I was being silly but when that caterpillar looked at me it reminded me of a wizened face, reddish hair and an ungainly gait!”

Lola stopped mid intake of nicotine and the choked.

“Bunty! surely not!”

Monsieur Puree bustled towards them, “Ladies are either of you able to construct, perhaps from a gay little sock a passable dummy caterpillar? Once it has eaten the urge to mate becomes a sensation most strong and I think we could capture it and destroy the bug”

Bunty returned to her cabin and found her Ricketts Ladies Rugby socks in various stripes and brought them back to Monsiuer Puree

“Magnifique” he cried “Now sew, madame as fast as you can!”

Branwell was exhausted, Vita let him rest as he lay slumped over the barre.

” By the way, I have booked a tour of the north west area of the W.I. Every programme secretary sounded very interested in the show!

“Stick with Vita” she cooed into his ear “I’ll make you a Star!”


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