It was to be the first night of the ‘Branwell extravaganza’; the backing group – “The Scrag Ends” were jostling in the wings and in the tiny dressing room squeezing into their costumes for the first number.
Branwell was going to make an arrangement of some suitably lovely pastel flowers while the girls sang and danced to the song of “A pretty girl is like a melody”.
Well that was how Vita envisaged it.
It wasn’t Branwell’s fault that the stage was too small, his line of languid Delphinium instead of looking graceful were being jostled by the stouter members of the troupe and somehow became entangled in Sharon’s costume. She managed to perform her high kick for once and sent most of the arrangement into the crimplene clad knees of the Lady Mayor who was quietly indulging in a packet of chocolate drops while observing happily how tight Branwell’s thighs looked in purple satin.
She shrieked and came out with some very unsavoury sentiments.
Sharon, always quick to take offence responded with a very salty riposte and Vita had to run on and drag her off; stage left.
Branwell had, in the melee become very wet and was obliged to strip off on stage.
He had never heard such a cheer from the W.I before and became quite coquettish with the remainder of his blooms.
“Off! Off! came the cry!
Meanwhile on board the ship the captain was given the munching bug to look after until they docked at Rome.
“Bunty!” demanded Lola
“What” responded Bunty, they were both in a bad mood, Lola had been stopped by Bunty from pushing Monsieur Puree overboard for spite and Lola had been hearing voices again but she didn’t want to mention it to Bunty until they had tied up at the harbour and were safely off the ship where no one could hear her.
As they progressed down the gang-plank Lola observed several large boxes being unloaded and an involuntary shiver ran down her spine.
“Not cold are you?” sniffed Bunty who was sensibly wearing her “Lady’s Grand Tour Tweed” for the seventh year running.
Lola, as ever was swathed in some diaphanous robes in a startling ruby colour and a large hat so that no rays of sunshine would even attempt to alight on her porcelain skin.
“I don’t feel the cold Bunty and even if I did I would make sure I dressed in a stylish fashion. I do like to make the best of myself at all times as well you know.” Her nostrils flared, ever so slightly; she had espied the Prof Hawking loping down the gang-plank no doubt on route to visit some dusty mausoleum she thought.
“Come Bunty let us away to feast our eyes on the fascinating history of this place!” she cried and together they set off in hot pursuit of the Professor.
Max lay in the box, concentrating on Lola. His mind searched for hers and his unearthly senses strained until she came flashing into his mind. “When my power returns you will be bound to me forever” he dreamt