I didn’t expect him to turn up with a monkey. Very cute though; the monkey, that is, not David. He said he had picked it up in Indonesia and out of all the animals he had filmed, he had found this one hard to resist.
So, as Mij the otter, had become part of Gavin Maxwell’s life, so Wicket, had become part of his. But Gavin never married, I said. Otters could run amok in his croft, their being no wife to shoo them of the kitchen table – albeit a table made up out of fish boxes.
David replied, in that open mouthed laughter way he had, that at home, Wicket had a cage and a large enclosure, and that he spent more time in there, with his monkey, than he did with his wife, so it was never an issue!
Well this was going to be a dinner party with a difference! Richard had already cried off, as he had a wonderful new melody, running through his head and if he didn’t get it down this minute, the notes would fly away, never to be retrieved! Food, he said, would be the furthest thing on his mind. He and Oscar would be up all night, working on the new musical and strong black American coffee would suffice. Any other time, he said, he would be delighted to come.
I was disappointed, but tried not to show it, saying in reply ‘oh that’s alright Richard, I understand the creative need. Another time would be lovely’. I thought maybe a free ticket to the premier, would be offered as an apology, for crying off the dinner, but none came, just a polite goodbye, followed by a distant humming, before the phone was laid back in its cradle.
I offered David a seat and would he like an aperitif. That would be lovely, he said. But as I reached for the sherry, I saw to my horror, Wicket had beaten me too it, and not liking the taste, had proceeded to pour the whole bottle over my best hand made, blue fringed, Persian rug.
Just then, the door bell rang, my last guest had arrived. Oh well the rug was ruined anyway and I knew it wasn’t protocol to keep Queen Victoria waiting. So I turned my back on the chaos of a cavorting monkey, running riot on my neatly laid – with silver cutlery and sparkling crystal, antique dining table. The starter it took me all afternoon to make, now a soggy mess on David’s head, as he just sat there with a silly grin all over his face – and answered the door.
‘Good evening your Majesty’ I curtsied as she swept straight past me, taking in the scene in one disapproving look.
‘We are not amused’ she said disdainfully. ‘John, we are going home immediately!