The play’s the thing

The scene: A kitchen in a ramshackle gatehouse of an estate somewhere in Hertfordshire. Harry is chopping up veggies for a mirepoix, prepping to make soup stock. He’s an enthusiastic, but middling cook. His eyes are streaming from the onions.

Lady Smock is perched on a kitchen stool, her ample bottom spilling over the edges, elbows on the counter hunched over her laptop, reading the Guardian on-line, when a message pops up in her e-mail. 

Lady Smock (LS): Harry! Our author, Susanne, has won an award! There’s an awards ceremony! We’re invited! I need a new gown! You need a new suit!

Harry Bittercress (HB): Lady, darling, calm down! We need a new roof, new windows, and a new furnace.

What’s the award?

LS: She, well us really, is a ray of Sunshine!! It’s the coveted “Sunshine Award”!

HB: Susanne? Susanne Fletcher? A ray of sunshine? When were the clouds cleaved? Does her husband know?

LS: Pshaw. Harry. She made us. She’s our literal mother. Be kind. She got it for being “witty and astute” and creating “the delicious saga of Harry Smock and Lady Bittercress.” I mean Lady Smock and Harry Bittercress.

HB: I’m used to being called Mr. Smock but how do you feel about being Mrs. Bittercress?

LS: Harry, stop it. You can’t propose to me after 27 years of living in sin. People will talk. Now be serious. We’re supposed to interview Susanne and tell people some things they probably don’t know. It’s going to be filmed. We’ll be famous. I really do need a new gown. Promise me you’ll get a new pocket hankie, too. A red one with white polka dots.

HB: Why red with white polka dots?

LS: Polka dots are Susanne’s favourite pattern and red is her favourite colour. Haven’t you noticed all the dotty red clothes she wears?

HB: It’s hard to see through the glare of the white page. I just thought the dots were floaters in my eyes.

LS: This is an awful thing to say, but I’m glad Susanne’s back is plaguing her. I can borrow her favourite high-heeled red shoes. redshoesThe ones she bought at the consignment store she haunts looking for fashion bargains.

HB: I didn’t know she bought her clothes second hand.

LS: What DO you know about her, Harry?

HB: Well, er. Hmmm. I know she loves beets and she has been known to get beet cravings and eat canned ones when she can’t find them fresh.

LS: I didn’t know that!

HB: There was the time she spilled beet juice on the computer keyboard and her kids thought it was blood. There was a big stain on the carpet in the dining room.

LS: I bet she was hopping.

HB: Yes, she can be very light on her feet.

LS: Speaking of …  did you ever see her Chinese dancing act?

HB: No. Was she any good?

LS: Not really, but she wore a great hat.

HB: She does love hats, doesn’t she?

LS: Yes she does. Did she ever tell you about the time back in the ‘70’s when she was toodling around London looking like a bum and she popped into Harrods to try on hats and they showed her the door? Bloody snobs. She looks damn good in hats. Milliners loved her, you know.


By the way, I hear she was quite a thespian in her youth.

HB: Lady Smock! Susanne’s married with children!

LS: Harry, you boob, she was an actress. And who says lesbians can’t be married with children? It’s the law in Canada. Honestly. You’re so 19th century.

HB: Words. Words. Words.

Who do you think she’ll nominate?

LS: Creative Bruce Goodman, the composing gardener is a must, don’t you think?

HB: She can’t. He nominated her. What about Cheergerm and the Silly Yak?

LS: Wonderful idea. I made her gluten free Ginger Kisses for Uncle George’s funeral. Before George went bald he was a ginger, poor fellow. The Kisses cheered everyone up and of course we all thought of dear little Blanche as we licked the creamy centre filling.

HB: How about The Village Healer? Julie Ethan’s on a mission to “understand the other” and she wants people to contact her with their stories.

LS: I like that extraordinarily warm and thoughtful Rosanna at Writing on the Pages of Life. Boy, if she doesn’t lift your spirits no one can.

HB: What if they don’t accept the award?

LS: Then they can’t come to the awards ceremony and meet us!

Harry continues to chop onions and weep as Lady Smock peruses Nordstroms on-line. A draft wafts through the mid-20th century windows. Lady buttons up her cardigan.

LS: A new gown. Lovely.


15 thoughts on “The play’s the thing

  1. Applause! Applause! Thank you for making me smile and laugh throughout this post, Susanne. Now I know why Lady Smock never married Harry. Who would want to be called Mrs. Bittercress? Now I know more things about you…although I doubt Lady Smock is a credible source…hmmm.

    I just came from your other blog where you wrote a post filled with summery descriptions that made me so envious and now here you are writing delightful fiction! Applause! Applause!


    • For once Lady Smock was telling mostly the truth – about 98%. This being mostly a fiction site, there is a certain amount of embellishment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, a fellow treasure hunter. Why am I not surprised? Red patent Ferragamo’s? Holy hotness! I’m drooling with envy.


  3. What a wonderful awards acceptance speech WM! Thanks for the shout out towards my ginger kisses and boy, you sure can rock a hat…should I now call you Gorgeous Mama? I also love a red shoe, a few years back I found an awesome pair of red patent Ferragamo heels never worn in an op shop in Kensington, London.


  4. A brilliant handling of the situation. I’m afraid I won’t be attending the award ceremony after all…though I am most grateful to dear Bruce for nominating me, (and despite the fact that I asked him if there was any money in it and he said “heaps.”) My arthritis is kicking up, and the pain makes me too ornery…it isn’t pretty…my dog and cats have run for cover to avoid the kicking and screaming. But I would love to see the gown….maybe the orchestra could play LondonDerrière when Lady S. makes her entrance….


    • I’m so sorry your arthritis is kicking up, Cynthia. We will miss you at the ceremony. Would you consider writing the poetic introductions for the winners? 😉

      Harry and the Lady will have to go shopping for the gown. 2nd hand stores & thrift shops are great places for treasure hunts. I’ll keep you posted on their search.


  5. Like Bruce said, you’ve raised the bar, Mamma. V-E-R-Y clever! I’d say you’ve graduated from Windy to Hurricane. This is the bestest award acceptance I’ve ever read. You truly are a ray of sunshine in this vast blogging world. No. Actually, I do believe you are the entire glowing star. Now I’m going to gather my bottom and shuffle off to bed.


    • Thanks for your enthusiasm as always, Donna. I personally think the stool was too small. Probably made by one of those annoying, incredibly fit, 65 year old Swedes with the fitness level of a 30 year old. Lady Smock makes good use of her amplitude.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Now that acceptance blog has raised the bar! All criteria have been covered with aplomb. I’m a bit concerned about Lady Smock’s ample bottom spilling over the edges of the kitchen stool. Maybe she could watch the Awards Ceremony on close-circuit television so we don’t have to see such a bottom ruining a delightful new dress.


    • Girdles were made for a reason. Lady Smock has impeccable taste and will find something that will accentuate the positive, as befits one who has received the “Sunshine” Award.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think something extravagant and garishly floral would help distract from the flabs of fat seeping over and around the edges of the girdle. However I leave it up to Lady Smock’s so-called impeccable taste. I agree with Cynthia – I do hope the Londonderry Air is aired during the arrival of Smock and Bittercress. Sort of like a belated wedding march. Again it might help to distract the audience from Lady Smock’s less salient features.


        • Harrumph! Lady Smock takes umbrage at your derogatory remarks about her derriere. Florals? Not on my watch.


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