We survived the coupe and if I’m honest, we managed to garner a lot of mileage out of all the fun and games that made up the aftermath of this debacle!
My everlasting memory of that night was of the ‘lone piper’ standing on the hill at the Country Club, piping his head off, whilst we were going round like headless chickens wondering why the posse, transporting the food from Sharjah, had not arrived.
We were definitely not paying attention or appreciating those wonderful soulful Scottish laments or indeed attempting a desert version of the Highland fling. Sadly, we were too busy with our own laments!
Life gradually returned to normal, actually not too sure what constituted normal in those chaotic days. Our invalid Captain was eventually able to return to light duties, consequently, the apartment was vacated and the Deira Outpost of the TOS Office’s Mess returned from whence it came. I was then able to potter down to the Sailing Club most afternoons and Mike was back enjoying his golf.
If you have been following my story, you will have noted that I have only once mentioned an other pastime happily played in so many drawing rooms, which is that illustrious game of cards called Bridge. Enjoyed by many, but I hasten to mention it’s a card game that is definitely not for the faint-hearted, obviously this is the reason why it has only received a fleeting mention in my musings!
I had obviously been lulled into a false sense of security as once again I was about to be wrong foot. The phone rang, always quite a novelty in this neck of the woods, and as we all know curiosity usually has a devastating effect on the cat and this call was to be no exception.
Unbeknown to me, I was about to receive my second fateful invitation or was it a command which involved a pack of playing cards. Could I please make up a fourth for Bridge, my goodness, they must have been desperate! I was too slow; fell straight in at the deep end and there was nothing much I could do about it. So there I was ensnared once again.
Foolishly I thought that after the last epic occasion when I was gaily trumping my partner’s trumps that the whole of Dubai would have steered clear. My oh my, they must have thrown caution to the wind or indeed have very short memories
They say variety is the spice of life, at present, though, I could really do without any more ‘spice in my life’. Actually, I had been congratulating myself as to how well I had recovered from all the recent excitement then this goes and happens. It will definitely put years on me!
Why can’t I be like ‘normal women’ who usually like nothing better than participating in genteel Drawing Room activities, such as gossiping over a leisurely coffee, often quietly bragging about how many invitations to various functions they had received lately. This was a not so subtle of announcing to the assembled ladies, as to just what a popular couple you were. This little act was normally calculated to make your very best friends green with envy especially if their tally wasn’t somewhat similar Once that was achieved you knew your morning had been a success!
Obviously, your brinkmanship didn’t stop there, your children always seemed to be doing so much better than everyone else’s and , my dear, it goes without saying that your Cook/Houseboy was simply outstanding. You hadn’t had to teach him anything at all, yes, a paragon, he could even make a soufflé, no doubt blindfolded, such a clever boy!
On these dreaded occasions it was quite normal for the majority of the coterie to be struck dumb for fear of putting their pretty feet well and truly in it, as there is nothing worse than feeling that you might be letting the preferable side down! Heaven forbid!
After about an hour of this chatter-rooing, I was normally ready to bolt, but was trapped. One had to play by the rules otherwise, another black mark would be winging it’s way onto your report sheet, to be circulated around and about, whilst your back was turned.
It goes without saying that the majority of these drawing room ladies played Bridge too, as they, normally didn’t embark on anything too physical, other than wagging their tongues. My goodness, though for this sport, most of them would have been in line for a gold medal!
Luckily there were demarcation lines so, normally our paths didn’t cross, consequently we managed to rub along nicely, gingerly side stepping one another. This was a well- tried practice, from time in memorial, which suited all parties until, yes, there was a desperate need for a fourth for Bridge, then all those rules, all that caution was deftly thrown to the wind. If you were really, really unlucky you would be caught in the slip-stream and that would be that.
What I hadn’t altogether realized was that to be deemed a drawing room lady ‘par excellence’ in this day and age, necessitated being a dab hand at shuffling those dreaded cards. Gone were the days when you were expected to sit bolt upright in an uncomfortable chair with your legs neatly crossed, squinting at your petit point, trying oh so hard not to stab yourself with the needle, thus ruining your exquisite embroidery.
It goes without saying that I am still no further forward with the comprehension of the dreaded conventions, rules etc., without which the game of Bridge would not exist. Actually, something tells me that I’m not too bothered but I had better keep that too myself, otherwise a few more black marks would be lobbed my way.
I’m now ready for the off, fussing over my dress, was it alright, would I pass muster, after all, I really must have a little something in my favour, as it will quickly become apparent that I’m devoid of any card playing skills! I’m now ready for the off!
I arrived on time to be greeted by the Houseboy who walked me through to where the ladies were already waiting for me, the dreaded fourth! We exchanged pleasantries and cut for partners no hanging around here!
Oh, yes, once again I was asked what convention do I play, I really felt that this time I shouldn’t say the Chopin as it wasn’t deemed to be too funny on my previous exposure into the Lion’s Den. This time, I replied any one you prefer, I’m very versatile and always like to oblige!
With no further ado the cards were shuffled and dealt and once I had them in my sticky paws, I knew I was undoubtedly heading for an afternoon of sheer purgatory and these poor ladies were going to have to endure a very unexpected and trying afternoon too, attempting to decipher my calls. Yes, they would have quickly realised that they had in their midst the Bridge player from hell.
I hope you have enjoyed laughing along with me and to you avid Bridge players, no offence meant! You might be pleased to know that I have now discovered where ‘no trumps’ are located! It’s taken quite a while!