We first met Caro in her Christmas Round Robin letter two years ago. In that time, life has changed for her and here she writes to update the friends she hasn’t seen much during that time:
My dear friends,
Goodness, the two years since I last wrote to you all have flown by! So much has happened in the meantime. Some of you will be only too aware of my completely amicable separation from dear, dear Justin. Far from being heartbroken, as some of you have mistakenly suggested, I think it entirely fitting that he can now hone his magnificent aesthetic talents on his new little wife without fear of legal action. And, of course, any work he carries out on Celestina will be a massive improvement so it’s a definite win/win there.
It was time for a break. Our marriage had run its course and I’m so enjoying being a free agent once more. I’m meeting such interesting people at my exclusive high-power dating soirées. I often wish the bell wouldn’t ring for the next powerful, sensitive, elegant man to take his seat. Who knew that there were so many eligible high-powered single men out there! It’s all really quite exhilarating and such fun! Thank goodness that I have taken care of myself and kept up with all the latest beauty trends! Just a little shot of a laser here -although they do say that hair down there is de rigeur again – and a little spritz of silicone there and I’m box fresh again, ripe and ready for my next Prince Charming. Not, of course, that I actually need a man in my life.
Life here is so much more picturesque and comforting than the oppressive minimalism of The Village and some really nice people are starting to move here. Everyone is so widely-travelled and has such refreshing ideas.There’s even a captivating three times life-size statute of Enver Hoxha, now covered festively in baubles on Market Street! One can pick up such a range of exotic antiques and merchandise (no doubt illegally imported) from the colorful local market. It really is such fun to browse on Sundays and listen to the really rather Dickensian cries of the market vendors. True, it is a little – grubby – at times but I’m sure that once we nice people achieve a critical mass, we can really get a community spirit going and resolve any little difficulties with litter or graffiti or dog mess on the pavements.
True, it was a wrench to leave the family home into which I had invested so much time and effort – not to mention hard-earned cash – over the years, but I like to refer to this part of town as fashionably shabby chic. The new house is so convenient for public transport, if one needs it, and the wonderful thing about living without encumbrance is that one can fully express one’s own aesthetic taste.
Justin has his midlife crisis minimalist glass box bachelor pad with his midlife crisis glass box new wife and I can indulge my more opulent side. Incidentally, if you’ve seen Justin recently, you’ll have observed that despite his topped-up tan, firmed skin and newly non-existent eye bags, he has a bit of a bald spot appearing just at the top of his head! What a sight when he sits in his new Aston! Hilaire, no?
And now that Monty has gone to live with his master – well, Celestina has plenty of time on her hands to look after him – and I no longer have to labrador-proof the house, candles and cushions and gauzy curtains are the order of the day. I have made my new home into quite a haven of tranquility! I’ve put a gorgeous blue nude up in my kitchen and the opulent red velvet chaises longues and chandeliers in the drawing room simply ooze fin de siecle chic. Columbia was even reminded of her favourite novel, Nana. I do so love Zola. Do pop in when you’re passing. Please.
Our news? Well it’s been a year of mixed blessings, but blessings they all will be in the longer term, I am sure. Columbia graduated last year and has moved to Idaho with her boyfriend, Seth, who has the most delightfully refreshing old-fashioned manner about him. On the whole I think joining that special church of which it is prudent not to speak ill will help her find her true self and I’m especially pleased that they are now allowed to marry in their churches here. Teaching the little ones in the church is such a worthwhile use of her Oxford degree, don’t you think, and I’m sure the international management consultants will all still be beating a path to her door in a few years’ time. Justin is inclined to disparage Columbia’s new way of life but then he was always small-minded. I mean, it’s done wonders for Tom Cruise’s power and influence in the world, hasn’t it?
Banqquo is now in the Lower Sixth. Of course we insisted that he did the Asian Five A levels and I believe that his resits, when he takes them in the summer, will bear out our choice. He will, in time, grow to accept that his parents’ advice is all for his own good. He’s going to be a surgeon like his father. Sadly his orchestral commitments started to encroach on his serious study time and he stopped playing the oboe in the spring. He’s had to let his sporting interests take a back seat for the time being, too. He’s working ever harder, closeted away in his room until late. He often has his friends Blade and Vesuvio around for study dates and they’re holed up there, beavering away for hours, emerging only for ice-cream. Such nice boys, they are. And what a refreshing look! As a mother, I am concerned that their poor skinny ankles will become frozen now that the frosty nights are here but I have learned not to make a fuss. Fashion is fashion, after all.
Iolanthe is in year 9, of course. She is a proper teenager these days and spends lots of time shopping with her friends at weekends. She has so many friends, I hardly see her! It seems no time at all since she started at St. Cosmo’s and naturally she’s covered herself in glory. Thank goodness she has slowed down a little. I think her subconscious must have told her that she was over-reaching herself. All children pass through different phases of intellectual growth, don’t they? She is, thankfully, still playing the viola and very much in demand in all sorts of ensembles.
The children will be spending Christmas with their father in Jasper again. They all adore their skiing but I only ever went along to keep everyone else happy so I’m relieved not have to go anymore. The cold really takes its toll on one’s skin and many are the times that I have ruined a manicure whilst unfastening my ski boots. Besides, Jasper just isn’t the place to go these days. Times change, don’t they?
Luckily I have so many friends with fabulous holiday homes in the most fashionable places. I’ve been to South Africa and Menorca, and I’m beyond excited to be jetting off to a vegan meditation retreat in Nepal in the New Year!
And work? Well, it turns out that I achieved Partnership at exactly the right time because, if the truth be told, all of the glitterati who came here with Arab Spring have settled down and no longer need my professional assistance. The Russians seem to have decided that London is far too dull and moved on, some to prison, admittedly, – did you see that article recently about the bursting top-end property bubble in London? – so my client base does seems to have shrunk a little since I last wrote. What we need is another People’s Revolution somewhere and more despots to flee to London with their ill-gotten cash! Yes, there’s the Syrian crisis of course, but the people leaving there in droves are not really the sort to come to me for advice are they?
Which means I have much more time to spend at home and with the children and we no longer feel so keenly the loss of dear Mrs. P. I have learnt new skills too: I adore cooking and making sure the cleaners do their job properly. I’ve learned to work the washing machine and even opened an Ocado account! Goodness, how useful they are, for the basics, at least. I am a well-rounded, fulfilled woman at last!
So all in all, a good year, with plenty of opportunities for personal development. I do hope this finds you as it leaves me.