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I recently lost my engagement ring. I’d had it for 22 years and to was hard-won, believe me. When I say I lost it, it just suddenly vanished in all the kerfuffle surrounding obtaining my Overseas Citizenship of India and  being so ill with that horrid coughing virus and taking my mum to India with her dementia and that. It disappeared from the ring holder in the kitchen where it had been placed for safekeeping while I did the washing up. I’ve had bad luck with rings lately. Two of them keep shedding their stones or breaking, and I’m now very cautious about wearing the engagement ring I used to have constantly on my finger.

So we duly processed the insurance claim and I have more or less chosen a replacement. It’s not exactly the same as the brilliant solitaire diamond in the original largely because nothing could replace the original that has such emotional value attached to it.

I telephoned the sales representative of our regular high-end London jeweller last week and made an appointment to choose the sort of thing I’m looking for. On Friday I duly walked into the shop with my husband. We were the only customers and, despite being greeted warmly, the staff did not appear to know who were were. So OH introduced himself and shook hands with the assistant, the one with whom I had spoken at some length on the phone, who continued to look at me quizzically and with complete incomprehension”

And you are?

Mrs. B.

And I watched as it suddenly dawned on him that I was neither my husband’s PA not the maid nor, perhaps, the mistress but the very person to whom he had spoken about the replacement ring. He knew I was coming in at that time with my husband, but somehow could not reconcile what he was seeing with the details of the appointment. Was it something about the way I was dressed? Or had he not expected me to be…err…brown?

 

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I’ve encountered this sort of thing before. When I worked, our cleaners were let in by our nanny every Monday but I regularly dealt with the cleaner over the phone. Once I had a day off and opened the door to them and the woman’s face fell.

Oh,” she said, with some disdain. “Who are you? The new nanny.”

No. I’m Mrs B. We’ve spoken on the phone. A lot.”

You don’t look like I expected. You don’t look like you sound.

I wonder just who she expected.

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It was shortly after we moved into that same house, when I was in my dressing gown late one morning as the Boywonder was about 3 months old and I wasn’t really coping very well. The doorbell rang and I opened the door to my neighbour across the road, who had arrived with several bags of clothes.

You take in washing, don’t you? Could you do mine?”

She’d observed the weekly arrival of my laundry company to collect my ironing and jumped to conclusions. It was her husband, I later discovered, who asked other neighbours at parties, to which we were never invited, how they liked living next door to us. I wondered whether he complained about the smell. I never cooked curries. This is why I am never surprised at the popularity of the UKIPs.

Funny, isn’t it? You can present some people with all sorts of evidence and facts and they still prefer to stick to their prejudices.

 

*This is a quote from My Fair Lady. Still pretty true, I’d say.