Harold has purchased a wife on the internet.
Not another man’s wife, I hasten to add, though of course these days anything is possible.
Mrs C didn’t believe me when I told her, and said I was being silly. After I assured her I’d got it from the horse’s mouth, she took a small sherry and had to lie down.
A few years ago, Thai brides were de rigueur; renowned for their politeness, and without rival in the kitchen. Single men of a certain age (generally 55 and over) would vanish to Bangkok for a week, and return with a lady in tow. Generally called Mae, or something of that kind, what she lacked in English, she made up for with a broad smile and a talent to curtsy on demand.
Today, our Russian friends are all the rage. Harold’s wife – or wife-to-be, as he’s not yet signed a contract – is called Olga and comes from Vladivostok.
He shows me a photograph which she has emailed him. He’s printed it off, and carries it around in his wallet. There’s something familiar about the face and, on closer inspection, I realise she bears an uncanny resemblance to Keira Knightley. It occurs to me that things might not be all they seem.
I don’t tell Harold, of course; he might interpret it as sour grapes on my part. Mrs C has never looked like Keira Knightley, though someone once stopped her in the street and asked if she was the late June Whitfield. (June Whitfield was still going strong at the time, and continues to thrive today, so it was a curious remark.)
Quite frankly, Mrs C looks nothing like Miss Whitfield, late or otherwise, though objections to the contrary fell on stony ground. In the end, she was forced to concede the argument, and sign the front page of a book: ‘To my dear friend Maud, with love, June W’. And three kisses. To complicate matters further, the book was a Jeffrey Archer novel, As The Crow Flies. Mrs C, for her part, flew directly home, as fast as her legs would carry her, and didn’t go out for a week.
Harold says he emails Olga five times a day and finds her a ‘stimulating correspondent’. He has sent her one of his publicity photographs, which, he says, she ‘keeps under her pillow’. She has told him ‘magic makes her happy’ and she cannot wait to see him ‘in action’.
‘Action’ isn’t a word I associate with Harold, who tends more towards ‘cautious’ at the best of times. He appears a tad more human since his hair grew back, but it’s hard to fathom his appeal to a lady who looks like Kiera Knightley. Or even, at a pinch, June Whitfield.
He promises to keep me ‘up to date’, whether I like it or not,
As and when he does, I’ll keep you up to date, too.
Whether you like it or not.
Thought for the Day
‘It’s better to have loved a short man, than never to have loved at all.’