Saturday 25 April

Home from the annual Pigeon Emancipation Conference in Kent (PECK) where unflappable guest speakers seek lofty discourse on topics including Feather Allergies: Why Was I Born a Bird? and Hat Splatting the Abusive Boss: Moral High Ground or So Much Thin Air? While supposed to be clubbing with Sasha and Zack I suddenly become as tired and contented-looking as Sanchez in his wicker casket beside me on the train (he pulled of course, the little minx – first night). Licky, I’m finding, against my better judgment (and larger girth), is able to fill the plainest of rooms with her presence, and the promise of mixing drinks in her West Didsbury kitchen (the cocktail maid is away) is prospect enough for this sleepy old dog tonight. However, ever thoughtful, Ms Shazhorn has invited round two of the most glamorous ladies in the whole cotton trade – Deirdre Darknight and Ursula Grunbrun – to join us for high jinx and dancing. Having convinced ourselves it’s 1799, Deirdre takes a tumble on a high note, something dealt with using her usual determined laughter, as I look on aghast. How strange, or not, that it is Licky who shines brightest for me these days. How odd, or not, of her to invite me to come to this conclusion in such a public way.

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