Cambridge had taught her the reflective ways of philosophy; likewise, covert operations had taught her to think on the hoof. It is thus that contradicting her previous well thought through ‘theory of his full-time protection’, she concludes she needs a space within which to think. Hence a little later, mid-mornings prospect of strong coffee only just on the horizon, her damaged gentle giant still fast asleep, she sneaks out for a jaunt around the rambling pathways within the deciduous laden grounds. An old Dutch roadster bicycle that must once have belonged to whomsoever, her preference over Shanks’s pony. She notes that the swallows have returned from the tropics, and are now nesting in the eaves of her thatched and of late, self-fashioned enticing asylum.
Of absolute necessity, she dons a wide-brimmed floral print sunhat, ever irked that for it to remain about her person an ungainly chinstrap is required. Is sure not to forget matching sunglasses. Even in the seclusion of the estate panache is paramount, a certain flair maintained. For sake of common-sense comfort, rests a small feather stuffed cushion, held in place with a multitude of new-fangled elasticated hairbands upon an unyielding saddle and is off. Her secret emancipated female allows senses to take leave of absence. Sound reasoning belongs to sunshine days like these.
At the lake, the cygnets are fast becoming swans, the ducklings almost ducks. The cycle at rest against the trunk of a weeping willow, she first dips her toes in the water, then paddles, speculates that in lands where barter holds sway over hard currency, then life in such a place must be cheap. Unable to support such premise with fact acquired or personal experience, it is dismissed tout de suite. Thoughts stray, ‘Have I found a purity within a blemish?’ The thought lingers, refuses the offer of safe passage to the wild blue yonder. Guilt tugs at heartstrings. She must return before he rouses.
A dog days’ wasp, posturing as if it were an enraged fading autumn wasp stings her butt as she attempts to settle upon her crudely adapted saddle. It hurts like hell. Perhaps pizzazz should have given way to common-sense underwear, her immediate thought. She sees the funny side, laughs and heads back to the house. Besides, with her condition too many rays can spell trouble. The sting lingers on.
Behind closed doors she checks on her giant of crippled senses. To her astonishment, she finds him in the drawing room, sat unveiled at her Steinway grand piano playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, a rendition defining perfectness. In awe of, and conscious that he neither can see nor hear she sheds intoxicated tears of wonderment. How so? Back in the days of intrigue he was all thumbs, could not play but a single a note.