Theresa awakes with a start from deep dreams of Little England. Coming up too fast on the bends, she is surprised by the butler, already attentive, delivering her customary tepid Twining’s Lady Grey served with a generous slug of Beefeater gin from a maiden white shoe.
“Strong and stable!” she shrieks at him, “Strong and stable!”
He cannot find it in himself to meet her eye. “Indeed, madam,” he intones and inclines his head to ask whether there will be anything else.
The drawing room is full of stern-faced Ulstermen, they have been there all night. The red-faced one on the sofa, who shouted “DEFEND OUR NATIVE LAND!” half-hourly in his sleep, he had covered with a union flag to protect him from the ghostly draughts that appeared to emanate from somewhere behind a dark oil canvas of Winston Churchill.
The ashes in the fireplace reveal little of yesterday’s headlines from the newsrags of Theresa’s former friends who had turned on her and shown themselves to be disloyal. The chamber is still fusty from the smoke from the pyre that had leaped high and threatened to singe the portrait of Queenie on the mantle.
The butler is unperturbed as Theresa hops past him with considerable agility, and down the stairs on a single leg, the other caught up in her Tory blue knickers. And then she is out and into the conservatory. Her parrot greets her: “Strong and stable!”
Theresa squawks back, “Strong and stable!”
“Strong and stable!”
Friends are people who understand you whatever the weather.