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… υπόγειες διαδρομές

The Tokyo Story – part Two

– in which aristocracy and most members of the Fiennes clan are introduced

From: Beverly Droopsworth, Lord Houndstooth of Surrey (known as «Bingo» to friends)

To: R. N. Fiennes, Commoner

I say! Word is that you have a small, strange-looking, hairy, eldest son who answers to the description of my long-lost, firts-born sprout! I have just one for you: is he uncommonly good at polo? For if he is, I think he is my offspring, and I demand you to hand the boy over to me fortwith, because my polo team is presently one member short, and a Royal match is pending.

Long Live the Queen!

Beverly Droopsworth, Lord Hooundstooth of Surrey (known as «Bingo» to friends)


Screenname: BronxBomber2436742

(Deep sigh of anguish)

Dear Friendly Fellows,

I think I shall go mad! Mad, I tell you! Mad! (BTW this is the new American Forum member who blends in perfectly with her fans.) I turn to you, Forum Friends, in my moment of despair, as Francesca says my moments of despair are so regular she can set her watch by them, and she really doesn’t have the psychic wherewithal to deal with a neurotic actor’s… actress’s… daily angst.

This is truly an emergency! My precious child, my darling son… a demented polo player (albeit a noble one) intents to snatch the boy from my arms and install him in some sort of Dickensian polo sweat shop… I believe I shall scream: ARGHHH! There. I screamed like a woman. And why not? I am, after all, a woman. An American woman.

Hold on, Hotel Security is pounding on the door…

No. thanks! No problems here! Go away! I’ll take care of it! No, Francesca is out shopping, where else would she be? Isn’t she always shopping? Don’t get me started on the fortune she is disposing of or  I shall scream again. No, I don’t need the hotel psychologist, thank you very much! I am trying to write a letter! Will you please give a moment’s peace? Blast!

As I say, I turn to you Forum friends, in my moment of despair. Whatever shall I do? (Francesca says I should dye my hair a nice deep plum colour.)

Go Yankees!



Mr. Ralph Fiennes, Tokyo, Chine. Korea. Thailand? Oh dear, who knows – who cares? Somewhere in Asia.

Dear Mr. Fiennes,

I saw you in The English Patient, and ever since that I have wanted to invite you for dinner. Unfortunately that has never come to anything because my husband loathes earls and counts (to say nothing of barons, baronets, and knights); he’s the Marquess of Houndstooth, you see; and you Mr. Fiennes, as we all know, are a Polish count. Or was  it Yugoslavian? Russian? Swedish? Oh dear, who knows – who cares? I’ve never been very good at geography; I am often lost in London – and indeed I have twice been lost in Droopsworth manor – and then I must call on my elegant, small cellphone to old Houndstooth and ask him to send someone to help me, a chauffeur, maid or policeman.

Oh dear, that wasn’t what I wanted to tell you. What was it? I am not very good at remembering things either. Oh yes! Now I remember. I am writing you as we are both in a very, very, very unfortunate situation. I have heard you’ve got an adopted son who, as old Houndstooth thinks, is the heir to the Houndstooth title and estates. It’s all very awkward. This eldest son, be it your small, strange-looking, hairy boy or no, is -or was- by my predeccessor, the late Lady Houndstooth. I’ve got a son, too, you know -his name is Topsy, uncommon good at polo, he is – and it would be very unfortunate if my lord Topsy lost the title and estates which are rightfully his. Don’t you think? Also, you wouldn’t like to lose your son, would you? So, after racking my poor brain until there’s hardly anything left of it, I have come to the conclusion that you must make your son POLOPHOBIC! I don’t know how this is to be done, but you actors are so clever that you must come up with something.

Respectfully yours,
The Honourable Annabella Droopsworth, Lady Houndstooth (known as «Fifi» to friends)


(Gargle. Spit. AHEM!!)

My dear Lady Houndstooth,

So good of you to post. Yes, I sense rather a positive outcome for this whole sordid business. My eldest cannot, at present, even SPELL «polo», let alone play it, so perhaps I might describe the game to him as one similar to the «bear-baiting» of Elizabethan times. He ought to go right off the thing pronto.

Meanwhile, dear Lady, have you any naughty snaps of yourself that you might send a lonely traveler abroad? It is quite alright if Lord Houndstooth appears in them, or anyone else. I will pay the gentlemen (or, dare I venture it, other Ladies?) no mind. You will be, I assure you, the focus of my attention. Thank you in advance.

Yours most sincerely,
Ralph N. Fiennes


Screen name: Mareska

Thread Topic: To BronxBomber2436742

Dear Bomber,

Finally! Someone on this Forum with whom I share a common interest! I assume you, as a Yankee fan, are attending all home games in the League Championship Series. And, as it seems (at least,  when I had the TV on) the Series will go to a 6th game in NY on Tuesday evening, I have a favor to ask.

This is what I require. A genuine baseball with Tino Martinez’ autograph. Kindly advise him to write «Dearest Little Mouse» or «Darling Mareska» on the ball in clear letters, none of this scribble-scrabble. You know, if I didn’t have a «thing» for Craig Ferguson, I could go for Tino in a big way. He is some kind of looker. And I like his muscular backside accentuated by the tight pinstripe pants.

Now tell me, why would a woman with a full-blown libido watch the Miss America Pageant when she could pant over Tino and other young men of varying exotic hues and impressive proportions as they play the all-American game? You have no answer? I thought not.

See that my autographed ball is delivered promptly
❤ M


My dear Mr. Fiennes,

It flatters me that you show such an interest in my persona. Even my husband hardly ever takes notice of me, except when I call him on my delicate cellphone. I have now three boxes of old photographs here in front of me, and I don’t quite know where to begin. Hmmm, let me see… No, not that one, surely – I had such awful braces at eleven… Oh! This one is perfect! It was taken at Ascot, so the hats are predominant in the picture, but you can see me if you look closely, I am standing next to the horse. What makes the picture naughty is that I was engaged to Houndstooth at the time, but no one knew it except Mamma and me! (Giggle.) Houndstooth is there, on the left – the small, strange-looking fellow, hairy fellow.

Yours, etc., etc.,
Fifi Droopsworth


Dear Sophie,

There is something wrong with Martha’s e-mail address, which is most vexing. I can’t afford to be wasting my yen in Tokyo cyber-cafe sending requests for comestibles into the gloom of cyberspace only to have them come winging back marked undeliverable. So I am turning to you. You always *were* my favourite sister-in-law in any event.

Now there’s what I need:

Ponds face cream
OK! Magazine
Walkers (or any brand of crisps – BBQ steak flavour- real steak is far too expensive in this town)
Thornton’s Fruit Creams collection
Hob Nobs and Wotsits (Do NOT, repeat NOT, let Ralph know you are sending these.)
Tennant’s Extra -enough for- er, just me. I can’t let Ralph have it – he goes off his head after three sips. Still. that’s what you get with super-strength lager, I suppose.

Also some roses would be nice (the flower kind, not the chocolate kind, although on second thoughts…) no, but really, no one has thrown anything at Ralph during the curtain calls yet and he is starting to get withdrawal symptoms. I am going to have to find some docile looking fans and instruct them to throw roses from one of the balconies, or there is no telling what might happen. Already he feels so insecure that he refuses to go onstage without Droopsy about his person. This wouldn’t be so bad if his coats had any pockets, but it really does look quite -odd- to stuff the little bear down his trousers. At this rate his next film offer will be for one of those projects shot in a single day in a warehouse in Hendon.

Fortunately no one recognizes me over here, which is a blessing because it means (a) I can recycle all my London outfits without anybody putting me in a magazine feature questioning why famous people wear the same favourite clothes over and over again and (b) I can pass myself off as Ralph’s PA and boss people around. This is such fun! I mean, I know I could do it as his girlfriend, but people tend to mutter. I think I might make myself a name badge and get one of those earpieces next.

Anyway, pet, I have spent a lot of time typing this so I shall send it now and hope that you are awake to read it immediately and start shopping. I really think they should put a bell on computers so that they ring like a telephone when an important message comes in. Hmmm – maybe I could patent that idea.

Lots of love and kisses and please send the stuff on the list very soon or I shall have to transfer my affections to Mel. The great thing about this family is the *number* of sisters-in-law in it!

Yours ever,



How do you do that thing to stop e-mails getting to you from people you don’t want to talk to?


PS – I’ve finally worked out what happened to that box of Thornton’s Fruit creams last Christmas. I fell quite guilty for blaming Tosca now.


Dear Sophie,

Forgive me for bothering you, but I have received an e-mail from a cyber-cafe in Tokyo, which I take it has come from one of the more famous members of the family, requesting an assortment of hair dyes and bear-sized toweling dressing gown for Droopsy, who apparently wants to join in with the makeover sessions. Quite apart from the difficulty of procuring these in the wilds of Norfolk (and what size would Droopsy take, do you think? Would be an XSB, a B, or a MB?) I do not know the address to send them to.

I hope you are well down in London. It’s raining here (although it is always raining here.) Jake had to get up in the middle of the night to fish some small animal out of the hedge, and when he got back Tosca jumped on the bed so now everything smells of wet Labrador. I bet you don’t have these problems living in Notting Hill!

Kind regards,


Dear Jsph

M snding this on m new WAP phne. Rlph gv it to me. Not q sure hw it wks, and the keys r too smll for m fngers, but hr goes.

Mel hs snt me out to buy a dressing gwn for Droopsy. She thinks a B will do. But who is Droopsy? And what is a B? I hoped you wd know, being cosmopolitn and everythng.

It is nt a gd idea to let those 2 out of the country – they are mre trouble that they r in Lndn, and I hv never frgiven Frn for framing Tosca over those chocs last Xmas.




I am on a promise at the Met Bar, and you are BUSTED if Natalie ups and leaves before I finish texting you this. For God’s sake, man, learn how to type! It took me half an hour to make sense of your message.

Don’t worry about the dressing gown – I will get my PA to pick one up tomorrow and FedEx it to them. I am not explaining Droopsy to you now, because these messages have a word limit and you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Best regards to Mel, and hug Tosca for me. I’ll send some Fruit creams next week.



Memo to: Bill (Orders)
From: Bob (Dispatch)


We have had a run on bear dressing gowns (size B). Three enquiries in as many days (London, Norfolk, London again), all from people desperate to air freight them to Japan. Co-incidence, or just a reflection of our excellent product? Whatever, we urgently need more. It looks as though every Teddy in the far east is getting one for Xmas. Better order 20 dozen of them in each size, just to be on the safe side.



From: Bill
To: Bob


You won’t believe this, but there’s not a single bear dressing gown left in all Britain. The teddy-bear seamstresses are on strike. However, I’ve ordered 20 dozen dressing gowns of each size from Christian Dior. They’re £60 each so you’d better be right about this. Oh, one more thing – are the dressing gowns supposed to be for male or female bears? All the ones I ordered were white silk with lace trimmings. I bet they won’t know the difference, though. How can one tell whether the teddy is a boy or a girl anyway?



Dear Sophie

Forgive me for bothering you (again) but a truck has just arrived carrying 20 dozen bear dressing gowns in various colours and sizes. I’m not quite sure why. The driver would only say, in that inimitable British fashion, that is was more than his job was worth to take them away again. Our spare room is now full of bear clothes and, as you know, we do not have any bears – just Tosca. And they are too small for Tosca. Jake has gone out to text Joe about it – for some reason he thinks that mobile phones don’t work indoors. Meanwhile, I am writing to you in the hope that you might be able to suggest how to get them to Japan. I am surprised that Droopsy has more clothes than either of his parents, but they do dote on him I suppose.

I hope you are well down there in London. It’s raining here (although it is always raining here.) Jake had to get up in the middle of the night to extract a marmelot from the upper reaches of the plum tree, and when he got back Tosca jumped into the laundry basket, so now everything smells of wet Labrador. I bet you don’t have these problems living in Notting Hill.

kind regards,



Me agn, Yr twn

A van of bear clths arrived. We don’t know wht to do with thm. Is Droopsy a bear? Why dies our older brther have a bear? Wasn’t there enogh scandal when he got Frncsca? If he’s not careful he’ll be all over the papers agn and then he’ll be up hre, camped out in the spare rm and wanting to be a gamekeeper. Not that there is any rm in the spr rm, as it is full of bear clthes.

Pls advise.




Why do you always text me just as the action is hotting up? It may be that psychic twin thing, but it’s wearing a bit thin. If Naomi ups and leaves (or beats anyone up) before I’ve finished texting you, you are OFF my Christmas list, brother or no brother.

Re the bear clothes, I have no flaming idea. I told my PA to make some enquiries, and she said that all she could come up with was a Christian Dior white silky thing so we decided not. Why can’t he wear jeans and monogrammed sweatshirt like any other bear? I’m not going to be responsible for his cross-dressing – it would send Ralph right over the edge and then I’d have Francesca to deal with.

I suggest you send them to Martha. She is older than we are, so it should rightfully be her problem. There have to be some advantages to being the youngest in the family.

Got to go – half a dozen supermodels have just walked in, and I can’t have them thinking I’m a sad anorak with nothing better to do than text you all night.




I don’t know if I can help you as I haven’t much experience with demented polo players trying to kidnap my children (especially as I have no children of my own); I can only wish all the best of luck  to you and your son. Haven’t you got police in America? One might think that Dickensian polo sweatshops are somewhat illegal. Oh, well. I didn’t know you’ve got good polo players in America, actually. I hate to admit that I’m often a bit prejudiced when it comes to the «Land of the Free». I’m always thinking there’s nothing but baseball and «football» there.



to be continued…


part One: http://wp.me/pTiK1-6Pb

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