In just a few short hours, my youthful protégée Ewan will arrive with his parents (my partner's brother and sister-in-law). They are coming to spend the weekend here. I have not seen Ewan for some months (since our holiday in Wales, in fact) and I gather he is talking and comprehending more. I may use this opportunity to begin schooling him in my doctrines. The fortunate boy.
Ewan has recently commenced his attendance at playschool, where I understand he is the darling of the group. Easy-going and non-confrontational, he has already amassed a wide circle of friends as befits his status as my cousin.
Today, the entire family group (excepting myself) are going to visit a local zoological park (Marwell). I am not going because I do not care to come face-to-face with such beasts as Mountain Lions and Snow Leopards. I will remain at home and be pandered to by Maisie. It will be a nice day out for my partner, who has not been to the zoo since she was eleven. The park has recently been in the local news, as HRH The Princess Royal opened a new Gibbon enclosure there earlier this week.
Ewan is apparently extremely fond of monkeys - I must confess that I find them endearing as well. But even in this seemingly innocent and charming sphere lies danger for my partner. BC's fond 'pet' name for my partner was 'Monkey'. In answer to my anxious enquiries, she assures me that she no longer pines for his affections.
But I am not deceived.
I know that she still longs, more than anything, to hear BC calling her 'Monkey' once again.