But Never For Lunch by Sandra Aragona
|But Never For Lunch by Sandra Aragona|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: His Excellency has retired and he and the Wife of the Former Ambassador are going to live a very different life. Only Sandra Aragona could make it so funny.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 187||Date: October 2020|
|Publisher: Independently Published|
If a woman approaching the menopause can be likened to a Rottweiler in lipstick, an Ambassador nearing retirement resembles a pampered peacock about to be released into the company of carrion crows or, more to the point, about to discover the real world of bus timetables and paying his own gas bills.
You don't get many better opening sentences than that, do you? We first met His Excellency and The Ambassador's Wife in Sorting the Priorities and we learned what it was like to be moved around countries like accompanying baggage by the Italian Government but the time has come for HE to retires and for Sandra Aragona to become The Wife of Former Ambassador... They have left The Career and settled in Rome. Well 'settled' rather overstates the situation and their dog, Beagle, has no intention of slowing down any time soon, despite being sixteen and deaf.
Retired ambassadors traditionally take up grape picking in Tuscany (or directing operations as is probably more accurate), drinking gin (why now when it could have been done duty-free before retirement?), golf or searching for a useful consultancy or honorary presidency of a charitable organisation. There's also travel, which might seem an odd choice for people who have lived in eighteen different houses in the course of their marriage. Grandchildren are now regularly accessible and are going to ensure that The Wife of the Former Ambassador does not have an opportunity to age gracefully.
If you've passed retirement age then much of this will be familiar to you (well, perhaps not the grape picking and honorary presidencies...) but somehow Sandra Aragona's trademark self-deprecation and humour remove the drudgery and it all becomes very funny. It's a very quick read and I quickly succumbed to just-one-more-chapter syndrome and before I knew it I'd turned the final page. We're about to go into full-scale lockdown and But Never For Lunch was the perfect antidote to fighting over loo rolls and lack of supermarket delivery slots with its glimpses of sunnier climes and a normal life lived well. There are some anecdotes of diplomatic life, but much more about retirement, surviving the grandchildren and travel.
It was a treat of a book and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
We think you might also enjoy No! I Don't Need Reading Glasses! by Virginia Ironside.
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You can read more book reviews or buy But Never For Lunch by Sandra Aragona at Amazon.com.
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