It is 8:30 am on a weekday morning. The younger flopsy-duckit has just come out of the shower. I envelop her in a towel and vigorously rub her sopping hair. She giggles at the ferocity with which I am drying her hair.
D-R: This is just how my Mum would dry my hair when I was a little girl!
Y-F-D: When you were a little girl you lived in London.
D-R: That’s right!
Y-F-D: And also when you were a little girl you lived in the eighteenth century.
D-R: [Amused] No! I did live in London when I was a little girl, but I did not live in the eighteenth century. [Pause, in which D-R decides that further clarification may be required] Because no-one who lived in the eighteenth century is alive any more.
Y-F-D: Because of all the battles?
D-R: No … it’s not because of the battles … I mean, all those people would be dead now anyway.
Y-F-D: But they did have a lot of battles in the eighteenth century!
D-R: [Feeling that the Y-F-D is missing the point]: Uh, yeah …
Y-F-D: So where were the battles?
D-R [Warming to the theme] Well, there were an awful lot of battles … I don’t know where to start …. let’s see, there was the Seven Years’ war … that was in, uh, lots of different countries, and it went on for, uh, seven years … and, oh, and there was also a war between the British and the Americans – that’s an important one! … You see, the Americans didn’t want—
Y-F-D: [Interrupting, interest in battles now exhausted] So you didn’t live in the eighteenth century, you were just born in the eighteenth century.
D-R: [Exasperated]: No no no, I was neither born nor ever lived in the eighteenth century! How old do you think I am?!
D-R: No, that’s wrong, but even if that were right, I still wouldn’t have been born in the eighteenth century …. [Emphatically] Every single person who was alive in the eighteenth century is now dead.
Y-F-D: So why are you always talking about it then?
D-R: That’s a very good question.