Episode 18: DeDe receives a mysterious message
Like many doodles, DeDe loves sharing flattering photos of herself, and she often has difficulty choosing which ones to share. In the same way doodles send ‘positive thoughts’ to tell their friends what they’re thinking, they also send positive visions of where they are, or where they’ve been and DeDe hopes her positive visions give the impression that she leads a far more glamorous life than she actually does.
As she was getting ready for the beach she had memory flashes of her recent holiday in Spain. She remembered Dante and Harley by the pool, Lily-Poo posing like a film star on a sun lounger, and one particularly good one of Phoebe diving head first into BooBoo’s swimming pool.
She dithered about which image to share, finally deciding on the one of all five of them in front of La Sagra-da Familia. This, she thought, gave the best impression of having lots of friends and living the jet set lifestyle.
It didn’t take long before her friends where returning positive thoughts of how much they liked her happy vision. She was just about to remind Dante it was time to leave to catch Billy when a positive thought flew into her head. It came from someone called Vladimir Hurloff, a name she didn’t recognise. Excitedly she read the thought:
You don’t know me but I am your first cousin once removed on your mother’s side. You’re auntie was my grandma, and I am trying to get in touch with long lost relatives.
I hope you will reply to this message and that one day you will visit me at my castle on the banks of the River Volga, not far from the Caspian Sea.
With affection, your loving cousin
The message sent DeDe into a bit of a spin, and she began to feel light headed. She was brought back to earth by Dante asking if she was ready to go to the beach. Hesitating, she said she didn’t feel like the beach and preferred to have a day at home. Thinking nothing of it, Dante quickly left to catch Billy train.
So many unanswered questions
Once DeDe knew he was safely out the way she read the thought again and again.
There were so many unanswered questions. She hadn’t known any of her aunties, in fact her mother had never spoken of having sisters at all, and how did a son of her auntie end up being called Vladimir and living in a castle in Russia? She’d always thought her family came from the Suffolk, Norfolk borders. It all seemed a bit strange, but she was sure Vladimir would have the answers and tell she was aristocratic by birth with a whole line of noble ancestors. Her head filled with visions of ball gowns, tiaras and jolly house parties.
It didn’t take long before she was sending a flowery reply to Vladimir, saying how thrilled she was to hear from him and how fondly her mother had spoken of her dear sister, his mother. She went on to explain that her travels had not yet taken her to the Caspian Sea or a cruise on the Volga, however she hoped that now they had made contact, it wouldn’t be long before she did both.
DeDe’s head buzzed with possibilities. Perhaps she really was ‘posh’ after all, perhaps all he dreams were about to come true. Was she about to meet her true family and know the opulence she’d only read about in her lifestyle magazines?
The first thing she would have to do was improve her posture and practice gliding serenely into a crowded reception room. She knew she’d got into bad habits of slouching and plodding through the muddiest of puddles in the woods. All this of course, would now have to change.
As she was dreaming of dancing the summer nights away, Vladimir replied with a positive vision of himself in front of his castle saying, ‘At home, a summer afternoon’. Vladimir really was an impressive Golden Doodle she thought. The castle was particularly impressive with a turret at one end flying a large flag, that she thought must be, the family coat of arms. For a while DeDe couldn’t take her mind away from the image. She was sure she saw the family likeness, although Vladimir did look a lot taller than her. Not long after, Vladimir sent another message saying he was planning to come to London to discuss his foreign investments and wondered if DeDe might like to meet him next Thursday.
DeDe didn’t hesitate and immediately replied saying how lovely it would be to come to London, adding she assumed he would be staying at the Ritz or another suitable central London hotel. Strangely Vladimir didn’t reply, so after a while she went off to join the others on the beach. She found them in the cafe nibbling some freshly baked Winton’s liver cake.
Not wanting to show too much excitement she sat down beside Lily-Poo and listened to the conversation. As ever, it was the same old chat, Harley talking about the holes he’d dug, Dante remising about a bestest ballie he’d lost, and Phoebe describing, in far too much detail, how she’d rolled in the smelliest seaweed.
Harley was about to tell them of yet another hole, DeDe blurted out, “I’ve had a message from my Russian first cousin, once removed. He’s got a castle with a turret and a flag on it. He’s asked me to meet him next Thursday”
Why meet with a stranger ?
None of them knew exactly what to say, but when Dante mentioned he’d heard distant relatives were to be avoided, they knew they need to show enthusiasm, while also warning her to be cautious about meeting strangers in London. After another awkward pause Lily-Poo offered to help DeDe choose what to wear. After all, if she was going to a grand London hotel, she’d need to look the part.
Dante still couldn’t understand why she wanted to meet a stranger, when she had all the friends she could possibly want right here in Camber. Harley secretly felt the same, but being more sensitive added a few encouraging words before leaving the cafe to dig another hole.
Phoebe, thought it would be nice to meet family she didn’t know and wondered when she might get a positive thought from a long lost relative. For all she knew she could have a first cousin once removed living in the Caribbean with a swimming pool and a big barbecue.
When Dante and DeDe arrived home DeDe immediately sent Vladimir another positive thought. She’d made up her mind, even if some of her friends were sceptical, she would meet Vladimir when he came to London. He was her first cousin once removed and therefore a loved member of her family.
A restaurant she’d never heard of
All evening DeDe and Vladimir messaged back and forth, planning where they’d meet and what they’d do in London. They’d meet next Thursday in a restaurant she’d never heard of, on a road she didn’t know, called Edgware Road.
Over the next few days DeDe spent hours deciding what to wear. She wanted to be stylish but in a monied conservative way, nothing too trendy or brash. After umpteen conversations with Lily-Poo and hours spent consulting back copies of her lifestyle magazine, DeDe decided on the blue wool jacket she’d bought in the Miss Darcy’s range end of season sale.
To be continued next week…
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Image Credits: Vicki Batt .