Rebecca Taylor: Dear Xandra

Dear Xandra,

Thank you so much for the wonderful dinner on Thursday. Great food, great company, great ambience as always.

I am tempted to say that you are a natural hostess but feel that would somehow belittle the hard work that I know goes into your dinner parties. However, do allow me to muse that if any guest might have entertained the idea that standards at ‘Casa Xandra’ would slip post Sheldon’s departure, well then you certainly showed them otherwise. Although, of course, such deterioration would have been perfectly excusable considering the trauma and humiliation you’ve suffered. After all, it’s not every day that one ends a marriage of twenty-three years. (Twenty-three, I can hardly believe it, the wedding seems like yesterday, as does the hen night, tra-la!).

Of course, as we have discussed over many glasses of Sancerre, I recently went through a break-up myself although I wouldn’t dream of comparing my slight inconvenience to your ordeal. At least Hugh and I came to the decision mutually, whereas Sheldon, the rascal… I have no words. To carry on with a junior secretary! It’s a cliché that simply doesn’t befit our day and age. The fact that it had been going on for the best part of two years when you and the detective caught them in that ghastly hotel room (Euston Premier Inn, seriously, Sheldon?) adds so much salt to a still open wound that I can only bow in respect at your tenacity and style. And I am not alone, the admiration shone out of every diner around your lovely new table. (Did Sheldon take the Italian rosewood?)

It was nice to meet them all, what lovely neighbours you have in your new abode and from so many interesting walks of life. A whole new world lies open, as you so kindly told me when my own marriage ended. This said, my personal highlight, of course, was seeing Peregrine again and meeting his adorable girlfriend.

It is interesting to see how his father’s caveman shenanigans seem only to have strengthened Peregrine’s commitment to being a man of the twenty-first century. A househusband, no less, how marvellous! And with a man-blog to keep him occupied until you all hear the patter of tiny-ish feet. This is indeed an innovative, open-minded lifestyle and should also ease any concerns you may have had regarding the beastly challenges Peregrine has faced on the job front. (By the way, I couldn’t quite make out the girlfriend’s accent. Is she from around these parts? I thought I detected a slight bounciness to her r’s).

She will certainly be dining well, as we, your guests, can now testify. Peregrine’s fondant au chocolat was a delight, and I personally did not find mine sticky in the slightest. Equally, any concerns you may have harboured regarding your bouillabaisse are completely unfounded.

Thank you again for an delightful evening.

Courage and perseverance, my dearest.

Yours,

Fi

PS: Don’t worry about your lip. I assure you, nobody else noticed. The swelling will recede in due course and before you know it, you’ll be ready to face London’s exhilarating 50+ dating scene. I agree with you that the prospect you showed me on the iPhone – I forget his name – could be an option. At our age, baldness and added volume do not necessarily equate turnoffs, and as you have learned so cruelly, Xandra: handsome is as handsome does.


Also by Rebecca Taylor:

Dear Miss

Dear Hugh

How Florence Published a Bestseller