“What is a Gossup?” I asked.
“A Gossup”, Auntie Lisa replied “is someone who goes around people’s houses, eating their food and then loudly criticising it to anybody who’ll listen.”
“Hmph” snorted Uncle Bert “that’s not right. A Gossup is someone who goes out to restaurants and then loudly complains about the food so that they get a discount.”
“I don’t think...” started Auntie Lisa
“You’re both wrong” interrupted Dad, putting down his paper. “Gossup is the family name of the Earls of Wiltshire. The last Earl died around 1920 but he was a food critic for one of the big national newspapers, hence the term. The Wiltshires lived at Kenbourne House near Winchester”.
“Kenbourne” replied Auntie Lisa, “We went there, Bert, don’t you remember? It’s the place with the monument shaped like a pen…”
“Battlesbury!” Interrupted Uncle Bert “You’re thinking of Battlesbury near Wareham.”
“I thought that was the place with the round summerhouse in the shape of a brea…”
“Yes, same place. That’s at one end of the long drive and at the other end is the monument in the shape of a pen…”
“I have been to Kenbourne”, interrupted Auntie Lisa, “went there for Kitty’s hen weekend. It’s a spa now. Lovely swimming pool and sauna. Wasn’t run by the Gossups though. There was a very strict lady by the name of ... “
“I doubt they managed it themselves, you know.” Retorted Uncle Bert.
“You’re all wrong,” said mum as she came through the door carrying the tea tray. Carefully balancing the tray on one hand, she lifted off a plate of those garish little cakes, all covered in red, white and blue icing that had become so popular since Brexit.
Next she lifted the teapot off the tray to reveal behind it a red, white and blue box on which was brightly printed “Gossups Glories”.
Right on cue we all turned towards the camera and smiled.
“CUT” shouted the director.