'She does,' says Primrose. 'But she doesn't start until 21st November. 'Something to do with criminal checks, induction programmes and the such like. Because of the nature of the school she'll be working in.'
'Definitely,' says Primrose, with subtle firmness. 'Besides, Tango Pete and Claudette have already been on the phone vis á vis their roles this year. I've booked them. You can't let quality talent like theirs slip through your fingers into the hands of the enemy. They both turned down the Doctor Who Christmas Special to be in this year's Much Malarkey Production. That's how big it has got, you know.'
'Hmmmm...' says Primrose. She is a tad dubious about Nora, Nellie and Nancy and their performing skills. Nora seems to be straight out of a more violent version of Cell Block H. Nancy has some kind of chicken ADHD - will she be capable of learning lines, let alone delivering them without being distracted by squirrels/ sunflower seeds/ Gardener's Question Time? And as for Nellie - well, she can barely say boo to a goose, let alone set foot on a stage. 'That is why we have to be careful about what we choose as our production this year. That is why I have been given it all some very careful and considerate thought.'
'Well,' says Primrose, 'aside from who the chuff keeps voting for Ed Balls to stay on Strictly, I have been thinking perhaps we should venture into the world of film this year. I am thinking something in the style of the 1940s/ 50s Hollywood musical epic genre.'
Camilla sighs. 'I know - like Bing Crosby in 'Fight Christmas.'
'White Christmas,' says Primrose.
'I think 'fight' is more likely,' says Camilla.
'Maybe,' says Primrose. 'But the inspirations I've jotted down in my 'Big Book of Christmas Production Inspiration' are as follows: 1) Elf 2) the Grinch 3) Miracle on 34th Street and 4) It's a Wonderful Life.'
There is a pause as Camilla absorbs the enormity of Primrose's proposition. 'You mean...?' she begins.
Primrose nods slowly. 'Yes,' she says. 'This year's production is 'Elf and the Grinch and Their Wonderful Life on 34th Street.'
Camilla swallows hard, and not because she has a piece of peanut brittle stuck in the back of her throat. 'Who's going to tell her?' she says, nodding towards the Lady of the Manor who seems now to be engaged in some sort of 'fending off the angry wasps' dance.
'We'll draw straws,' says Primrose.