Six weeks ago I had a letter telling me that Her Majesty was “minded” to honour me with a C.B.E, which was pretty thrilling. It means, I discover that I am now, or will be once she pins the gong on my bosom, a Commander of the British Empire. How about that for a title? Maybe the first person to get a C.B.E did, in some way or other, command the British Empire.
For uncivilized South Africans like me, it is very confusing. I already had an OBE, which means Order of the British Empire, and below that is an M (Member) B.E. and above, the CBE. But they are all Orders of the British Empire. Never mind, I am very grateful. When I was given the OBE the voice over at Buckingham Palace announced as I arrived in front of the Queen “for services to … Broadcasting” I had never been a broadcaster. This time my C.B.E. is for services to Catering. I have not been a caterer for 20 years. But then, why carp. I’d love to be honoured for my brilliant novels, but hey! Why whinge? I’m just delighted to get it.