Drinking with Boudicca
The most rambunctious dinner party guest
Imagine gathering a group of great women from the past together for an informal dinner party. The kind that happens around the kitchen table, rather than formally in a dining room.
I’ve already invited my late Aunty Jo, who is cackling over a dirty joke with Margaret Bourke-White, while Ruth Bader-Ginsberg observes the moment quietly from a high-backed chair in the corner.
Boudicca has just arrived with a clay bottle of something that vaporises slightly as she uncorks the top with a pop. This is vintage moonshine, circa 50AD. The party has most definitely started.
Unhooking her sword belt but keeping her dagger close, Boudicca slumps back in a kitchen chair and rubs her left calf thoughtfully.
We all know her from her final, valiant act of rebellion against the Romans. Before she led the Iceni tribe to march against their aggressors, though, Boudicca had spent years leading men, calming quarrels, and bringing up children. While her husband was much-loved amongst the disparate tribes-people, she was much respected for her wisdom and perspective on issues.
RBG stands up, doffs her empty glass wordlessly at the warrior, and watches impassively as the pale yellow, steaming liquid pours from the mouth of the clay bottle.
At first glance, these two women could not look more different: the 21st-century lawyer and the 1st-century queen. Yet the first glance they throw at each other makes the common connection clear: a ferocious focus and steely determination bind them in a common connection spanning two thousand years.
They drink, they talk, they laugh. Beyonce’s Pure/Honey gets played at full volume, and the queen of the Iceni starts to dance to the queen of pop. Dinner is delayed…