Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I am told that the theme for tonight's extravaganza is "Fire and Ice" and the Memsahib has selected an outfit that I must wear. She will of course be the star of the show as the Ice Queen, but I have to counter this with a smoking hot performance in a caped dinner jacket with "flame" inserts. The girls, Persephone and Arabella, will dress as Ice Princesses and Tarquin has a devilish outfit that emits dry ice from under a cape and at the bottom of the trousers.

Fellows is overseeing the placement of the torches that will line the driveway and the artists have already begun carving the huge blocks of ice. Extra staff have started to arrive to help with the preparations. Just had the Chief Fire Officer arrive to do his checks - or should I say, collect his case of wine - but we have the "all clear" now that I have promised to have our Estate Fire Engine brought up closer to the proceedings tonight.

Nobody has any inking of the "special" fireworks I have arranged... and that will remain a secret to the end. (But should help with the remodelling I have planned for one of the lower fields).

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The preparations for the New Year's Eve masked ball are well in hand. I am staying well out of the way, leaving the Memsahib to deal with the staff and and Clarence and Fellows to deal with the tradesmen who are constantly coming and going, delivering this or that. The weather forecast is for a bitterly cold evening - so that should keep the various ice sculptures going for longer and perhaps prevent the problem we had last year when a rapid thaw turned Michealangelo's David into Davina and the Duchess was somewhat surprised by the shape of the ice cube in her g & t !

Monday, December 29, 2008

I've decided to spend the day at the Club. Trains are pretty empty so I had the First Class carriage to myself. The Club is pretty quiet - a few of die-hards using it to escape their family for the day, a few stopping off for a rest whilst escorting their young fillies to the Sales, and a few beavering away at some end-of-year accounting.

The children are getting bored with the ice rink so I've told Fellows to have it removed. The chappies from the Christmas Organiser should be back for the next few days setting up the fireworks for New Year's Eve. (I was asked to tone them down this year as they over-shadowed the display along the Thames - stuff and nonsense, damned if I'll kow-tow to these media types and PR men. In fact I've got some special surprises this year courtesy of Drummond - Thank goodness he's still in the Regiment and has access to "equipment").

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Though cold, the weather seems bright and settled. I've summoned Osborne and told him to bring the Range Rover up to the house. I think we'll do a circuit of the grounds and make note of any maintenance that's needed. The Hunt went through on Boxing Day and whilst they tend to be very good - some damage is inevitable. Obviously we don't allow them near the deer park, but they can use much of the rest of the property to chase saboteurs or whatever. (I don't participate, myself. I prefer watching the rugger).

Cook has prepared us a hamper so that we can stop for lunch, but we will need to get off pretty soon if we intend to be back before dark.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The staff are beginning to trickle back to the house. (I think one day is enough for them to see their families). 

I enjoy Christmas dinner, but actually enjoy even more cook's imaginative use of the left-overs. The meat will, no doubt, find its way into various curries, soups, sandwiches, pies and pastas. The Christmas pudding - so nearly our downfall this year - will be sliced and crumbed into cook's amazing home made soft ice cream. (The problem with Christmas pudding is the tradition of setting it alight. I hadn't realised that cook had poured brandy on it, so I poured another half bottle of brandy over the pudding. As I struck a match the vapours caught fire and pillar of flame shot to the ceiling. My look of surprise is probably what preserved my eyebrows, fortunately Clarence was on hand and still sober enough to grab a fire extinguisher and dowse the inferno in CO2... leaving it smouldering but edible. In the new year I will have to get Fellows to sort out the scorch marks on the ceiling frescoes.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

The house is running on skeleton staff this morning. Having let many of them return to their families for a day or two we are having to make do. 

Dawkins had obviously hit the sherry last night as she's looking a particularly doddery this morning and grabs at her head every time a door slams. Breakfast is laid out on the sideboard and may be the cause of her evident queasiness. Today we have a choice of porridge, omelettes, kedgeree, kidneys, mushrooms, fried bread (in goose grease), sauteed potatoes, bacon and sausages from hand-reared pork from the Home Farm, lashings of hot coffee and tea from one of our plantation in Assam.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The turkey is of such a size that Dawkins had to rise in the early hours to start the ovens, stuff the turkey, and start the gentle roasting process. I am, of course, not interested in this as such - but was pleased to be greeted by the gentle smells wafting from the kitchens as the staff go about the duties this morning. Once Christmas lunch is cleared away we give the staff their gifts and then allow most of them to have a short break with their families, but for now they have a busy morning ahead.

Persephone and Arabella are hunting their presents, Tarquin has not yet emerged. The Memsahib is directing activities. Mater has arrived and at some point I'm sure that I will speak to my brothers (one is in trade, you know - the other a gentleman scientist somewhere in the Pacific). 

Once things have settled we will start the family presents. We will all gather in the drawing room and I will hand Clarence the key to the store rooms. The staff will then create a procession of the gifts as they bring one after another to the family - hand them over and then back out of the room. What fun we have.

Happy Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Trouble with the post

Trouble with the post

I've come over all "Victor Meldrew"….I don't bloody believe it. We waited until 8 o'clock last night ( well fellows and Dawkins did) and the hampers from Fortnum's failed to make an appearance. This sort of lack of customer focus is precisely why the country is going to ruin.

As soon as they opened this morning I asked Clarence to call the distribution department for me so I could give them a piece of my mind, and in the process perhaps teach them some valuable customer care lessons. I had barely spoken to the oik on the end of the phone before he launched into a tirade of abuse.  Before matters really took a turn for worse, I pointed out that its customers like me, that pay his wages and he should therefore show a little defference. Strangely he immediately put the phone down.

No matter, his marketting manager frequents my London club, and so I have made a call to him to ensure sufficient reprimand will be administered. Hampers promised for delivery before 11.00 this morning.( heavily discounted of course… )

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I know its early but Fellows has just called to say the turkey has arrived. Old man Tomlinson has made the effort to deliver it himself, God knows we deserve personal service having supported the butchers for so long. I remember when Grandfather told us about when he had the property seized, after the original Mr Tomlison was caught poaching Venison in the lower hundred. I'll never understand what they did, and for whom, to be presented with it back after the War.

Anyway Tomlinson arrived in his little van and it took two of them to carry the bird into the kitchen where Dawkins was waiting. I'm not sure whether this was actually a turkey or a small ostrich it was that big! By the time Dawkins had removed the giblets, which I generously allow her and fellows to share as a bit of a treat (what was known as humble pie in years gone by), it was nearly lunchtime. Tomlinson was rubbing the breasts, and thighs with butter (the turkey not Dawkins!) ready to cover it in some of the farm bacon. Completely ready the bird (again not Dawkins) was then placed carefully in the walk in cold room.

The venison and goose are already prepared and so its just the final ceremonial dousing of the pud to be completed before we are actually ready for the big day. That and inserting the proverbial sixpence are the only real manual labour I have to do for this Christmas lark, which is good considering the amount it seems to cost me.

That reminds me, Fortnum and Masons are delivering the hampers with all of the trimmings this afternoon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I returned to the stable block before leaving for my club. I wanted to make it clear to Osborne that he was in charge of the clean-up after yesterday's events. He was moping around  - claiming still to be sore from the incident with the gang-mower and the peacock. You can't give in to emotional blackmail. I told him to pull himself together and get on with it.

Fellows dropped me at the nearby railway station and I joined the tired, the flatulent, and the hung-over on the brief Monday morning journey to London. (Why do people insist on blowing out on curry on a Sunday night and then sharing the experience on the train the following morning? I must, again, impress upn the railway company that I would like my own coach re-instated rather than continuing to share these journeys with such uncouth travellers).

The club was quiet. I suppose many members have returned to the country for a Christmas break or gone abroad. It does mean that the gentle drone of snoring, the sibilance of whispered conversation, the creaking of leather as the members adjust their position, and distant tappity-tap of secretaries and their computers is much reduced and affords a more relaxed atmosphere.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well that was nice. Villagers had been arriving throughout the afternoon, knocking on the door to pay their respects and then head off down to the stable yard for the soiree at the ice rink. Some had even brought presents for the Memsahib and the children. Good sorts really, and many of them have been associated with the family for generations.

The St John's Ambulance had set up a tent for the inevtiable sprains and breaks that would occur - but we asked each villager to sign a disclaimer before entering the stable block.

Cook had laid on a good table. Even Tarquin had helped. He had declared that the Christmas theme demanded something special for the children of the village, and headed off down to the deer park first thing this morning. I had assumed he was going get a couple of 5-pointer stags to pull a wheeled sleigh. Actually he shot a couple of roe deer and spent the afternoon making what he called "Rudulph burgers" with minced venison and chilli patties in a bun with a cherry tomato on a coctail stick attached to the front. (The chilli was apparently to represent the heat of re-entry as Rudolf screamed across the skies). There were mince pies, plum puddings, and lashings of cream. A huge basin of mulled wine filled the air with a rich aroma of cloves, cinnamon and grape, and in the corner a grubby looking beggar was roasting chestnuts.

Villagers slipped and skidded across the ice, whooping with delight or screaming in pain depending on whether they were observing or feeling the crunch of bone against ice. How they enjoyed themselves! When the table was finally revealed the ice was forgotten and they fell ravenously upon the fare. For some, I suppose, it may be one of the few opportunities they will get to eat venison or drinke wine (however rough) this week.

At the end of the evening I made my customary brief speech, thanking them for all of their help throughout the year and wishing them a Happy Christmas... and when I had finished (some 55 minutes later) the local Constable led three hearty cheers for the family. I was so proud that even after all this time these traditions can be carried on (with little or no coercion).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I think Osborne has been on the bottle. He was meant to be towing the gang mower to tidy up the pastures that we can see from the house. One minute he was there. The next minute he'd swerved to avoid one of the peacocks and disappeared into the ha-ha. Feathers everywhere!  

Must admit it did make us chuckle, particularly when Fellows went to help - I mean he's well-meaning but pretty useless. 

Good job it's a ha-ha and not a moat really.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I went to my Club in London. It gave me an opportunity to catch up with some fellow gentlemen of means and pop in to some Government departments to offer them advice and guidance whilst I was nearby.

I had thought of going to the country for the weekend but decided that it would be tiresome to fight my way through the traffic that infests the roads. With the ice rink now installed and operational in the stable block I think it will probably be a quiet family weekend at home, though I might suggest to the Memsahib that we invite the village to join us on Sunday evening. (I do try to remember my duties, even though we no longer operate a feudal system; we could probably hand out some mince pies and mulled wine - it will help get rid of some the rough stuff and free up some room in the cellars).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yesterday evening I thought that I'd have a quiet dinner in a Worcester restuarant. It didn't work out as I had planned. A number of my workers turned up (they had obviously been saving up to have a special night out) and seeing me in the corner asked if they could sit with me. It would have been churlish to refuse as some of them are very dedicated and look up to me as their inspiration and leader. I must say that their table manners can leave a lot to be desired. Clarence would have been horrified, but I decided to maintain my beneficent demeanour and make no comment.

On leaving the restaurant I went to the infamous "Cardinal's Hat". This public house has developed a degree of notoriety for both its hospitality and its occasional live music. This was one such music night and the house band put on a fine show, collecting money for charity. Over all, it was a fine night - and I'm sure that the lingering smells of the great unwashed will be eradicated by Clarence (otherwise I'll tell him to burn the clothes I was wearing). 

I must say, if the family saw me with these ruffians they would be shocked and I'm sure the Memsahib would have an attack of the vapours. Deep down, however, they are the salt of the earth and I quite enjoy these evenings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Memsahib phoned. Apparently the logistics man from the store in Knightsbridge had been on the phone to check we were able to accept delivery of the gifts we had ordered. She's done a splendid job and arranged to bring in help from the village to unload the vehicles. Tarquin will also be in attendance - but probably only keeping an eye on some of the young fillies.

Because of their size, several of the local roads have been closed to allow the fleet of lorries to get through unimpeded. At least it will all be done without my attendance.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It all becomes clear now.

The man from the CAA phoned back. He asked if I was the owner of the laser display and I proudly said that I was. He had been receiving complaints from pilots bound for Heathrow and Gatwick who had been startled by the presence of a reindeer and a sleigh appearing alongside their aircraft. He asked if the display could be turned off or at least reduced in intensity. Feeling cheerful this morning, I agreed.

I phoned Fellows and instructed him to call the Christmas Organiser and tell him to tune down the lasers. (I suppose this is why you put them under test - to discover any minor problems they may cause). It was at this point that Fellows pointed out that the edge of this morning's metal object was not frayed at all but crisply cut, and could the lasers have actually caught a wing tip? Pondering this I told him to bury the object and not tell a soul.
It seems we may have a small problem. As I tried to leave this morning I found part of the drive blocked by what I can only describe as a huge shiny metal object. I could not be bothered to investigate further, so drove round it and phoned Fellows to deal with it.

Fellows phoned back whilst I was still driving through Warwickshire. He had enlisted the help of Osbourne and they had shifted the object. It appeared to be part of an aircraft. Puzzling!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The phone rang and Clarence informed me that "a gentlemen from the CAA" wished to speak with me. I was not in a mood for officialdom, so told Clarence to take a message, and arrange for the chap to call me back tomorrow.
As I returned home from the Club I could see lights carving shapes in the night sky. It is clear that the Christmas Organiser and his team have been busy.

The tree is now in pride of place on the terrace. The house is decorated, and the lights are under test. He explained that traditional tree lights were "infra dig" and that we should do something more adventurous by decorating the tree with a new type of light and then illuminating the area further with lasers. As I write the lasers are displaying a reindeer and sleigh moving across the overcast sky.

I'm not sure about all this but I'm sure that Persephone and Arabella will be delighted.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I really don't understand why people make so much fuss about Christmas shopping. The evening news show vast throngs of the great unwashed filling the pavements as they rush frantically from one shop to the next. The Memsahib and the girls like shopping, and I too enjoy selecting suitable gifts. Young Tarquin is less enthused, but shows flashes of interest when suitable gifts are in view.

With this in mind we did some of our Christmas shopping today. That nice Mr Fathead from a certain store in Knightsbridge came to the house with a computerised catalogues from which we could select suitable gifts. He waited respectfully below stairs (where cook was selecting Christmas fare with the gentleman from Fortnum and Mason's). The whole process was very civilised, and the chosen gifts will be wrapped and delivered in several vans bearing the shop's livery, to the house during the week. I really don't understand why everyone doesn't do this.

The Christmas tree has been delayed, so the festive decorations are not as yet decking the halls. The tree has arrived from Norway, but is currently stuck under a bridge, on the way from the docks. The Suffolk Police (it was offloaded in Felixstowe - they wanted to dock in Harwich, but I really didn't want the tree to be in Essex any longer than necessary) assure me it will be clear and on its way by morning. I had to delay the Christmas Organiser who will oversee the placement of the tree on the terrace, and the subsequent dressing of the tree and the house. (Dungeness B has been warned of the extra supply that we will need - the last thing we want is to black out the county as we did last year - though it did prove a great cause of amusement at the time).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weather was a bit rum today. Shame really, I'd planned a shooting party.

The beaters were all arranged, the guns prepared, the hampers loaded. The weather was so foul that Memsahib said that it was unfair on the staff to expect them to go out in such conditions and the wind would make it impossible to hit the birds, so it would be a waste. She made sense - particularly after the problems at the hatchery earlier in the year.

I paid off the beaters with a few shillings and sent them home. There were mutterings of discontent, but I certainly wasn't going to pay them for not beating!

Gussie, Quentin, Kipper and the chums came to the house and we broke open the hampers early and scoffed our way through cook's goodies and several fine bottles of port. (That reminds me, I still haven't found any of the USB Port).

Friday, December 12, 2008

I was inspired by the sight of Somerset House (reminds me of our stable block) and how during the winter festivities they turn part of the courtyard over to an ice rink. Like her Britannic Majesty, I too have some German heritage and in winter feel a visceral urge to go to ski or skate or have a snow fair.

I have been thinking about having an artificial ice rink installed. At first the dilemma was where it should go - the East terrace? the South terrace? but we still have the tree to consider.

I have decided to follow the Somerset House model and install the rink in one corner of the stable yeard (away from the where the cars are kept). Hopefully this will prove great fun over the next few weeks. I shall have cook set up a second kitchen so that Clarence or Fellows can provide mulled wine and small cooked snacks. It will be nice to see Arabella, Persephone and the Memsahib doing their spirals, Salchows, toe loops, Lutz and Axels in their slinky outfits.

Closer to Christmas we'll host an evening for the local villagers (note, I'll have to find someone to roast chestnuts on an open brazier - I might have to send Fellows down to the east End of London to find someone suitable). The choir from the cathedral can provide carols (the Bishop owes me a favour due to my ongoing silence regarding a certain indiscretion).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Last night I witnessed a strange event. Stuck in Worcester I spent some time exercising - I should explain once more that my preferred exercise is with Indian clubs in the privacy of home, but here I tend to resort to running. Indeed rather than chance being accosted by the working classes I do not run in the streets or byeways, but rather in what the hotel laughingly calls a gymnasium (most of our bathrooms at home are bigger than this) on a treadmill (which reminds me of the mills that the family once owned). No masseuse was available to give me a rub down after, so I showered and went out into the night.

I wandered in to a local pub and was immedeiately accosted by the friendly atmosphere and the peculiar smells. It became clear after a few minutes that in order eke out their meagre rations the working classes had pooled their food and decided to share it out amongst them. I had never seen anything quite like it and was choked by their kindness in inviting me to partake. It would have been rude to say no, so I picked at various offerings. Most were pastry covered comestibles filled with God knows what. One chap from North Britain kept muttering about neeps and tatties and plunging into one of the offering.

All in all a strange evening. It is interesting to see how the working classes spend their time (though it is probably best to observe from a distance!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Financial Assistance

I have a problem with the jalopy. The filler cap won't open correctly. When this tankful is done I'll have to switch to another car. We've had several on order but have re-evaluated the options. The Memsahib agrees (not that it really mattered!) so we have cancelled both Maybachs and the Phantom, and have decided to bolster the Newport Pagnall (what a ridiculous place to build cars of such quality - surely the Home Counties would be more appropriate... and probably wouldn't have Union problems) economy by ordering 7 new Astons. We thought one in each colour of the rainbow, that would mean a new one to drive each day of the week!! How fantastic is that!

After all, Every Little Helps…. So I'm told!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm distraught. The news from Aston Martin is bad - 600 people in
danger of being laid off and the unions making threatening noises.

I like Aston Martins (there's probably one or two still in the stable
block) and I think I have one on order (or was that a Maserati)?

When I first heard of the possible lay-offs I did think of putting in
an offer, but now the Unions are involved they can forget it.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The cheek of it.

I have just been through the mail. We have started to receive Christmas Cards from the great and the good. In amongst them I found a card with an Italian postmark and and signed jointly by Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Ferragamo, and Gucci thanking the Memsahib for her custom and offering to open up again at any time she "and your lovely daughters" are in Florence. I wondered where they had disappeared off to whilst I was enjoying breakfast in the Castillo. I suspect that Fellows may have been transporting more items back than he did going out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I was horrified to hear of the jewllery raid on my favoured Harry Winston in Paris. Fortunately, Fellows had stopped off on his route back from Italy with the luggage to pick up a little something that I had ordered for the Memsahib. It was a good job he wasn't stopped at customs - what with the "gift" from Harry Winston and several Boticelli's that I took a liking to in Florence.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So the rumour is that the Bank of England will be lowering interest rates again. I'm glad that the loans I have made to my bank are secured with my own rates and are not tied to the Bank. Though I do expect they will try to renegotiate after the news is confirmed. They have about as much chance of success as Clarence has of playing rugger for England (though I'm sure he'd enyoy the opportunity, it may not be entirely an aspect of his sporting prowess).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Trouble ahead..

Trouble ahead..

Having arrived back at the ranch, as they say ( stately pile I say….), I took the bath that Clarence had helpfully provided. Having not spared the horses in the Jalopy on the way down I found myself with an hour or two more than expected before joining the gang on the jolly to the gallery.

As I haven't ventured into the west wing for a while, since I caught the "Memsahib" messing with sequins in the ball room, in fact, I thought a tour of the outlying quarters was in order. Trouble started when yet again I heard girlish giggling coming from the said ball room. At first I thought it was just Arabella or Persephone high japing, but upon closer inspection I could clearly see the back of the Memsahib in a little black number.

Just as I thought , that bloody new stable lad, Raoul, from Argentina or Peru or somebloodywhere, was there, prancing around to the sound of the tango!

The blood coursed through my veins, and I span around on my heels and thought about fetching my Purdie and getting my avenge!!!!

On the way to the amoury, I had an change of heart and decided to calm down with a glass of pink gin and listened to Betty's speech on the wireless before dressing and attending to the important duties of enjoying ones self with chums. The Stable lad can wait…  

It was too nice today to spend much time in the office. The staff seemed to be working hard and didn't need a great deal of coercion. I made the most of this and headed back home. I have a busy evening planned and need plenty of time getting ready. (I phoned Clarence to remind him - my bath will be ready, and a selected outfit pressed and laid out for me).

This evening I have invited a few chums and some business contacts to come and meet me at the National Portrait Gallery for a viewing of some of the family paintings that we have out on loan. No doubt we will enjoy a few glasses of festive cheer (though I made it clear that the fineest stock from home could not be used, they may use some of the domestic stock).

This evening will also an opportunity to meet with some aspiring artists who have been asking if I'd sit for them. I will have to give in at some point as there is still a large space on the wall at the back of the mezzanine landing on the grand staircase at home where traditionally has hung the portrait of the master of the house. Since father moved on, the space has cried out to be filled.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Still in Worcester trying to get over the humiliation of yesterday. I went out with the client and my staff to a local restaurant. The occasion was a celebration of the achievements completed to date.

What had not been clear was the fact that I was expected to "participate". This went beyond the normal level of participation (i.e. paying the bill). This time I was expected to dress up and cook! I was up to my elbows in salad, pasta, pizza dough, and balsamic vinegar. I'll never get the stuff out from beneath my finger nails - in fact I have had to book a manicure.

I know that I try to connect with the common man - but sometimes I fear I go too far.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Clarence woke me early today in anticipation of another run up to the Midlands in the Jalopy. He had thoughtfully laid out the cashmere Gillet that matched the Cashmere jumper, and scarf. No chance of getting a tad chilly on the frosty run up to Worcester.

Clarence had also sent Fellows out to de ice the drive and gates, which was more to do with trying to annoy Fellows than necessity demanded

After a delicious breakfast of kedgeree and black coffee to keep out the cold, I entered the sumptuous warmth and luxury of the car…(Clarence again, I think he wants a day off, the bloody creep..) No staff, no family, just me and the open road. Turn up the "Steppenwolf" and hit the accelerator..and start to sing "Born to be Wild Rich".
I have always enjoyed life in one club or another. Some are little more circumspect than others, and I do like to maintain the privacy of myself and my family (it cuts down on the begging letters to start with).

I was a little concerned recently when this photo appeared in the press. Fortunately, whilst the apalling "photoshop" editing left tell tales of a certain person's presence - it was not enough to be identified.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's a bit much.

We were having a quiet moring in the piazza, drinking coffee and reading the English papers whenb my Blackberry buzzed. 

Damn it. It's the weekend, and we are have a quiet break.

It's Fosdick from the bank. On a Sunday! Upshot of the message seems to be that the bank finds itself a little embrrassed by the current crisis and wants to borrow some money.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Fellows met us at the airport. The hotel was not up to standard so he went to see the Italian side of the family and arranged for us to stay there. We don't usually do this in case they decide to come back and stay with us...(and there's history there). So we found ourselves in a convoy of limousines with outriders approaching the Castillo. A guard of honour with flaming torches lined the rain-sodden red carpet as we went up the steps to meet cousin Silvio and his lovely wife Radiccio (striking red hair and a bitter sense of irony). We were shown to our suite and settled in. The room was about a hectare in size with marble floors, ornate frescoed ceilings, and a splendid rendition of the Adoration of the Magi on the wall.

The reason for the trip was an Uncle's brithday. The reason for the location was a family joke. Several great grandfathers back one of my ancestors made it to Firenze on his Grand Tour (hence the Italienate garden beyond the west terrace at home). He loved Firenze - the art, the gardens, the churches, the frescoes and the statuary. It was this last item that was his downfall, but more on that later. He stayed in Firenze for several months and had a fleeting liaison with the daughter of the noble house of Borgia-Berlusconi. All went well as long they kept their liaison secret, but when he became notorious after the incident, she spoke up for him - their friendship became public knowledge and he was run out of town not realising until years later that he had started a new branch of the family.

The incident? Yes. Well. 
I mentioned before that Firenze is famous for its statues. One in particular is known by everyone - the Venus de Milo. In a childish prank he tried to dance with the staue to impress his lover. The parts of the statue fell off and he panicked. That was it. The broken bits were brought home to England as a trophy and now reside in a room at home that we mischievously call the "arm"oury.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You may find this hard to believe, but did you know that you cannot order quail's eggs in aspic followed by Crepes Suzette on these flights. In truth our requests fell on deaf ears and we were given a rather paltry choice - indeed less than I expect on cook's day off. I asked the airline servant if I could speak to the chef but he seemed affronted by the suggestion and tried to fob me off by saying they don't have an in-flight chef. Amazing.

I asked for a drink for the Memsahib and myself while we waited for what can only be described as chicken jerky. The servant put down a plastic tumbler, a microscopic bottle of gin and some tonic in a can. We sat there waiting for him to realise his error and replace the tumbler with lead crystal - in the end I had to call him back. He again fobbed me off and we had to make do with the plastic. Again we waited for the can and the bottle to be opened and poured (obviously any thought of a decent decanter was out of the question). In the end, gasping for a drink I helped the Memsahib (I've see Fellows and Clarence open cans when out shooting) and we settled back.

I will have to write a stiff letter to airline on my return, remonstrating with them regarding the standard of domestic staff they use on their flights and their lack of proper catering facilities. (Don't get me started on the nonsense over the red carpet).
Travel today lacks much of the glamour of the bygone era. I really don't enjoy it - it used to be limited to the well to do, now it appears that anyone who wishes can get a passport and board a plane. It used to be that people would dress to travel, now they appear to turn up in tracksuits, shorts or God knows what. You used to be able to wander in at the last minute, but now... ah well actually that hasn't changed for us, but I'm told that the great unwashed spend hours queueing before spending more time shopping before going to the boarding gate. (You really do have to question whether some of these people should be allowed to travel at all).

Gatwick Airport as you probably realise is built on what used to be Gatwick Racecourse - which is where the family, using one of the outlying farms on the estate, used to race their horses. Over the years we sold this off to BAA - this helped finance the purchase of a small island. These links mean that we have the advantage of using the VIP Suite which keeps us away from the masses of shell-suited riff-raff. Obviously when we board the plane we turn left, which again keeps us apart and allows a modicum of comfort for the journey.

Anyway, must go. Memsahib is ready and the journey must begin.

Being away again this weekend the box at Twickers will be used by the Windsor crowd. Nothing to dreadful happened last weekend (except for the score on the pitch) - so let's hope they behave again for the All Black's game. (During a replay of last weekend's game, I noticed young Windsor out in the crowd - ungrateful yob). 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The thought of working again today was too much. I have decided to rest at home. The staff in Worcester can fend for themselves.

Clarence (mother would have called him a "sensitive" man) is wandering around like a lost sheep without Fellows to bark at. Fellows takes it all in good heart, but I suspect he is enjoying the break afforded by the drive across Europe.

Exposure to some of the staff has opened my eyes to a new world of gadgets and technology. It started with this computer, progressed to the mobile phone (which is both a phone, a music player - see earlier comment about "Sweet Home Alabama" - and is capable of linking to the interwebnet or something). My latest gadget has been a triumph. It is an automatic watch winder. I can now sit and watch the gadget wind my automatic self-winding watch without having to trouble my wrist to move. This is ideal for a lazy day such as this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well it was a nice day and it seemed churlish to hide at my club again so I decided to take the old jalopy for a spin up to the Midlands. Clarence was good enough to wake me early. dressed and ready I headed out into the dark winter morning. I was glad of the driving gloves and silk scarf as the gentle throbbing below turned into a roar as the old jalopy exploded out of the stable yard and started down the drive.

It was a good journey but I must have a word with cook regarding provisions. She had left me some apples but they were far too juicy and I ended up with pectin stains on my silk tie. If I'd been going anywhere important I'd have been livid. I phoned Clarence and told him to get me a replacement as I would obviously discard this tie at the earliest opportunity.

I checked up on staff matters in Worcester during the morning and then headed back home where a quiet soiree is planned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One of the things I have learnt as a result of the weekend is to trust my instincts.

I have decided that we should send the luggage on ahead. Fellows or even Clarence can drive it out to Italy and then we will neither have the irritation of check-in, the excess baggage fees, nor the frustration of missing bags on our return. Another idea is to travel light and just buy outfits once there, but there will be insufficient time for bespoke tailoring or couture in the agenda. So I have decided that Fellows will travel on ahead - and that way he can also check out the hotel for us before we arrive (we never stay with the Italian side of the family if we can help it).
Good news. The eight missing bags of Memsahib's luggage have been returned.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Back home. These foreign places are all very fine, but you cannot beat your own home. (Details of the trip to follow when all of the paperwork is done - excess baggage etc.)

Decided to head for the club today. Must say the weather is a bit brisk!
This credit crunch is becoming a bit of a bore. I have had Gordon and Alastair on the phone looking for ideas about what they should do. Apparently standards in public life are such that resignation or a locked room with a bottle of whiskey and a Webley are no longer an option.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I will spend some time at my club today whilst preparations are made at home.

We will be away at the weekend (but more on that later) and Clarence (the Butler) will start today selecting suitable outfits and packing for us. This is one of the few times that normally unflappable Clarence gets flustered - never quite sure what the weather might be doing - and worried that the traditions and mores of the location may require some different approach to that with which he is familiar. It is never good to be around when Clarence is flustered, so the family leaves him to it and steers well clear.

Being away this weekend has meant that I was able to pass on use of my box at Twickers to some minor Royals. I do hope they behave - last time they used our box we had to replace all of the crystal, restock the refrigerators and have it redecorated to cover all the graffiti - "Dads got big ears", "Chelsy for the Cup", "Kate loves Will's Chopper" and so forth.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It was strange to witness the denizens of these West Midland towns as they meet up after they have finished whatever they do during the day. I saw young women out alone with young men (no chaperones); I saw young men who had evidently not bothered to change from their work clothes; I saw one club that required large security men (reminded me a bit of my Sikh batman) to control access; and I saw public houses with rowdy crowds, and staggering patrons.

The occasion - saying farewell to the trusty retainer - went on well into the late evening. It had been decided that we would use an Indian restaurant of some notoriety. I was appalled to realise that I was expected to serve myself (after all, it's not breakfast - where cook leaves the various choices on the sideboard for selection). It was astonishing how many people turned up and evident that said retainer had become quite well known during the time he's been with me.

We moved on to one of the local hostelries, and then moved on again to another. This last stop was a rowdy affair, and had several of my other staff not been present I might have feared for my safety among such rabble.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spending as much time as I do in Worcester, I have obviously had to get local staff. This week one of my most trusted and educated retainers will be leaving to pursue some futile existence in the fens. After such stirling service for the past two years, it is only right that I wish him farewell in a manner that is appropriate to such staff. To this end we will be hosting a meal this evening at a restaurant of his choosing (heavens knows where or what this will involve) and then progress to a public house to wish him bon voyage.

I do hope that things remain seemly, though I might have a quiet word with the Chief Constable to makes sure we have no unfortunate surprises.
After the debacle that was the heron I decided that real food was required. So last night I gathered several of the congenial, presentable, and well-behaved members of staff and took them to Worcester's finest restuarant (it's such a drag eating by oneself).

The Maitr d' was polite enough not to ask what I was doing with such a rag-tag band, but the look of pity (or was it embarrassment) was clear.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Well that's the last time we'll eat heron. Very strange flavour. Mixture of muddy and fishy (much worse than the swan). Not much meat on the legs either (reminds me of one of the maids).

Took a lot of port to wash away the taste.

Monday, November 17, 2008



Aaarrrggghhh! I'm hungry and dinner isn't ready. How long can it take to pluck, gut and cook a heron for gods sake.  Cheesy comestibles and a glass of port until dinner arrives please Fellows, and make it quick!

After the weekend I decided a quiet day at the club was called for. The soothing sight of the mighty Thames flowing by would ease the brain back into gear.

Making my way to town is a bit of pain nowadays. In the old days, we had our own signal and halt on the railway line and the trains would stop for us (Great Great Grandfather negotiated this as part of the sale of some land to the railway in the mid 1800s). Now I have to drive (or be driven) to a public railway station and travel with the great unwashed. I did approach the railway company and request my own carriage and buffet, but they were disinclined to oblige.


Heard a terrible kerfuffle outside the orangery last night from the direction of the ornamental ponds and gardens. Told Osborne to check the grounds. Jeeves and Wooster went with him, tails wagging. Osbourne reports something had been at the koi.

Before dawn this morning Osborne had erected the hide, and I found myself and Purdey waiting for the thief. Just as dawn broke the bally heron landed amongst the lillies and bold as brass plucked another from the pond.

Blam, Blam, good shot, what ooh! 

Osbourne fished the bugger out and took it straight to Dawkins. As I took off the Barbour and put Purdey away, I heard Dawkins in the kitchen..."more Game" she said to Osbourne, "I bet this will be almost as good as the swan we had last week... "

I can taste dinner already!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Damn that John Logie Baird.

The Memsahib has been watching some television programme called Strictly Come Dancing. As a result she has asked the staff to lift the carpet in the old ballroom. I fear that this will not end well. Young Arabella and Persephone have been whispering a lot and breaking into fits of the giggles when I have approached and I have even seen one of the maids sewing sequins onto one of my old dress shirts. Boarding school may be a suitable way ahead for the girls, and I suppose I could alsways sack the maid... but the Memsahib is another kettle of fish (the old trout).

I am very sure this will not end well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bloody hell - the convicts we transported all those years ago came back to Twickers and gave our brave lads a bit of a slap.
Weekends tend to be interrupted by the realities of owning a large estate. There is always something that needs to be checked, mended, replaced or installed. 

During the summer many of these jobs get pushed to one side by social commitments (the local paper still insists on mentioning the incident during the weekend croquet tournament - it was unfortunate, but hardly our fault; and there's no reason to believe that the Duchess will not make a full recovery given time. The surgeon did manage to recover the ball, the mallet and the hoop and return them in time for the next weekend's game).

This weekend I have had to get Osbourne to look at the electric gates. They are very good, and open promptly when the old jalopy approaches, or when at a visitor's behest we press the button from the house. They do tend to snap shut however, and this morning Persephone was upset by the sight of a neighbour's (one of the staff I think) pet cat bisected by the alacrity of the closing mechanism. Shame it wasn't their rabbit - she could have given it to cook for the domestic staff's supper. Osbourne assures me that some febrile nobodys called the Health and Safety Executive would not approve and agreed to adjust the counterbalance and fit a failsafe sensor (seems to me the dead cat serves that purpose). 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Being Friday I headed for my Club in town.

I like Fridays at the Club, I can sit there with like-minded people, gazing down at the Thames as it sweeps by, reading The Times, and drinking fine coffee. Then after luncheon, and maybe a glass of port, I settle back in my chair and perhaps take a quiet nap before heading back to the Memsahib and the heirs for a weekend on looking after the estate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Her Majesty, God Bless Her, has interesting challenges from her offspring. It is in this spirit that I take heart. If Her Majesty can continue despite such challenges, so can I. At least I don't have to worry about the heirs talking to trees, ignorant of science, or wedded to their damned horses.

I have never understood the allure of long hair on men. It would appear that Tarquin has a different view and that this is now in vogue as a way of contrasting with my own follicly sparse scalp. I'm sure that I am not the first to undergo this hirsute contrast, but at present feel that the family allocation of hair follicles is unevenly balanced.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I went along to a public house frequented by the staff - I was trying to stem any gossip that may spread the identity of this journal. How strange the life of this underclass - with their beer, their flippant approach to life, and peculiar camaraderie.

I tried to blend into the background, but obviously that is not so easy when one is so well known and so highly regarded.

It appears that this journal has been discovered by some of my staff and labourers.

I saw one of the more educated fellows reading an earlier entry. To be fair, he was following the lines with his finger across the computer screen and mouthing the words (with some evident difficulty). I have no doubt he will discuss this with some of the rougher elements when they meet in some pub or other. I must consider a greater degree of circumspection.
One of the disadvantages of taking employment is that they have many formal processes that have to be followed.

When we just ran the estate, the farm managers would take care of the labourers and so forth. Now I find that I have to waste my precious time with such trivia as assessing the labourers and staff who take leadership, direction and inspiration from me. This can be onerous and I found myself looking for new epithets and descriptions that may adequately describe their performance. Some phrases that I found myself using included: Delusions of adequacy; wretched; poorly dressed; inarticulate; oaf; execrable choice of car; and bemused. (You have to understand that many of these people probably went to secondary modern or comprehensive schools and as such are making the best they can of life - but are obviously of limited intellect).

Monday, November 10, 2008


Unusually, feeling a tad guilty about ranting at Fellows.

Was on a promise with "the Memsahib" last night but fear too much "stocktaking" in the cellars may have left the  auld trouser monster ( or Python Lee Jackson, as the Memsahib likes to call him)  somewhat less attentive than she would have wanted.

Shall have to keep an eye on her, as it seems we have employed a new stable lad today. I certainly hadn't approved that addition to staffing!

Tree fall.

Blasted weather is causing havoc with the estate. Fellows came in like a drowned rat this morning, complaining that the severe gale last night has damaged the thatch on the stable roof. He said he was out in the "bloody rain" for hours last night trying to resolve the problem, which he seems to have done. However now he says I wont be able to drive the old Jalopy out of the main gates as there is a tree down over the drive… What does he expect?  Me to move it myself??  Good god man, get cook and an chainsaw and get it moved! And he's dripped all over the parque in the entrance.  Bloody riff raff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

As I continue into the second day of my inventory - plagued by the mouth-watering smells emanating from the kitchens as cook prepares luncheon - I reflect on a drink that I have heard my technical chaps mention, but never really been interested enough to question though must say that it sound intriguing. I often hear them talking about USB Port. Now I've spoken to a friendly sommelier, and also my normal importer, but neither of them has come across this label.

Was pleased to see I had two barrels more than expected of the '96

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taking advantage of the weekend lull and appalling weather I decided to retreat to the Wine Cellar and begin my annual inventory. It is nothing too grand any more, as I'm down to my last few hundred barrels and cases though some do date back to Grandfather's time. Beneath the north range and hidden from prying eyes the vaulted chambers stretch beyond the witness of electric light (installed by Pater so he could find the Montrachet).

It occurred to me that rooms the Cardinals Hat Public House (an hostelry to which I was introduced by my staff one evening a year or so back) reminds me of the cellar's chambers or is that just because it specializes in Austrian beer - and could not really be used to hide relatives for years on end.

Enough day dreaming, there are bottles to count and turn. A task that I do not shirk, nor delegate to Fellows or the Butler though the latter does have a key, but is under continual surveillance once in the cellar by hidden CCTV cameras. I suspect this will take the rest of the day and much of tomorrow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dropping into and onto the Whitehouse

Continuing my notes on the infrastructure and lodgings in the Worcester area, I should mention that although Worcester is not served well by hotels at all - for example, I have found none with in-house masseurs or helipads - however I should let concerned readers know that my regular lodgings are at least acceptable at the local hotel the Worcester Whitehouse. Though rooms are tremendously pokey (it's not really possible to play tennis or rugger in the rooms - have tried, broke a lamp!), and there are only standard sized double beds (one likes to have room to sprawl at night), it at least has a certain pretension to grandeur about it (relative to the general disposition of the town, clearly!) including but not limited to a winding staircase in the centre of the building. A reasonable selection of whiskeys can be had, including with breakfast, and the bar staff are fairly well spoken and suitably deferential. There is a gymnasium and a paddling pool (they have the audacity to call it a swimming pool, but for a man of my broad shoulders, it is but a mere stroke from one end to the other), however the gym is lacking the Indian clubs which I am very fond of when exercising in my hereditary long johns at home.

I realised just after the historic victory of Senator - now President Elect - Obama this week, the not insubstantial irony of my own arrival at this particular, parochial Whitehouse whilst he must be preparing to install himself, his family, and by all accounts a new puppy, at the real Whitehouse!

I realised I should have spotted the portents of his success in advance. Let me explain ... In the car park of the Worcester Whitehouse I am sad to report the PoshMobile is often blighted by the outputs from passing seagulls, who appear to use my vehicle alone as target practice. The windscreen and bonnet is often plastered with their sticky oomska and it takes not inconsiderable efforts on behalf of the staff to clean it off satisfactorily. Suddenly it struck me (the idea, not the seagull droppings, I hasten to add)! All the time I have been lying awake listening to these clamouring birds, clearly lost and far from their homes by the sea, and even as they deposit in great quantities onto my paintwork, they have been issuing the clarion call of the Obama campaign:

"Yess we caaaaaaaaaaan! Yes we caaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

* * *

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It has been a busy day, leaving me few opportunities to consider the wider aspects of life such as what must it be like to live in the Midlands? where do their domestic staff live? where do these people keep their horses? or ride them? As I look around Worcester I detect very few, if any, houses with stables, or a paddock. They seem to get by, however.

On a more parochial level I have also been asking myself whether I need to upbraid my immediate staff who consistently fail to dress for dinner when we meet in the evening? Though Mother would probably question whether I should really be mixing with the staff at all?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

As I drove up to Worcester this morning I had time to reflect on the US Election of Barack Obama as the new President and what a change this may make. Of course it is a matter of record that his father came from Kenya. I often wonder if he was on one of our family plantations and whether I met him when visiting as a child during one of Pater's inspection trips.

I also observed that it always seems strange driving through Warwickshire, knowing that most of the county was family land until the mid 1800s. (Indeed, our Grinling Gibbons armoire came from the Castle).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Well it can be annoying how things work out.

I had planned to visit Worcester, but yesterday the heirs were playing badminton in the Long Gallery and one of them (they won't admit who) hit one of the chandeliers. Several of the crystal droplets were shattered, and the Memsahib was a bit flustered.

I decided to stay put in order to oversee the ordering of correct replacements from Swarovski. It was also necessary to have words with Nanny: the children should not be playing racquet sports in the Long Gallery. The real tennis or squash courts can be used if they must play.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What a performance

Must visit the "customer" this week - bit of a nuisance, but then I suppose it provides some relief from constant administrations of the 'trouble and strife' (I learnt that little piece of argot from a training weekend in the East End; salt of the earth, the lot of them. Apparently they even have a regular TV series just about their lives. I imagine it's the kind of thing watched below stairs.)

Where was I? Ah yes - bit of a fracas currently - something do with the "performance" of the "system" we have put in for them. Apparently some people are having to wait longer than they expected for results - I can understand their frustrations, having had to wait over 3 minutes for crumpets and port the other evening in the library. In any case, I have asked a few of the technical wonks (odd chaps - more to follow) to look into it all and see if the nobs and cogs of said system cannot be more thoroughly oiled and lubricated. Surely it can't take much more than that.

Besides, I cannot understand this never-ending yearning for speed in the modern world. What happened to just letting life's events unfurl in a natural and orderly fashion? I see too many young turks rushing hither and thither, all of a pother. They are understandably trying hard to impress me and others of my seniority and standing, but I ask you, when did you ever see Winston Churchill break into a sweat? Precisely.

As an example - as I drive the jalopy in a Worcesterly direction this week, I will never be exceeding 70 mph. (I have to confess, by the way, it's a bit of a nuisance having to drive myself at these times, and in such a small car; but I have made a deliberate decision not to take one of the proper cars to work as it might just been seen as too damned ostentatious. In my position, perception is everything, so I with great restraint I limit myself to this rather compact Jaguar number. Quite nice inside I suppose, but nowhere to really put your feet up. It is therefore with substantial irony I refer to it as the "PoshMobile"!) More haste, less speed, I say. Ghandi said "There is more to life than simply increasing its speed." Scientists tell us that the fastest animal on earth, with a top speed of 120 feet per second, is a cow that has been dropped out of a helicopter. If I was going any faster in the PoshMobile, I wouldn't be able to spot them coming and steer carefully out of the way, would I? I rest my case.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Of Fine Music, Leather and Cocktails

I must say that I rather like live music. This is how I got caught up in the moment and ended up singing at an open mike night in some bar in the back streets of Worcester. Now I find that I am rather hooked on the legendary local "Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes"... and always join in during their rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama". This may seem a little anachronistic until you realise that the city of Montgomery Alabama was named after one of the ancestors so I've always had an affinity for it. In fact, it also features as the ring tone on my mobile phone.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, live music. The Memsahib, Lady Hermione, had decided that we should have a family evening listening to some music as I had been out the previous evening and Tarquin and the girls should see more of their father. After cook had cleared away from dinner we retired to the drawing room where a fine string quartet played a selection of Bach, Handel, Elgar, Manilow, E.L.O. and Winehouse. A most satisfactory evening.

Took a stroll down to the stable block earlier - weather hasn't been conducive to a run on the motorcycle but nevertheless I dressed in the full leathers over the underlying silk and sat astride the beast for a while, imagining the sinuous curves of the country lanes and seductive views of rivers, lakes and towns as I sped by. Persephone interrupted my reverie as she clattered back onto the cobbles and leapt from her steaming mount. She enjoys nothing more than a canter round the estate.

Must go. Neighbours are starting to arrive for cocktails before lunch.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bit of thick head this morning after yesterday's rugger. Met up with several chums to watch the game, may have over-dosed slightly from the hip flask. Good job we were using Farting Freddy's chopper for the trip, the boys in blue may not have been too impressed if we were in the car.

Game was a rum affair. The magnificent Bath were trounced in the Quarter finals of the Cup by the riff-raff from Cardiff (should never have let them out of the mines, in my opinion). Rather put a damper on the planned celebrations (a de-bagging contest - two teams heading back to the chopper had to gather as many pairs of trousers as they could - loser pays for dinner at Groucho's next Saturday; convinced we'd win, had told Memsahib I was having A Night at the Opera). Bath having lost, we abandoned the contest and flew straight back to Surrey. The neighbours always complain if the chopper lands late at night, so that added to the fun.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Can't beat a fine claret with some cheese for a light lunch.

Decided to take a wander down to the lower hundred. The beaters had been complaining about the boggy conditions. Fellows tagged behind along with the hamper. Beaters were right. Much too boggy - could damage the birds. Problem is a blocked culvert near the west corner; some damned oik has thrown some sort of wire trolley in the stream and it's been blocked by leaves. Tried to call Osbourne, but no signal on the mobile in this part of the grounds.

Broke open the hamper for some light victuals. Fellows is hovering around hoping for left-overs. Some chance, eh?


Finally back in circulation having spent the last 2 days in the library wing with only a jug of Pimms for company, swatting for last night's little test. It's like being back at school, without the beatings (how I miss those days). Fellows is complaining about having to replace the books I've used. I've no idea why I employ him Pater would not have stood for his insolence, but he's been with me now since that rugger tour back in the 80's (still not quite sure where he came from - one minute we were horsing around with some young fillies and a lot of beer and the next moment he was following us around and helping sort things out).

Taking breakfast in the orangery with the Memsahib. Will expect to be waited on hand and foot (as I damn well should be!) as the little grey cells feel somewhat overused this morning. Some kedgeree and kidneys should kick-start the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Salt of the Earth

Just spoke to Osbourne - salt of the earth. Damn fine chap considering he went to a comprehensive.

He's going round to check on the deer fence and will fix it if necessary. Asked if he could provide any other "precautions" but he said that after the nasty business in summer with the piranha in the lower lake and the missing teenagers he needed to be a little cautious.


Hmmm. I hear from the Memsahib (damned clever things these mobile phones) that we've had a few problems with locals foraging for firewood down in the small copse by the gatehouse. Probably means they've cust a hole in the deer fence again. I'm surprised Arabella didn't see them from her room in the south tower, but maybe she was talking with Nanny.

Damn shame you can't set the dogs on them really. I'll have a word with Squiffy Senior the local Magistrate, see if he'll help out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting Started

Damn these computers. I should never have let the estate manager go. Have to keep the records myself now.

Have left the Memsahib back in Surrey to keep an eye on the servants and the heirs (Tarquin, Persephone, and Arabella). Took the old jalopy up to the midlands this week. Good time of year for travel - cold and bright. Purdey's in the back in case I see any decent pheasants.