Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The furore over "C" being outed on Facebook by his wife (a charming woman but perhaps a little to explicit regarding MI6) has made me conscious that I should remain less visible. Entries in this journal will be far less frequent in future.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I have just returned from a tour of some of colonial interests. The mighty British Lions were in South Africa for some sport so I decided to take in a game and provide them with a few stirring words to get them ready for battle.

There were a number of hangers-on on the trip, but after trip to a drinking establish I managed to shake them off (after several hours). This enabled me to get to the real purpose of the trip. This was an opportunity to check on my interests in a couple of gold mines near Johannesburg and a diamond mine that by good friend De Beers runs on my behalf (it keeps the Memsahib happy).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Fellows' has obviously been fiddling with the wireless in my dressing room. Rather than the jovial intellectual jousting of radio 4, there was some vulgar commercial station banging on about the festival season, and a plethora of concerts happening in the next few weeks. This set me thinking. Apart from the marvelous "Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes" there is a scarcity of musical entertainment for the more discerning listener.

Just like that "Eves" oik, from wiltshire, I have plenty of land I could set aside for such an event. And of course I have the marquees. My contacts will allow access to the major city orchestra's in the uk, and that Cowell fellow owes me a favour after swaying the voting on his latest Talent thingy on the television. I think I am going to stage "Poshfest", generously bringing opera, clasical music and dance to the masses. Tarquin has expressed an interest in running this for me, and has already suggested Marmaduke Duke. If he's already got the landed gentry interested the sky could be the limit….. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Memsahib suggested we went to the theatre with Arabella and Persephone. It seems such a shame mixing with the public when our new home cinema has just been completed and we can watch at home. (The Memsahib points out that this does not cater for stage performances - and so it has been suggested we convert one of the rooms in the east wing into a theatre).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All this fuss about MPs' expenses is getting rather tedious.
I even read that one poor chap has been hauled over the coals for cleaning his moat. I find it a little odd that anyone should need to spend any money on this; as I write, Osbourne has just returned from giving my own moat a spring clean, attired in his frogman outfit and toilet brush in hand. He has broken all records this year - it took him only four days.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Second thoughts

Second thoughts

On reflection would I really prefer a badly sung chorus of Billy Idols' Monet Monet, Monet Monet??????

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clarence tells me that the BBC are reporting that a rare blue diamond is on display prior to auction at Sotheby's. Sounds like an interesting trinket for the Memsahib. I also want to pick up a further Monet. At present we have three on the stairs, but a fourth would make the set. (It might also stop Arabella from singing "Monet, monet, monet; it's a rich man's world" every time she climbs the staircase).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I had a flash of inspiration the other day – I have decided to co-opt the family into my campaign to improve the standard of writing at the office. At weekends I have started bringing home some of the duller technical documents produced by the team, and the heirs’ role is to provide suitably enlivening embellishments.

The girls have been sprinkling the text with metaphors taken from their favourite nineteenth century authors while Tarquin, bless him, is adding an apt quotation from Virgil or Horace to each title page.
You can’t imagine the expressions on my team’s faces when I return them on Monday morning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am spitting blood over the "Budget" - I lend significant sums in both bullion and cash to help bail the country out of its financial crisis - and that charlatan in Downing Street has the temerity to raise my taxes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The weather is looking settled. 

I am tempted to take the motorcycle when I head for Worcester tomorrow. I need to get the feel of my beloved Incitatus as I sweep down the highways with the wind in my hair (metaphorically) and the gentle touch of leather on silk.

I will check with Clarence, but believe that this weekend is the first meeting of the year for my Posh Pistons chapter of the Angelum Infernum 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

With all the fuss recently about anti-capitalist demonstrations, I have given some thought to safeguarding myself when in the city (the Lady Hermione touchingly expressed some concern last night, while browsing some life insurance literature).

My first strategy was quickly ruled out by Tarquin, who reminded me that a twelve bore can't legally be used on anarchists, even after the twelfth. So a more subtle approach was called for. I have decided instead to cultivate a disguise - an alter ego if you will - that should attract considerably less attention than I normally do when out and about.

To this end I have appointed Osbourne to advise me on sartorial matters, and to drill me in the ways of the common man. He scoffed somewhat at my first attempt, pointing out that the mere substitution of a less expensive Rolex did not, in itself, effect the desired air of impecuniosity. The good chap took me in hand, allowing me to try on a few of his own estate clothes until we had constructed a most passable rendering of vulgarity.

Osbourne reminded me that the appearance was only one aspect of the character; if I am to be convincing in my new persona then I also need to adopt a suitable vernacular and mannerisms. I suggested that I accompany him one evening to the local hostelry - in full costume of course - where I can join his circle of acquaintances and soak up the coarse ambience. It might just have been the light, but it seemed to me that he turned quite a peculiar colour.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Following the family tradition we allowed villagers to come on an Easter parade, egg hunt, and egg rolling competition in the grounds. A few hundred turned up with their children in tow. It's always so interesting to see what they can achieve stitching together scraps of fabric to make outfits and hats.

I insisted that the staff join in with the event and that they dressed up as Easter Bunnies. This seemed to go well, except for Osborn. He strolled out of the stable block with black fishnets, a black bodice (with a fluffy white tail), and some furry ears on a headband. I am not convinced he has got the right image in his mind.

The Memsahib, Persephone, and Arabella judged the parade. This was done by tapping candidates on the shoulder to remove them from the parade, until 3 were left. I'm sure that Persephone is going to be a great entropreneur as she insisted on approaching the children in the parade, pointing at them, and say "You're fired". The three that survived were graded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and given rosettes and a small token (£100, £50, and £25) respectively. They seemed very grateful.

The egg hunt went without major incident, though an ambulance was called when the geese and swans decided to defend their territory. (Will these people never learn?)

The egg rolling was great fun as the families made their way to the top of one of the steeper hills in the grounds and then tried to roll their eggs to the bottom without breaking them. There was a stewards enquiry regarding a couple of eggs that were patently made from alabaster or marble rather than being natural. These were disqualified. 

As usual there the usual thrills and spills as families charged down the slope after their eggs. It was a great success. This year we only saw a handful of broken bones, and the cases of concussion were kept below the record 22 of last year. Quite managable - and treated by St John's Ambulance brigade as one of the primary training exercises of the year.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Well it's Easter. Maginficent smells are wafting from the kitchen as Dawkins prepares a feast worthy of the festival. I haven't checked on the menu (that is the Memsahib's domain) but have no doubt it will be excellent.

We have just had our traditional "Egg" ceremony where each gives a painted or chocolate egg to each of the other family members. I must say the girls where quite taken with theirs and are still playing inside it, and the Memsahib was delighted with several small "confections" I had acquired by Faberge.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I have received in today's mail a brocher from Frauscher. They do make lovely boats. We have several moored by the lakes, but by way of this brochure they are introducing me to their latest model.

The special edition "686 Lido Dino Feltrinelli" looks ideal for pottering about in the nice weather.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I’m already starting to notice an improvement in the standard of writing in the office. The staff are taking a real pride in their work, and often stay late to polish their documents and discuss the quality of each other’s prose.

Not wanting to let up, I have scheduled a series of educational sessions for the team, in a format often used at the company – the “lunch and learn”. As the name suggests, the usual arrangement is that those who can attend in person bring along sandwiches, while the others dial in to a sophisticated piece of telephonic equipment. All of this seemed a trifle vulgar to me, so I have decided to host the events at the club instead. The King George Hall has been reserved, and the team will be ferried there in a few of my older Jags (Osbourne will deploy seat covers - some of the staff wear rather grubby clothes).

I have asked Heston to provide the catering, now that he has the Fat Duck up and running again - but I’ve asked him to leave norovirus off the menu.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whilst looking over Tarquin's shoulder I noticed he was reading something called "Born Rich" on the interwebnet (or whatever). Very interesting. In fact, I have decided to take up one of their offers and have the sound system in the Astons removed and replaced with Bang & Olufsen equipment. 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We said farewell to the Obamas this evening after their short stay. Of course, the "goody bag" we gave them was far superior to the one they received from that cheapskate Brown. Apart from the obvious items (fine champagne, truffles ...) we also included - at Michelle's request - a couple of Tshirts emblazoned with the name of that most excellent beat combo, Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes. The Obama daughters are apparently keen fans, and were heartbroken by recent rumours in the musical press that the lead singer is soon to depart. I assured them that the band is to continue performing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Obamas arrived earlier this evening. I told their entourage that the estate was comfortably large enough to receive Air Force One directly, but they chose to ferry them in by helicopter.

I had the staff line up outside to be inspected (Dawkins was still scowling). Sadly the junior Obamas were otherwise engaged, so the heirs didn't get the chance to thrash them on the Wii, as they had planned.

The Lady Hermione was, as ever, the perfect hostess (praise be to that most wonderful of institutions, the Swiss finishing school). I entertained Barack in the billiards room and shared some of my ideas for tackling the financial crisis. He was impressed, and said he'd be sure to raise them tomorrow. Even Dawkins relented from her sulk long enough to prepare a delicious terrine of stickleback and artichoke.

You will, of course, read that the Obamas are safely ensconced somewhere else - obviously a ruse for security purposes. The only reason Special Branch are allowing me to post this entry is that no terrorists read my blog (apparently).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dawkins flew off the handle when I told her about the Obamas staying next week. She said no self-respecting Michelin-starred chef would stoop to preparing hamburgers and chilli dogs for a bunch of ex-colonials. A bit OTT, even by her standards. And what is a chilli dog, anyway? Sounds like one of those awful "hip hop" people that Tarquin likes.

Anyhow, I'm sure I can sweet talk her. Meanwhile, I've been getting Osbourne busy around the estate, putting up the "stars and stripes" in prominent positions.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dined at the club this evening with Algernon Froume. I’ve known Algie since we played rugger together at Westminster School, and for the last twenty years he’s been at the Foreign Office. Tonight, he looked more than usually concerned.

“Bit of a fix, old boy” he said ruefully, nursing his second cognac. “We were all set for the G20 next week, and then – kapow. Obama’s people took a look around the suite we’d lined up for him, and told us it wouldn’t do. Apparently he wants a good, old-fashioned English experience – you know - oak panels, turrets, crenellations, the works.

He paused for a second and stared into his brandy. “We were wondering if you might consider putting him up … he’d go bananas over your place. Remember how the Clintons lapped it up? You had to kick them out in the end.”

How could I refuse? As I was ferried back to the estate by Osbourne, I started to make plans for the latest VIP to grace its guest suite.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I have recently been giving some thought to the family image. “Surely, it couldn’t be any better?” you might think. As did I, Reader, until I had lunch the other day with publicist - and long standing acquaintance - Max Clifford.

Mr. Clifford is well versed in the ways of the modern media and cultivating profiles.
“To really hit the big time”, he said to me over a port, “what you need is a decent brand. You know, like Charles with his Duchy Originals”. I had to admit to some excitement at the thought of rivalling His Royal Highness with produce from my own fair estate.

That evening I sounded out Dawkins on the possibility of her turning out a few thousand jars of her delicious asparagus chutney on her days off. She seemed oddly unenthusiastic.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The English improvement campaign begins. My first act was to equip the office with a kind of “swear box”, except that forfeits are payable for grammatical faux pas and the more egregious spelling mistakes. The staff have taken it in good humour, and I have promised to donate all proceeds to the Lord’s Taverners.

I have also purchased, from my own pocket, a number of copies of the latest book by the estimable Miss Truss, and left them about the place for the benefit of the casual browser. There has been a good take-up already – I even noticed that one of the workmen fitting out the office kitchen was dipping into one during his lunch breaks.

Generally I notice a new buzz about the place, and I could swear I even heard someone say “notwithstanding” this afternoon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just because I allowed them to use my box at Twickers those young Windsors had the cheek to ask if they could use it again - assuming that I wouldn't be using it. Well they were out of luck (though I let them in for glass of Champagne at half-time while I was down in the dressing room giving my customary pep talk.

I was very satisfied with the outcome - it stirs the heart: Crecy, Agincourt, Waterloo - and Twickers. One very wealthy Gallic chum was so upset he banged his head as he jumped up in frustration. We left this Stunned Frog Millionaire nursing his bruised head and ego as he wandered away, dejected.

The only low spot of the weekend was the disappointing showing by cousin Silvio's Italian team.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I see that British Airways have a sale, offering reductions on fare to the Cayman Islands. I suppose that would be worth knowing if one had to use commercial airlines.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Last night's concert is a bit of a blur. 

My plan to fade into the background was thwarted as I was recognised as soon as I entered the venue with my small retinue of followers and hangers-on. The band insisted that by acting as Master of Ceremonies for the evening I would be establishing a level of class and respectability for the band. Notwitstanding my reticence, I agreed and took the stage to manage the proceedings.

It was an excellent show - though I did become aware of some bootleg recordings being made.

The "Rock and Roll" lifestyle is not for me. (I wonder if I should feature a "Cardinal Sin & the Bum Notes" on my upcoming "Desert Island Discs" appearance).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes are finishing their world tour this evening at their home venue in Worcester. All the funds raised are being given to charity - which is a nice gesture.

There is an auction and raffle planned.

I did consider putting an "Evening with..." myself as one of the prizes, but felt that would defeat much of the anonymity I have managed to maintain. Another thought was a week on one of my islands... but I doubt many of these people actually have passports or have flown and it would be wrong to so embarrass them.

Anyway, I will attend the concert and blend quietly into the background.

I noticed whilst in the Worcester office that I am not the only follower of "Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes". Indeed this photo was showing how far and wide their fan-base is spread. (It is a coincidence that I own a couple of smaller islands in the area).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clarence woke me early. My clothes had been laid out for me and my executive trolley-case had already been loaded into the jalopy. The drive had been swept and I mused on the dedication of my domestic and estate staff as I hit the empty roads before dawn.

Time seemed to flash by and before I knew it I was sitting in Worcester enjoying a coffee and catching up with the progress that had been made in my absence. Notwithstanding the fact that this had not been as great as I had hoped the staff were eager to please.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Industry can get by without me today. I had a quiet day on the estate. 

I was interested to notice that I have now had over 1000 readers of this masterpiece. I trust that these followers are learning how to conduct themselves, how to deal with everyday situations, and how to treat their staff and their domestic staff. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It is nice to be back home at the Towers. Proper walls, proper heating, and no doubt come morning, proper daylight.

Fellows had collected us at the airport and arranged to the luggage to be sent on separately. No dog-sleds this time, just the unabashed luxury of the jalopy.

The staff were lined up on the steps to greet us when we arrived home. The Memsahib had bought each of them a little gift from the airport. This will, no doubt, encourage even more devotion from them. I was amused to see that for Dawkins she had bought several tins of pressed bear meat. No doubt these will be squirrelled away into her (not so) secret stash of canned goods that she keeps behind a panel in the fallout shelter.

A good weekend, but nice to be home.

The lemming hunt did not involve firearms at all. The fact of the matter was that we were taken out on some snowmobiles and given the opportunity to take some photos of some small hamster-like creatures. Clarkson would have been appalled, but the Memsahib thought it was sweet.

Just time to get back to the airport for the journey home. Hopefully the luggage should already be at the airport. The porters had decided to make several trips as there was concern regarding the thawing ice and the weight of the bags if done in a single trip.
It is our final few hours before flying back home. Everything is packed that we we won't need this morning. (Can you believe that we had to pack for ourselves? - This may be an Ice Palace but is certainly doesn't have the right level of staff to cope with some of these most basic of requirements).

I believe we have a lemming hunt scheduled for this morning. If I had known in advance I would have brought the Purdeys. Not quite sure how this will work. Whether they have beaters and you have to hit the lemmings as they take flight, or whether they are launched from a clay-pigeon trap. Either way, I have no doubt that we'll bag quite a few.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seems strange living in this sub-Arctic twilight. It must be what its like living in Manchester or points north.

Strange evening yesterday. We sat around waiting for the Northern Lights, but they never showed up. (You just can't trust these tribute acts). Fortunately my mobile telephone's ringtone of "Sweet Home Alabama" kept me amused for a while.

Then there was general ripple of activity in the restaurant - surely not excitement from yet another way to serve reindeer meat? No. Indeed, everyone was putting on their cold weather gear and heading outside. There before us was a truly astonishing sight. 

The Arora Borealis provided a curtain of coruscating lights in greens and reds stretching from the horizon high into the sky. It was stupendous and somewhat eerie. As you know, we are famous for our firework displays - but they could not compete with this (I shall be discussing this fact with Fellows, on my return), except for one aspect - sound. The Arora Borealis played out its display in total silence broken only by the "oohs" and "aahs" of the audience and the occasional popping of expelled gas that had resulted from the reindeer feast. It was a "lumiere sans son".

Friday, March 6, 2009

Did you know that Bentley do not make a snowmobile?

I demanded the best available as befits a distant cousin of Carl Gustaf. After much debate they brought a Yamaha. It reminded me of my motor cycle nestling in the stable block back at home. The Memsahib didn't look at all sure. There was no cocktail cabinet, no makeup mirror, no heated seats, and no CD changer. When it was fired up it sounded like one of Osborne's chain saws.

Notwithstanding the quality we headed out across the ice fields - chasing the few hours of daylight. We stoppoed at a reindeer farm for lunch. The menu comprised Reindeer - in steaks, in stews, in burgers, or in sausages. The drinks menu was equally limited. How many ways can you server reindeer milk?

Back on the snowmobiles the safari was scheduled to help the farmer herding wild reindeer across a lake. I am not sure why that should be considered a tourist attraction - that's what I have labourers for.

Finally, back at the "hotel" we decided that a sauna would be a fine way to warm up and prepare for the evening. I have been told that we can expect the Northen Lights this evening. The Memsahib seems particularly excited by the prospect. I am a bit dubious, I think that once you have seen one of these tribute bands you've seen them all... and I am a firm fan of Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes and don't really wish to sit through an evening of northern soul.

Whilst we are here, there is one thing that I know the Memsahib would like to see. I phoned Clarence and asked that he see to it that the Arora Borealis put in an appearance at about 10pm. That will be just perfect. Clarence seemed a little nonplussed, but muttered that he would see what could be done.
I am rendered almost speechless.

Notwithstanding the dog sled debacle we were delivered to what can only be described as an igloo, in the middle of what appears to have been a river but is now an ice field. The manager came out to greet us and with a clap of his hands a team of Scandinavian porters came to handle the luggage.

We were escorted inside and given a warming drink. This was just as well as everything seemed to be fahioned from ice. (Branded, no doubt, Ice-KEA). What had Carl Gustaf been thinking!

The Memsahib was evidently quite taken with the magical quality of the edifice - either that or it was the huge, blond porters. We headed for our room and took a brochure to help us decide what we should do during the next few days. (My reaction was to find an Aga and sit as close as we Khan).

We slept under a pile of furs that would have made a Canadian trapper his fortune - and the gentle cracking of the ice did little to ease me to the arms of Morpheus.

This morning it's crisp and cold and we should have four hours of daylight at some point. We have decided that a snowmobile safari is a suitable activity for the day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Limousine !!!

I shall be having words with Carl Gustaf. It maybe his idea of a joke, but with the Memsahib and our 24 items of luggage plus hand-baggage a DOG SLED is not what I call a limousine.
It is with great relief that I have decided to take a few quiet days away with the Memsahib. Things have been a little tiresome of late and we received a kind invitation from Carl Gustaf (a distant cousin who has done well for himself in Sweden).

We have always considered him a little cold and aloof, but he has suggested we come over and spend a quiet weekend in one of the country's most famouse hotels. (It was in preparation for this trip that I stepped up my fitnbess regime over the past few weeks - these people do, for some reason, seem to like wandering about naked in tha sauna, and one has to be seen to be trim).

Not quite sure what to expect - but Carl Gustaf has directed us to the town of Jukkasjärvi where we will be met by a limousine of some sort. On checking my faithful old World Atlas (most of it still coloured red), this place seems alarming close to the Arctic Circle.

Clarence has been sorting out our packing. There seems an alarming bias towards long-johns, sweaters, heavy coats, boots, thick socks, and so forth. He has limited the luggage to twelve cases each (I hate it when we have to "pack light") commenting that we are only to be away for the weekend.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My thoughts have turned again to the standard of English in the office. I decided to consult the author and good friend Lynne Truss over lunch. Normally I take her to the Fat Duck in Bray, but after their recent “difficulties” I have decided to give it a miss for a while, and we went instead to a rather nice place here in Worcester.

As it happens lunch was a little rushed, on account of Miss Truss finding seventeen errors in the menu before we had even ordered wine. She was, however, very sympathetic to my cause.

“But darling, you absolutely must take matters in hand” she insisted, pulling apart her lobster. “Noblesse oblige, and all that”.

She’s right, of course.

She gave me a few ideas and I promised to let her know how it all goes (actually, I suspect she is after material for her next book).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Having had a little more time on my hands recently, I started to review some of the documents produced by my team. While I am not able to comment on the technical substance, I do feel myself more than qualified to advise on their stylistic merits and the correctness of their language.

Gentle Reader, I have to admit to a degree of shock. These turgid pieces were hardly the sort of thing one would pick up lightly after dinner. Their tone was functional and, well, a little brutish. But more alarming still were the crimes committed against the Queen’s English. Infinitives were split without concern; prepositions nestled comfortably at the ends of sentences; aberrant apostrophes abounded and as for the subjunctive mood – one would think it had never been invented.

Now, I must remind myself not to reproach the staff unduly; I know for a fact that some of them attended only the more minor public schools, and I understand from a colleague in Human Resources that even this is no longer a requirement for new entrants to the Company. Still, the situation requires action. I must make plans.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rather tense day day today. I now see why Tarquin was somewhat enamoured with Ms Young. It certainly puts a new light on my appearance on Desert Island Discs. (I wonder if their research has revealed that I have several desert islands?)

I wanted to get back to compiling my list of songs - so far I only have "Sweet Home Alabama", but the realities of everyday industrial problems were a constant distraction. Other tunes that I have considered are: Money for Nothing, Money Money Money, Money Talks, something poignant from Johnny Cash, Love Over Gold, Fields of Gold, but none seem quite right.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Troublesome day at the front. Never mind, when it was all over I settled back into the luxury of the old jalopy and swept imperiously back down the motorway to the Towers (I had thought of getting some outriders, but it would have taken too long for them to assemble). 

Tarquin had told me that Kirsty Young was scheduled to be on television on a BBC (now there's a proper television broadcaster) programme called Crimewatch. I'm not too sure I wish to be associated with her programme if she is some sort of felon, but I promised I would watch just to see.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I decided that I should show my face with the staff tonight but had to fit this around my intensified fitness regime. This is aimed at bringing me to a peak of physical fitness and shape for a trip I have planned with the Memsahib at the end of next week. Can't say too much at this point - but more will become clear soon.

I met up with the staff at a local hostelry and then we repaired to a local restaurant for an exercise in fine Cantonese dining. Now, back in the hotel I'm pounding the treadmill again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I should have stayed at home for a day shooting (but I hadn't arranged for any beaters... and there some controversy over whether it is still the season) - or even mounted the the throbbing beast and taken the motorbicycle for a blast along the country lanes. But no. As a capatin of industry duty came first and I made my way back up to Worcester to ensure that my interests in the area were being taken care of properly.

Tedious - but a position such as mine requires dedication and a sense of duty.

I noticed that a number of the staff were planning to meet up at a Tapas restaurant. On checking I realised this was not run by Castillians and was therefore unlikely to be up to standard. I did not partake.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One of the few television programmes I care to watch these days is University Challenge. Of course, I can’t abide that awful fellow, Paxman; give me Bamber Gascoigne in a tweed jacket any day. I like to challenge myself by answering all the questions and comparing my final tally with the teams’. I usually achieve a comfortable margin, particularly over the metropolitan universities.

As with so many institutions, UC  has succumbed to the practice of “dumbing down”. I find it distressing that so many of the questions these days are devoted to popular culture or obscure science, rather than the arts and humanities that were its mainstay in the Gascoigne era. Another irksome trend is the producers’ tendency to make up the numbers by inventing some entirely spurious teams, often with preposterous names such as Huddersfield and Teeside. I mean, really!

Anyhow, the reason I mention this now is that tonight was this season’s final, with Corpus Christi facing Manchester (a case of gentlemen against players, if ever there were one). The Oxford team was led by a formidable young lady with an encyclopaedic knowledge – in fact, the kind of catch that I hope young Tarquin will make, when the time comes (at this juncture, the Lady Hermione peers over her copy of Horse and Hound and counters that her bookish learning probably doesn’t extend to preparing a decent roast partridge … touché, darling - but surely that is why one has a cook). 

Inevitably, Oxford triumphed, and trooped up to be congratulated. I was reminded of my own victory on the programme, heading up the old alma mater team back in the 70s. Which reminds me, I must get Dawkins to thin out the trophy cabinet, it’s looking awfully crowded again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An otherwise uneventful Sunday in the shires was punctuated by a ‘phone call from a husky-voiced lady claiming to be Kirsty Young, presenter of Desert Island Discs. My initial surprise on learning of the demise of Roy Plomley was tempered by the satisfaction of knowing that one’s achievements are at last starting to be recognized by the establishment. Miss Young was clearly au fait with my status as philanthropist, pillar of the local community and lately, of course, captain of industry. An appointment for a recording session was duly arranged.

Young Tarquin could scarcely contain his enthusiasm on hearing the news. 
“But father, she’s really hot!” he exclaimed, then adding more quietly “for an old bird”. I expressed some surprise that he was an aficionado of the programme, but apparently Miss Young had previously been a newsreader on Television Channel 5 (as many as five? can that be right?). The girls, too, were suitably impressed, opining that this association would improve my “street cred” no end.

The lady Hermione was rather less impressed, possibly as a result of listening to Tarquin enumerating the various charms of Miss Young for most of that afternoon. I feigned indifference, and began compiling my list of records. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I see that Harridan Harman has come out with some further utterences worthy of ridicule (which hardly needs pointing out). In her latest statement she is suggesting that buses should be withdrawn from middle class areas.


How will my staff get to work?

Friday, February 20, 2009

It was a strange day. I had planned to nestle in the comfortable leather of the club and let the world float by. I settled down with the newspaper, and a pot of coffee. The next thing I knew, there was discreet cough from one of the runners as he stood apologetically by my side with the telephone.

This turned out to the first of many such distractions that rather put the kybosh on quiet day.

Never mind. The Memsahib was up in town for a bit of shopping so I agreed to meet up with her for the journey home. (I suppose we should have got Fellows to collect us, but in our contribution to all things green, we decided to take the train. It does mean rubbing shoulders with riff raff until we get to First Class, but it is a sacrifice we are prepared to make.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I heard, with mounting dismay, about the incident in the North Sea where the helicopter plunged into the sea on its approach to an oil platform. Information was sketchy at first, and though it was apparent that nobody was hurt, it is still unsettling. 

The platform in question was owned by my cousin Olaf in Norway and his refined products are made available to us at a very competitive rate (we don't discuss this generally as the Chancellor gets nosey). The Oyall family are well know in and around Oslo because of the extent of their off-shore drilling interests. The media refers to Olaf as the North Sea Oyall and they tend to hound him because he's a bit odd looking (huge thyrotoxic pop eyes) and does have some eccentric habits. Though a bit wimpy he enjoys letting his hair down and getting a bit bluto'd, he likes cross-dressing and getting stoned - so much for Olaf Oyall.

I was pleased that oil turned out well in the end.
I could not be bothered to eat with the staff last night. I stayed in my suite and had the chef prepare something light so that I could get on with some economic planning (given the number of requests I get for help, I though a bit of additional planning was sensible). Once finished I tried to have a bit of a work-out, but the Indian Clubs left marks on the ceiling and there really wasn't enough room to work up a sweat.

Busy day today. I decided to extend my beneficence at this time of financial instability for so many and brought in some new members of staff. They seem like good coves at this point, but only time will tell (let's see if they are up to the hard work, the total devotion, and respect that I demand). 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It was evident that taking time away was not viable so I returned to Worcester today and picked up the reins once more. 

One problem that has arisen from all this time in the Midlands is that Fellows is not (generally) in tow. This means that I have to carry my own bags at times. This, I detest. It ruins the cut of my suits, it discomforts my shoulder, and it is demeaning. I have decided to mitigate this problem by using a small, wheeled case which is far more convenient.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just give me some peace.

I took the day off to have a quiet time with the family. Indeed Persephone explained to me that I was experiencing some "daddy-daughter" time. Despite this my phone continued to ring and it became clear that as far as my staff are concerned without my intervention the world would probably cease from turning. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

I was at the club today.  Martin Johnson phoned first thing to apologise on behalf of the team for the shambolic display against the Welsh. I told him that it was unacceptable and I expected a better show for the rest of the tournament (or sponsorship would be cut).

I had arranged for a number of my more remote staff to come and meet me during the morning. It was an opportunity to give them a bit of a pep talk and re-motivate them to go back and work harder (as I said "Remember there are 168 hours in a week - and I only expect you to work 80 - Make the most of your spare time to better yourselves").

I found the whole thing a bit tiring so I've decided to take the next couple of days for myself and the family.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I have been receiving some strange emails. 

Tarquin assures me that they are something called "spam" and to be expected. (I have heard some of the staff speaking of spam, but I had always assumed it was some form of food for poor people). The latest item of spam that I have received was entitled "Learn the secrets of having a perfect body" and has turned up hot on the heels of last week's match photo, which is disturbing. More disturbing is "Women will be your resigned slaves" which is a travesty. Whilst I do expect utter and uncompromising devotion - slavery is not acceptable.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Clarence had been thorough. Fellows was dressed in chauffer's livery when he collected us in the Bentley. Half an hour later we pulled up at Marco Pierre's - the restuarant was empty but for a string quartet playing "our song" (Sweet Home Alabama). The room was full of roses (flown in from Holland) and Orchids flown from Thailand.

The champagne was at a perfect temperature, and the chocolate (brought in from Belgium) was carved into the shape of doves.

The lady Hermione looked stunning as usual and as we ate, passers-by peered in at the window but the Maitre d' kept everyone waiting outside until we left.

Perfect evening.
The Memsahib has made it quite clear that rugger was out of the question. I told Farting Freddie to stand down. Fortunately Clarence had remembered that today was St Valentine's Day and had taken the initiative to arrange something for Hermione and I.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Woke earliy this morning and took the opportunity to have a bit of a work out in the gymnasium. After those pictures appeared last week, I realised that it would be a crime not to hone such a perfect musculature. After dashing to the pool for a quick couple of laps decided that breakfast would be the last of Dawkins's spotted dick from yesterday.

It really is difficult to beat pudding for breakfast!

Unsure how the rest of the day will pan out but Clarence tells me that I have a lot of calls scheduled. Farting Freddie has offered to fly us all to Cardiff tomorrow to watch the rugger, so I may just prepare for that.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

After a hard day in the office yesterday, I decided to take up the offer of an evening meal with the staff. Unfortunately arrived about 20 minutes late after severe difficulty parking the new jalopy. I had forgotton how hard parallel parking is. The parking valet or Fellows normally handles this sort of thing, and despite ordering some elderly ladies out of the way in their dinky car, I still struggled.

I'd almost given up when the driver of the car in front returned, packed his tiny shopping bags (on his own!) in the boot and promptly left. Obviously I eased the car in to the spaces and parked right in the middle. At least this should keep it safe from the riff raff.

The meal was a reasonably pleasureable affair, and the staff found time to amuse themselves by hiding one of the team's wallets whilst he was in the gentleman's convenience.

After the meal, allowed the staff to procure me a beverage or two in the "Cardinals Hat", which I'm sure makes them feel good about themselves.

Today has been another long drawn out series of meetings and teleconferences. I cannot understand why people invite me to these things if they have their own idea's about things. I have always said if I wanted their opionion I would give them it.

Looking forward to returning from the shires tonight as Dawkins has promised spotted dick.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I see that Bentley have decided to lay-off some of their workforce. I will consider contacting them and seeing if they have a presentable person who could look after my cars. (The problem is that being based in Crewe, a lot of these people will be from the north, so I have to make sure that they can be understood and that they know how to behave. Mind you, in my experience they tend to be the salt of the earth and can be quite hard-working).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I have again made the journey to the Midlands to keep a watchful eye on the staff. I was a little concerned about the overnight weather forecast and the impact that may have on my journey. Fellows suggested that I should put a shovel in the car "just in case". Once he had explained what a shovel was and how it works I told him to go out and procure one - wrap it in a blanket and place it in the boot (I don't want it moving about whilst driving and damaging the car or my valise). At the end of the day (at the beginning of the day) the journey was trouble-free and I had nothing to worry about. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

A quiet day at the club. I was feeling generous so spent some time looking at how I could reward my staff for their ongoing devotion and hard work. (I do regret the end of the feudal system).

I'm not sure what came over me... but I soon snapped out of it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Yesterday's score was more satisfying than the game. Beating Italy 37-11 was a win and encouraged me to call cousin Silvio to gloat. He wasn't at home but Radiccio came to the phone made some polite conversation and offhand comments about Italian men in tight shorts and promised to tell Silvio that I called.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Game is going well but I did have to have a few words with the dressing room at half-time. (Had to cut them short, as it were, due to the referee getting antsy about kicking-off on time).
I've sent Clarence ahead to ensure that our box is warm and fully stocked for today's game. I was worried that cousin Silvio and his wife might wish to attend but managed to avert that with tales of the weather and expected travel chaos.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wasn't too pleased to see this. I thought this game was in camera

Evidently it was!
This weather is becoming tiresome. It is disrupting my days and forcing me to change plans. It seems that Omnia vincit nix. When I got back to the Towers last night I told Clarence to call the Met Office and complain. It obviously had no effect, or they were just being cussed as today we have further snowfalls. Indeed things are so bad that the traffic of people from Wales into England has been halted ostensibly for safety reasons (though I do wonder if there's more to it than that).

Back at The Towers both Fellows and Osborne have been out with the snow ploughs and have done a sterling job of keeping the Estate roads clear (must tell them to get a cup of hot chocolate from Dawkins when they finish).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I developed a strategem for last night's pie night. In order not to stand out (too much) from the staff I brought my pies myself rather than having them carried for me. I wrapped them in a plastic bag from a supermarket (whatever that is) and then camouflaged the individual comestibles in Mr Kipling's boxes so that they would not attract too much attention and I could help myself to the fine F&M pies at will. As for the other pies, the staff seemed to enjoy them but as far as I was concerned it was a case of Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum and I steered well clear.

A great deal of hilarity permeated the hostelry throughout the evening, but one has standards so I ensured that modicum of decorum was mainatined in the area where I was sitting. A number of gentlemanly challenges were thrown like gauntlets and I had to act as second to a gentleman acquaintance of mine.
The snow was heavy overnight. The staff at the hotel had made no attempt to keep the snow clear of my car. I had a leisurely breakfast considering my options. I saw one of my staff and told him to hurry up, to drive up to the office and then call me to let me know the state of the roads.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The staff have arranged another event at their local hostelry. They refer to it as "Pie Night". I have agreed to attend this evening and so I called Fortnum & Mason's to ensure that some suitable comestible was delivered in time for the event (I have to ensure that there is at least one item that I can eat without fear). 

F&M started to raise concerns about the weather and so forth... just the sort of dissembling I was concerned about last week when talking to them. I asked to be transferred to the Chief Exec. 

The pie will be here in the next 90 minutes, and will be accompanied with a fine wine for my trouble!
I was taken out to dinner last night by the great and the good. It made a change from watching the feral feeding behaviour of the staff. The restaurant was a small place, but they had agreed to close it off to other patrons for the evening so that we would not be troubled by paparazzi or journalists. The fine Punjabi fare was reminiscent of the meals Dawkins sometimes prepares, but without the finesse. 

I managed to drag myself away at a sensible hour and prepare for a late night call with Barack - this could become tiresome if he insists on calling so late.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We suffered no further distress from the weather last night. It's most frustrating that we had suffered at all. This sort of winter weather is meant to happen up north, not down here. 

Anyway things should have been back to normal this morning as I headed up to Worcester. When I arrived I powered the jalopy into the car park only to find that my parking space had been blocked off by builders who had started to refurbish some of the offices. No "by your leave", or "do you mind if" - just completely blocked. I thought I'd remonstrate with them, but they must have been sitting around drinking tea somewhere, as there was nobody around.

I was almost speechless when I arrived in my office (which I share with a few of the staff) - one young turk had the effrontery to be ensconced at my desk. This is really too much. I will ensure that his team leader is informed and that suitable retribution is exacted.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Well you may have seen on the BBC that I have added to my collection. A modest donation along with the Scottish Government and the National Galleries in London has secured the Duke's Titian "Diana and Actaeon".  Plans are now afoot for the painting to alternate between the galleries in London and Edinburgh and home. Originally the old duffer had tried to drive a hard bargain and set a cut-off day of 31st December. After seeing a few of the photos taken during our New Year's Eve party I convinced him to be a little more flexible (as certainly the photos implied he could be). A good deal all round methinks.
The estate was as pretty as a picture when Clarence woke me this morning. It had clearly been snowing much of the night. The roof tops of the various outbuildings, the stables and the gatehouse were laden. Tracks of a few adventurous deer and a fox were clearly visible as I stood by the window helping myself to Dawkins' finest kedgeree and some hot java. I hear that no buses are running in London because of the snow - it make me wonder how ordinary people will get to work.

Fellows and Osborne are out with the snow ploughs clearing the estate roads.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Does it never stop?

The Memsahib became enthused by Strictly Come Dancing - and now that's over she and the girls are hooked on Dancing on Ice. They keep looking over at me as I sip my brandy and read the latest market news. Comments that Ellery Hanley looks good in lycra and "he's all man" will not tempt me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thought an early start was in order and after after a generous portion of Dawkins' kedgeree and eggs I set of for the city.

I arrived at the club early, and managed to settle in my favourite armchair to peruse the broadsheets and see if Gordon has heeded my advice. At 11.30 had to visit the tailors for a new suit fitting. Most unsettling to realise just how comfortable one can be with another man on his hands and knees measuring your inside leg! I got him to polish my shoes whilst down there.

However I digresss, the suit looks fantastic and feels sublime - merino wool and silk are so comfortable.  I've had to buy a new belt though, as I fear the nights at the Worcester food emporia are having an effect. Its either that or age is catching up with me!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It was a long day in Worcester where I had to deal with the customer, my staff and various people of trade (which I believe is the politically correct way to refer to such people). I have noticed that political correctness is becoming even more prevalent since the recent Presidential inauguration. Personally I think its an Obamanation.

I finally got away and headed home. Traffic was heavy, but with a call to the Chief Constable of West Mercia I soon had some Police outriders to ease the journey and was soon home.
Last night I had to go an open the new Business School at the University. They had originally asked to name it after me, but as you know I try to keep a low profile so I declined. I spent a pleasant hour or two with the Regents and met some of the up and coming graduates who look up to me as a role model (tiresome, but understandable).

At the end of the evening I made my way back to Worcester and (at least metaphorically - which, let's face it, is the practical limit in my case) let my hair down at a local hostelry with some of the staff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I see that with the delivery of the last of my Astons, Aston Martin have decided to drop down to a three-day week. (Good job too, keeps them a bit more exclusive).
Appalled to hear that Fortnum & Mason are laying off staff. I phoned the Chief Exec to register my concern but he assured that my service would not be affected. I thanked him, said that I would be monitoring the situation and whilst on the phone ordered 2 dozen quail's eggs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I knew I should have listened to my intuition. However, I didn't and stood Fellows down from the chauffeur duties to drive myself back up to the shires. The journey up was uneventful, but the wireless was most distasteful. I could only get reception on a show fronted by someone called Moyles. Very unsavoury chap. Nothing like Johnners used to be.

Anyway, the jalopy was handling quite badly by the time I reached the offices in Worcester, and upon extricating myself from behind the wheel it was obvious that I had a flat. Only at the bottom, but it was definitely flat. What annoyed me was that the car is only a couple of weeks old.  Anyway. I rang Fellows to come up, swap the wheel and effect a repair to the damaged tyre, but the Memsahib had apparantly taken him shopping. Poor Fellows. Yomping up and down Carnaby Street, at his age!

As Fellows was unavailable I rang the dealer from whence I bought the car to arrange someone to fix the faulty tyre. After a battle they agreed to send a young man who duly arrived later that day. They seemed to baulk at the fact that the fault was theirs? The grubby overalled technician set about repairing the offending tyre, but could only effect a temporary repair as apparently they don't carry the tyre required. It's one of the problems with such an exclusive car. The tyre will be in tomorrow, when hopefully they will send a smarter, better dressed technician to actually fix things properly.

The service is never as bad at Fortnums. Perhaps they should take some lessons!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I was having a quiet day at club with a plan for an early return home.

No such luck. The phone rang and it was Gordon.


I know he's keepining one eye on Darling's manoevres with the economy (well, come to think of it that's all he can do), but he's insisted I come round for dinner tonight. I suspect it will be a late one with him moaning on about global forces, sub-prime Tony, prudence, and so forth. I had better delay my planned start in the morning. I may even get Fellows to drive me.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The exam took a lot out of me. I was glad that I had a arranged for Fellows to meet me in Oxford and drive me home. I settled back and quaffed some nicely chilled champagne whilst shucking a few oysters to aid recovery of the little grey cells. Fellows knew better than to talk - he just sat there and drove.

Saturday was dedicated to further recovery and to seeing the family.

Bit of a furore today as some of the Labour Peers were accused of taking money to influence the passage and content of new laws. Phtah! Amateurs. There is no need to resort to such crass fraud. I have never had to offer incentives to ease my passage.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Got to Oxford in glorious winter sunshine. Found the hotel and reluctantly let the oik on reception park the new jalopy in car park. Having decamped to the penthouse, I arranged with the concierge to get me to the exam hall.

Unpon arrival I was horrified to find that the hall, was nothing like the great hall at home. The antique paintings, sumptuous carpeting and rugs and comfortable but elegant furtiture of "chez moi", was replaced by paintings that look like they were done by elephants with brushes, tiny plastic chairs and hundreds of small formica tables. Even the place names were just typed, not handwritten in copperplate.

Having settled in to my alloted space, which was tiny by the way, I was stunned to realise was expected to sit within very close proximity to some very odd looking people. Some of them weren't even wearing a blazer, let alone a tie or suit jacket.

Despite these distractions we all settled down as the papers were issued, and the exam started. About half way through the first exam the mobile telephone rang, rather loudly in the quiet hall, and obviously I answered it as it was Gordon. Again!

Having quickly answered his questions I said I would call him back later. To be honest I wonder why he employs that "Darling" fellow, he never seems to know anything.

Anyway I was entirely unprepared when one of the elderly invigilators angrily approached me, and practically hauled me out of the room. After I had got over the shock I explained the situation to the rather scruffy old man, who begrudgingly accepted my reasons for accepting the call and apologised. After giving him a piece of my mind, I returned to my desk to continue. Who knew that these exams could be so stressful?

After generously giving the examiner the benefit of my knowledge, for which he should be grateful by the way, I returned to the hotel for a late lunch in the brasserie and more revision.

Although these hotel staff try hard, they are not up to Clarence's standard. I suppose its because they don't have the breeding for service like him and his family. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Had to leave the staff to themselves this afternoon. I had to get to Oxford for the start of some exams. Great fun playing with all this cap and gown stuff again after so long.

Phone call from Fellows - the alarm has been going off intermittently in the vaults. I told him to get the manufacturer in (and some guards). Since helping Gordon Brown by buying up the UK Gold Reserves back in the  90's the maintenance of the bullion vault has been a constant headache. (No trouble finding the odd paperweight, though!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For clarification - it wasn't me.

Apparently some of my staff saw the trappings of a major civic reception in Worcester last night. The Lord Lieutenant was seen heading for the Cathedral in full regalia... and whilst he's a good chum I was actually on my way back home as I had to be in London today.

The new President has been on the phone thanking the Memsahib for the gift we sent for his inauguration. Seems like a nice bloke and obviously feels a degree of loyalty to the family. (I ordered the plantation in Kenya to give the staff a day off to commemorate the great event).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The dawn of the day brought the weekly trip to the shires around again. This week will be a long week, with the club having to wait until Friday before a visit. This weeks workload, though onerous, will have to be to be interspersed with a little work on the grey cells in preparation for the examinations on Friday. Somehow titles and letters after your name are much better inherited (or bought) rather than earnt!    It could well be that the New Years resolution to abstain from the nightly tipple could fail dismally, as I think I will have earn't several pink gins by Friday! 

Monday, January 19, 2009

I told Gordon "Look! if you keep tinkering around with the banks I'll take my money and invest elsewhere". This continued speculation regarding Nationalisation is all very fine if you are a customer, but if you are the predominant shareholder then its tiresome and a little worrying.

On a separate matter I am both irritated and amused by Fellows. When the first of the new Astons arrived I let him have the old Jalopy (it was nearly a year old so becoming a bit tiresome). Tarquin was perusing the interwebnet or whatever and noticed a familiar looking image. On investigation it appears that Fellows has put the old jalopy on e-Bay to try and turn a fast buck.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The trouble with Ricky the Fish is that he does go on a bit. When he saw our hound he got all teary and started talking about his "Chalky". Haven't a clue what he was going on about but with all the furore last week regarding inappropriate nicknames, I decided to hold my tongue.

Anyway, can't fault his Cod 'n' chips, and he's on his way back to Padstow now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sometimes you fancy a simple meal at the end of a pleasant day. Cook can overdo it at times so we gave her the day off and I phoned a friend from the old days. He runs some sort of restaurant or bistro in Cornwall and asked if he fancied a quiet evening and the choice of wines from my cellar. I spoke to Farting Freddie and got him to send his helicopter down to Padstow to pick up Ricky the Fish. 

You can't beat good fish  'n' chips

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday I left the staff to get on with things in Worcester and headed across country to Warwickshire. It always stirs the heart to there, and of course the Memsahib's family still farm a few thousand acres near the edge of the county.

Friday saw me back in London, nestling in the corner at my club. The grey cells are taking a bashing at the moment as I study for some exams. It's like being back at school (but without the beatings, the Latin, the cross-country runs, the mud, the cold dorms, the cold showers, and of course nurse - I miss nurse, but that's another story).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I decided not to eat with the staff tonight. I had some papers to
study and there was a ruffian from Scotland who had tagged along with
the party. It was far more appropriate to spend some quiet time
reviewing the markets and examining some opportunities.

Later in the evening they are planning to do some painting. I thought
I might go along to see if there is any nascent talent that may be
worth a small investment. It is strange where talent emerges. Take
Tracy Emin - bloody useless au pair, couldn't even make a bed, but got
noticed and the rest is history (though we did have to find a new au

One cheeky wretch suggested I might like to "life model" for them - I
can see why, but really! The sheer cheek (which is one of the reasons
I refused). What with that and the Mills and Boon opportunity I'm in
danger of becoming too visible and it takes years to shake off the

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Had to keep my head down today.

Meetings in high places brought me in contact with Mandelbrot or whatever he's called. Can't stand him and couldn't afford to give him more than a fractal of my time. As a result, however, there should be some announcements in the morning of a package of support for loans to small business and industries (ostensible supported by the taxpayer - but that taxpayer is me).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Well I ducked out of a meeting in London to meet up with the photographer from the publisher. Charming chap - trousers much to tight for comfort - not sure I'd trust him in the changing rooms. He showed me some mock up covers and explained how my name came to their attention. A certain "friend" (named after a traditional English sports car) suggested that I'd be ideal when approached during a "hair replenishment" shoot. 

Appears that they want some shots, with a model, in the changing rooms at Twickers. I suggested that my box might be appropriate, but confusingly he said "leave the wardrobe to us".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Well, that was unexpected.

The phone rang and Clarence approached. There was a wry smile on his face but no clue as to why he was amused. I took the phone and the Memsahib looked across at Clarence and raised a quizzical eyebrow. He desperately tried to suppress a snigger - but failed.

I identified myself and the voice at the other end chirped up to explain that they were a publishing house and were commissioning a series of books set in the world of rugger. Knowing of my interest through a mutual fried (some friend!) they asked if I would mind posing for some of the cover shots - and expecting that future publications may be graphic novels would I be willing to pose for them also. Clarence had been whispering in the Memsahib's ear and she exploded into laughter. Evidently she was not convinced I was suitable.

The voice at the other end became defensive at the sound of the Memsahib's laughter. She explained that they were one of the biggest publishers in the world and Mills and Boon had a reputation for books that were appreciated by women of all ages. My initial reaction was to say forget it, but seeing the Memsahib's reaction I have decided that I will give it a go. The years of dedication to sport and fitness are paying off and the role of a gentleman rugger player falls to me easily as will so many heaving women.

If you should doubt my tale, I suggest that you read this article . 

Friday, January 9, 2009

Decided to have a quiet day at the club today. Leather chairs, roaring fire, and good view over the Thames. Perfect.

(Blighters can't track me down here as they can't get past Mario on reception).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The hunt

The blighters. I have researched the staff's latest mutiny and it seems that someone, who shall remain nameless, if only because I haven't identified them yet, has been sharing the intimate thoughts and scribings that I commit to this blog with the wider world, including some of the great unwashed. Not that most of them will understand some of the long words that are used. At least its not Fellows, he can hardly use a mobile phone, let alone a computer.

I must remember not to disclose any of the family secrets or finances in these pages for fear they are used against me. I have engaged the services of the local IBM techical help desk to try to trace the interlopers onto this, my personal space.I have numerous shares in the company and the Techical Bod owed me a favour. It was the least he could do after the Fortnums Hamper.

If you're reading this…. I will find you…

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You will have noticed that I have been rather quiet and circumspect of late. I have been involved in a number of ventures that must remain strictly secret.

I can say that my recent trip to South Africa was a great success. I gave the British Lions the benefit of my experience and my support and I managed to visit some of the gold mines and diamond mines in which I (and in the latter case the Memsahib) have interests. Since returning my people have upped their output significantly.
Back up in Worcester today. I've checked and the hotel has my usual suite available.

It has come to my notice that the staff have been a bit cheeky and been having fun behind my back. I'm on to them now, so they'd better watch out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

As you will know I pass some of my time providing my expertise to a major international company. As one of their processes each year we assess the quality of the the staff. Most of the work has been done by my managers and underlings, but now I must look at the results and make sure that they have been assessed fairly. 

The company uses a scheme that rates the staff from 3 (must do better) up to 1 (exceptional)... I feel this is a bizarre and arbitrary scheme. I have adapted my own policy: 3 - very poor, 2 - poor, 2+ - gets by, 1 - comfortably off.

New Toy

Just had a call from Johnson at Aston's. The first of the new fleet is ready and is being despatched this morning. And it’s the red one.  A small price to pay for the comfort and prestige such a fine automobile brings. Its lucky really becase I'm fed up of driving the Range Rover, ever since the Jaguar ran out of fuel (the filler cap really is a problem on that one).

I have moved the other vehicles around in the Garage to make space (well I, I told Osbourne to!) and if it has worked well I will be able to sit in the library and gaze at the new Jalopy from the warmth of the fireside.

As long as the rest of the fleet are delivered before any further problems I will be happy. I've already told the owners there'll be no more money to be put in their kitty, and I'm not going to help if Gordon's shower don't want to.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Well the great unwashed have obviously deigned to complete their winter break and return to work. Pasty-faced commuters fought their way onto my train and sat there in a collective catalepsis until the train disgorged them into the gaping maw of Waterloo Station to recommence their futile existence in the City. 

I waited until the train was empty and went to the door of my carriage. I waited, expecting the guards to bring a red carpet, but they let me down (I shall write a stiff letter to the Chairman, later). As it was so cold, Clarence had arranged for my car to meet me at the barrier and whisk me away to my Club. It was a busy day as so many people, freshly back, wanted to hear about my Christmas and New Year, and needed that fillip they receive from hearing how life could be.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Disappointing performance by Bath in the rugger. If they keep up this performance I'll sell them.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A day spent in the bosom of the family. 

I sat in the library catching up on paperwork. The number of begging letters seems to increase each year. In the current climate I am limiting donations to the banks and several European Governments (not ours, however).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Well the year may have started with a bang, but it has been decidedly quiet since. The staff are getting everything back to normal, the girls are completing homework prior to their return to school, Tarquin is Tarquin, and the Memsahib is in total control. I have decided that my best contribution is absence and spent much of the day at the club trying to avoid many of the more probing questions regarding the "ball" and trying to downplay the fact that we dwarfed the London display yet again. Though having now seen some of the TV footage I must remember to invite Kate Silverton and those two little bald chaps that wander about in front of her to the next big do.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year.

That was an unqualified success. The orchestra (LSO) and the band (some popular beat combo called Kaiser Patrol or something - I couldn't get Cardinal Sin and the Bum Notes) arrived mid- afternoon and set up their equipment at opposite ends of the ball room. There was a bit of a fracas over the power provision but Fellows laid on an additional generator and everyone was happy... though the cacophony during their simultaneous sound checks was unbelievable.

There was a lull before the storm. The staff retreated below stairs for a light supper and their instructions. Fellows went off to light the torches along the drive. The Memsahib and I retired to our dressing rooms to prepare. Persephone and Arabella were getting quite excited and rushing about sampling the nibbles and trying to get their hands on the Champers. Tarquin remained in his room deciding to make his entrance to his own time schedule.

The guests started to arrive - we didn't want this to be too ostentatious so we limited it to a few hundred of our closest (titled) friends. The Lord High Sheriff was first to arrive (as usual) and after effusive greetings he headed straight to a corner near the bar and was not seen to rise again until the fireworks. Other guests soon followed - in fact there was a traffic queue stretching right down the drive and through the village. We had laid on light refreshments for the chauffeurs down at the stable block - but there were so many cars we had to turn over one of the paddocks for additional parking. (It was like a damned pop concert - without the burger vans, mud and nudity).

The Duchess arrived. She's a game old bird. After the incident with the ice "cube" last year, and the croquet injury during the summer we feared she may not be up to another outing, but there she was in all her finery with several handsome young footmen in tow. The Duke came separately (he'd been in the country on a shoot so came straight to us).

The ball went off almost without incident - though people had been most inventive with their masks. Who would have though that the Venetians would come up with a Cherie Blair mask - and that a mask that delicate could contain such a vast hinged mouth without breaking. Two chaps came in George Clooney masks and were mistaken for me throughout the evening. A stocky chap with a strange gutteral accent had an interesting mask, but one eye seemed out of sync. I have no idea who he was but people kept pointing at him and muttering about "Gordon" - he seemed to be shunned by all except the MPs who'd turned up. One young filly with a Kylie Minogue mask shed her ball gown to reveal tight gold lame hot pants which seemed to gain a number of hand prints throughout the evening (lesson to be learned here is reagrding greasy food and a finger buffet). It was interesting to see the counter-balance between the LSO and the band, and more specifically to see the Duchess and several well-known names "shaking their booty" as I believe it is called. I was surprised to see one well known Member of Parliament spending an inordinate amount of time talking to one of the Duchess's footmen - I hadn't realised he was one of his constituents.

The various ice sculptures lasted well, and none but the family understood the significance of the Venus de Milo. At one point Tarquin saw a young Baronet talking to block of ice that had been sculpted into Margaret Thatcher and apparently he kept lurching off and bringing back shots of whiskey for her and cajoling her for not keeping up. Some tall lanky bloke (in jeans, would you believe) and curly hair kept trying to open the door of an ice model of some Bugatti or other claiming there was a hamster inside.

At midnight we heard the chimes of Big Ben through the wireless and then gathered on the terrace for the fireworks. Our lasers were switched on and carved open the night sky (first time since the incident with the planes - but Air Traffic Control had been warned to stay clear) . Rockets ripped the night and fountains of coruscating light bathed the house and the guests. Light and shade is the trick to keeping their interest so we allowed them to die away and then build up to a crescendo again and again. Finally, spewing a luminescent smoke trail, the Red Arrows screamed up the drive and split over the terrace to head east, west and north, to loop round and deliver a timed pattern of Hellfire missile to the lower field - removing the old barn in the process and providing the earthworks that I need for the new cascade. As they approached the house in close formation, they lit their afterburners and climbed almost vertically into the night and disappeared. 

Now that was a display!

It took another few hours for everyone to disperse and the staff to clear away. No ambulances were needed this year and the Estate Fire Engine was dismissed. Once the guests had gone we returned to our quarters and left the staff to it.