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.