Tales From The Pantry: A Butler's Diary

From the pantry of an historic country house comes the ongoing diary of its butler, Mr Dean Fielding. I shall be giving you a glimpse of the family I serve and of the lives both 'Below Stairs' and 'Above'. I hope you follow my jottings daily.

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Have been butler here for over 15 years. Having previously, and unusually for these days, worked my way up from footman to under-butler to my current post. You can now follow me on Twitter via: http://www.twitter.com/butlerfielding

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mrs Styles Suffers For Her Art


What a tiring week it has been so far. The family entertained quite widely, as some of the guests from the 21st birthday party in London were invited back to Carstone to stay the week-end. I think the event was quite pleasurable. Sir Geoffrey, however, seemed relieved to be back. He always says that although he loves being surrounded by family, he is not overkeen at being surrounded by ALL the family. Certainly not for long spells. I sympathise with this sentiment.

Mrs Styles recovered quite swiftly from her illness, and was able to cook the dinner for the large dinner party on Friday evening. Well, the doctor said that she was fine, but anybody hearing the groans of anguish coming from the Kitchen would have assumed that a murder was taking place. Mrs Styles, as always, had lots to moan about; from her health, to the weather, to the quality of ingredients, and, I am sure if I had stayed any longer in the Kitchen, probably the current state of the political world as well. I hastily retreated to my Pantry and allowed Mrs Styles to prepare the food as she likes to, in a state of considerable misery.

I received a reply this morning to my stinging letter about the behaviour of Overall Man, the chandelier fitter. It was rather grovelling. It was quite satisfying to read. I daresay they do not wish to lose Carstone's custom. I shall evaluate our options when the time arrives. I think I will make one thing absolutely clear, however: there can be no smoking in Carstone House by visiting workmen.

The dinner party and week-end were a great success. It meant rather late finishes for me, but I didn't really mind. Great houses only come to life when they are being lived in, otherwise they are just echoes of past glories, and in some places, the echo seems rather muffled, as if being heard from behind a Green Baize Door! It is always a delight to me when the house is full. I did notice something that concerned me, however; Mr Miles Carstone, far from being the life and soul of the party, as he usually is, was rather quiet and distant. Perhaps there was an argument in London, or perhaps Mr Miles has something on his mind. The Servants' Hall grapevine has yet to produce anything on this topic but I shall monitor developments closely. I disapprove of gossip, of course, but Servants' Hall gossip is usually rather better-informed than your average tittle-tattle.

Mr Llywelyn has invited me to his Lodge this evening for a quiet drink. All the guests have dispersed now, so things are winding down a bit, and I think I need to wind down a bit too.

I shall finish with an apology. It has always been my intention to update this diary on a daily basis. The fact is, however, I am a creature of routine, and I am yet to settle into the routine of posting on here; that combined with a hectic schedule, has meant that this blog has been rather neglected this week. I shall endeavour to do better in the future.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Tim said...

Mmmm, what's up with Miles, I wonder? You must interrogate all, and bring us the latest gossip!

Also, I wouldn't want you to be hitting the bottle too much tonight! A drunken butler would be a terrible thing!

10:45 am  
Anonymous Augustine Mulliner said...

What's up with the Baronet, you ask yourself? Can't you get in touch with a member of the domestic staff of the place where they stayed in London? One of the footmen (or perhaps the groom of the chamber) must have had plenty occasion to tie his laces in the proximity of the doors of the amber drawing room...

7:57 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Ah, Mulliner, you are sharp indeed! The mystery has been solved. Not through a groom of the chamber in London, but through My Master's own valet, Mr Copeland.

I will post before I retire tonight.

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