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

Friday, June 09, 2006

Let's Try Again

With the Llywelyn scare now behind me, it is time to resume the diary.

All is gloriously sunny at Carstone at the moment. The last few days the sun has been beaming down upon us (and judging from the brightness of the rays it would seem that the sun has been using teeth whitener) and the weathermen promise more to come. This brightens the mood and lightens the step.

There is a certain self-satisfaction in being butler here on days such as this. The sun is kind to those whose duties are, shall we say, rather light: It will pour its affections upon a snoozing Sir Geoffrey, a copy of The Times over his face, as he relaxes in a chair in one of the formal gardens, for example; it will shimmer on the still waters of the lake as Mr Miles reads poetry while being rowed by a chum; it will even shine with admiration and encouragement on the plants as they are lovingly tended by the Head Gardener Mr Barton; but, it does not look kindly on those with hard manual work to be done. It makes their task infinitely harder. The sun is not the Hall Boy's friend during working hours. It mocks him.

But, surely, I hear you cry, that being a butler in such weather is no sinecure? Surely the heat makes my task uncomfortable? This is true, but I do have an antidote to the most sweltering of days: the key to the cellars. This is not to imply that I partake of beverages to cool me down. I would not touch a drop of anything from Sir Geoffrey's wine or beer cellars without express permission. However, it is so wonderfully cool in the cellars that it is the ideal place to find brief sanctuary from the rigours of a warm day. The alternative, of loosening my tie a touch, is, of course, too ghastly to contemplate. My appearance is one thing that is non-negotiable no matter what the weather. Certain standards must always be maintained.

Now, I must just pop into the Servant's Beer Cellar to check that the 'Prince of Wales' is full of beer....

NB The 'Prince of Wales' is the largest of the beer barrels at Carstone. It is six feet tall, and almost six feet wide. It is said to have obtained its name because of a passing resemblance to King Edward VII

Update - Do forgive the un-ornamental appearance of this post. I find myself temporarily unable to post pictures. I hope the problem resolves itself soon.