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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Location: United Kingdom

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, March 29, 2006

The missing spectacles

I arose at 6.30am to find the day blustery and wet. I had struggled to sleep much during the night. Not only did my hand continue to ache (some call me a hypochondriac, but that is ridiculous!) but I had also mislaid my reading glasses, and was worried about not finding them. I found it rather difficult to read in bed as I normally do to wind down after a day's work. There is nothing more annoying than curling up with a good book (in this case, a book about the cricket commentator Brian Johnstone) only to find that the print is unreadable. Like a small child I could only look at the pictures! The mystery of the missing spectacles was solved this morning when during the serving of breakfast I noticed them on a side table. I discreetly retrieved them with the dexterous slight of hand that would have made a street conjuror proud.

The family left for London at 8.45am for an engagement. They are not due to return until Friday evening. A cousin is celebrating a 21st birthday and the planned festivities are set to be lavish and rather splendid. It is at times like this that I sometimes, for a fraction of a second, envy my Master's valet, Mr Copeland, who accompanies him on these trips; but then I gaze out of a window onto the magnificent formal gardens (Mr Barton does a good job for all of his indifference to cricket), or maybe I wander around the state rooms, or maybe even just settle back in my comfy chair in the Pantry, and I realise that for all the delights elsewhere, it is here that I feel most comfortable and happy. When I am away from this House, for even a few days, I find myself worrying about a million and one things that might have gone wrong in my absence.

It is only 8.15pm as I type this, and all, rather unusually, is quiet in the House. I am in my flat at the top of the building, and perhaps I will now have the opportunity to tell you a little more about this place, to set the scene, as it were.


Anonymous Augustine Mulliner said...

What ho, butler! Good show, this blog of yours. But as a confirmed Wodehousian, I cannot help asking myself: Is this a real butler... or an impostor? Is "Carstone House" the real name of your stately home of E., or is it just as real as Blandings Castle? Wouldn't your feudal overlord feel like kicking your spine through your bowler hat if he found out that you are casting the family pearls before the cyberswines? These are grave questions indeed. Anyhow, much pleasure is had by all, so keep up the good work.

10:50 am  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Hello Mulliner. You are most perceptive. 'Carstone' is most certainly not the real name of the stately home that I work at, nor will you find the real names of the family or servants, including Barton.

The stately home itself, and the records I make, are, however, based on reality.

My spine and bowler hat shall remain safe. There remains a code of honour and discretion involved with being a butler, in spite of the recent bad publicity that we have received. I don't think I shall offend anyone.

I shall lay my diary entries in front of the masses, and they may take them as they choose; hopefully they will accept them with a patient smile. I am no William Shakespeare, and my foot is not as clubbed as Lord Byron's.

Thanks for taking the time to pop along.

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