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

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Morning Update

Lady Blance arrived later than expected last night, and so retired directly to bed. She was accompanied by her Lady's Maid and her secretary. The secretary seemed to carry himself with a more regal air than his titled employer, and since I have a sneaking suspicion that Her Majesty the Queen feels compelled to curtsey in the presence of Lady Blanche, that really is saying something.

The rest of the party are expected to arrive this afternoon. An awfully busy day awaits.

I have a headache, and it is a bad time to have one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can feel the tension from here. I guess most of us have a 'Lady Blanche' in our family.

Hope the maids have dusted thoroughly!

1:08 pm  
Blogger Tess said...

I hope you popped some Advil and the rest of your day worked out just fine. We need STORIES, my good man! We need news and gossip and other tid-bits about your fussy visitor, and we can't get those if you're laid up in bed with a headache :-)

PS. regarding a previous post: I'm sure you are good and tired of questions after the 9-year-old's recent inquisition, but I have one anyway...If you cannot use a sprinkler or a hosepipe, how are the lawns supposed to stay green? I would think that ugly brown patches are far worse than the occasional 'chk chk chk' of a sprinkler running in the early morning.

9:47 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

I have much to report. Hopefully I'll get time later this evening to post. Everything is rather hectic at the moment.

I am afraid Barton would tell you it is a bit of a struggle at the moment keeping this green and beautiful land, green and beautiful.

There ARE a few ugly brown patches on the lawns. I am afraid both sprinklers and hosepipes are restricted at the moment.

Even the Queen mentioned this problem at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party recently. Her garden was not as green as she would have wished.

Both Barton and Her Majesty are, no doubt, praying for a little spot of rain, as we speak.

10:27 am  
Anonymous Wayne said...

Barton and Her Majesty have my sympathies with regard to the the watering restrictions. Here in my part of the US (Birmingham, Alabama) we are facing the same sort of restrictions due to a drought (the worst in this area since 2000). My lawn is showing brown spots as well, though with the welcome rain showers with which we were blessed over the weekend, things are looking up for the moment.

9:47 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

I am glad the heavens have opened to nourish your suffering lawn, Wayne. No such luck here as yet.

I think I spy Barton doing a rain dance underneath the large Cedar tree in one of the formal gardens....

9:57 am  
Anonymous EJ said...

When visitors bring their own servants and employees to a house they are visiting, how are they (the servants and employees) accommodated? On what basis are rooms assigned to them and where do they take their meals? Who picks up the tab for their food? Are they expected to tip? Is there any difference in their treatment when the visitor is a member of the family or a friend of the family?

As a devoted P. G. Wodehouse reader I have long wondered about this because people always seem to be dropping in on each other's houses and bringing maids, chauffeurs and so on with them. Of course, Jeeves is a special case in that he is sometimes the reason for Bertie's being asked to visit.

EJ (aka Charlotte Mulliner)

10:45 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

EJ, I think I will do a post addressing your queries soon.

In short:

All servants, visiting or resident, dine in the Servant's Hall. They sit according to their status. Visiting valets are not to be known by their names, but by the names of their employers (ie: when Mr Copeland accompanies Sir Geoffrey to other houses, he will be addressed as 'Carstone' in their Servant's Hall)

The tab for food is always picked up by the host.

Tips are a delicate issue. They are welcome but not expected, certainly not here.

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