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

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back From The Brink

Well, perhaps I was not as ill as all that. Perhaps the obituary writers in the local village were not sharpening their pencils and trying to think of something nice to say about me. But I was ill. It had been quite a while since I was last unable to attend to my duties. I have suffered a very frustrating week.

As I lay in bed I could not help thinking of all the things that needed to be done: were all the doors and windows locked? Had the correct wine for the day been taken out of the cellars? Was Simon aware that we were expecting delivery of the new monogramed writing paper? Myriad thoughts and worries haunted my rest.

I was kept informed of proceedings and I should have been most grateful for the little stream of visitors that arrived to attempt to cheer me up. Unfortunately, when ill, I can get ever so slightly cranky. The sunshine goes out of my life. Clouds gather. It has been whispered that I am not good company. Nevertheless, like courtiers visiting a dying monarch, much of the staff trooped in to pay their respects at one point or another over the week.

Mr Copeland was the first to arrive. He has recovered his usual elan now that Lady Blanche is safely back in Scotland. His conversation was gossipy and really rather entertaining. Although I did notice that he attempted to keep his distance from me. At one point when I leaned closer to hear one of his trademark conspiratorial whispers, he recoiled quickly and placed a silk handkerchief to his mouth, as if a bubonic plague victim had just asked him for a kiss.

Mrs Berry was always making visits. She was very kind. Bringing me tonics and medicines and keeping me updated on everything Below Stairs. Apparently the Wendy situation has solved itself but she did not elaborate.

The footmen (Simon and Richard) visited every day as I had requested. No problems seem to have occurred in my absence. I should not have expected any. I have never worked with a more dedicated staff in all the years I have been in service.

Robert (the Hall Boy) was the most interesting visitor. Chiefly because we could chat about cricket. He thinks Flintoff should be England captain on his return from injury. I am an Andrew Strauss man. He also told me of problems over on the lake. Apparently people are sneaking into the park after dark to fish on the lake without permission. The Gamekeeper, Mr Cromwell, is no doubt on the case.

3 Comments:

Blogger Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Very glad to see you are well again and posting.

tea

6:34 pm  
Blogger Amanda said...

I am so glad that you are doing better and that people visted you. There is nothing worse than being sick and alone (in my opinion.)

And you shouldn't had worried about the little things when you were sick, it would only keep you sick longer.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Mr Bruce said...

good to see your back on board! look forward to more trials and tribulations from the pantry.

Get well soon.

Mr Bruce

8:35 pm  

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