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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mr Cromwell's Mission

It is very good to be back. The problem with fishing on the lake has increased. Apparently the miscreants are sneaking into the park at night, fishing away happily, but then leaving a dreadful mess behind them. This greatly concerns the Gamekeeper Mr Cromwell. He is a man who would quite happily live outdoors. He rarely enters the House and when he does he seems rather claustrophobic, even in a place this size. He yearns for the freedom of the Great Outdoors.

During the heat-wave Mr Cromwell and Mr Barton would have frequent discussions whilst looking sagely up at the clouds. Cromwell is the man you go to for that type of thing. No problem with that now though. As I type this I can see rain hammering down on the window. The gardens will get a good dousing and Barton will be happy. Or as happy as is possible for a man like Barton to get.

I have a feeling that Cromwell will be lying in wait for the fishermen tonight. Anything that damages the countryside deeply wounds Mr Cromwell. He takes it personally. I can imagine him now, hiding behind a tree near the lake, ever alert, eagerly waiting for his prey to come toddling along, unsuspecting. Sleep, rest, even blinking, will be ignored by him tonight. I saw him just 25 minutes ago. I took a local university student to see the shack (I hesitate to say 'cottage') that lies within the woods, that used to be home to Sir Ronald Carstone's pet hermit in the early 18th century (I kid you not!). The student wants to write an assignment about it. Didn't actually pick up what the assignment was going to be entitled. I am fairly certain it won't be 'Pet Hermits of the 18th Century', probably something more subtle and sophisticated than that. As we were leaving the Hermit's House we saw Cromwell. He looked intense, like a prizefighter before a title bout. He nodded briefly to us, but his mind was elsewhere. I said I would pop over to see him tonight, just before it gets too dark. Again he merely nodded.

I warn you, do not be a fisherman on Carstone Lake tonight. Cromwell is about. Hope he doesn't get too soggy if this rain keeps up. Then again, he likes that sort of thing. You wouldn't find me outdoors in that kind of weather. I am more the tucked up in bed, hearing the rain rattling the window pain type of chap. I am quite content to hear bad weather. I do not wish to be buffeted by it.