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, October 04, 2006

Last Night I Dreamt.....

Yes, it happens occasionally. It is almost time for this butler to take a holiday. I have been feeling a little run down of late, so it has come at a good time. No doubt Carstone House's proud towers and faux battlements will still be standing when I return. When you work in a house centuries old, for a family centuries old, the sobering thought pops into your head: nobody is indispensible. This place has seen it all before. Just how many butlers have worked in the snug pantry close to the Entrance Hall here I could not say. No doubt Llywelyn would be able to tell me. I am one in a long line, and hopefully I am far from the end of that line.

If you think the above passage is simply me trying to convince myself that all will be well in my absence, you would be right. I always worry so terribly when I am away. I sometimes fear that, one day, on returning to the castle, just before approaching the Lodge Gates, I shall see the towers of Carstone burning in the distance. I am a born worrier. I think that is what makes me a perfectionist and, I hope, a good butler.

Perhaps I should not re-read Rebecca on the plane.

No, no, I am being silly. All will be well. The staff at Carstone are excellent, dependable, and not a Mrs Danvers with a box of matches among them.

Prague is my destination. I shall update you all on my return.

If Carstone remains standing.....

Sigh. There I go again.

All will be well.....and the 1st Footman has an emergency number to reach me, just in case.


Anonymous Tim said...

You are not flying are you Fielding? I've always imagined you travelling on a train, ironed copy of The Times on your lap, bowler hat in the luggage compartment....or perhaps on a large liner tutting at the inefficiency of the steward that brought you your whisky and soda.

When are you off to the continent?

9:00 am  
Anonymous Lady Bracknell said...

Ooooh, Daphne De Maurier's 'Rebecca' happens to be my favorite novel.

The sad thing is many British country houses did indeed go the same way as Manderley, either by fire or bulldozer.

I'm sure Carstone will be fine for many centuries to come though.

Sleep well in Europe. Simon, the footman, comes across as a very responsible young man. All shall be well.

9:03 am  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Tim - I am indeed flying. Am off tomorrow morning. An ironed copy of the Times probably WILL be on my lap, but I am not one for wearing a bowler.

Lady Brackell - You are absolutely correct. After World War II several aristocrats actually bulldozed the ancestral home, crippled as they were by death duties and the changing financial climate. The modern world passed them by.

Fortunately, like the liner mentioned by Tim, Carstone House sailed on through the fierce storms of the post-war world. Thank goodness.

6:04 pm  
Blogger Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Have a wonderful holiday in Prague! Maybe we could see some pictures?


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