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

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Apologies for the delay in updating. Work, life, and, yes, lethargy, have often prevented me updating this blog since my return from Prague. It really is the oddest thing. During working hours I am ever vigilant and am very harsh on myself if the smallest detail is neglected. There is always so much to do, and I am eager to do it. When I get home after work, and close the door to my flat at the top of the House, my will to be active sometimes fades away, to be replaced by a lethargic feeling which I can only describe as 'Pointless Slumptitude'. I suffer from this malady occasionally. Just lately it has been rampant.

I greatly approve of Prague. An interesting place. The people were all very friendly. They have, over the years, had a penchant for throwing people out of windows (defenestration) but, happily, this mania seems to have passed. My hotel was merely a tram-ride from the centre of town. I was, however, placed in an extremely small room at the top of said hotel. It felt like a footman's quarters from years ago (which, of course, it might well have been at one time). I like exposed beams in buildings, it adds character. I like them slightly less when I smack my head against them at regular intervals. The room was so small (lets be polite and say 'cosy') that everytime I got out of bed and stood upright my head was in grave danger of being hammered into my neck. I believe I have returned to Britain at least a couple of inches shorter than whan I left. At least the window in my room was small. No chance of defenestration here, I remember thinking with satisfaction. Unfortunately there was little chance of light entering either.

I think had I gone away for several years, I would still have found, on returning, that very little had changed at Carstone House. It is a comforting feeling to have. Everything seems to have been quite calm in my absence. In London, Mr Miles, caused quite a stir apparently when a party trick he was performing went badly wrong, but I did not ask for details. London is many miles away, and what happens there, stays there, in my opinion. Apart from that the gossip in the Servant's Hall was rather light. Mr Llywelyn, with permission from Sir Geoffrey, conducted a special 'ghost walk' around the grounds on Halloween. This proved very popular. Many people came from the local village and from further afield. I did not attend but saw them snake by torchlight to various parts of Carstone Park from my bedroom window. Not really my thing. I commend Llywelyn for his business sense, however. He raised quite a lot of money for charity. Flushed with this success I am sure he will be pursuing the 'Transparent Pound' with assiduity from now on.

I shall attempt to apply myself to this diary. I really must crack on with it. No more excuses. Did Samuel Pepys miss a few weeks because of 'Pointless Slumptitude'? Did Chips Channon or Virginia Woolf? What about those great Czech diarists like, Kafka (probably), even with the sinister shadow of defenstration looming over them, I'm sure they remained jolly, and knuckled down to recording the day's events.


Anonymous James said...

hello my dear mr fielding!

i just encountered your blog this evening and i was glued to the blog for 3 hours! i have now read the whole thing, and i must say, i am most surprised that there are still people who live such lives today. i thought such things were a thing of the past. you are a fantastic writer, and you should seriously consider publishing your works in a few years time!

as i'm about to become a regular reader, let me establish myself a little -i'm a 16 year old student living in Singapore of british heritage. i really love coming to england and old england really fascinates me!

kudos to mr fielding for such a magnificent account of a life of a butler!

5:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dean, you still havent posted the pictures of the house and pantry that you promised!

5:11 pm  
Blogger Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Welcome back Mr. Fielding! I`ve been keeping watch for you to post as I`m sure everyone else has.
Hope yoy`re feeling better and look forward to more reading of your fascinating blog :)


6:29 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

You are quite right Anonymous, I did indeed promise I would post pictures of my pantry. Not the House though. That would give the game away completely. I have taken said photos of my pantry but, in all honesty, got cold feet just before posting them. I am sure they WILL appear, possibly after significant quantitites of Dutch courage have been imbibed.

Thank you Tea. I can certainly test the patience of even the most loyal reader with my sporadic output.

Welcome James! Thank you for your kind comments. I'm so glad you stumbled upon us. You do realise though that I have robbed you of 3 hours of your life. You won't get them back, you know. Glad you have enjoyed it so far. I can assure you that butlers are FAR from extinct (several of them read this blog and can vouch for that). We have not yet gone the way of the dodo. Old ways continue to a certain extent. A lot of things have changed though.

8:15 am  
Blogger UKBob said...

I'm pleased to see you are back in writing mode Mr Fielding. I wonder how Mr Barton took to the Halloween walk or were the gardens not included in the tour? Personally speaking I like to see people enjoying the gardens and often wish that the gardens I tend were made more use of. I questioned myself about posting pictures when I started my journal but I figured that as long as they were about my work it would be okay. I would not post any of the house or anything else that I consider is private to the family. Well I hope you can find it in yourself to write more, I regard you as a sort of kindred spirit and enjoy reading what you write.

1:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great, welcome back and thanks for the post! Looking forward to your photos.

4:59 pm  
Anonymous Tess said...

Welcome back! I promise to update my own blog sooner rather than later (pointless slumptitude abounds!) I did update the "friends and family" edition so it just a matter of copy of 'copy and paste', I suppose... Thanks again for the update and glad to know you are doing well.

4:27 pm  
Blogger EuropeanTop said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to read and post on your blog.

I’ve just posted an article related to travel tips for seniors on my blog and I thought maybe you’d be interested in reading it. Here is short preview of some of the areas I covered:

- Prefer a backpack on wheels instead of a suitcase, you could pull it behind you when your back hurts or you are exhausted.
- Consider checking your bag in with the airlines, because it would become an unnecessary burden to be dragged all over the airport or the city if you are going to have a short visit.
- You could stay outside the city, in a hostel maybe, because it is cheaper, less crowded and the air is much fresher, but you have to walk or use the transport more, to get in the city or to the station.
- Most museums, some concert halls, railways, airlines, bus lines, ferry and shipping lines have a discount policy for seniors.
- Electronic devices are useful but sometimes they can give you a lot of headaches. You could help yourself with a micro-tape recorder to record your notes. It would be easier than to write and you would put them down on paper later, to share your notes with your family.
- If you bring a camera with you to keep the beautiful images alive along the time then make sure you know how to handle it or you might fail to record them not only on that camera but also in your eyes.

For more resources on visiting Europe you are welcome to visit my blog, where you can also get acces to some excellent maps of Prague and Prague hotels, together with information on restaurants adn rent a car services.

Best regards,

Michael R.

4:40 pm  
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