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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Good Present?

December 8th is the 57th birthday of my Master, Sir Geoffrey Carstone. It has come to my notice that many of my posts involve parties, balls, and social gatherings. I do not wish to give the impression that Carstone House is one large den of carousers. We do not spend all of our time in that state of debauchery that the Romans knew all too well.

Bacchus does not rule the roost here.

Although, admittedly, he visits sometimes.

We give him the Chintz Bedroom.

Sir Geoffrey's birthday will be celebrated with a Medieval Ball. It is not going to be a big event, only close friends and family will be invited. It should be a pleasant enough occasion.

Lady Carstone called me into the Drawing Room early this morning to discuss the plans for Sir Geoffrey's birthday. She told me that his present should be arriving at some point today. It is a computer. I was not entirely sure I understood correctly, so I asked Her Ladyship to repeat herself. She confirmed that her husband's present was indeed to be a computer. Personally I believe this to be a startling revelation. Giving Sir Geoffrey a computer is akin to handing Henry VIII an exercise bike. He will be confused and ultimately repelled by such a gift. Lady Carstone insisted that it was time "we dragged him kicking and screaming into the 21st century." She sounded determined. Her face was set with a "Rome has spoken. The matter is settled." expression. I did not like to point out that Sir Geoffrey has a deep distrust of the 20th century, nevermind the 21st.

Later this afternoon I must order the Christmas Tree. Decorating Carstone House is a large job. I try to ensure that the decorations are as traditional as possible, as befits the setting. Certain things at this time of year make me shudder. Red Christmas Trees for example. Or purple. Or any other colour that isn't green grates on my nerves dreadfully. I also have an intense dislike of tinsel. I suppose we all have our own little peculiarities in taste.