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

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sir Geoffrey In The 21st Century

I have been asked by two curious readers whether or not the gift of a computer has proved to be a hit with my Master or not?: Does his birthday present from Lady Carstone sit on Sir Geoffrey's desk glowing with use, as an indispensible tool without which his day-to-day life would be a struggle usually only read about in Russian novels, or does it sit there, unused, (I would say 'gathering dust' but you know I would never permit such an atrocity), unloved, straining the wood of his oaken desk, as the largest white elephant in gift-buying history?

The truth lies somewhere between these extremes. The computer (beautifully dusted, of course) is often humming with use in Sir Geoffrey's study. If truth be told, however, it is rarely used by Sir Geoffrey himself. He sometimes gets summoned to the screen by Lady Carstone who will point out one of it's myriad uses. At this point Sir Geoffrey, like an obedient pet dog, nods with great enthusiasm. He is rarely enthusiastic enough to approach the computer under his own steam, however. He needs to be led to it, reluctantly, and the look on his face at such a juncture reminds one immediately of a poor unfortunate missionary being led towards a large pot by a less than well-meaning cannibal.
I cannot, in truth, ever see Sir Geoffrey Carstone fully embracing the modern age. He is barely on speaking terms with it.
I am quickly settling back into my old routines. I did have one unsettling moment upon my return to work. My favourite arm-chair in my pantry was missing. This startled me. Its replacement was adequate but not ideal. I settled into it gingerly. I discovered upon questioning Simon in the Servant's Hall later that day that my 'old faithful' chair had not become firewood, but it had been sent for re-upholstering. Secretly I think it likely that Simon, or somebody else, had spilt something upon it in my absence. It did not need re-upholstering. Nevertheless, no harm has been done. The chair is due back on Wednesday. I do hope they are punctual. My pantry does not feel quite the same without it.
Llywelyn also gave me some unsettling news at the Carstone Arms the other evening. He gave me some information about a guest that arrives here on Monday morning: a friend of Mr Miles, who goes by the name of Peter Forrester. This Forrester chap has business cards that claim he is a 'psychic medium'. My last brush with the spirit world at Carstone did not result in a pleasant experience. I do not wish to repeat it. With a little bit of luck the whole affair will not concern me. Perhaps Mr Forrester will find that the spirits of Carstone do not wish to converse with him. Quite frankly, if he is as odd as some of the people that Mr Miles has invited here, I would not blame them in the slightest.


Anonymous Tim said...

Bad news about the chair! Hope they re-upholster it in the same colour. We couldn't have you sitting in a polka-dot shocking pink colored chair, now could we?

Dignity of a butler, and all that!

11:08 am  
Anonymous Mr Bruce said...

Nothing like the fresh smell of Leather I must say! Shame on you for bringing up a spooky ghost story and not giving us the rest of the details! I do hope that if you ever feel the need of enlightening the rest of us on the spiritual going on's about Cartsone, you will do so in great detail!

Best Wishes

1:18 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Come now Mr Bruce, would I tease my readers in such a way? Certainly not. Readers of this blog (I REALLY prefer the word 'diary') from its inception might remember the last time I had to deal with the 'supernatural'. That was Llywelyn's fault and resulted in me staying up half the night, and getting rather cold, for no apparent reason.

Tim, you ARE indeed correct that colour is rather important to me. The chair they took away resembled very much the chair in the photograph: upholstered in black leather. My current temporary replacement is green which makes me think that I am sitting on the benches of the House of Commons.

I prefer black.

But would be rather proud of red.

4:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red leather for House of Lords you mean, Fielding? It seems that your master never got a peerage but remained a humble baronet.

Of course, today all he needs to do is throw the governement some cash and he will be in ermine before he can say "a computer? not for me!". Or, fairly soon, he could get himself elected to the Upper Chamber through the ballot box.

Did his family ever get close to a peerage?

8:56 am  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Apparently the Carstone family got quite close to a peerage during the premiership of Mr. Disraeli. But, as the Americans would say, "close, but no cigar!"

9:35 pm  
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