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, January 31, 2008

Unwanted Suspense

My nerves are frayed. They are also jangling. I did not realise that nerves could fray and jangle at the same time. It is an interesting but rather unpleasant sensation. I was apprehensive of opening the doors of Carstone House to a gentleman of the local press because I remember what happened last time I was interviewed by them. One popped along about four years ago. I think it must have been the time that Paul Burrell, the Princess of Wales' former butler, was in all the newspapers, and, for a split second, butlers were all the rage once more. An unprepossessing man with a moustache that he seemed to have borrowed for the occasion spent the day with me, to write an article about my profession in the modern age. He went away and wrote an article quoting me at length. He did not actually report what I had said, but what he believed I SHOULD have said. It was quite extraordinary. That chap's name was Mr Chandos. I mention this because it was the self-same reporter that turned up here at 9.30 on Monday morning.

Chandos greeted me warmly as if reuniting with a lost friend. His questions to me were quite brief, but I am convinced that I was not the antelope that this particular lion had his eye on. He was allowed to talk to any members of staff that were willing to talk to him. Unfortunately practically every one did talk to him. He was here an inordinate amount of time, and left with a spring in his step. A journalist with a spring in his step bodes well for no man. Goodness knows what people have told him, and would it matter anyway? He will probably write what he pleases. Quite how Carstone House will be portrayed in the local media is hard to fathom. So everytime the newspapers are delivered I leap up from my chair like a particularly athletic salmon. So far the article has not appeared, but, soon, perhaps today, with the grim inevitability of Greek tragedy, the immortal words of Chandos will be delivered to the butler's pantry, to Mr Downing's office, to the study of Sir Geoffrey Carstone, and will be passed around the Servant's Hall with undisguised relish.

But what will those words say?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Read All About It!

I am slightly nervous as I type this in my butler's flat high in the towers of Carstone House. For tomorrow an intruder shall enter the establishment. An invited intruder, perhaps; he will arrive with full permission to be here, but he intrudes, not so much upon this house, as upon my peace of mind. I feel like Count Dracula would feel if he had woken from a good day's slumber and, just as he had grabbed his cape, and had one foot out of the door ready for a good evening's terrorising the populace, he discovered (possibly by reading a flyer that had been popped through the letter box) that his castle was to be the venue for this year's Garlic Eater's Society Annual General Meeting.

For tomorrow at 9.30am a journalist shall be here.

The local newspaper wants to write a feature article about life in service in the 21st century. Unfortunately, following the advice of his new Land Agent (Mr Downing), Sir Geoffrey has agreed to the request. The journalist has been granted permission to interview any members of staff that he sees fit.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow. Indeed, I would probably welcome an interview from a stern Scotland Yard detective, members of the Spanish Inquisition, or the Witchfinder General in a foul mood, far more than a journalist (especially THIS journalist) from the local paper.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Butler's Diary

Tales From The Pantry will return on Friday 25 January.