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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Climbing The Peak

Spring cleaning can be a laborious task. My role is usually to oversee things. It has been many a year since you would have found me high in the rafters extracting dust and grime from between 17th century carvings. I leave that now to the younger generation. Although I might have the spirit of a Henry V and would like nothing better than to ride into battle, preparing to close any wall up with our English dead, I am now more like King George VI, and must play a more sedate, but nonetheless vital, morale-boosting, leadership role in the proceedings.

Yesterday we tackled the Banqueting Hall. The scaffolding was put up early in the morning. There is something about scaffolding that brings the inner-child out in me. I can never resist. I always seem to get an urge to climb up it and to survey the majestic scene from its lofty peak. As the years roll by I am acutely aware that the scaffolding is getting higher and higher, for it takes me longer to climb these days. Such was the struggle and the sense of achievement when I reached the top yesterday morning that I felt like planting a flag at the summit.

The view was breathtaking from up there. It gives a man a different sense of perspective. Unfortunately timing is everything. When triumphantly astride the summit, a little voice called up to me from down below. I felt like Zeus, atop Mount Olympus attempting to hear a Greek shepherd's prayer called up from the valley beneath. It was Wendy informing me that Mr Miles requested my presence in the Library. It was as if, when he had reached the top of Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary has suddenly remembered he had left the gas on. I swiftly began my descent.

I finally arrived in the Library rather red of cheek. Mr Miles did not comment on this. His mind was no doubt on loftier things. He had a problem of his own. This problem found its form in the newly installed Agent of the Carstone Estate, Mr Downing; but more of that anon. There is no rest for this butler on Sunday morning. I am off to have a chat with Mr Barton about his new planting scheme in the Orangery Garden. Lady Carstone has left suggestions for him. The day is cold, crisp, but there isn't a cloud in the sky. A nice stroll through the gardens is exactly what I need to clear the dust and cobwebs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Fielding,
How long does cleaning like this take? How many people does it take?

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh how I hate the fact that I am no longer a young bird.These days I am an old broiler!

10:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Fielding,

I found your blog via http://cmentmixer.blogspot.com/

I enjoy your writing and hope to see another entry again soon.

2:37 pm  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alas, have you abandoned your diary? Such a shame.

More people would read and comment on it if there were regular entries.

8:53 am  
Anonymous John said...

This is such an interesting blog, I wish you would continue your posts.

8:07 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Well, there is always hope. Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood!

I began to neglect this blog after its original intention (a day-by-day, blow-by-blow, account of life at Carstone) proved to be difficult to maintain. There always seemed to be something keeping me away from my chronicle. Samuel Pepys probably had the same problem, but handled it in a far better way.

I'm not sure that anybody would really be interested in posts every few days, or every week, or so. It was the day-by-day details that I wanted to capture.

I was frustrated in this act by, as Harold Macmillan would have said, "events, dear boy, events!"

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