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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Jarring Experience

The great writer P.G. Wodehouse once admirably described a butler's walk as a "stately procession of one". Today I am certainly not living up to that noble ideal. Walking is beyond me at the moment. Hobbling is my current mode of transport. I rather unfortunately jarred my knee while descending into the cellars yesterday. It was very dim (as cellars are oft to be) and my foot slipped on the penultimate step. This morning the offending knee was rather painful but I am hoping that all shall be well. It is not a good thing for a butler to hobble. My equilibriam is affected, so, whereas I could serve my master a cup of tea with ease yesterday, my attempts at breakfast this morning were less successful. Indeed, the saucer became so full of tea, the cup looked like a small china castle surrounded by a forbidding brown moat. I wisely left Simon to serve at table for the rest of breakfast, while I hobbled forlornly into the darkness.

I obtained my injury whilst making one of my regular checks of the contents of the cellars. Novels and popular entertainment have given we butlers a rather rough deal when it comes to this particular part of our duties. It seems common for a butler to be portrayed as a man forever sucking peppermints to disguise the fact that he has just dipped liberally into his master's wine cellar. Nothing could be further from the truth at Carstone. I don't even like peppermints.

I use the term 'cellars' rather than 'cellar' because we have several of them. There is the Wine Cellar, the Family Beer Cellar, and the Servant's Beer Cellar, as well as a room that was used years ago for the bottling of both wine and beer. They are cavernous subterranean rooms; more 'chambers' really. I am the only member of staff that has access to all the keys to the cellars. Double doors lead to them. Each morning I open the outer-door, walk through the small lobby which contains a folding-table against the wall, unlock the inner-door which leads into the Wine Cellar, place the wine-for-the day on a tray, and then place the tray on the folding-table. I then lock the inner-door, then the outer-door, and the footman only gets a key to the outer-door. This means he can have access to the wine-for-the-day but can't actually get into the Wine Cellar itself.

Phew. I hope you got all that. Perhaps the pain from my knee is making me garble a bit.


Blogger Tea and Margaritas in My Garden said...

Hoping your painful knee gets better soon.


12:56 pm  
Blogger Mr Fielding said...

Thank you Tea. It is good to hear from you again. I will have to see the local doctor about this unfortunate knee alas. This morning it doesn't seem to have improved. I am still lumbering around like something from a Mary Shelley novel.

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Blogger Lady Prism said...

Mr. Fielding, thank you very much for visiting my bloggy' home and leaving a comment. I have been a lazy blogger lady for months now. It seemed like I just lost..my words.

I'm so happy to have found you again!

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