My passion for, and commitment to, that most quintessential English celebration which infuses my diary at this time of year is well documented. And rightly so. I have been a regular attendee of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club since Papa first settled me on a velvet seat in the Royal Box. He may have momentarily popped down to the locker room to partake of a hand rolled Havanna or two with HRH, but his absence was sufficiently lengthy for me to cultivate what quickly became a lifelong ardor for backhanders.
Yet despite my obligations, I have been obliged to return to The Hall where, with more than a soupçon of displeasure, I find myself undertaking crucial work for the Village Fête. It is all quite intolerable at such a late stage. Indeed, the event may have been my inspiration but, really, despite an initial and healthy burst of enthusiasm from the ladies of the village, the Committee has dwindled to myself (Chair), the Deputy Librarian who rarely attends our weekly meetings despite my frequent postal reminders, and the local Meals on Wheels representative, who turns out to be more mince and mash than scones and cream.
With the celebration a mere two weeks hence, planning time is now of the essence.
Immediately after perusing today’s luncheon menu, therefore, I contacted a number of potential benefactors to persuade them of our need for both quality and copious raffle prizes. I look forward to the arrival of appropriate deliveries from my chosen donors. Heaven knows, if the county’s Care Home is to stand the remotest chance of replacing those blemished mattresses, generosity is paramount.
My subsequent task involved penning a note to the village school Headmistress requesting further details of her somewhat courageous suggestion of a fancy dress competition. There were mutterings, reported to me by Cook, that a cluster of senior girls, overflowing with unregulated hormones, were contemplating transforming the event into something akin to a St Trinians débacle. Clearly, there is no room in village life for such outlandish behaviour. I shall do my utmost to ensure both skirt lengths and conduct remain within the boundaries of polite society.
As far as catering is concerned, Farthing Hall will, of course, lead the way. The kitchen staff are fully aware of my expectations.
After a somewhat exhausting day, reasonable headway in both marquee décor and ticket design has, I believe, been achieved. Barring any unforeseen hitches, I shall return to the Championships after breakfast tomorrow. The Master is likely to accompany me. After all, there’s nothing that satisfies him more than the occasional double handed lob.