With the festive season upon us, I am in the throes of my annual round of pre Christmas, early evening drinks gatherings. For once again it is my duty to entertain local groups and dignitaries at The Hall.
Indeed, my hostess commitments, I note, increase on an annual basis. This is mainly due to the many institutions whose inauguration I continue to initiate, of course. And whilst it is true that some such bodies take a while to gain momentum, I have always found a correctly worded, hand delivered epistle or two stimulates sufficient interest.
This year I was obliged to commence social arrangements earlier than usual as I have been frantically busy of late organising Christmas gift parcels for the needy. Not that everything went to plan, a lack of efficiency being far too commonplace in my experience. Yet despite my remonstrations there has still been a lengthy delay in delivering the shoe polish and brush leather bound gift sets for those needy people around the globe. I simply cannot imagine their distress! Belated presents are no more acceptable than under starched linen. Next year I will acquire my offerings from other, more reliable, sources.
In the meantime I have decided to call upon my wine merchant in order to sample his wares and choose an acceptable selection of sherry for our New Year’s Eve cocktail party. Being preoccupied with an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Haberdashery Society last year, I foolishly left the choice to the manager of said establishment. My disappointment, nay surprise, at his assortment warranted a stern rebuke. He clearly is as unfamiliar with the notion of Vintage as he is unwilling to extend his education. New World, I remonstrated, equates to inferior quality. The latter has no place at Farthing Hall.
Whilst on the premises, I will also take the opportunity to request a deliverer who shows a little more diligence than their previous employee. It has taken the housemaid months to eliminate a brace of scuff marks from my watercolour infused cellar walls following last December’s fiasco. Not that the youth displayed any regret for his carelessness. Indeed, I am still astonished he was permitted to visit valuable customers without first scrubbing his soiled digits.
To think he could have fingered my aperitif.