Friday 27 May 2016


What a frightfully bad start to the day! For once, I do not refer to the latest cutlery fiasco. Though it remains a mystery to me how the correct placement of butter knives should prove such an ongoing dilemma.

               No, on this occasion the error was infinitely more basic. For I was greeted at breakfast by my late Victorian, pink peacock, gilt-edged, fluted vase awash with mismatched peonies of a migraine-inducing variety of tones. I confess to momentary speechlessness. Indeed, it was not until after the silverware had been cleared away that I regained sufficient composure to enable me to take the recently-appointed housemaid aside to instruct her in some basic rules of flower arranging. She listened; indeed that much is true. Yet she managed to do so without portraying a hint of deference.

            To relieve my frustrations, I walked the estate accompanying the hounds for their morning perambulation. Whence, refreshed and de-robed of my waxed and waterproof garments (which provided excellent coverage during a plethora of summer showers) I was attending to my daily epistle duty when a tradesman distracted me by peering into my front entrance. The servants access is clearly indicated so I can only assume the delivery boys command of written English is as inferior as his apparel. Old School standards are as rare as seamed 10 deniers it seems. Even in the Shires.

            Nor did my day’s challenges end there. For subsequently I was faced with a further trial during luncheon. The new Vicar had joined me for a local society debrief and organic soup (I believe, despite the Revd contributing little to our social intercourse, that he enjoyed both in equal measure) when my sight was drawn to a misalignment of the condiments. Thankfully my guest failed to notice the faux pas and the young attendant was summoned immediately upon the Minister’s departure and informed of her error. To my horror she remained singularly unperturbed.

            How I yearn for a healthy smattering of subservience amongst the staff.