The Village Fete

Once a year I am forced, by centuries of precedence, to open the gates to of my country pile to the great unwashed of the neighbourhood. Peasants from the village, who rely on my patronage, are allowed onto my manicured lawns for an afternoon of games, competitions, ale and cake.

As a proud Englishman, I am conscious that without the peasants yeoman like hard work, our proud nation would degenerate into foppish sloveness and our fields would not be tilled. Therefore, I see it as a proud responsibility to put on a jolly good show as an act of gratitude for all their hard work through the year.

This year, as is true of every year, the most popular stall was Flog The Poacher. The crowds always take great delight in horsewhipping these lawless scoundrels.

The Wet Wench competition drew a large crowd of flatulent, bawdy lower class types. The wenches stand in line and are interviewed by the Blacksmith about how they like puppies and do good works at the local Work House. The wenches then have to sit on my knee, and with suitable coyness have to tell me what a marvelous landlord I am. However, the highlight is undoubtedly the Wet Petticoat Competition, from which we judges decide who will be crowned Wet Wench Of The Year.

All in all, the whole day was a success. This is despite Squire Porter embarrassing us all by appearing in his new Gold Thigh Length Boots and singing camp songs into the early hours after one too many glasses of mead.

I Almost Had to Dismiss Cuddly Cook

I had a busy day yesterday, what with celebrating the trapping of another poacher, reducing the wages of my loyal servants and sharing two bottles of my finest vintage port with that hairless cad Austin over a rather fine luncheon.

Furthermore, Butler was having his one day off a year visting his Great Aunt in some squalid seaside town, in what is affectionately known as The North. The combination of my hard working day and the thought of Butler enjoying some Mr Whippylash ice-cream induced me into a state of peckishness.

In Butler’s absence, I knew that I would have to alert Cook to my requirments, but in my befuddled state I realised that I had absolutely no idea how to do this. I therefore took the foolhardy decision to embark on an adventure into the nether regions of my mansion.

It was a long journey down dark corridors where natural light had barely penetrated for decades. The smells of venison stew and turtle soup were unmistakeable as I drew near Cuddly Cook’s lair. I opened the door and there was the bustle of ten wenches from the lower classes busying themselves with pots and fires, jellies and pies, gravies and puddings.

The sight of labour made me even more ravenous and so I announced in my loudest voice

“Where is my tea Cuddly Cook?”

At this, the bustle ceased and all the wenches turned to look at me in a state of shock. It was rather gratifying to see them all tug their greasy forelocks and curtsy before Cook said

“But master, the cakes are still in the oven and will not be ready for another 20 minutes.”

At this, I flew into a rage of similar ferocity as when I lost 10 Guineas to Dastardly Willy in a bet over how many steak and kidney puddings one could fit into one’s pantaloons at The Club. Willy had cheated by wearing his expanding pantaloons which he had put on for his planned jaunt to the seedy end of town later that evening.

Anyway, Cook had the temerity to suggest that I was ordering tea some half an hour early which was why my cakes were not ready. Well, I was in no mood to be corrected and uttered the words

“As a member of the lower classes, how could you possibly know anything? I have a good mind to dismiss you from my employ at once.”

The wenches were aghast and Cuddly Cook began to cry.

Now, you may think of me as a chap made with a heart as hard as Matron’s behind. With a lip so stiff that a whining puppy could not soften it. A man so upright that a storm that blows an English Oak over, could not bend me.

Dear reader, you are wrong. My heart is as soft as blancmange. There is nothing that softens a soak like me than to see a member of the those less fortunate than me, cry. It makes me yearn to patronise them, to make them awfully glad that they have such a generous Master as me.

“Cuddly Cook, you have served me and my forebears for many years. In view of your outstanding Treacle Sponge Pudding, I will not dismiss you today. However, be sure to give me double portions of your fine Victoria Sponge Cake for tea and we will say nothing more about this sordid affair. Good Day wenches.”

With that I turned and climbed the stairs to breathe in the fresh air of aristocracy that seeps through my home and my bones.