|A fine goose, cooked to perfection|
Christmas Update No.5 ...
Forgive me if I am a little subdued this morning. I am typing this on my iCellmate, sitting in the custody suite of Marylebone Police Station. My colourful paper hat is at a less than jaunty angle and my kazoo has a kink in it that stops the paper tube rolling all the way out when I sigh through it. Christmas day was splendid but I do so abhor these early mornings.
Anyway, yesterday! I promised you a run-down of the day, so here it is.
We opened presents in the hallway around the larger of the six indoor Christmas pines, while sherry and exceptionally bloody Bloody Marys were served by the new Indian staff that the Maharajah of Reading was kind enough to give one. I think that almost everyone liked their new racehorses, although some of the animals were a little skittish once taken out of the paper. Certainly the Persians will need shampooing in the New Year. Francesca's pony stampeded towards the Titian Room but young Harry was on hand with his new Purdeys and took it down before any damage was done. While the broken present was removed and replaced with a thoroughbred spare, Monsieur Hollande asked if warm baguettes would be available later and the rest of the guests went for a ride around the house.
I'm told that it was obvious by the time they rode through the orangery that, even side-saddle, Margaret Rutherford has a wonderfully sturdy and practical seat.
Luncheon was magificent, so much so that I offered to extend Cook's employment with a fresh contract (at post-recession wages of course and the same revised terms offered to the cleaner items of the rest of the household staff). Some of the hummingbirds proved a little rich for the guests, especially with chips and mushy peas, but the trifle with Bird's Custard was a triumph! The only slight problem was that the little steam-powered gravy train that runs the length and breadth of the table had been sub-contracted to Mr Branson's Virgin Express this year, and as a consequence it was both running late and tilted disastrously on the corners.
The Christmas crackers from Tiffanys are to be recommended, as is the "remote control" option so that guests simply point at a cracker, press the button and it pulls itself. In particular I quite liked the way that the gifts inside aren't always the usual boring diamonds and such, but alternate with share certificates, gilts, bonds and deeds to bankrupt properties. Such a nice touch!
I think that it is very important for those of us with social standing to give something back to society at this time of year, so I announced a 28 day stay of execution on my loans to the NHS and we had some of the poor from the village brought in to watch us eat - they always seem to love the spectacle and are quite adept at catching bones.
Once Maj's speech had been aired we threw formality to the wind and I ordered the ad-hoc drinks trays to be unlocked.
About an hour later Shirley Bassey put my Mercedes 600 Grosser Pullman in the pool (again) which jolly jape, fortunately, everyone thought was quite hilarious, especially so since Tom Jones was in the boot at the time (and as far as I know still is). Then the Rolling Stones arrived for their concert and everyone joined in with the traditional turning back of the carpets in the ballroom for dancing.
After that my recollection gets a little bit uncertain. I think that the two South American gentlemen staying in the East Wing Louis XVI suites, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria and his good friend General Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, had a couple of bags of flour or something fetched and showed us some quite quaint parlour games using rolled-up fifties and hundreds. Oh how we sneezed!
I vaguely remember hearing helicopters outside at one stage, and then lots of chaps in military gear jumped through the windows with German Shepherd dogs and they all shouted "freeze". I thought this particularly funny since they were the ones breaking the windows and letting the cold air in so of course we'd all freeze. I recall being led towards a charabanc with pretty blue lights and, when I said to the plainly clothed gentleman I was handcuffed to, "'Ello darlin', are we off on a mystery tour then?" he wrote it down and said something about used in evidence. Then I woke up here, in a cell, toasty-warm under a small unsuccessful cat-burgar from Stoke Poges.
Solicitor should be here soon though, and hopefully that charabanc is still around to get us all back to Owl Towers in time for the Boxin' Day Hunt (not a hunt, use of the word hunt does not imply endorsement of huntin', other pastimes and equine activities are available, terms and conditions apply, see fox's arse for details).
Anyway chaps and chapesses, I had a really rather splendid Christmas day and I hope that you all did too.
Now, if you'll excuse me, apparently it is traditional in these circumstances to run one's tin mug up and down the bars until the Custody Officer turns the fire hoses on us.