Fortescue Towers

Random ramblings from the life and times of Col. Fortescue Featherstonehaugh Fortescue.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The White Stuff

Weather, it's a bit of an obsession with us British. Can't go to a dinner without the conversation turning to how unexpected such and such weather is over the brandy and cigars. That and the incident involving 'Squiffy' and the young lady in the changing rooms at Harrods.

So, it comes as no surprise that a few flakes of the white stuff drifting down from above and the whole country seems to go collectively bonkers. Seems to have become much worse over the past few years. One remembers the days when the snow would be three feet deep and everyone would dig themselves out and get on with their daily life. Nowadays, ten flakes and the place comes to a standstill, the trains grind to a halt, gritting lorries cannot get out of their depots and one is unable to find a pot of 'Gentlemans Relish' anywhere. Where's the wartime spirit gone eh ? Winter of '41, dashed cold, bit of snow and ice didn't stop the Huns and it didn't stop us giving them a bloody nose either. Didn't find Spitfires unable to get out of their hangers because of a couple of inches of snow on the runway. Didn't stop us chaps on the frontiers of empire from keeping the wily Pathan under control either. Hardy lot back then, can remember RSM McNulty running off over the snow covered passes in nothing but a kilt and vest, sporran flapping in the breeze, said it made a man out of him. Never could work out why his nickname was 'Clackers' though.

Can't get out of the damn front door now without cook pressing a flask of tea and an icescraper into ones hands. Was only going for a brisk walk to the village, hardly a trek to the South Pole. Been doing it to all the staff apparently, found Utterthwaite using his beverage to preserve the fence around the 'Big Wood'. Cheaper than creosote and apparently lasts ten times longer. Was tempted to dispose of ones down the nearest drain but feared the possible repercussions lest it get into the water supply.

Anyway, must get on, have to write a letter to ones MP about the relish situation. Snow or no snow it's just not on, a gentleman needs his Anchovy based products, especially if he has a cook like ones.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Speaking in tongues

The mem' has been reading the tabloids and has discovered that Her Majesty is rather adept at speaking in a Cockney accent. Unfortunately this has resulted in the mem' deciding to go one better and begin speaking in an accent that can only be described as Yorkshire incorporating a whiff of cat with a strangulated hernia. She is now accompanied on her jaunts "ower t' moor" by a pack of Whippets and ones morning ablutions are seriously disturbed by the cage of ferrets sitting in the bath. Just can't concentrate on the Sporting Times with a pair of beady eyes watching one from between the taps.

Worse still, she has involved the staff as well and last evening cook served up a 'reet gradely' repast of tripe and black least one thinks it was tripe and black pudding, it could have been well done sausages and congealed mash knowing cooks culinary skills. Needed several stiff brandies to get over that one. Even Blenkinsop has not been immune and his usual "Would you care for some more kippers sir ?" at breakfast has been replaced with a request of "'ood 'ee care f'r um mooar kippers lad ?". One needed Clackthorpe just to translate over breakfast this morning and he speaks unintelligible gibberish at the best of times.

In fact, it has become so bad that Utterthwaite who hails from somewhere north of Barnsley, dismayed at the mangling of his native tongue has offered to take some time off clubbing the moles in the arboretum to use his shovel to club some sense into the other staff members. So now the estate resounds to the sound of "'eee bah gum lad..."...SPAAAANG! as he takes his new crusade rather seriously indeed.

One hopes that this is just a passing phase and that normal conversation will be resumed soon. Heaven help us if the mem' decides to try another dialect. One does not think one could take "Yurr, pass oi th' marmaladel downyer awri moi babber!" at breakfast without reaching for the gun cabinet.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Royal Engagements

So, HRH is getting betrothed eh ? One supposes one will have to give the servants a day off and no doubt the ladies of the W.I will be busy knitting cakes and brewing jam or whatever it is they do and covering the village with red, white and blue bunting for the big day. Seems like five minutes since the last one, then again, given the size of the family it probably is.

Of course, one is staunchly for the monarchy. After all, ones family have been serving them on the fields of battle since Agincourt where Sir Clarence de Fortesque gave the frogs a jolly sound thrashing. However, one does not think one will be receiving an invitation to the royal knees up. Not since the incident involving ones grandfather, 'Binky' Fortescue and a certain man who would be king. Royalty it seems have long memories.

Personally one thinks he should have been awarded the VC for the scandal he managed to avert. How was he to know that Madame Fifi LaTouche was in fact Sir Cuthbert Topswell-Slimme. It was dashed lucky he managed to get Mr.X back to the palace without being spotted. All it would have taken was one lightning fast scribbler to be out and about and before you knew it the front pages of the next days penny dreadfuls would have been covered with artful engravings of a royal personage staggering bollock naked through Piccadilly save for a Masonic pinny, a handful of French Ticklers, a feather duster and singing 'Four and twenty virgins' in a deep baritone and a headline of 'Prurient Princes Private Peccadilloes'. Papparazzi have nothing on the sketch artists of the 1880s, could bang off a sketch in the time it takes for todays tabloids to come up with the headline 'Royal in Gender Bending MP Scandal'

Of course, HRH was not amused and ones grandfather was banished to the North-West frontier for rather a long time and one believes Sir Cuthbert was made Keeper of Her Imperial Majesties Sewerage System in the next honours list in order to keep him out of the way after Mr. X was heard to enquire about 'that delightful young filly' he had become acquainted with on one of his nocturnal excursions. In fact, one has heard rumours of sewerage engineers inspecting Mr Bazalgettes legacy to the nations sanitary habits being accosted by a ghostly, bedraggled transvestite enquiring which way it is to the palace.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Hunting Season

So, we are allowed to use reasonable force to protect our homes and castles...those of us that have castles that is...from the privations of intruders, even if that means shooting the thieving beggars. Of course, the memsahib has been doing this for years. Anything that moves within a five hundred yard radius of the west wing gets a couple of rounds sent its way. On occasion it might even get something larger if she manages to evade the houseboys and reaches the cannon on the terrace. One remembers when the vicar first arrived in the parish, couldn't get out in the garden to tend his petunias for weeks without a couple of shells being lobbed in his direction. Convinced he was a ne'er do-well after her jewels she was. Anyway, one digresses.

Had the local PC arrive to explain the situation, nice chap with his regulation issue bicycle and MP5, just the sort of thing for sorting out arguments at the W.I fete. Hasn't been a decent punch up over the jam prizes for a good few years now. Apparently you can give the blighters both barrels or a decent manly uppercut to the jaw as perfected by Mr Hannay, Drummond et al but you aren't allowed to keep doing it once they are down. Of course, this does rather spoil the pleasure of giving the cads a damn good licking or horse-whipping them down the drive covered in tar and feathers but as one pointed out, if they get on the wrong end of ones elephant gun they definitely won't be getting up. In fact one might be hard pressed to find enough of them to actually press charges against oneself.

Seems a jolly sound idea and can't wait to try it against the local bad lads once they recover from the New Year incident. Have even arranged for some of ones chums to visit, after all, the law does not mention volley fire. Clackthorpe is positively beside himself with joy after being told he can now use the now redundant Fortescue hounds to chase the bounders across the Lower meadow to flush them into the path of the waiting guns as it does not contravene any of the new hunting regulations.

Sanity prevails! Toodle pip!