Fortescue Towers

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Festival Frolics

Woke up this morning to hear an absolutely infernal racket emanating from the ornamental gardens. First thought was that RSM McNulty was practicing the bagpipes at some ungodly hour. Staggered out into the early light to discover a sea of tents all over the Croquet lawn and a damn great stage on the Tennis court. Seems that the recent bad weather washed a few hundred of those hippy types down river from that fellahs farm, the one who stages entertainment with popular beat combos.

Anyway, suffice it to say the place is overrun with the beggars who have decided to have a festival of their own. Wandering round the place, playing strange instruments and trying to smoke the mems' Floribundas, it's just not on. Whatever next one wonders, French Gypsies camping on the greensward of our nations racecourses ? Naturally, one immediately enlisted the aid of Utterthwaite and his mole clubbing shovel and turfed Clackthorpe out of the rockery where he has been waiting for Johnny Foreigner for the last few weeks and set off to turf the blighters off ones land...only to be stopped by the mem'.

One thinks that the mem' may have been smoking the Floribundas too. Normally she would be taking pot shots from the East wing but she seems to have taken to wearing Kaftans and playing the Sitar. Damn well gone native one reckons, could be worse than that time Carstairs went a bit strange up in the foothills. Still at least this time there are no camels involved. Daft old girl has installed a guru in the snooker room too. Damnable cheek! Should never have trusted the quack from the village and his new fangled ideas on therapy.

Of course, this means that one has to suffer the wailing and screeching of so called popular musicians hour after hour. What's wrong with a military band and a few decent marches ? Bit of martial music, far better than all this caterwauling and loafing around making the place look untidy. One does have a plan though. If you cannot beat them....let cook do the catering. Should see 'em off in no time and one can get back to normal. After all, can't have Utterthwaite wasting his time hanging round here, there are lanes to be patrolled.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Churchillian Spirit

One reads in the broadsheets that some Irish fellah, part of a popular beat combo has called for a bunch of that lot over the jolly old channel to bring their boats over to blighty in support of some shindig he is organizing north of the border. Well, one can say it is just jolly well not on! Can't have boatloads of Johnny Foreigner invading our green and pleasant shores. Look what happened last time they turned up at Hastings. Completely ruined afternoon tea and left us with damn great castles and the whiff of garlic for years afterwards. Honestly, before a chap knows it there will be a bunch of bloody Jerries on the throne and Greeks wandering around Windsor castle.

It's bad enough having to put up with tourists wandering around the place as it is, poking their noses in where they are not wanted and demanding to have photographs taken with 'his lordship' without having fifty thousand of the blighters descend upon our beaches all in one go.

Well, one is just not going to take it lying down. One has already called an emergency meeting of the village council and has set Blenkinsop to clearing the weeds from the old pill boxes at the entrance to the estate where it is our intention to set up the 25 pounder and two Vickers guns that until earlier formed the village war memorial. Blighters are going to get a bit of a shock when they get this far. Clackthorpe has been spotted honing his commando knife to razor sharpness and has taken to hiding in the ornamental shrubbery with RSM McNulty so that "if they get this far I can leap out and give 'em a taste of cold British steel before they reach the house, sah!". One does wonder about the wisdom of sowing mines in the rockery though, several of the gardeners have already been hospitalized.

Even Utterthwaite has been mobilized and is currently acting as reconnaissance. One would suggest that anyone meeting him in the winding lanes stands well aside. He really is not too steady on a bicycle at the best of times and the rifle and tin helmet do somewhat handicap him in his perambulations. Would hate to think of him spearing some stout English yeoman with his bayonet as he rounds the corner all askance.

So, in the spirit of Churchill, we will fight them on the beaches, in the fields, in the hedgrows and if they get past those then the mem' will give 'em both barrels from the East wing when they reach the herbaceous borders. If that does not finish them then the sight of McNulty emerging from the shrubbery in a kilt with a number of Gladioli tied about his person will surely send them fleeing back across the channel with their tails between their legs.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A fete worse than death

The summer season has arrived. One knows this not because outside Fortescue Towers it is currently raining and Blenkinsop is valiantly attempting to bail the Croquet lawn but because we have just suffered the first of the years village fetes.

As usual the entire village gathered on the part of the green not taken over by itinerant tarmac sellers for a few hours of jollity or at least as much jollity as can be had standing beneath plastic awnings watching the rain. Of course, the sun did break through occasionally and the plethora of stalls and sideshows were well attended. Utterthwaites 'Bat-a-Rat' stall did a roaring trade although one feels that one should tell him that a sand filled sock is the norm and that real rodents are not to be used. There were a number of complaints about airborne rodents spoiling afternoon tea as they flew through the windows of houses bordering the green. Several elderly ladies had to be revived with smelling salts after wildlife landed on the fruit cake.

Equally, cooks 'Guess the age of the marmalade' and 'Guess the weight of the cake' stall was well attended with numerous villagers asking if they guessed the correct figure whether they could be let off claiming the prize. One would never have guessed that a Victoria sponge could be quite that heavy. The good news is that one has been informed that the verger will make a complete recovery given time and rest and that the back pain will vanish. One did tell him to seek help before trying to lift it singlehandedly.

The other big draw seemed to be Mr Llewelyns lucky dip. It was only afterwards we discovered why. The old chap is somewhat hard of hearing and had not quite caught the meaning of "Fill the barrel with bran, Dai.". One did wonder why it was so popular with the youngsters from the council estate at the far end of the village. No doubt made a change from their usual cheap cider. Just rather glad that the vicar discovered it before the youngsters from the local junior school finished their dance presentation. The tabloids would have had a field day.

Naturally the highlight of the day was the village vs travellers cricket match. One is sad to say that it was a dark day in village history, losing as we did by so many runs. Not only did the victorious travelling side make off with the wickets as is the custom but most of the tiles from the pavilion roof as well. Even more galling is that they took Blenkinsops wooden leg that was acting as middle stump after it was discovered that the one from the village set had succumbed to woodworm over the winter months. One supposes one will have to sacrifice another of the Chippendale chairs so that Utterthwaite can carve him another one. He does look rather odd hopping around the Croquet lawn in a yellow raincoat. Rather resembles a demented Canary, quite off putting when one is trying to read the newspapers.