Fortescue Towers

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The battle of Fortescue Towers

Been a bit of a week here at the old stately pile as a dastardly plot by our continental neighbours was revealed to be happening right under ones nose or more precisely the Lower Meadow.

Seems that the great unwashed camping on the village green were in fact an undercover unit of top French chefs driven to Blightys shores by the likelihood of a rather poor truffle crop in their own country. Having caught wind of rumours of a rich crop beneath the lower meadow after last years celebrity fungus fiasco the blighters upped sticks and set up camp in the village, disguised as a bunch of itinerant peddlars and layabouts, waiting until they could put their infernal scheme into practice. Really one should have been more suspicious at the wafts of garlic and Gauloises drifting over from the village.

The first one knew about this terrible deed was when Utterthwaite heard the unmistakeable sounds of tunneling from beneath the Lower Meadow. Stout fellah that he his, he tootled off with his mole clubbing shovel, convinced that he had discovered a fresh outbreak of the furry little fiends just waiting to get at the hallowed turf of the great lawn. Several good hard whacks later he was somewhat surprised to have uncovered four chefs, two entremetier, a boulanger and a rather confused confiseur tunneling under the greensward from the direction of the village. A moment later he was running for his life as a small party of sous chefs gave chase as well. Damned continentals were trying to steal ones fungi by resorting to the kind of tactics last seen employed by decent chaps trying to get out of the Huns Stalags.

Naturally Utterthwaites yells attracted ones attention and he had the presence of mind to lead the raiding party towards the rockery which as regular followers of ones reports will know was heavily mined by ones estate manager. Moments later there were Continentals cartwheeling through the air towards the church much to the chagrin of the verger who had only recently finished prising the last of the druids from the steeple. Luckily the vicar was at an ecumenical conference and was spared the sight of an airborne sous chef landing in the baptismal.

One has been keeping ones elephant gun to hand in case any more of those dashed theme park chaps arrived at ones gates so one was able to pot a few of the blighters from the verandah. Must say, bagging a brace of Michelin starred restaurateurs is much more fun than Pheasant shooting. A couple of ounces of buckshot applied to the derriere and they turn the air bluer than that sweary fellah from the television.

Clackthorpe meanwhile had organised the staff and a swift bayonet charge across the tennis courts saw the invaders caught in a pincer movement between oneself and fine British steel. Although one must say that the sight of Blenkinsop limping down the grassy bank wearing the housekeepers chamberpot on his head did rather take the polish off the moment. There was a brief period when an attack by a force of determined sauciers almost flanked the chaps but the day was saved by cook who along with the housemaid had managed to gain access to the battlements and set up a barrage of rock buns and scones from the cannons one had installed for ceremonial occasions. The horror of being bombarded with rock hard pastries caused their nerve to crack, having only been used to soft as cream gateaux and eclairs and the whole bally lot of them fled with their tails between their legs only to run slap bang into RSM McNulty emerging from the shrubbery, sporran all a quiver with a somewhat wilted aspidistra attached to his head and a bunch of gladioli protruding from his kilt as camouflage. The sight of this, enough to break even the stoutest of resolve finally finished them off and they were last spotted attempting to swim the channel in record time. One thinks one will have no more trouble from that quarter any more. Bounders should be glad that the mem' was off with the ladies of the W.I otherwise there would have been a lot less of them making the swim home, especially after what the potager did in her prize Floribunda.

Still, saw the blighters off, another great victory for the jolly old empire and all done before afternoon tea as well.

Toodle pip!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Curse this infernal heat Carstairs

Once again the weather has been dominating conversation here at Fortescue Towers. As summer draws to a close it is unseasonably warm and the local waterboard have banned the use of hosepipes. This has somewhat put paid to ones plans to deploy a water cannon or two in the vicinity of the village green where the scruffy layabouts who spent their solstice dancing round the tennis court have joined with the local travellers to set up a tented village and tribal drumming school. Not only that, the Rolls is looking decidedly dusty and the vicar is complaining that his Petunias are wilting. Even caught Clackthorpe washing his feet in the ornamental pond yesterday, the sight of gasping Koi was to distressing to bear so was forced to give him a sound thrashing all the way back to his hut. What's more, Blenkinsop hasn't bathed for weeks and is becoming quite noxious. Several of the ladies became quite overcome when he served tea and Lady Jacobea almost tumbled off the verandah into the mems rose bushes as he passed by.

Naturally one has been making the best of the situation by sitting on the verandah with a cooling G and T or two whilst being fanned by ones Punkawallah, Jham, the son of Mr Bhutee who runs the village store. A worthwhile occupation even if the local social worker fellah accused one of being a relic of empire for offering the lad a job. Ones chums from the regiment were most impressed with his fanning skills as we watched the sun set and regaled each other with tales of the frontier.

With all this heat one is reminded of the time one was stationed at Wadi Yu'See, a grim sun baked place, surrounded by revolting savages. A little like Blackpool at high season but with a better class of neighbours. We were down to our last drops of water and the chaps were beginning to get delirious. Carruthers Snr had become convinced that Carstairs was in fact a giant iced lollipop and had attempted to take a few bites out of the poor fellow. Carstairs had shut himself in his tent with his service revolver and was refusing to come out. I think Carstairs may have been driven to the brink that day as shortly after he went native and there was the unpleasant incident with a camel named Fifi but we do not talk about that. Brought shame to the regiment. Luckily for us Carruthers became convinced that the wily pathans surrounding our camp were in fact Italian ice cream sellers and was last seen with the RSM in tow charging up the dunes singing 'O Sole Mio' and demanding a Mr Whippy with a flake. Caused enough of a distraction for one to lead the rest of the regiment to safety. All a bit of a to do.

Anyhow, one hopes the heavens will open soon as the nightly emanations of roasting Tofu wafting over from the village green is becoming most unpleasant and one occasionally even catches a whiff of ones gentlemans gentleman even though one has locked him in the summer house until the ban is lifted and one can get the gardeners help to give him a quick hose down through the window.