20/08/16. Well, it’s been a Summer of happenings at The Footman’s Rest, one almost doesn’t know where to start.
A Queen at 90
First of all it is essential to note that in honour of HMs 90th Birthday, all staff were duly assembled for a party fit for a queen in early June. All of the notables of court were in attendance, it was such a glory to behold! All guests made such an effort with their costumes, and The Footman had even prepared a special celebratory cocktail to mark the occasion! The “Long Lillibet“, which was a champagne and gin mix of such epic proportions that it managed to floor almost all of the guests in about the first 10 minutes of their arrival. Such was its potency, its safe preparation had to be demonstrated by The Footman on local media (both press and radio).
Even the legendary Mr Archer was seen steadying himself at one stage, hanging on to the High Sheriff’s arm as he knocked back the first sweet nectar with a vacant smile! Mr Archer’s better half, the Lady Players-Steadman is such a glamorous lady, no level of intoxication could unbalance her centre of gravity however. The Floating Bishop announced that the new cocktail combined such a virtuous flavour and was of sufficient strength that it could probably qualify for communion wine, before necking his glass empty. And The Duke of Nabutu took one sniff, and was the only guest who almost managed to fall whilst reversing up the royal stairs, rather than adopting the traditional downward forward spiral that is usually assumed by most overwhelmed visitors to the Granite Bar.
I am reliably informed that due toasts were observed to our beloved Monarch at the appointed hour, but it was quite clear to Wedgybold that since the whole party was all so far gone by then, not a single guest would have been the slightest bit aware. One is convinced that most took the trumpets playing of the National Anthem at 9pm to be just another curious mix of the latest Ibiza Avici dance club classic, and they all shrugged their shoulders, took another drink and carried on until the early hours.
The Grand European Tour!
Of course, the Nation has been gripped by all things European over the summer months. Following the people’s historic decision to break their alliances with the various eccentric, intoxicated and decadent European counts, nobles and Dukes and the resulting onset of ‘Brexit’, Rumpole took it upon himself to organise a diplomatic mission to tour the European nations and courts and extend our most warmest felicitations, in an attempt to soften the blow.
One fears that sadly it may have had the opposite effect.
Rumpole and our good friend, Lady Word-Smith, decided to tour Italy. Rumpole and the Word-Smith thought that bleating various intonal chorale re-mixes at the locals would be just what was required! In belting out various poorly rehearsed Catholic classics and other best sellers across the rolling hills of Umbria and Tuscany at the assorted pasta chewing, chianti slurping locals Rumpole thought would be just what was required to restore Anglo-European relations to their former high standing. Sadly, I suspected that something might be going off plan as the terrible twosome indulged us with their first recitation of some old Latin number. I watched and cringed as the glass of red slipped out of the hand of the stunned local mayor, as the first wave of discord hit his untrained ears. As the Footman’s pair cracked up the volume, I saw increasing numbers of locals almost calcify into stone at the sheer numbing effect of the emerging noise coming at them, wave after wave.
The two singers were accompanied in their travelling operetta, by The Footman and The Baroness (who had just returned from her own state visit to various German principalities offending and conquering various counts, Dukes and other minor and second order royals, thereby further extending her own estates and lands).
Together with their drunken escapades in these idyllic Italian towns, the “Footman’s Rest on Tour” has certainly done its best to sow the seeds for European discord for many years to come. The combination of the apocryphal musical performances, together with the drunken antics of the entourage in the streets of Perugia, Florence and Sienna will not be forgotten by the local dignitaries any time soon. One simply hopes that Mrs May has more luck pacifying our local friends and allies.
Archer’s Meteoric (High) Rise
Back on home soil, The Footman was delighted to host a drinks reception for our very own Mr Archer! Archer’s industry and talents are already well known throughout the court and in lands beyond. It is reputed that he has already built at least 3 of the City’s tallest windmills, and at least 2 barns.
Having petitioned the local viceroy for permission to erect a folly of apparently magnificent proportions, Archer was delighted to hear that his request had been duly approved by the appropriate authorities. It will undoubtedly be the biggest and best yet of his creations!
Wedgybold is not quite sure what is it that Archer is actually building, but he is roundly assured by most of the locals in the Footman’s, that Archer’s erections are usually exceptionally ascetically pleasing and a site to behold for sure!
To mark the occasion, all senior members of the court were invited to toast Archer’s successes, and The Footman reported that his stores of the finest champagnes were fully drained for the occasion (including a magnificent Dom Perignon). Bravo!
26/03/16. With Easter and Spring upon us, it is time to reflect on quite a busy period. Regular new visitors to the court of The Footman’s Rest mean that one is constantly rushing around and taking scribblings to desperately record all of the happenings and goings on!
Given the consequent increase in demand upon Wedgybold’s time, one petitioned for a modest increase in remuneration from those employing us. One is feeling the squeeze, following the Exchequer’s recent decision to increase the duty on fruit scones by an additional 7 pence! The Footman kindly indicated that our request would be carefully considered. However, it now transpires that the request has been rejected, much to our disappointment. Wedgybold strongly suspects the fetid hand of the Other One at work here somewhere. (Wedgybold’s dislikes referring to Rumpole by name. It is more courtesy than the lazy oaf deserves).
However, Wedgybold is a professional. And as such, standards must be maintained at all times. Of course, therefore, we shall continue to produce our reports on the activities at court as requested. In addition, the ‘payments in kind’ which the Footman has kindly extended to Wedgybold have helped to ameliorate the situation somewhat. These comprise a delicious, ex gratia Almond and Fruit Tart upon each visit, to be washed down with a free kick of either Punt a Mes, Kahlua or alternatively a shot of Campari – to be determined at Wedgybold’s discretion! Perfection.
The Colonel and the Tea Lady
Wedgybold was sharing his recent budgetary dilemma with Colonel Jackson. A trusted fellow, who is a regular, but reliable companion at the Granite Bar. Always discreet, and an expert himself in dealing with such organisational issues, the Colonel wisely saw the short termism of refusing Wedgybold’s most modest of demands. The Colonel of course has his own brigade to manage, which must be a tiresome grind. And so, he likes to take refreshment and reflect on the week’s happening at FR, usually with a fine German Veltins, or occasionally a Belgian Trappist beer. More often than not, he is accompanied by his attractive and charming partner, the Tea Lady. Never has Wedgybold met a lady so evangelical about the Pefunda Afternoon blend. The Tea Lady consumes her brew in such quantities and with such a voracious appetite, one wonders if she had ever tasted the stuff before! More sinister however, Wedgybold suspects that the Tea Lady has some rather unhealthy gambling addictions. She appears to be constantly placing wagers and bets on all manner of sporting and other activities, with such regularity one believes it must now be involuntary. On one extreme occasion, Wedgybold offered a guest his seat when chairs were in high demand. The Tea Lady seemed to spot an opportunity and with excitement in her eyes Wedgybold swears that given half a chance she would have leapt at the opportunity to place a wager to forecast whether or not the seat would ultimately be accepted! Despite this troubling dark side, the Tea Lady is otherwise a most gracious and welcome companion at the Granite Bar.
Quite coincidentally, and continuing the betting theme, other regular visitors to FR recently have included “Snake Eyes” and his lovely wife, the Lady Linda. Snake Eyes manages one of the local gambling venues, and likes to break away now and again to the FR to enjoy a fine red wine and to count the takings of The House for that week. Wedgybold’s eyes positively watered when Snake Eyes shared with him some of the sums apparently gambled by those playing professionally. Truly frightening. And when one thinks that for a fraction of those sums one could secure a full Afternoon Tea at FR with a bottle of Krug, it seems positively nonsensical to Wedgybold.
The Duke’s fall and The Haunting
Now Wedgbybold hasn’t until now reported on the state of relations with some of the neighbouring hostelries. So it is worth mentioning that one recently had an opportunity to enjoy an evening with The Landlord from the adjacent public house, and his lovely partner Sister Jess. The Landlord runs a fine establishment, and Sister Jess works at the local hospital and is therefore always useful to have on hand in the event of any medical emergencies. Worth knowing, when one considers some of the recent near misses Wedgybold has observed. For instance, there was the unfortunate episode when The Duke of Nabutu recently consumed one too many Dirty Harry’s and as he went to depart, tripped over the Floating Bishop of Dubbonet! The poor Bishop who was quietly minding his own business and sipping on his drink, almost choked in shock at this sudden appearance of intoxicated nobility in his lap! As he fell the Duke almost cracked his head on the way down, but fortunately bounced off the Bishop’s mitre and had his fall broken by his trailing cassock. Disaster averted!
But back to The Landlord! Wedgybold was kindly entertained at one of The Landlord’s world famous Canning Circus Gin Tasting sessions (Wedgybold can’t recommend these highly enough). Both educational and intoxicating, Wedgybold was feeling particularly lucid after exploring the sample range. Upon discussing the history of the hosting hostelry, Wedgybold was advised by The Landlord that the occupants experienced many strange and unexplained happenings. Random noises, banging pipes, and sudden drops in temperature in certain rooms! The Landlord remains convinced that they are not alone. Wedgybold however thinks they simply have some central heating maintenance issues. However, wanting to be supportive one offered to dispatch the Floating Bishop to exorcise and help any remaining spirits over to the Other Side (which Wedgybold suspects might include the remaining gins).
The Baroness and the Bridge Club
Finally, the last week has also seen the inauguration of The Footman’s Rest Bridge Club. A most welcome development! The club has been convened by one of our very favourite patrons. A strong, feisty, but exceedingly glamorous lady. The Park’s very own Bess of Hardwick! Wedgybold calls her simply, “The Baroness”. A good friend of Mr Archer and Lady Word-Smith, rumour has it the Baroness has actually been married on no less than 31 occasions! Nobody could have absorbed so much wit and wisdom without having consumed many unsuspecting types over the years. The Baroness is simply marvellous, a example to all aspiring and independently minded ladies at court!
And so it was that a number of carefully chosen acquaintances were permitted at The Rest for what ,Wedgybold understands, will be a regular meeting of challenging gaming and card play. Whilst the event started well, Wedgybold suggested to The Footman that he might want to go easy on the Benedictine which was being liberally but surreptitiously consumed alongside the lattes and cappuccinos. One started to suspect something was amiss when a number of ladies were bidding for “Five Diamonds” and even a “Grand Slam” when it was plain that they did not have the cards in support. There are only four Aces in a pack.
Wedgybold’s suspicions were finally confirmed when he heard a cry of “Five No Trumps”, followed by a cacophony of girlish giggling and sniggers. The Footman turned a blind eye of course, discreet and polite as ever. Helpfully directing at the conclusion of the game to the exit and away from the fire doors as required, for those whose orientation seemed to have temporarily taken a wander. Wedgybold just hopes that the ladies don’t decide to move on to “Gin” Rummy.
13/02/16. And so, several months after being ensconced into the daily grind at FR, Wedgybold has managed to get to know assorted locals and the regular ‘Cast List’ is starting to come together. The court of FR is blessed to have such notable and regular patrons as Mr Archer, Lovejoy and Lady Word-Smith. All marvellous and interesting types and some of them are seemingly semi-permanent fixtures at the Granite Bar, alongside The Footman himself and the other one (whom Wedgybold has confirmed latterly is named Rumpole). A true menagerie of wit, repartee and bluster. This week, The Footman has been complaining that Lady Word-Smith in particular has almost decimated his cellar supplies of the Old Pulteney, and until he does his next whisky run he might need to consider rationing. Mr Archer can always be relied upon to share his wholesome experiences and a few learned lessons in negotiating the minefield of life. Wedgybold is concerned to ascertain the veracity of some of Archer’s more exotic claims, but one always remains polite of course. Wedgybold is very fond of Lovejoy in particular. Though one has never encountered an individual quite so obsessive about tweed, it is pleasing to meet an individual concerned to uphold the standards. Though slightly too Germanic in his drive to ensure compliance in many things, Lovejoy can always be relied upon to entertain. The Footman has begrudgingly agreed to petition for “Companion Cards” to be issued to the regular patrons at court to reward them for their long standing service. In his next report, Wedgybold will be pleased to report upon The Cartier Twins (very recent visitors to court), The Duke of Nabutu and The Floating Bishop of Dubonnet.
09/12/15. Wedgybold is delighted to have tried the Afternoon Tea now being served, courtesy of mein hosts. It really is a lovely little treat to help one wend away the day as one considers the daily grind and ruminates on life’s latest little episodes. The Footman has established a regular stream of the most worthy clientele, and Wedgybold is pleased to report that he is feeling very at home with life at the Rest. Pleased to meet the most elegant and refined characters dropping by with regular frequency; too numerous to mention but certainly most colourful and interesting (but more about them later). Life is certainly much more stimulating than that horrible German palace in Upper Bavaria that Wedgybold called home during his last assignment. Yes, most satisfactory.
05/11/15. Well, having accepted the position one felt obliged to provide a swift early observation on the first week’s activities here at The Footman’s Rest. Like a feather in the storm, life has been rather hectic following the lowering of the drawbridge. Needless to say, with the Royal Training standing him in good stead, the Footman clearly knew how to tackle the oncoming onslaught of the Great British Public with efficiency, aplomb and dignity. No broken crockery, a seemless service duly delivered, the place still in tact and even one or two customers. Full marks. Well done.