Tally Ho! Anchors aweigh and how the Dickens are you?
Bit of a balls-up for yours truly at the weekend if the truth be known. Even though one usually gets a tad itchy sitting with the middle-classes, I accepted an invitation to the annual Huntsman’s Ball on Friday. Not quite Ascot, but received a rather splendid bowl of sheep’s head soup in return.
Got home early a.m. Sunday, yes Sunday, telling the Mem Sahib it was a leap year when she found me in the drawing room with trousers at my ankles and boot polish on my arse.
Atmosphere a bit frosty over the roast beef I can tell you. Bit of an indignity y’see. Lord of the manor getting debagged and daubed by the oiks. Bit of a puzzler for me too. I didn’t think the lower orders had a sense of humour. And in truth, in held ‘twas I who’d sallied forth with a tin of Kiwi in the breast pocket.
My man, Carruthers, looked uncommon sprightly too as he ladled out the portions, especially for a chap who imagines he’s riddled with a text book’s worth of ailments. He’s always complaining about something, y’see. If it’s not his arthritis, angina, murmuring heart or high blood pressure he doesn’t have much to say. Bloody laziness I call it. Or Galloping Socialism. Which amounts to the same thing really.
But knock me down with a feather. There was a curve to his lips, he was flashing his falsers and humming tunes. Quite put me in mind of King Tut under the bandages for some reason. If it wasn’t for the snatches of Hieland Laddie I’d have thought the old sod was in pain.
“What’s up with your face?” I demanded.
“First day of Summer, Your Grace,” he answered.
I had to steal a glance at the Mem Sahib for confirmation but she was as puzzled as I. Bit of a conundrum this one. It was still a bit early in the day for the old bugger to have been pilfering the Glenlivet. But there he was, beaming like a school janitor at a new sawdust delivery.
“Well, as it’s such a fine afternoon,” I said, “perhaps you’d care to run some soapy bubbles and a chamois over the Bristol then.”
“As Your Grace wishes,” he replied, making a stiff sort of bow that the writer chappies would call ironic, doctors ambitious, and me bloody suspicious.
“And wash your gloves while you’re at it,” I scolded. “You look like you’ve been dipping them in ink.”
That wiped the smile off his fizzer rather sharpish I can tell you. But a chap is required to put the foot down with a heavy hand now and again, says I, when one wishes to keep the standards high and the staff on their toes.
Now that I think about it – I should have got the raddled old sot to clean the Land Rover instead.
Hey ho, one lives and learns.