Imagine my delight when I was invited by the jovial, debonair Lord McKelvey to ‘sit in the servants’ kitchen and dine on the leftovers’ from his annual feast with the great and the good of the world of one to one communications (or whatever we are calling it this week).
And not only to sit in the servants’ kitchen but to ‘stay the night in one of the garrets’ located in the vast roof spaces behind the, turrets, belvederes, crenulations and machicolations clustering around the louring central tower that crowns the topmost tip of Lord McKelvey vast East Sussex pile.
My little heart went pit-a-pat as I fawned on his handmade Grenson riding boots. He pushed me away with gentle, yet manly force.
“From eight on the 27th, Spooner you cur. You may wear your usual rags as no decent person will be forced to look upon your hideous form.”
Oh the cheese rinds! Oh the herring bones! Oh the peels, piths and cores of so many exotic fruits! Even a small piece of only-slightly-chewed- steak from Lord McKelvey’s own herd of Aberdeen Anguses (presumably now ABRDN ANGSS grace à Wolf Ollins)! Pie-crusts! And the licking from plates and dishes of luscious slicks of sauces, roux, dressings, jus, creams and gravies galore!
When the upstairs maid, Ms Davigdor, delicately flushed from our trudge up flight after flight of back stairs, unlocked the door to my garret, and shoved me graciously over the threshold, my pale stomach was gloriously distended in a way that it had not been since the McKelvey IX was forced to cancel the home game against the Lord’s Taverners in ’07, due to a plague of egrets and I had my way with the discarded afternoon tea!
Making a small nest in the pallets of pale straw I fell into a deep and, as you will see, not untroubled slumber.
I woke with a start in the early hours. An owl hooted mournfully somewhere in the birch woods behind the McKelvey Mansion.
There it was again! A sort of slithering, crashing sound from the fireplace opposite.
Another slither! A louder crash!
And then, with a jangling, crashing, tinkling thump, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange the size of a monster pumpkin emerged in a great cloud of soot from the hearth and began to swell and convulse alarmingly.
What little hair I allow myself began to lift from my scalp as a muffled voice from within began to chant:
“Tap it! Unwrap it! Tap it! Unwrap it! Tap it! Unwrap it! Tap it! Unwrap it!
TAP IT UNWRAP IT! TAP IT UNWRAP IT! TAP IT UNWRAP IT!
TAP IT UNWRAP IT! TAP IT UNWRAP IT! TAP IT UNWRAP IT!!!”