Tuesday, 21 August 2007

I don't expect you'll ever forgive me, darlings, will you?

Honestly, I don't deserve to have such lovely loyal readers. It has been simply months and months and months since I last posted, and the longer I've left it the more simply dreadful I've felt about neglecting you all, and it has all been the most ghastly vicious circle. Mind you, I expect you've all been having long boozy lunches in the sun at Cinquante Cinq and haven't missed me at all! Well that is the thought that I cling to, anyway, darlings, I love to think of you all having a wonderful August at St Trop.

Golly but where to start! I suppose there are two options - give you the long and gory details of simply everything, which will take me the best part of a week; or go for the whistlestop bare bones and let your imaginations fill in all the details. Yes, I think that's the best way, just let it all out, much less painful that way.

So where did I leave you? Oh bugger, just going off to dinner at the Winterthurs. Do I REALLY have to relive that? How simply awful. Well I'm afraid you are going to have to have the absolute bare bones, I can hardly bear to think about it let alone type it all out. It goes something like this.
Ring Rectory doorbell.
Door opens.
Perfectly pleasant yet matronly woman opens door.
I greet her effusively.
She looks slightly confused and leads me to drawing room where Ralph says "Ah! Minty and Rupert! Of course you know our housekeeper, Wendy, doesn't her sister work for you? Thank you, Wendy". Wendy retreats. I am slightly thrown that I've mistaken Mrs Sodding Codding's sister for Ralph's wife, and sink 2 Cosmopolitans in quick succession.
Rupes and Ralph discuss something hideously boring about the City while I peer at the 50 other people there and attempt to work out who is Mrs Ralph Winterthur. I'm feeling rather gorgeous, actually, in my teeny tiny Pucci dress and incredibly sexy gladiator sandals, so I sink another couple of cocktails, and start flirting outrageously with Ralph.
Rupes rolls his eyes, hollers "Fenella, old girl! Marvellous to see you, and well done on becoming Master", strides across the room and slaps fat old Fenella Houldsworth on her horse-like arse, leaving me free to throw everything I've got at Ralph.
Ralph flirts back, giving as good as he gets, and tells me I look absolutely beautiful.
I'm half way through preening proudly and batting my beautifully lengthened lashes at him when he says, over my shoulder "Ah, darling, I thought I'd lost you! I don't think you've met Minty Dix-Charrington, from the Manor". I turn, ready to bestow my best charming-yet-faintly-patronising attitude on poor dear Mrs Winterthur, only to see.... a vision.

Not only a vision, but possibly one of the most famously beautiful visions in the world.
Not only a famously beautiful vision, but one who was, at that moment, gracing the cover of the Vogue I had just sloshed my 5th Cosmopolitan on while using it as a coaster.
Not only the current Vogue cover model Natalia Poleskaya, but a ravishingly beautiful and graceful Natalia Poleskaya who was, by my reckoning, about 6 months pregnant.
Ralph was married to THE Natalia Poleskaya? And she was living in MY Rectory? Pregnant? And I didn't know?

The whole room started spinning. All of a sudden my chic and tiny Pucci dress and Balenciaga gladiator sandals felt, next to Natalia, rather more like a slightly garish potato sack and some leather tied a bit too tightly around some pork and apple sausages. She was so young! So tall! So... incredible! Oh lord, I felt about 107 years old. I was a small, dumpy, old, troll. My beautifully lengthened lashes were, in fact, hideous spidery-creations a la Barbara Cartland. And when Ralph snogged me and told me I was beautiful, it was actually all some hideous joke, he'd probably done it as a dare... Oh god, I felt terrible.

I had to do something to bolster my self confidence, restore my dignity. As I was musing what I might do to show that 22 year old ethereal beauty that I was a woman to be reckoned with... I threw up into a large lalique bowl in the shape of a swan. All over the pistachios it contained.

Oh it was simply simply hideous and cringemaking and dreadful. The only consolation is I can't remember a single other thing about that evening, not a thing. And of course I haven't been back, I made Rupes take me on a 6 week tour of South-East Asia and then we've spent the last 3 weeks on a trip around Chile and the Galapagos Islands (thank goodness for Blackberries, I don't think anyone has actually noticed that Rupes hasn't been in his office for months!). I'm now posting this from a revoltingly grubby little computer in LAX, waiting for our flight home. And I don't mind telling you, I'm about 10 minutes away from mooning everyone at passport control just so I get arrested and put off my return home for a few weeks at least. Oh it is so ghastly.

But somehow I feel just a teensy weensy bit better for telling you all. Isn't that funny? Oh golly, must dash, they are calling our flight. Now, the big question - to moon or not to moon?
Minty xxx

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Two entries in 24 hours, you ARE lucky, darlings!

Golly but I have a head on me today, I can't tell you. I woke at about 10 this morning with the most thumping headache and had to call Rupes on his mobile to come and bring me a cup of tea. Poor man was feeling almost as rough as me, and stumbled around the house for a good 10 minutes with my breakfast tray until he found me - I'd forgotten to tell him I was in the Cedar Room and he simply couldn't find me! He ended up calling me back on the mobile and I had to talk him in. So amusing. Anyway after my tea and toast and a bit more dozing and three nurofen and a hot bath with that lovely bath oil that Suki sent me from California - it's almost run out actually, must get her to FedEx some over - I've managed to struggle into a Kimono and get upright. And now to the burning question - what AM I going to wear to the Winterthur's tonight?

Do you know I haven't really seen Ralph since the night of the Wiltshire's dance and our tremendously exciting encounter in Louisa's dressing room. Well I've seen him, obviously - given him a few waves from my car as I've driven through the village, and passed him coming out of the village shop as I was going in (I do feel it is important to support these things, so I make a point of going in and spending a tenner at least once a fortnight, although I end up buying all sorts of horrible little cakes and dusty tins of overpriced soup which I end up having to pass on to Mrs Coddington. I do think she appreciates my thoughtfulness, though). But I haven't really spoken him if you know what I mean. So it is going to be rather exciting going there this evening. I wonder who else he has invited? And of course meeting his mysterious wife - what's her name? Bugger, I can't remember. I expect she is bottom heavy and rather worthy and over-accessorised like these Americans always are.

Which brings me to the burning question - what to wear? I have a rather lovely Missoni wrapover jersey dress which really highlights my marvellous and newly perked up chest, I could wear that with my new Roger Vivier heels. It may be a little day, though. Or I have a rather demure new short Alberta Ferretti cocktail dress, midnight blue chiffon over a silk slip. Jolly sexy in a sort of veiled way. Or I could dress down a little and wear my little Pucci tunic and my Balenciaga flat gladiator sandals - they are splendid, sort of studded bondage for the feet. I had a super fake tan yesterday (Michelle in Marlborough has been on an advanced course and she is really tip top now - although I was a little less happy with her waxing skills, my landing strip is veering distinctly to the right which is SO frustrating), so I could carry the Pucci off with no problem. It barely covers the tops of my thighs though....

Golly it is tricky. Oh! I must dash, the cellar door is decidedly sticky and Rupes is banging away at it. Better let him out. Wish me luck for tonight, and of course I'll report back in full detail!
Minty xxx

Friday, 15 June 2007

Hello Darlings! I'm terribly drunk

I've just packed our weekend guests off to bed, where I really should be going myself, when I thought I'd log in and say hello to all my lovely lovely friends who have been so lovely and supportive and lovely about my blog. Do you know I get all these emails from people who read everything I post avidly, and beg me to blog more often, because they just can't wait to hear what I've been up to. I knew that there were lots of People Like Us out there who wanted to read about the normal, everyday happenings of an ordinary, well-brought up girl, and it seems I was right! Well I love you ALL, you are lovely lovely lovely. Apart from the few horrid people who send me really rather rude messages accusing me of being bitchy and horrible - I suspect they are all the same person actually, you know who you are - anyway you are horrid and nobody likes you, especially not me!
I really should go to bed, I'm making the most terribly heavy weather of this typing, thank goodness for spellcheck. I don't normally get quite so squiffy without a very special reason, but we have Rupert's incredibly bossy and aggressive sister Arabella staying, and that has driven me to drink. Within about 20 minutes of her entering the house I felt the need to drive up my blood alcohol level to blunt the effect of her personality. I'm afraid I was rather too successful.
Anyway I managed to get supper over rather earlier than usual by inadvertantly offending her - which isn't difficult, actually, like lots of incredibly prickly people she is also as sensitive as hell. Such a boring combination. I was blathering on about the children and what a bore Lara can be and how annoying Ludgrove is being about putting Archie up for Eton, and goodness knows what, when she said "Minty, you should just be jolly glad you've got children, there plenty of people who'd love to be in your position but haven't been so lucky". I said "Well, you should be jolly glad you haven't got children, there are plenty of people who'd love to be able to hunt three times a week and go to Mauritius for a fortnight in term time, too." Well it was quite an innocuous comment, and really no different to the remark she'd just made to me, but she burst into tears, which has got to be a first, and ran upstairs with Esmond hot-footing it behind her with a hangdog expression and a box of mansize tissues.
God. Anyway Rupes and I had to finish the rest of the bottle of Sauternes to recover from the shock of seeing old bossyboots in tears - the last time he could remember Arabella turning on the waterworks was when Rupes had shot her guinea pig with the air rifle he'd got for his 9th birthday. And he is 44 now!
Must dash. I'm really awfully pissed and ought to get a bit of sleep before I have to deal with Arabella over breakfast. I'm not too sure where though - I think I've just heard Rupes chucking up in our bedroom. Nightmare. I wonder if Mrs Coddington made up the bed in the Cedar Room like I asked her to?
Minty xx

PS My goodness, quite forgot to tell you - we've been invited to dinner at the Rectory tomorrow night. I'm dying to meet Ralph's wife, finally. What to wear?

Friday, 8 June 2007

Pour a glass of Puligny Montrachet and settle down for a riveting read!

Right darlings, well I've promised you a blow by blow account of the Wiltshire's bash, and I haven't forgotten you (even though it was WEEKS ago now and I expect you've heard it all from someone or other, it's been the talk of the County).

Well the D of C and I had a simply lovely time getting ready for the party, my Chanel fitted like an absolute dream and was just so, and she looked jolly nice in something Robinson Valentine had knocked up for her, although she said it was a bloody pain in the arse that she had to wear British all the time, she fancied a bit of proper french couture, but the upside was that at least she had some knockout rocks. We had a couple of extremely dry martinis, and after the third one she said "Shall we just stay here this evening? We always have such a jolly time and I loathe bloody Louisa bloody Wiltshire!" Well, of course, this was music to my ears, so I bit the bullet and admitted the whole pathetic story of Johnnie being cross with Rupes over some investment or other, us being NFI to the party of the year, and finally that we were coasting on her and the Prince's coattails to get to the party specifically to piss Louisa and Johnnie off. She simply roared with laughter, absolutely loved it. Apparently the Wiltshires treated her like complete dirt throughout the Diana years and beyond, never invited her to anything and cut her dead when they saw her, but once she got Charles up the aisle they were all over her like maggots on a dead sheep. We swapped some fabulous stories about them (she never knew that Johnnie likes to shag Louisa wearing his granny's tiara and waders, and I had no idea that Louisa was born Louise Stokes in a suburb of London called Morden or something equally hideous sounding - very interesting though) and swore we'd have a good evening, come what may.

So we then had drinks and the funny little American turns up - sans wife! Jolly rude I thought, and the sort of thing that the Prince is usually exceptionally chippy and cross about, but Charles greeted him like a best chum, and waved away the apology, quite extraordinary. It was frightfully annoying but I didn't hear the excuse the Yank came up with for her no show, as I was standing next to Goran who popped the champagne at exactly the same time (I don't know HOW many times I've tried to teach him to open champagne correctly - "as quiet as a virgin sighing" - but he just can't get it. I'm not sure whether it is because he didn't have many opportunities to open champagne in Timisoara, or because there were precious few virgins there sighing, but it is jolly annoying. I may have to look for another handyman cum butler).

Anyway we were slightly steaming when we left for the Wiltshires - even the Prince, which is most unusual for him - and even more so when we arrived thanks to the Billecart Saumon thoughtfully placed on ice in the Bentley. Johnnie and Louisa were, of course, waiting outside their door for the guests of honour to arrive and I'm ashamed to say we were a teensy bit late due to me accidentally moving all the clocks in the house forward by 20 minutes! Whoops! The poor things must have been jolly cold and rather bored, listening to their expensive party happening somewhere else. It was completely hilarious watching them greet the Prince incredibly obsequiously, the D of C fulsomely but with a hardly discernible hint of froideur, and Rupes and I barely civilly. Quite impressive really. And I don't think they knew whether Ralph Winterthur was a guest or the chauffeur or a bodyguard so they just ignored him totally. Camilla and I did slightly get the giggles at the whole nuanced performance and I swear I saw the hackles rise on the back of Louisa's wrinkled chicken neck.

So we went straight into dinner because we were so late, gosh I was glad of that trip to Paris when we walked into the (frankly completely overdecorated) marquee and everyone stood up and watched us go to the top table. My dress was a complete triumph, especially compared to Louisa Wiltshire's disastrous backless number, which had the result of exposing a huge amount of slightly puckered cowhide. She looked like an aged Soho madam. "Oh Louisa! What a lovely tent! I'd completely forgotten you didn't have a ballroom, but this tent is really almost BETTER, and so rustic looking, isn't it?" I trilled so everyone could hear. I thought Camilla was going to explode with the pressure of keeping a straight face. She is a game old bird.

Anyway thanks to Louisa I had some eighty year old deaf Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire on my left who actually fell asleep during the starter and didn't wake up at all thereafter (perhaps he was dead? I never thought to check) and Ralph Winterthur on my right. He managed to get through the whole meal on small talk - I tried and tried to winkle some information out of him like Who Are You? How Do You Know The Prince? Where Is Your Wife? What Do You Do All Day? Why Have You Come To My Rectory? but drew an absolute complete blank. So then I tried to flirt with him - I tried everything, and believe me, when Minty wants to flirt, Minty usually gets results. But it was like flirting with Michelangelo's David - nada, nothing, zip, back in return. Of course I could hardly open my eyes, let alone speak at this point, so much lovely wine had I consumed, but that has never stopped me from getting a positive response before. Finally, I gave up, and staggered off to find the loos, tripping over that godawful canvas stuff they put over the molehilly lawn in the vain hope you'll forget you are in a tent. Of course I ignored the revolting old portaloos they'd put up (god Louisa has NO style) and went into the house, and while I was having a riffle through Louisa's dressing room (hardly worth the effort - you could put the whole lot including the actual cupboards on ebay and still not raise enough for a Paddington bag) who should turn up but that dark horse of an American. I held up a particularly nasty chiffon blouse and said "Pitiful, isn't it?" and he came up to me, took the blouse, chucked it on the floor, stuck one hand on my arse and one behind my neck and gave me the most tremendous snog. Golly it was exciting! I was just getting into it, and wondering if Louisa's Empire Daybed could take our combined weight, when he stopped, removed his hands, and buggered off.

So how about that?

Oh bugger, Rupes has just come in from the pub and brought Giles, Ed and Harry with him, they'll be wanting a Welsh Rarebit. Must dash!
Minty xx

Sunday, 3 June 2007

I know, I know, I know, I've neglected you terribly and I'm ashamed!

It has been almost a month since I've written my lovely blog. And I know I've disappointed a few people who rely on me to let them know what's what and who's who, and who just love hearing about what Orca has been up to (swimming in slurry if you must know, the filthy beast. And then trotting into the kitchen, simply dripping with ordure, and shaking herself furiously in front of me. I screamed like a banshee, and nearly stoved in her skull with my Kitchenaid mixer, and it took poor Mrs Coddington FOUR HOURS to clean all of those hideous droplets of liquid manure from all the crevices in the Aga and my lovely kitchen furniture. And then of course she had to shampoo and dry the stinking sodden dog too, my god it was hideous. Poor old stick smelt like a drain by the time I finally let her leave, hours and hours late for her regular Wednesday afternoon whist session at the local old people's home. I felt a teensy bit guilty but I know she wouldn't have enjoyed the whist if she had abandoned me in that catastrophic situation. She is awfully good that way.)

Where was I? Oh yes. It has been a simply exhausting month. Thank goodness half term is over - I've just this moment come back from dropping the boys at Ludgrove, girls go back tomorrow. Honestly it is much too long, a couple of days would do it. They are like puppies, masses of energy, have no need for a holiday, just need their tuckboxes restocking really. I couldn't possibly begin to tell you all the things I've been up to - describing Lavinia Woodstock's girls luncheon party last week alone would take up several pages. She invited simply everyone, ostensibly for Macmillan Nurses, or CLIC Sargent - or was it Long Winterbourne Volunteer Fire Service? - anyway something terribly worthy, but actually it was just an excuse to show off her newly redecorated house. My dears, I can't tell you how awful it is. Her drawing room is so screamingly hideous that Flossie and I got simply uncontrollable giggles, really couldn't stop, exactly like we used to in Hymn Practice with poor old Miss Cletherton when we were 14. Honestly, it looks like a cross between a WWI Field Hospital and an 'O'Level art studio - all white walls, white floors, funny chairs with sticky out legs and no upholstery, and the most lurid, vast, pink and orange daubs on the wall. And the kitchen! Oh I can't start on the kitchen. Suffice it to say that I'm sure concrete worktops have a place, but it's probably Shoreditch and not Long Winterbourne. I do feel for poor Julian, you'd have thought for £250k and two years of hell and builders, he'd at least have some cushions and some decent bits of furniture. Still, he is shagging Claire in the village, who has lovely comfy old sofas and makes a marvellous White Russian, so I expect he'll just spend even more time up there "discussing parish business".

Of course the main event this month was the Wiltshire's bash. Well! Never in my wildest imaginings would I have forseen how that panned out, it couldn't have been more extraordinary....
But the terrible thing is that I'm going to have to keep you on tenterhooks for the moment, darlings (I know, I am too beastly). My creme de la mer facemask has gone simply rock hard (well you are meant to rinse it off after 10 minutes and I've been on here for at least 30), and I've got to chisel it off before Rupes comes home or he'll probably never shag me again. Honestly, I look a complete fright, even Orca yelped when she saw me and ran for her basket. I really must dash! I promise I'll be back with the full gory details soon!

Minty xx

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

If the school run was so thrillingly marvellous every day, I'd do it MUCH more often!

I am back, positively triumphant my dears, from dropping off the little ones at school and dealing with Sally Farquarson. I was a teensy bit naughty about it, I admit, but I think in the grand racing formbook of life, Sally will be marked as "fell at the first" on this one, which is immensely satisfying.

Sally always gets to school dead on ten past eight of course - her obsessive-compulsive disorder is still alive and well, although she is much better at controlling some of its more ludicrous manifestations, like that bizarre insistence that there must only be an even number of items on her plate (although I still garnish everything liberally with caviar when she comes to dinner, just for the amusement of watching her panicked surreptitious counting of all those lovely little black balls - aren't I a horror?). Anyway. So I made sure to get to school just as she was getting out of that funny little car she drives, with Lavinia. She blinded me with her tic-tac smile (I swear it gets brighter every week, makes the whites of her eyes look positively yellow in comparison, someone ought to tell her), and I told her how marvellous she was looking, which flummoxed her somewhat. After dumping the children, I hung back and fiddled with Lara's gym kit for a bit, to give her a head start back to her car. Then, (and this is the naughty bit), at the door of the school I hollered down the drive to her "Oh! Sally, I meant to mention - Lavinia's sleepover is a no-go I'm afraid. The Wales' have told me that they've promised the Wiltshires that they'll turn up to their bash that evening, so I think we are going to have to break up our lovely evening at home and all make an appearance. Such a bore, but I think we ought to have Lavinia another time. Bye!"

It couldn't have been more fabulous, because the drive was packed with people, including Beetle Carter-Jones who was half-in, half-out of her Cayenne and absolutely agog - she is such mates with Louisa Wiltshire and I know she'll go back and repeat my comments verbatim. Louisa will be spitting!

Must dash, I've got to phone Ralph Winterthur and book him and his wife up for the 19th. I need to do some digging and find out a bit about him, it is just maddening not knowing a thing of what he is about, I don't know whether he's someone I ought to be inviting to dinner and getting Rupes to suck up to, or someone who just gets a cheery wave when I'm walking Orca. I usually have such a wonderful natural instinct for these things, but bloody Americans just jam my radar. Too trying.

Minty xx

Monday, 7 May 2007

I haven't forgotten you all, honestly!

I can't believe that it has been so long since I've written in my lovely blog, I'm feeling too, too dreadful about it, but I honestly couldn't help it. The week I've had! I've just got to tell you all about it.

Well. You know the last time I posted I had got myself in a bit of a tizzy about the Wiltshire's party, and bloody Sally Farquarson and her passive-aggressive sleepover stunt? Well, the next day I phoned up my lovely girl at Elegant Resorts and told her that Rupert and I simply had to go somewhere spectacular that weekend, I didn't care where, she just had to come up with something fabulous. Well of course she did, but not until Friday. So I called Rupes at the office pronto, and said "Darling, I've had the most marvellous idea. You know how we never get away and have a lovely time all by ourselves? Well what about taking Necker for a week, in three weeks time, for a bit of pre-summer sun? Linda at Elegant Resorts says it's available, and I'm sure if you phoned Richard he'd make sure that masseur who gives tantric sex tuition would be on the island that week..." Well, it was a little obvious, but what with one thing and another poor Rupes hasn't been getting much action in the sack recently and I thought he'd leap on that suggestion like a Jack Russell on a rat.

But he didn't take the bait at all. "Minty, I can't just bugger off for a week on a whim you know," he practically barked at me "and you know I'm roadshowing Trident Ore Mining at the end of the month." "But Rupert!" I wailed in what I thought was a heartrending yet sexy way, "Can't you get Lewis to do your little show? What's the point in having minions if you end up doing it all yourself?" Well, he gave me 10 minutes of how useless Lewis was, and didn't I know that Trident would pay the bloody school fees for the next 2 years, and nobody went to the Caribbean in May anyway (which was a valid point, actually, nobody does) - and then cut me off. Disastre.

I was just pouring myself a little something to soothe my nerves, and trying to quell the mental image of Sally Bloody Farquarson's smug over-botoxed face which kept floating into my mind, and summoning up the strength to call Linda and tear her off a strip for suggesting the Caribbean in May, when the phone rang. It was Julia, Camilla's diary girl.

"Minty, I told the Duchess of Cornwall about your kind invitation for the night of the Wiltshire's do, and she was so sorry for the mix up in dates because she and Prince of Wales haven't seen you and Rupert for ages. But she had rather a marvellous idea." I was only half listening to her at this point, because I was trying to hold the phone and slice a lime to go in my gin at the same time, which is always a tricky manoever, no matter how often you practice it. "She and the Prince of Wales will be very close to you that afternoon, launching a new meals-on-wheels vehicle in Ogbourne Bassett. It would be such a bore for them to have to trek back up to Highgrove and back down to the Wiltshires for 8.00. So she suggested coming to Ogbourne Manor instead, so they can freshen up, change, have a few pre-party drinks and then go onto the Wiltshires with you and Rupert as part of their party. I'll talk to Louisa Wiltshire and make sure you are on their table for dinner. What do you think?"

Do you know, at that moment, I really, truly, for the first time in my life, actually believed in God. There was just no other explanation for this miracle. I was just desperate to be a fly on the wall when Julia phoned Louisa and told her that we would be in the Prince of Wales' party for her big bash. It was too, too perfect. "What a lovely idea!" I said to Julia. "Just one more thing" she said. "Would you mind terribly inviting Ralph Winterthur and his wife for drinks too? They'll also be on the Prince's table and the Duchess would love to see him at yours first." "Ralph Winterthur?" I said, confusedly. "You know, Ralph Winterthur. He's just moved into your Rectory." "Oh! Yes, of course, super." I said, and she rang off.

How on earth my little American man has got on such chummy terms with Charles and Camilla, I have no idea. Most extraordinary. Slightly irritating, frankly. Oh well, nothing could dent my joy that day. Of course I've been in Paris since then, sorting out what on earth I'm going to wear. I bundled Rupes on a Eurostar on Saturday and actually he was a lamb about it, probably feeling rather guilty about being so horrid about my Necker idea. He bit the bullet with grace in Chanel, and everything. Coughed up for the most marvellous dress, which Madeleine assured me wasn't being carried in the London stores. I do love Madeleine. Actually I love almost everyone at the moment. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to seeing Sally Farquarson on the school run tomorrow!

Must dash, Rupes has come downstairs wearing his silk dressing gown. He only ever wears his silk dressing gown when he wants sex, thinks it makes him look like Rudolph Valentino, poor deluded boy.
Minty xx


Monday, 30 April 2007

An exciting invitation

Dropped Felix and Bruno at school this morning and was accosted by Mrs Kierkegaard. Bruno is in disgrace as he spent rugby practice 'twirling dreamily' around on the try-line. Decide not to mention this to Harry who doesn't fully appreciate Bruno's gentle nature. Harry says I spoil him and that life will 'deal that child some hard knocks' unless he toughens up a bit. Obviously I haven't told him about the ballet lessons. I wonder what Minty will think. Decide not to tell her just yet.
Must have had PMT when I bought that gold jacket and skirt. Return them to Opera and exchange for expensive peach floral dress. I surreptitiously smudge ink on the other sizes with my Cross fountain pen so that no-one buys them and I can be sure of being the only one wearing that particular dress on Sports Day. Leave feeling exhilarated.
I arrived home to find Barbara and Pilar, the au-pair, chatting on the terrace. Decide to be firm and ask Barbara if she wouldn't mind getting on with the boot room as we have guests tonight. I pretend not to notice the look she gives me as she scuttles back to the house. Pilar looks me up and down lazily before uncurling her unfeasibly long legs and stubbing out her cigarette. 'The boy's rooms, Pilar!' I say rather more shrilly than I had intended. She smirks knowingly and slopes off. I clear up the ashtray and coffee mugs and retire to the kitchen. Six for dinner tonight including Jicky Martin, brilliant caterer and author of 'Uberfoodie!', her husband Bonce, Bun Grace-Thomas (sister of Fiona Grace-Thomas, that rather beautiful actress) and her husband Rafe (the explorer) and then, doing my bit!, new arrivals Karin and Simon Uxbridge. They have recently opened a shop in Upstanding called Forever Sunshine. It sells all manner of gifty things, candles, bronze hares, rather wacky scarves. The little pottery terriers have almost become currency among the Upstanding Set. Anyway, they have moved down from Herefordshire or Hertfordshire, not sure which.
The postman arrives early at 11.30. I throw 17 of the Boden catalogues in the bin and keep one for the woodburner. That thick paper works better than firelighters. Lots of invites as usual but one really stands out - the Earl and Countess of Wiltshire's bash. With trembling fingers I place it just to the middle of the mantelpiece, slightly disguising it with newer invites but making sure that anyone in the know will notice it immediately I hear it won't give them much change out of 600k - must ring Minty and check what she is wearing. Have horrible thought and ring hairdresser immediately. They are engaged! Feel familiar panic rising in my chest at thought of not managing to grab John at Upstanding Hair and Beauty. The thought of having to drive up to London and back on the day of the party is just too tedious for words.

Friday, 27 April 2007

We're going on holiday by mistake, hope Rupes doesn't mind

Golly I'm cross. I'm afraid I'm simply going to have to let rip on my lovely blog otherwise I will absolutely scream the house down and the bloody cat will spray everywhere like he did when Molly got her finger caught in Rupert's clay trap (what on earth she was doing messing about with it goodness only knows, I'm just jolly glad the 12-bore had no cartridges in it at the time).

Anyway. My morning has just been so frustrating I could cry. First of all I had to do the school run because Lara was going off on a two night school trip and was being boringly insistent that I drop her off and kiss her so she wouldn't be homesick. Why a lovely kiss the night before wasn't good enough I don't know - we really should have made her board last September, put some backbone into her.

Well there I was at the school gates a good two hours before I'd normally even be awake, when who comes up to me but Sally Farquarson, bright as a bloody button and smiling fit to frighten the birds. Someone should have a word to her about her addiction to home whitening kits. "Minty dear" she trills, "you couldn't do me the most massive favour and take Lavinia off my hands for the night 3 weeks on Saturday? Only she is so keen to have a sleepover with Lara and it is the Wiltshire's big bash that evening and I'll never get the babysitter to stay until 3am or whenever we eventually roll home". Then she gave a little pause and said "oh... unless you are going of course?". I tell you, I nearly scratched her eyes out!

The Earl and Countess of Wiltshire's party is going to be absolutely fabulous - Milly is doing the flowers and says the whole thing won't give them any change out of 500K - and the silly little bitch knows that Rupert fell out with him over some trivial business matter. Honestly, Rupes had no idea when he put him into Sylvanian Gold that the CEO was going to do a runner to Costa Rica with the proceeds of the round. How WAS he to know? Anyway Johnnie Wiltshire has had a complete sense of humour failure about it, and now I'm going to have to look after bloody Lavinia while Sally goes to the party of the century.

So I smiled at Sally and said "Lara will be so pleased. I think that is the night that the Wales' are coming for dinner but I'm sure Lavinia knows how to behave in those circumstances".

Damn, I thought on my way home, I'm going to have to get them round now. And he is SUCH a bore.

Anyway I've come home, phoned Camilla's new diary girl Julia and of course they can't make that date - which I completely expected, after all the last little dinner we had was organised 7 months in advance. "Oh such a pity" I said. "Oh but you are double booking yourself" bleats Julia brightly "they'll be at the Wiltshire's that night so you'll see them there!"

I'm so humiliated.

Must dash, I've got to book a super duper holiday somewhere far away for that weekend. Venice I think. Or Miami? WHAT a bore.

Minty xxxx

Thursday, 26 April 2007

New Septic Tank (Rupert taught me that! Jolly funny)

Oh goodness Tory you aren't fat you silly girl! I always think of you as Reubenesque, your figure would have been all the rage a few hundred years ago, and you know you still fill out a ballgown beautifully! That's the trouble with us skinny minnies, we need a bit of help to look really good in strapless numbers. Thank goodness for that marvellous man in Devonshire Place that Sophie Stuttridge tipped me the nod about, Rupert was so impressed by his birthday presents that he didn't say a word about the invoice. Do you know, for the first time in the 20 years I've known him, he was absolutely speechless. Definitely worth the discomfort.

Well, the new man from the Rectory came around earlier, as I said. Quite a surprise, really. I was expecting the usual - you know - refugee from some ghastly little terraced house in Wandsworth or Fulham, schooled at Gresham's or Oundle or somewhere that he calls "public school", shirt from Thomas Pink, married to a girl called Lucy who reads Country Living and thinks she's married well. Well of course you know, there are hundreds of people like them littering the countryside, so tedious.

Anyway, he was quite different. American, for a start, which I always find dreadfully confusing. And not a banker from New York or anything recognisable, one knows how to deal with them. He was from Chicago or Cincinatti or one of those places you hear about on the telly but never meet anyone from, I can't remember exactly. In fact, thinking about it now, I barely found out anything about him at all, and I made conversation with the man for 20 minutes, even gave him a cup of tea for goodness sake. How extraordinary. He wasn't angling for a shooting invite - I don't think he was angling for anything actually, just came over to introduce himself - I even mentioned that we had a marvellous shoot and he just laughed and said it wasn't for him. I also found myself inviting his wife over for coffee one of my Thursday mornings (Lord knows why, the last thing Milly and the girls want is some strident American boring us about her children at our weekly goss session) and he laughed again and said he didn't think she would be available on Thursday mornings. Jolly rude, actually. But quite intriguing.

Oh damn, Ruperts bloody bitch is on heat and has jumped the gate. Probably going after that revolting border collie in the farm cottages. Must dash!

Minty xxxxxxx

Tory visits Upstanding, and feels fat

News from my end:
Dropped the boys off at school and decided to pop into Upstanding for a coffee and a quick look in the shop windows. After our supper with Adam and Felicia, Harry told me I was looking a bit 'tired' - I must say compared with Felicia I do look a little ragged around the edges. She barely spends any time in Dorset these days, always up to London for a tweak here and there. I suspect Botox and, rather uncharitably, a little work on her, ahem, chest area.
Caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window of the Rusty Rake and have decided that my trusty pink rugby shirt and jeans may not be at the cutting edge of fashion any more. Went a bit bonkers in Opera and splashed out on a gold fitted jacket and a rather daring skirt! (note to self: work on knee area when at Pilates in Charlton Haddock village hall). Spotted Bim Adams-Grayson in The Cherry Tree, having coffee with that awful woman Amanda from the Friends of Upstanding Prep. They raised their coffee cups in quite a friendly way, then waved frantically. Felt quite flattered for a moment until I realised that Felicia was crossing the road behind me. She did thank me for a lovely evening - "Your Harry is an absolute HOOT!" - but didn't really stop to chat. I'm sure they all have a lot to talk about.
Got home just in time to catch Barbara, the daily, scuttle back into the house leaving her coffee mug and ashtray outside on the terrace. She didn't bother to end her mobile phone conversation though. I really MUST talk to Minty about the best way of managing staff.

Now we are really motoring!

It is so fabulous that Tory is on board - golly we are really going to get things covered now. Tory is an absolute superwoman - manages those lovely wild boys and supports poor Harry so well in his career and manages to keep that house from falling down around her ears (Dorset is so damp and I really don't think Harry's people can have spent a penny on it in the last 250 years). And the most marvellous cook, can produce an absolute banquet out of nothing on no notice at all. And of course all of her local charity work too.

I absolutely don't know how she does it, I must say I'm dreadfully lazy and just make sure I'm fully staffed here and in London. Well, Mrs Codding my daily has been here for simply YEARS and although she is a bit of a law unto herself she does get things done when push comes to shove. There's the nanny of course, one can't manage four children without a good competant nanny and Gemma is super. And obviously managing the gardens is a full time job for Dennis, who took on the job from his father. Such a marvellous countryman, knows everything, and a jolly good beater in the season as well. We opened the gardens for 6 weekends last summer, such hard work for Dennis getting them ready but very rewarding seeing all those familiar faces from the village and the local town coming to have a look and a cup of tea. I do feel it is nice to give something back. Of course it is a dreadful bore having people traipsing through, and although we have VERY well signposted portaloos you do always get a few who think they'll try their luck and try and come into the house, but all in all its a good thing I think.

Goodness me, is that the time? I've got that new chap whose moved into the rectory coming for coffee in a minute. Not sure about him, he's a bit smooth for my liking and I'm sure he's just angling for a shooting invite. Not that he looks the sort who has much experience in that direction, always such a liability having people like him loosing off cartridges behind the line. Must dash!
Minty xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Oh gosh! HI Araminta!

Hi everyone! Well its Tory here, just taking a quick break from entertaining some of Harry's clients and settling the children! You know how it is!
Harry told me that an old school friend of his was around this evening so quickly had to put together a 'thrown together' meal - you know these are the absolute HARDEST to pull off. Anyway a quick trip to the local super sorted everything out, despite having Topsy Pool's lamb in the freezer for months - I do always feel duty bound to buy a half a lamb even though, well, the children don't even LIKE lamb and Harry always says that my Shepherds Pie is too fatty. Sigh.

Bruno and Felix just would not settle this evening, I think they saw how desperate I was looking. You know Harry's career depends on how well he entertains these old boys and I never did do well in the kitchen despite Mummy and Daddy investing so much in the Cordon Bleu course.

Look forward to chatting soon and sharing the gossip about the PCC meeting on Saturday - I arrived suitably harassed and cut Lady Blashford terribly about the sale of the North Chapel benches.

xxx Tory

This is jolly exciting, isn't it? Can't keep away

Well Tory is busy - settling in a new au pair or something. She is marvellous with them, knocks them into shape in no time. This one is from Slovakia. Or Slovenia. Actually I think perhaps it was Poland. Barely a word of English, apparently, and thin as a rake. Tory thinks she's probably rather hopeless but won't cost much to feed (unlike her previous one, Lenka, marvellous with the children but quite enormous and ate for Estonia) and Harry has always been a tit man so she doesn't have to worry about that aspect at least. Anyway she'll be along later, once she's collected the children from school and sorted out Bruno's new fencing kit and finished with her PCC meeting (she IS good, I find those local church councils just ghastly, all that discussion about flower rotas for hours and hours and all you get at the end of it is 8 stems of yellow chrysanthemums on a dusty windowsill. Makes me shudder to think of it).

But I'm really rather taken with my new blog so I shall plough on without her for the moment.

Rupert thinks me starting a blog is ridiculous. He said that he can't see what on earth I could possibly have to say that anyone will find interesting, and more to the point People Like Us won't read it because if they have any sense they will be out walking the dogs or shooting or shagging the au pair, like I should be doing instead of wasting time on the bloody computer.
I don't think he meant I should be shagging the au pair, but you get the gist.
I think he is just a bit cross because he is hopeless on the computer, he even gets poor Lorena (his secretary) to type out all his emails, and he doesn't like me doing things that he doesn't understand.
But I told him that of course people like us used computers, at least all the girls do, I don't know anyone who doesn't. How did he think that everyone ordered anything from Boden without a computer? Let alone sort out the invites and acceptances for the hunt ball. Well that shut him up, I can tell you. Honestly I do love him but sometimes he is a prize chump.

Must dash, Lucy has just popped around with a spare girth for Magic, must see if it will fit the fat little bugger.

Minty xxx

Welcome to a new blog for People Like Us

Well blogging is the new sport of the 21st century, and I've tried to get into it, I really really have. But have you seen the really dreadful sorts of people doing blogs lately? So dull, living such mundane, sad little lives. Running around on some sort of nightmarish urban treadmill based around a 3 bed terrace in Clapham, or grinding their way through an utterly irrelevant suburban existance somewhere near Milton Keynes. Ghastly.

No, what we need is a blog for People Like Us. People who live in the country, with a bit of land, some livestock, a dog or two (of course). People who have nice marriages to nice boys who are jolly good providers for us and our children. People who understand that there are certain things one does and certain things one just does NOT. People who couldn't say the word "toilet" if the welfare of their Jack Russell depended on it (and those of you who are lucky enough to own one of those splendid plucky little companions will know what I mean).

Shall I introduce myself? I'm Araminta Dix-Charrington. Minty to my friends (and Mrs Dix-Charrington to everyone else). I live in a small manor house in Wiltshire with my husband Rupert, who does something in the City and goes up to town every day, bless him, and our four children Archie, Molly, Lara and Edward. I hope to get a jolly good friend of mine to join in on this blog and provide a Dorset perspective on life too, with a bit of luck she'll post later to introduce herself.

I'll post more later (the Aga man has just come for a service so I must dash), but thank you for reading my blog and come back regularly!
Toodle pip
Minty xxxxx