A fun excerpt from life at Pantsdown Abbey. The day the family took tea before five.
Following Lady May’s announcement the family decided to take their tea in the drawing room a little earlier than usual. It was just four-thirty and the first time in the butler Mr Barker’s living memory that tea had been taken before five.
It quite put him off.
“You are very pale, Mr Barker,” the housekeeper, Mrs Gladeye, said when she met him in the kitchen corridor.
“Four-thirty,” replied Barker hoarsely. “His lordship wishes to have tea in the drawing room at four-thirty.”
“Hardly revolution, Mr Barker.”
“But it’s not right, Mrs Gladeye. They always take tea at five. Sometimes a little later if they are awaiting a guest. But never, NEVER, before five.”
“I can see it upsets you a great deal, Mr Barker. Ask Janice to find you something to settle your stomach.”
“I will. Where is she? Has she the scones and cakes prepared? We can’t be late. It may be a change of which I disapprove, but I will not be defeated by it!”
“Yes, yes, she seemed to finish early, then nip off rather quickly. She’s here somewhere.”
Neither was aware of the slight banging noise which was at that moment throbbing through the servants’ quarters. The everyday sounds of a late afternoon at Pantsdown seemed to drown it out. It was caused by a large wooden box filled with bags of grain which was being rhythmically propelled against the back wall of one of the downstairs’ storerooms by Janice’s back.
In turn, Janice’s back was being rhythmically propelled against the box by Janice’s front which was fitted snugly around the head gardener Green’s loins as he came back for second helpings from the kitchen maid.
“They will want cream, as well,” said Barker.
“I think Janice is getting some,” answered Mrs Gladeye innocently.
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