‘Downturn Abbey’ says it all

2015-07-22 06:00

IT quickens the pulse and brings a tear to my eye when I remember the old days and how things used to be.

Sitting in the great hall before a roaring fire, the falcon warming itself in the hearth, the Great Dane perched upon my wrist.

And all about loyal domestics went about their business: huffing the silverware, buffing toecaps, polishing the cat and, when crossing my field of vision, knuckling their forelocks with a cheery: “Mornin’ your Lordship. It be a fine day today.”

Old Jeb, a family retainer since the Norman conquest, would scuttle to and fro, bearing snifters of brandy and tubs of Mrs Bagshot’s embrocation - for the treatment of gout, you understand.

Folk knew their place in the hierarchy and an errant labourer appreciated nothing so much as a lordly kick up the backside, for which he would be pathetically grateful. “Oh, thankee sir! Thankee kindly.”

Alas, those days are gone and one finds it increasingly difficult today to cut one’s coat according to one’s Harris Tweed.

The downturn - the slump, the recession, call it what you will - has taken its toll on the landed gentry and all I have left to remind me of those halcyon days are Chinese brandy substitutes and lingering gout. Even Old Jeb has shuffled off his mortal coil, which was the last straw.

I have now taken refuge in a bachelor flat with a commanding view of the soap factory, but I still have my dignity and so, tongue in cheek, and with a passing nod to the days of yore, I have called it Downturn Abbey, which says it all.

john gardener

Howick

I still have my dignity and so, tongue in cheek, and with a passing nod to the days of yore, I have called it Downturn Abbey, which says it all

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