Sunday, October 14, 2007


Hello all

The weeks rumble by, and I am still here at the Manor house. Fortunately I have discovered how to blog from my mobile phone, so at least I can keep in touch with the outside world - albeit slowly as I have never learnt how to use my opposable thumbs to any great effect when it comes to texting.

This week I receieved a message from Dolores that she was going to allow me a home visit. I was initially overwhelmed with positive emotion at the prospect, but then it dawned on me that I was probably just going to see how things had changed for the better in my absence. Each time I talk with my wife she tells me how much better behaved the twins are, how she has adapted to not having me around. She says she misses me, but I'm beginning to think that is just the natural grief that comes with any separation. So it was with some trepidation that I prepared for my first encounter with my family in over a month.

Dolores said she would see me yesterday (Saturday). My heart sank a little, for normally I would be penned in my small room at the top of the house under rule 18b - no unauthorised staff movements in the house at the weekend. To escape from my room would mean passing through the living quarters of the owner (who visits evey weekend with his wife and two teenage boys). Unlike the housekeeper, they have no particular schedule, and I hear the boys running around the house at all hours of the day. Luckily, they never bother entering the attic, as there is nothing up here of interest except the stash of surfboards in my room. As we are at least twenty miles from the nearest wave, and I know from the housekeeper that they never visit the seaside, it is unlikely the surfboards are going to be used any day soon.

Anyways, I decided after careful analysis of the situation that I would attempt an escape at 1300 hrs - the time when the family usually begin their lunch in the dining room. I knew I could, by treading very lightly on all fours, exit through a back door at the opposite end of the hallway without being seen. Normally I don't crawl anywhere, but in this case I knew there was no choice, as a large mirror hung in the hall would reflect my image into the eyes of the owner, sitting at the top of the table, if I was upright.

At 1pm I descended from the attic onto the second floor landing. The emotive aroma of a roast-beef dinner caught me unawares, and I was immediately transported in my mind back to the last time I had enjoyed a proper lunch with my own family, many weeks ago. The effect was so strong that I was unable to supress a tear, which I wiped away with my shirt sleeve before declaring to myself that nothing was going to stop me being re-united with the people I love.

Oh so quietly I descended the stairs onto the first floor landing, leant over the banister. and watched as the weekend chef carried a tureen into the dining room. Over the babble of conversation I heard a deep foreign voice (indeterminate origin) thank the chef by his first name (Anton). I then heard the chef reply in a crisp german accent, in terms which surprised me. Now, I'm not well up on how the other half live, nor do I have much insight into how the nouveau riche treat their staff, but is it generally true that a chef (complete with mushroom hat) would, having served up the first course, thank his boss with the words 'You are most welcome, Sir', barking out the last word as if on parade in front of a sargeant major, before clicking his heels and exiting the room?

As if this wasn't surprising enough, I then heard, quite distinctly, the chef say the word 'arschelok' in an angry whisper as he entered the kitchen (for those of you who are unaware of the vulgar words available in the German language, I will provide a literal translation - the word 'arschelok' is equivalent to our moderate term of insult 'areshole'). This short outburst was quickly followed by the sound of metal striking metal - a sound loud enough to reach both the dining room and the first floor landing.

The owner must have heard the chef, but the babble of conversation continued without interruption. Curious, I thought to myself as I slowly descended the stairs. This was the second hint that relations between the owner and his staff were somewhat unusual. Making a mental note to find out more, I stepped off the last step and onto the floor. Down one end of the hall I could see the entrance to the kitchen. Inside the kitchen was the chef, lighting up a cigarette before leaning out of a window to smoke it. Immediately to my right was the entrance to the dining room. From my position at the bottom of the stair I could neither see nor be seen by the occupants. Opposite and to the left was the mirror.

Taking a deep breath, I adopted a crouching stance and moved into the hall, turning left. My exit was about ten metres away, on my left. On approaching the mirror I went down onto my belly and crawled, commando style, until I was sure I was clear. A quick glance behind me confirmed that the chef was still smoking his cigarette, so I once again adopted a crouching position until I reached the door. Standing up, I tried the handle. It moved silently downwards, and I was able to push the door open without making a sound. On the other side was a small vestibule, with a key in the door. Holding my breath, I turned the key and opened the door.

Freedom! I said to myself as I strode from the house, gulping down the fresh autumnal air. Just half a kilometre away was my beloved wife, my children and my research assistant, all eagerly waiting for my triumphant return. There was to be no more separation. I was going to re-unite the family, re-ignite my marriage. Just half a kilometre. Three hundred metres to the end of the drive, then another 200 metres to the barn. I reckoned I could cover the distance in less than 3 minutes if I sprinted.

Notice I said 'was'. There is a good reason for this, but you'll have to wait until next time I get the chance to blog before I can tell you. I am about to have my room searched, and it is likely they will find my phone. Actually, I can hear


Gorilla Bananas said...

Never eat meals in a house with a disgruntled chef. He may vent his anger by adding urine to the soup. But you aren't allowed to eat what he cooks anyway, are you? I think the house needs a lodgers' revolt. You are clearly being oppressed.

Anonymous said...

The detective in me has assumed that you got caught lurking in the grounds. Of course you could always say you were looking for your pet hedgehog at the time in question.

Inspector Plum

Kim Ayres said...

500m in 3 minutes is impressive. I'd get 50m then collapse in a heap and it would take me a day to recover. At that rate 500m would take me about a week and a half.

Easier to walk

Anonymous said...

Dearest McC. Perhaps it would be easier if you took dirt out in your turn-ups whilst whistling a catchy little tune.

...and Gorilla Banananananaaaas is quite right. The Chef may well add pees to the soup.

Just hope there's some ham in it too.