Fast approaching is the date of what will undoubtedly be a momentous occasion at Farthing Hall. The Commonwealth, having been close to my heart since a spontaneous family trip to a medley of the more civilised colonies during my seminal years forged an ongoing interest in topography, is to be celebrated. Of course, decades have failed to convince me that the latest idiom – Commonwealth Day – promotes the same eminence as Empire Day, by which it was formerly identified. Therefore, I have decided to resurrect the original appellation, at least during my private gathering.
A woven wild silk (fabric courtesy of the sub continent) with complementing gossypium (recently imported from the southern tip of Africa) designed banner proclaiming Empire Day will set the tone. I offered this commission to a recently formed spin off from the Hand Embroiderers League. A testimony from a Townswomen’s Guild associate sealed my decision, the split, apparently, having been instigated by little more than an impromptu squabble over alleged misuse of the Secretary’s vestibule. Why anyone would take offence at a couple of women practising their faggot stitches late one evening quite defies belief. Surely it is but admirable use of said stitcher’s front entrance?
Several Union flags will also be in evidence. The first is to be located at the West Gate with a further three adorning the Master’s breathtakingly erect Ligustrum Vulgare lined drive leading to the Orangery in which a profusion of red, white and blue bunting will radiate a suitable air. An assignment of patriotic table decorations is also on order. I will, no doubt, be required to supervise their placement. Staff clearly do not reflect my attention to detail as I discovered following the farcical positioning of my late Mama’s Victorian decanter at dinner only last week. How anyone could believe it belonged so inappropriately aligned defies belief. With the Master once again marooned at his Club, I was grateful for dining alone that evening.
My consideration is next focussed upon catering requirements. A carefully chosen finger buffet should satisfy all: smoked salmon with dill garnish canapés and foie gras atop diminutive rounds of home baked bread for those of us whose palettes demand a degree of sophistication. The Mayor, Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff, for instance. For those other guests my civic responsibilities have obliged me to invite – business managers whose manners are as wanting as their High Street attire – stuffed olives and mushroom vol au vents should suffice. I would not wish them to experience the sort of undue discomfiture that unfamiliar tastes might expose.
Meticulous planning ensures the timing of my gathering avoids any clash with The Observance at Westminster Abbey where the Master will be present. (Such a pity he was unable to secure me an invitation. Nevertheless, I am gratified for creating the opportunity to rejoice, at Farthing Hall, in the Empirical legacy of our country.)
On a separate note, I plan to speak to Rodgers about producing topographical maps of the Estate. The prospect of scrutinising my contours is bound to be of interest to the invited assembly, if not the wider community.
More amusing old school views from Lady Margaret may be read here