The new cellar has been dug out and furnished and is ready for occupation when the old one is so full of empties we no longer fit into it.
Never say no to a Medicinal
is written above the door, on which there is a thoroughly indiscreet notice which says
ON THE OUTSIDE
The cellar itself, accessed down a flight of stairs with ornate metal balustrades and very highly-polished dark-wood bannister, is decorated in dark and pale pinks, and purples, and dark blues, in swirls and circles and curves. The paintwork is white.
The weather may not be as cold at the moment as it was this time last year, but it is bluddy miserable and raw and rotten, and the wind can cut you to the bone just as Hannah reckoned to when we opened the last cellar, so we need to have long forks for toasting bread or marshmallows, and a spit for large roasts, and a shovel for roasting chestnuts, all near the huge fire round which there are chaises and footstools and a kist full of warm shawls so that any chilly tart can wrap herself snugly. There are bowls of punch in the inglenook just waiting for the tarts to got round to them, and more mulled wine in a large pan, with slices of orange and lemon cooking gently in it as well as cloves and other good herbs.
In an alcove off the main cellar is the aga, and also the other stove; there is where the freezers and the food-cupboards are to be found.
The Other Cupboard is of course in the wall near the Chatelaine’s chaise, and she holds its key.
The trapeze is outside, as is the trampoline, but the hot-tub and jacuzzi are at at the end of the corridor past the piano and behind the velvet curtain; near the piano is the box with various pub-games: the shove-ha’penny board, the dominoes and the cards.
The billiard table and the astrolabe are to the other side of the lounging area with chaises, and the gin-lake is beyond them, past the racks with the wine…
The On Sweet has a re-repaired metal mirror, and has been re-feathered for the comfort of That Bird; the glitter-ball is turning gently and throwing flecks of light around the ceiling.
Darrington the butler, Ewbank, Honoré FitzMichael the pantler, the Page Three Pages, the Underfoot Men and the re-upholstering lady Gwyneth and her team of seamstresses are all to hand as needed; so are the Fancy Italian, Luigi to make us tea, Antonio the coffee-maker and Fritz the chocolatier.
All we need know is a kissing-bough and we are set up for the next few months of occupation.