Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week

March 14, 1997

When it comes to recreation, one enjoys the simple things. A walk in the grounds, around the deer park, to Dove Cottage. A refreshing dip into a book of sermons from the eighteenth century. A quiet hour with one's collection of antique Indian brass spittoons in the shapes of the Kama Sutra, followed by a spit-polish and thorough buffing. Yes, those are the sorts of things to make Sir Charles Grandiose a happy, if occasionally restless at night, man. One did not become a Man Of Leisure in order to watch the television.

Picture: The Art Of Gracious LivingAnd yet, that is precisely what one has done, this week. Readers, be not shocked. One's nephew, the redoubtable Chauncey Grandiose, was up to Blandsdown for the week-end. He is a man of fashion, as well know one's readers (and one has it upon the most authoritative of authorities that one's readers are so many in number, that were each a mere molecule of sugar, the young charges of famed nanny Mary Poppins would never again have to worry about swallowing their medicine), the editor of Milady's Boudoir, and personal friend of a Miss Martha Stewart, an American.

It was Miss Stewart that he wished to introduce to me, but seeing as she was busy (decorating the Eiffel Tower from base to tip with hand-made artificial roses cunningly made from pipe cleaners and discarded 'prom' dresses, one believes Chauncey said), one's nephew brought his vidiot tape mechanical contraption and the complete set of Martha! Martha! Martha! (available at a retailer near you, one is afraid).

Now, one cannot say one minds Miss Stewart's dogged persistence in making the home a gracious place to live. Nor does one object too strenuously to her seeming belief that her followers will do these tasks for themselves, rather than assigning them to their servants. (For one is a liberal-minded baronet, and recognizes that many households have only one or two servants to them, and has heard rumours that some do not have any!) Nor can one object to Miss Stewart's little 'projects'--the making of little sachets filled with eucalyptus leaves and lemon peel, or the planting of iris (did one's readers know they grew, from potato-like things known as 'bulbs'? One had assumed one's gardeners ordered them from the nurseries and stuck the stems in the ground, each spring), or the making of French Toast, which, curiously, would appear to be the only French dish containing no garlic. No, one did not mind observing Miss Stewart icing cakes so that they resembled gardens, or making the home-made sorbet, or completely decorating the exterior of her home for Christmas using only two hundred yards of crepe, thirty pounds of gold leaf, a pinecone, a staple gun, and a single live sheep.

No, what one truly objected to was Miss Stewart's seeming notion that her followers could make their homes truly gracious by mimicking her every suggestion. And in order to keep up with this indefatigable woman, one must buy her videos, her monthly magazine, her books, her clothing, her kits, and yes, even her cookie cutters. These dreadful items can be found for thirty pounds the pair. The pair, readers! When one wishes to pay thirty pounds to eat a biscuit, readers, it had bloody well have been made by Queen Elizabeth herself!

(Note to 'Betty' Windsor: One does not intend to insult the lovely biscuits Her Majesty made for one's family for the holiday season. They were perfectly lovely, once we realized what they were, and nearly edible, once one scraped off the burnt coating with one's great-grandfather's swords from the War with France.)

It is for this reason alone that one cannot quite bring oneself to endorse Miss Stewart, amusing as it was to watch young Chauncey decorate the yellow parlour with hand-made spice balls contrived from an orange, a good many cloves, several gold-trimmed ribbons, and a great quantity of sealing wax. After all, why should readers pay Miss Stewart for her tips in gracious living, when you can get as thorough a snubbing from Sir Charles Grandiose, gratis?

Declaring one's smoking room a Gracious Living-Free Zone, one remains
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Put Another Nickel In

Beatles Fan writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I've recently finished the most amazing book. Like this book completely opened up my eyes to a new experience. I've started listening to this really old British band, the Beatles, that gets talked about in the book.

Anyway, I like the music but some of the lyrics confuse me. I figure that they are native to your island country. Could you explicate the following?

From 'Taxman'.
Put clever panties on your eyes. Ah ha Mr. Wilson. Ah ha Mr. Heath.'

From 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'
Mother's A Weary. John's a gone.


New Beatles Fan in Jersey

(P.S. Is Miss Penny Lane related to Penelope Windsor-Smythe?)

Sir Charles replies:


One was tempted to toss your crayon-penned letter into the fire grate until young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, who always enjoys reading the letters from one's young male correspondents (and she is ninetieth in line for the throne, too, fancy that!) informed one that the Queen this week had knighted one of these so-called 'Beatles'. One was erstwhile icily unaware of the fact that Her Majesty was in the habit of knighting insects.

Young Penelope, however, notes that the following lyrics, apparently from a popular song, will answer all your questions: "The ants are my friends; they're blowing in the wind. The ants are--they're blowing in the wind."

With a koo koo ka-choo, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Bouf writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As you may or may not know, I am a contestant in the Lady Godiva Re-enactment Ride at this year's annual Tung Frolics here in our picturesque village of Cheeke. (I also entered last year, but fortune did not smile upon me due to unfortunate ink and scissors injuries sustained while I was a student at the Cheeke College of Cosmetology and Penmanship). I know you are a busy man, and I shan't ask you--the distinguished judge of the Tung Princess Pageant--to change the date of the ride, which I know you would do (fine man that you are) if I so much as asked, but I won't. I'm not that kind of girl. However, I do need your advice.

My last year's mount having expired during the winter, my dear dear daddykins ordered me a brand new Thoroughbred, Godot, from the colonies. Alas, the horse has been quarantined in one of the remoter Hebrides Islands and might not arrive in time! While I am waiting for Godot, the only available equine I have is my jack-ass, Harry. While Harry is indeed speedy (his runaways while hitched to the governess cart are legendary!), he is also in the midst of shedding his winter coat and is such a raggedy ass that I am quite ashamed to show him in public. What should I do? If you were me, Sir Charles, would you show your Harry ass in public?

Babbette ("Bouf") Pompadour

PS. Did you notice my excellent penmanship? I know good penmanship counts with you. I'm also good at teasing.

PPS. I joined the Penelope Windsor-Smythe Fan Club a full two weeks before that snippy Snipperton girl did!

Sir Charles replies:

Oh, Babbette. Sweet, silly, fluffy Babbette. Dear sweet, silly, adorable, pretty Babbette,

It is true that there is no finer sight than a young lady with a fine ass. But one must hasten to implore you, sweet child, to drag your raggedy hairy drooping ass out in public, to the Lady Godiva Re-enactment to take place this first week of April. How one truly wishes to see it.

You see, you must understand, child, that the Lady Felicia is prone to headaches and vapours and eventual fainting whenever she is confronted with a big ass. So it has been years--years, child--since one has been around an ass, or even a hoof, or an ear, or indeed, any piece of ass at all!

Hoping one will not be disappointed, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Postscript: Yes, one did! And one doesn't doubt it, you sly minx.

Post-Postscript: Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe would thank you, if one even the slightest intention of sharing this letter with her. Which one does not.

Picture: Touchdown! Or Is It Batter Up?

Coach writes:

Dear Sir Chas,

Normally, I'm a high school football coach, and a damn good one, if I may say so. My teams have won first place in Division 5A for the state of Illinois three years in a row, and we've got a fine student-athlete quarterback this year who should get into a very good college football program next fall. As a successful coach, I spend most of the academic day supervising our athletes and planning plays. However, due to some sort of screw up (probably something to do with a computer), I got assigned to teach some classes this semester! Women's Hygiene I'm beginning to like, but this Honors World History is a bunch of horse piss. I have some of my athletes in the class, but most of the other students are either ugly girls or four-eyed sissies who wouldn't know the difference between a punt and a field goal.

Anyway, I've kind of had to bone up on the subject, so to speak. I had some questions about English history that I thought you might be able to help me with. Seems that between playing cricket and drinking that tea, yours is a pretty limp-wristed country that has seen better days! We're studying the 20th century right now, and I looked up a list of the greatest Englishmen of the century:

Winston Churchill, politician
David Lloyd George, politician
Salman Rushdie, writer
Dylan Thomas, poet

Anyway, it turns out that Churchill's mother was an American, Lloyd George and Dylan Thomas were Welsh, and Salman Rushdie is from India. There are no great English basketball or baseball players, and I never heard of any of your so-called great football players -- seems like none of them plays the game the way I understand it. The result is, England has no great athletes, either. You may have some great scientists, but I'm sure they're pencil-necked geeks, like in our country.

So, I did some research. Who are the greatest Englishmen of the century who are truly English?

Here's the top five I came up with:

Benny Hill, actor and poet
Neville Chamberlain, politician
Johnny Rotten, musician
Prince Charles, international laughingstock
Sir Charles Grandiose, snob

So, tell me Chuck, am I off base here, or does England suck nowadays?


Sir Charles replies:

Listen, you:

Rank Benny Hill before oneself, will you? And even the Duke of Wales? One is surprised one wasn't 'bumped' from your list by such 'celebrities' as 'Sting' or 'Betty Boo.'

There have been a great many men and women of this century who have carried the blazing torch of Albion upward and onward! Why, Wordsworth . . . er, no. Perhaps not Wordsworth. But there is Keats! Er, no, not Keats. That was the last century, wasn't it? Queen Vi . . . no. Darwi . . . ah.

Perhaps it is a sad, sad, day for our country when insects of the order Coleoptera receive the knighthood, and a young lady is embarrassed to display her fine ass in public.

Noting that there is quite a difference between exquisite discernment and snobbery, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week