Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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September 12, 1997

Picture: Melody Windover-MiddenAs we munch through the unleavened loaf that is Life, we tire of the taste. Who among one's readers (who, one has it upon a superb authority, are so numerous that were each a single drop of quick-drying glue, something could be done about the Prince of Wales' ears once and for all) has not wished for something sweet, for variety? And what, gentle readers, could be more sweet, more soothing, more gentle and lilting than a simple melody?

Quite a lot, as it turns out, if the simple melody in question is one's sister-in-law, simple Melody Windover-Midden. Taking one's words last week to heart, the Lady Felicia (always a kind and gentle soul) made great strides to heal the rift between herself and her sister. Lady Felicia, as fans of the Family Grandiose will remember, is unfortunately not an only child. Merely the eldest, brightest, best. Relations between the sisters have been somewhat strained over the years, owing to the obvious fact that Lady Felicia received the lion's share of charm, breeding, appearance, and intelligence, when those traits were being allocated in the heavens. The younger sister, being so sadly deficient in the good graces, grossly misread Lady Felicia's overtures, and took them to be an open invitation to make an extended visit to Blandsdown.

As a result, Blandsdown was thrown into chaos on Monday afternoon, when, during high tea, Melody arrived for a stay of indeterminate length. Accompanying her, to the horror of the servants, a mountain of luggage of a magnitude to sink the Queen Mary, and her two evil feline Siamese creatures, 'Ladypaws' and 'Singboy.'

Mealtimes at Blandsdown, once times of heady communion with one's spouse over the requisite seven courses, have become trials to be endured of late. Conversation centering upon topics of interest to families such as ours has been replaced by the annoying chatterings of a young woman who has never learned the Rules of Dinnertime Chat. Now, instead of being brought up to date on the social events of Fishampton, or on the growing chasm of standards developing between gentlefolk and the vast unwashed masses, one now must endure talk of a most base and uninteresting variety concerning Melody's cats. One will give an example from last evening.

Oneself: Please pass the salt cellar, Penelope.
Young Penelope: Certainly, Pater.
The Lady Felicia: Such a shame about what is happening to the Fitzhughs, is it not?
Oneself: So they are to be forclosed on at last?
Melody: Who cares about forclosures when Sing-Sing has told me that there will be a great rift in the General Energy surrounding Fishampton!
The Lady Felicia: Yes, forclosed. I do hope that the tabloids don't get their teeth into the family until after they are able to get their heirlooms to safety in Scotland.
Oneself: Quite. Those common bankers wouldn't know a Gainsborough from a Marshall.
Young Penelope: Oh! Pheasant. My favourite.
Oneself: No vegetables with my serving, Meadows. Just meat.
The Lady Felicia: Are you reducing?
Melody: Paw-Paw told me last night that Chuck stepped on his tail in the Burgundy Study, and that he really should lose some weight. If Paw Paw hadn't been so quick, he'd have a broken tail thanks to Chuck!
The Lady Felicia: That's 'Charles', dear.
Oneself (sotto voce): Sir Charles.
Young Penelope: I need a new dressage pony, Pater. Lightning Bolt is getting tired.
Oneself: Certainly, darling. Have one ordered.
Melody: Miss Jezebel--that is, Sing Sing's psychic counselor--told me that Sing Sing and Paw Paw are having anxiety attacks because you haven't arranged your house with the good positive energies of feng shui.
Oneself: When Dim-Dim and Dum-Dum inherit an estate and title of their own, passed down countless generations to the present, they may do as they please. And one more word about either of the beasts, and one will schwing fi them through the garden windows with the heel of one's boot.

Of course, this only means that one has learned the hard way that if the Empire should ever need a sonic weapon of infinite power capable of making men's eardrums burst and bleed while buildings tumble from the vibration, they only need to make Melody Windover-Midden shriek.

Assured by the doctors that one's hearing will return in a fortnight, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Amanda writes:

Picture: On A Clear Day, You Can See Fishampton Gosh Sir Charles.

I never thought you'd actually read anything of mine in person! I'm so excited I could choke! This is so exciting! I've never appeared in print before, not even when I wrote to Ask Ivana in the Star, and she'll print anything! I hope it's you, and not your secretary.

Not that I have anything against secretaries. I'm one myself. Could you believe it? I type one hundred words per minute, but I'm thinking about leaving the profession for something a little more settled. I don't want to get carpal tunnel syndrome, because it doesn't sound like fun, and it happened to a friend of a friend of mine and I hear that it's really really painful for her to get her nails done now.

At least in THIS life I'm a secretary. I've been told by my astral guide, though, that I held loftier posts in previous existences, and I'm wondering if anyone of the psychic persuasion has been able to discern your previous incarnations.

I'm so dreadfully interested in what you might have been before! I guess this isn't really a request for advice, but I get the idea that you're such a wonderfully indulgent aristocrat (no doubt because of some humanitarian past life) that you'd be inclined to honour my request.

Your fan,

Sir Charles replies:

Oh, unfortunate child,

How one wishes that in some past existence, a medic had seen fit to administer some tonic to quell the building verbal diarrhoea that seems to have reached its zenith in you. Perhaps you would be so good as to request a dose now, to spare one's future descendants from potential irritating queries of this sort?

Washing one's hands of you, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Wendy writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I am quite impressed by your column. You and your staff give sensible advice.

I am writing to you to find out how one could become a member of your staff. I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, interesting and above all else, a good listener. Please respond if you need another staff member.


Sir Charles replies:


It is obvious that you are a faithful reader of one's weekly foray into the jungles of depravity and bad manners, beating back the Vines of Common Behaviour armed with only the scythe of Good Breeding. Sensible advice, indeed!

However, one is puzzled at your admission to such qualities as intelligence, charisma, and the ability to listen. What have these to do with one's column?

Curious, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Goat writes:

Picture: Is It Live, Or Is It Memorex?Dear Sir Charles Grandiose,

I am writing to you as I am privy to a great deal of confidential information dealing with the British monarchy. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I am sad to report to you that the queen mum is, indeed, a robot constructed of advanced technology stolen by us from the aliens at Roswell. The real mum died sometime in the early nineteen-seventies from a prune pit lodged in her windpipe and was quietly buried in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Charles, the second rumour surrounds our next king. As many suspect, he was replaced by a doppleganger whilst he was away at boarding school in the Scottish Highlands. (During the 1950's, people had far more important things to pay attention to, such as the Cadbury Flake bar scandal.) I am here to report that the current 'prince' is really one Dudley Alphonse Nickleberry and is an undercover spy for either the IRA or the syndicates controlling the fashion houses of Hugo Boss and Donna Karan.

Sir Charles, you must do something. It is unconscionable that the British people give their love and flowers to an animatronic Queen Mum constructed solely of space-age materials designed to withstand re-entry into the earth's atmosphere so that she can retrieve Soviet satellites from orbit on weekends after her public appearances at the local bridge clubs. I am writing to you, Sir Charles, as you are the only man who can bring these horrid truths to light. Please do something.

Deep Goat

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Mr. Goat,

One cannot speak to the rumour regarding the Queen Mum--although it certainly would explain many things, wouldn't it?

However, the allegations regarding Prince Charles must certainly be addressed, as they are blatantly false. One finds it difficult even to believe that the word 'fashion' could appear in the same sentence with his name.

But the Queen Mum . . . one has indeed heard rumours that the reception of BBC2 improves dramatically when she enters a room. Interesting, very interesting. . . !

Intrigued, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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