Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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

October 10, 1997

Notes from Colonel Jambley's Annual Memoirs of the Raj Chutney Parade

As taken by Lilith Honeypot, Fishampton Wednesday Afternoon Lady's League Arts and Darts Tournament Chairwoman

Picture: My Countrymen Went To India And All They Got Me Was This Lousy Tiger Skin9:00: Opening address (The Siege of Calcutta. The Jewel in the Crown. AGAIN.)
9:07: Audience waits in rapt anticipation to see if Colonel Jambley has died upon the podium, or merely fallen asleep.
9:09: The Colonel issues a snore. Deep sigh of disappointment from the audience.
9:15: The Colonel is wheeled from the stage in his bath chair.

9:20: Morning tea is served.

9:40: After morning tea, the Chutney parade begins to assemble. Wagers taken as to which costume will win. One places money on young Penelope Windsor-Smythe of Blandsdown at 2:1.
9:45: The judges (Lady Felicia Grandiose and Sir Charles Grandiose) ascend the stage.
9:47: Such costumes this year! I admire Miss Felicity Brafferton's appearance as Miss Peach Marmalade, and Miss Merveille Delacour's creative papier-mache sultana outfit.
9:49: Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe arrives as Miss Cherry Tart. Costume consists of three bunches of cherries.
10:03: Collect a tidy four quid.

10:15: Mid morning tea is served.

10:35: One must choose between the bean sculpture competition or the judging of the preserves and chutneys. What to do, what to do? One remembers the stomach-pumping incident of the previous year. One instantly chooses the preserves.

11:00: Elevenses is served.
11:10: One waits simply forever in line at the portable loo.

11:20: The judges (Lady Felicia Grandiose and Sir Charles Grandiose) arrive for the tasting of chutneys and marmalades, citrus division.
11:22: Someone (no one knows who) accidentally knocks all the submissions from Edna Thistle, Mrs, to the ground, breaking the jars.
11:23: The fingers of Edna Thistle, Mrs, are removed from Lady Grandiose's neck.
11:33: Sir Charles Grandiose awards the blue ribbon to the Lady Felicia Grandiose for her Minced Duck Foot Orange Aspic. Runners up include a red ribbon to Lady Grandiose for her Lemon Seed and Oxtail Savoury, and a white ribbon to Lady Grandiose for her Tripe Lime Pickle.
11:34: Lady Grandiose begins her acceptance speech.

12:00: Noon tea is served.

12:27: Lady Grandiose finishes her acceptance speech.
12:28: The judges (Lady Felicia Grandiose and Sir Charles Grandiose) arrive for the tasting of the chutneys and marmalades, apple and berries division.
12:35: Someone (everyone happened to be looking at the tent roof as Sir Charles shouted, "LOOK AT THAT!" at the top of his lungs and pointed upwards) accidentally knocks all the submissions from Edna Thistle, Mrs, to the ground, breaking the jars.
12:38: Edna Thistle, Mrs, is muzzled after biting Sir Charles Grandiose on the legs.
12:37: Sir Charles Grandiose awards the blue ribbon to the Lady Felicia Grandiose for her Gooseberry and Catfish Caviar Jam. Runners up include a red ribbon to Lady Grandiose for her Veal Marrow and Raspberry Grainy Spread, and a white ribbon to Lady Grandiose for her Chocolate Pear Calves' Heart Chutney.
12:38: Lady Grandiose begins her acceptance speech.

1:03: Early afternoon tea is served.
1:16: The portable loo is closed due to overflowing.
1:32: Adhesive bandages are distributed to those who accidentally squatted over the bramble patch in the woods.

1:55: Lady Grandiose finishes her acceptance speech.
1:57: The judges (Lady Felicia Grandiose and Sir Charles Grandiose) arrive for the tasting of the chutneys and marmalades, miscellaneous division.
2:03: Someone (we really couldn't say who) accidentally knocks all the submissions from Edna Thistle, Mrs, to the ground, breaking the jars.
2:05: Edna Thistle, Mrs, is placed heavily under sedation.
2:08: After awarding the year's special Metaphorical Merit award to Lady Felicia Grandiose for her Pearl Tapioca and Sow's Ear Relish, the judges open a jar of Lady Felicia Grandiose's special Layered Pickled Kidneys and Curried Steak Tartare in a Limburger Aspic. The fumes are so strong that the entire crowd takes a sniff.
2:30: The ambulances finally leave, taking the judges and twenty-seven crowd-members with them.

2:45: Those of us remaining take afternoon tea.
2:55: Buckets are distributed.

3:32: Colonel Jambley awakens. Is assured that the afternoon is a glorious success. Is also dissuaded from completing his welcoming speech.

Philomena writes:

Picture: Befuddled And Should Be Put Out Of His Misery Sir Charles:

I am writing to you as a concerned and angry consumer.

I am quite miffed at a certain burger institution who claims to follow the slogan "have it your way."

Well. I went into said establishment and said that I would like two burgers. Instead of meat, I would rather have them stuffed with $100 bills. After a brief conference with the manager, I was informed that this was not possible. Especially since I did not "super size" my meal.

I was flabbergasted and quite upset by these folx, to say the least. If I can't have it my way, then who is safe from these meat mercenaries who prey on our hunger? I'm very very sorry that I have to do this, but they've forced me to Do Something. But what?

Philomena in Florida

Sir Charles replies:

Grubby Reader,

How refreshing, in this day and age in which too many people make compromises and accommodation, to find a correspondent who insists that the world must revolve around her. Truly inspiring, the sincerity of the apology at the end!

One suggests, Philomena, that you take your plaint immediately to your lawyers. Express your outrage. Threaten lawsuits against the establishment in question, its parent company, the state of Florida, and your Federal Highway Commission (for after all, does not the 'hamburger' meat travel upon its roads?). Ask for what is due you. Nay, demand it.

One does not think your lawyers will actually act upon your proposed lawsuit. But even lawyers need a hearty chortle now and again.

Handing the correspondent a certificate of graduation from the school of hard 'knox', one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Nell writes:

Dear Sir:

In one of your columns you mentioned The Rules Of Dinnertime Chat.

Pray, what are those rules?

Your humble and obedient servant,
Nell Fenwick
Cloddish American

Sir Charles replies:

Little Nell,

One is so glad you asked.

The dinner table is an oasis in the desert of life. When one is a common, labouring sort of chap, one thinks of it all the afternoon, anticipating the delights of the stomach. Even when one is a baronet, one will pause in one's polishing of one's antique brass spittoons in the shapes of the Kama Sutra, to think of the evening's tuck-in.

Unfortunately, for many people, the dinner table is the only spot in time or place every day that the family meets. This mere matter of proximity should not, however, interfere with the placid atmosphere that must accompany the meal.

Every family negotiates its own Rules of Dinnertime Chat. Some families forbid the discussion of cuts, abrasions, bruises, bodily fluids, or decapitations during meals, finding such talk fails to aid digestion. Some families likewise have placed a moratorium on arguments during dinner. If a child feels the necessity to poke his or her sister, or a spouse to announce a desire for divorce, it should probably be withheld until the after-dinner coffee.

The Family Grandiose has a few miscellaneous rules to which it adheres.

1) The discussion must be of a general nature. None of us wish to hear about young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's Great British Rulers Lick And Stick Stamp Collection, however large it may be, despite the fact that she is eighty-fourth in line for the throne. And heavens forbid, none of us wish to hear the process by which the Lady Felicia concocts her Lavender Blood Orange and Pig's Foot Compote.

2) The discussion must be of a sort that can be carried on before the servants.

3) There must be no discussion of one's dreams the night before. One admits to a certain disappointment with this rule, as it came during a period when one was having a recurring nightmare involving one's inability to escape a large, glistening one-eyed snake that was chasing one through a moving train as it rushed in and out of a series of tunnels. But at the request of the Lady Felicia (who really looks quite fierce when she is holding her hands to her temples with the head-ache), one now desists.

Of course, light unoffensive wit is always welcome at the dinner table. For example, at the meal last night one declaimed, "Knock, knock!" Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, always fond of a jest, replied, "Who beckons?" "Orange!" one said, already beginning to guffaw. "Orange who?" replied young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, her eighty-fourth in line for the throne eyes a-sparkling.

"Orange you glad the Lady Felicia's not your real mother, so that your skin won't be so leathery when you get to her age?" My, how we all laughed.

And above all, there must be gentility and calm at all times. If after one's little jest above the Lady Felicia missteps and accidentally refers to one's visage as an unsightly blot on the lowest of God's creations, does one fly into a rage? Of course not. There is Dame Digestion to think of. One merely smiles, smooths it over, and winks as one informs her that the Titanic was sunk by an iceberg smaller than her. And of course, settling into the light-hearted spirit of the dinner conversation, she smiles and laughs and remarks that the pole one must have sat upon in one's youth must be quite cemented in one's fundament by now. Such sparkling wit! If only all dinners across the world were so free of acrimony.

Still thinking of a comeback, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Colleen writes:

Picture: One Sets Things StraightMy Dear Sir Charles,

I realize that I am rather new to the wonders that are Grandiose, but I would be most appreciative if you would be so kind as to clear up some questions I have concerning the Family.

Are you and the Lady Felicia wed, or siblings? After all, a matriarch can be one's sibling if one is not wed and one's parent have passed.

Whilst perusing through the Cast of Characters you so magnanimously offer, I note that Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe used to be ninetieth in line for the throne. Yet you now refer to her as being eighty fourth. Who died?

And is Young Penelope then a daughter to you, a ward, a poor relation? Perhaps the unfortunate misbegotten niece who's parents did the right thing and entrusted her in to your very capable hands?

One does not wish to be rude or too inquisitive but one simply must know! Believe me, it will go no further! Thank you for any light you might deem to shed on the subject. I must say, keeping up on all things Grandiose is not always easy, but definitely amusing!

Happily, one remains,

Sir Charles replies:

My dear girl,

When one is a glittering star in the heavens of the literary world, a man looked to by all and sundry as an inspiration and a shining beacon seen from the Undulating Seas of Uncivilization . . . in short, when one is in the 'public eye' as much as oneself, one becomes accustomed to such questions.

Lady Grandiose is one's wife. It is only in the privacy of the bedchambers that one's relationship is more like brother and sister.

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's claims to regnancy have waxed and waned, ever since her birth. Who can forget the Fouled Fish Fingers Fracas, when her hopes ascended rapidly? 'Tis true that likely our girl will never wear the crown, though she one day soon will firmly grasp the family jewels of Sir Colin Bates between her porcelain-skinned digits. But we have our hopes.

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who is currently eighty-fourth in line for the throne, in case the correspondent's memory has lapsed) is the daughter of two dear, dear friends who have sadly passed on to a better world. The Windsor-Smythes were lost to the world during a Guy Fawkes day accident involving a runaway Tandoori take-away push cart, outside a circus. One can still smell the peanut sauce. Grief must preclude one from saying any more.

Young Penelope has never been able to take a spicy noodle into her mouth, poor girl.

Wiping the tears from one's eyes, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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