Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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July 27, 1998 Picture: A Plucky French Damoiselle Ah, the green green hills of home. The sweet smell of the summer winds as they waft over one's estate. The hearty English aroma of hay in the fields, of primroses in the hedgerows. The picturesque sight of dairy farmers tugging their forelocks as they go about their labours.

It is enough to make one itch.

One's readers (and one has it upon an authority so firm that one's readership encompasses so overwhelming a reach that even the elastic of Fergie's famed pantaloons would strain under the stretch, which is no small feat considering that the United Nations recently held its annual 'Festival of Tofu' in a pair) may be aware that one's family recent went abroad. Summer's heat pressed upon us to such an extent that the family Grandiose was simply forced to vacate the premises in order that we might seek cooler climes across the channel.

Besides, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe required specialised beauty products. As eighty-fifth in line for the throne (a fact many readers may not know), she must maintain a public image despite the natural reticence and fine manners that have inspired countless rapt admirers to scrawl the enconium, For a good time, call Penelope Windsor-Smythe on the walls of every public loo from here to Land's End.

The order of Carmelized Nuns who derive their sole income from distilling the carefully pH-balanced hair product known as Penelope-poo had requested Sundays off, for prayer and contemplation. But oh-la-la, one's readers can imagine we gave those Frenchified nuns what for! After all, what good are nuns and monks if they're not busy making Penelope-poo, cheese, wine, or chocolate coconut crunchies for the rest of us?

Perhaps, in hindsight, France was not the best choice for our holiday. Readers, the country's inhabitants simply reeked not only of garlic, and not only of the bouquet that can only arise from an intent and studied neglect of the underarms, but quite simply smelled of raw garlic rubbed under the armpit, then swallowed. And that was just the chappies who entertained us in the French embassy.

Yes, perhaps France was not the holiday spot for the family Grandiose. Despite the opportunity to practice one's mastery of the tongue with one's temporary tenant in common, 'Big Jacques,' one found the gaols to be in horrid condition. And the prison meals! One's heart bleeds for the poor lads and lasses who have to 'make do' with less than three courses for dinner.

Naturally, however, one disagrees with the notion that travel is broadening. Quite the contrary. Wouldn't the world be a happier place, after all, if foreign places were not so . . . well, foreign? It is bad enough that these Frenchies must speak a language that, despite its classification as a 'Romance' tongue, has all the seductive qualities of an old Rugby stocking accidentally left in a stagnant pond, retrieved by a rabid chihuahua, and then used to apply wart ointment to the Queen Mum's bum. But must they babble their 'how you says' and 'oh la las' and 'ah oui si bons' about in the streets while they eat their snails and sweetbreads and guzzle their wines? One can't help but wonder if even a Frenchman might benefit by a regular diet of good, hearty, normal viands such as Yorkshire Pudding, mutton, and the occasional haggis.

But one is not a judgmental sort of chap. One's readers know this fact. One can find many good things about the country of France. Well, one good thing, perhaps. Those short little maid's uniforms. . . .

Having enjoyed one's holiday, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Michelle writes:

Picture: Poor Loona of the MoorsDear Charles,

You are my last hope. i am serious about this and really am looking for a sign. I have been dating "Matt" for almost 2 years now. I love him very much and think he is the best lover and most handsome man i have ever seen. He just isn't around in my times of troubles and creates dragons he leaves me alone to fight.

Enter "Spark". He is an old friend who i have only been able to communicate with thru writing for the past 6 years. But now he is back and love is written all over his face.

If "Matt" was not in the picture i would be all about "Spark" but i fid myself wishing his adoring devoted heart was inside of "Matt".

Should i follow my heart and try to work things out with "Matt"? Or should i follow my mind and build my life with "Spark"?

Please help! 

Sir Charles replies:

Listen, you:

One's heartstrings are about as moved by a letter from a girl who desires a fellow who's had the word 'love' tattooed upon his cranium, as they would be moved by a performance entirely in Pig Latin of the children's dramaDick Whittington's Cat Gets A Little Pussy by the Players' Guild of Greater Little Lesser on the Thames. In the nude. Which is to say, very little at all.

However, a sign you look for, and a sign one gives you. Here you are: "STOP"

Washing one's hands of the affair, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

P. writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

One understand that there is a large faction of colonists (Southern Burptists, one believes they are called) who espouse the idea that women are to "submit graciously" to their husband. As a male whose wife (whose given name one daren't mention for she is well-known politically and socially--one shall just refer to her as "Lizzie") has never submitted--graciously or otherwise, one is most interested in seeing this idea take root in our realm.

Just once, one would like to say, "Lizzie, pop round to the pub and fetch me a pint." but one knows that, given one's circumstances, such event is as unlikely to happen as the Spice Girls reuniting, joining a convent together, and/or devoting themselves to lives of quiet contemplation. Still one would like to learn your thoughts on the matter.

P. at Buckingham C.

Sir Charles replies:

Your Highn . . . that is, Dear 'P.'

We had this conversation at the last garden party, didn't we, old chap? You'll recall that I mentioned that no matter how hoity-toity a woman can get about this or that, about how many servants she has, or how many jewels on the old diadem, the man is the master of his house. Or palace, in some cases.

If the wife gives you a spot of trouble, just give the girl a hearty thump where she sits and send her off for a packet of kettle crisps. They enjoy it, Phil, really they do.

Concealing this column from the Lady Felicia, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Waiting writes:

Picture: Elizabeth RexMy dear Lady Felicia,

Do you believe, as do certain religious groups in the colonies, that a wife should submit graciously to her husband? We have given this matter some thought and we have concluded that, were it to happen in England, grave social and political implications might result.

We have not yet mentioned this to Phi. . . . er, our husband, for we would not want to encourage his thinking along those lines. We anxiously await your thoughts on this matter.

Waiting in Windsor Cas. . . ., er. . . . We mean, "Waiting in Windsor"

The Lady Felicia replies:

My dear friend,

Of course our s-x believes in the concept of 'gracious submission.' I abide by its principles daily, and firmly believe that no marriage can survive without it.

For example, when I receive my monthly bills from Harrods, I thoroughly believe that it is my duty to graciously submit them to my husband for payment. When my husband commits some little whimsical error--say, a fortnight in gaol in France--the staff at Harvey Nichols are always so happy to see me, and I graciously submit those items put on account as well.

And trust me, my girl. When it comes to submitting one's bills to one's husband, a gracious condescension and a graceful carriage will put the little bugger in his place.

Serenely, one remains,
Felicia, Lady Grandiose

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