From the blog of Blindingham Hall, jointly written by Catherine Rose and me…
Letters the First and Second
From Rogers to Lady Effingham, and from Lady Effingham to Rogers
Dear Lady Effingham,
Please forgive the size of my presumption. I have been trying to embolden myself for several days since Mr Dawson, your esteemed Butler, suggested that I write to you.
You will not know me, although the Head Gardener tells me that you admire a young man with an enthusiastic dibber. My name is Rogers, and I’m your third under-gardener. If I can crave your patience, I will explain my intrusion into your correspondence.
I was driving my tractor through Hardacre Wood last week, when the radio malfunctioned. Instead of Radio Suffolk’s famous phone-in ‘Suffolk’n’what’, I could not move the dial from Classic FM. I found myself strangely enjoying the music – the like of which I had never heard before.
Over the noise of the tractor, it was difficult to hear the announcement, but I think I was listening to Orpheus in his Underpants by Often Park and Hair on the G String by his brother, Jay Z Park.
I was telling everyone about it in the servants’ quarters and most of them thought I had ideas above my station – especially Vauxhall, the chauffeur. But Mr Dawson said that you were the best person to ask about what to do next. However, he might have got me confused with the butcher’s boy, as he said you would be keen on fresh meat. He also said something about pork stuffing that I didn’t quite understand.
I know from the other servants that classical music is very difficult to understand and is usually very boring. That doesn’t seem right to me from what I heard, but I don’t know what to do next.
Lady Effingham, can you please tell me what to do?
Your humble servant,
Rogers the Third Under-gardener
I received your letter with keen interest. Happily I am known for my unconventional approach to the strictures of society and am delighted to receive this kind of intrusion from my third under-gardener. I can only greet the idea that you might be seeking more refined pursuits with a whoop of joy.
Music, as you know, is my passion. Ah the wild nights with the percussion section of the Royal Symphony Philharmonia that I have known! But perhaps I should draw a veil over those reminiscences until your understanding of music has blossomed.
Given that you have only a tractor for transport, I suggest you attend a concert locally. You would be surprised how affordable they are even on the pittance that I pay you.
May I suggest the Blindingham University Music Society? It is made up of keen, energetic and attractive young students and their interestingly rumpled professors. I occasionally patronise their activities myself. However, to reassure you in case of social embarrassment, I shall not be present at their next concert, as I shall be studying the libretto of Wagner’s Siegfried with my long-lost nephew from the German side of my family, Gottfried von Heldenwurst.
They will be mounting a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ style concert which should offer a range of different musical styles. If you don’t like the first piece, another one will be along shortly. We must not run before we can walk – or should I say promenade? I believe Walton’s Portsmouth Point Overture is on the programme. If you click here you should be able to find it on Spotify.
Finally, I must request you to cease viewing your new project as having ‘ideas above your station’. The great composer Haydn was the son of a blacksmith. Genius, as I have often found on my travels across the globe, does not baulk at mere class. Be bold. Be adventurous. Be forthright.
Dear me, I may have to go and have a lie down for half an hour in a darkened room.
Please keep me apprised of your adventures. Should you wish to find me alone, I shall be sunbathing in the small walled garden on Sunday, if the weather is fine.
(Lady Effingham of Blindingham)