Catering for a Better Class of Elderly Person
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How lovely for you to come and visit.
One remembers staing chez vous in your little establishment just before the last War.
How welsome your little house boy made our Rector, Mr P. D. Phyle feel. He always relates to us the incident with the creeper and the balcony.
What jolly japes those Clerical Gentlemen got up to in those hot climate.
Maude P-F (Miss)
Dear Mr Ewbie,
One has heard that you, or someone of a similar name, are an up and coming writer of no mean capabilities. One is convinced that by the time you are ready to enter an establishment such as ours, that you will be inordinately rich.
But rich or not, to have someone of your calibre at Twilight Lawns would not go amiss. One was conversing with our Patron and Benefactress, H.R.H. Princess Alice of Schleswig-Phillistine von Gotha und Hans Knees-und-Bumsen-Daisy Und-So-Weiter only last Wednesday, adn she informed one that she has a penchant for good writing, and that Mr Jack Lincoln Palmistry (Poet Laureate, Retired) isn't filling the little nich that she has in her old German Heart.
Thank you for popping by, and one hopes to see you around a bit more (by appointment, of course).
What a fantastic creation this Twilight Home place is! If I were looking for a place to spend my days I think this would be it. Somehow I doubt I could afford the fees, but maybe I could blag my way in with some unlikely cover story.
My congratulations to the proprietor. This sort of home is what I have been aspiring to all my days.
Dear Miss Jacobs-Creek,
I have looked into your details carefully, and although you make a point, quite a valid point, in fact, I must make you cognisant of our rules.
Gentlemen and Ladies of the opposite sex (to make the definition of the situation clear) are requested to vacate the rooms of one or the other at that time of night. This, however, does not apply in your case, because one must clarify that this ruling applies to married couples. You, Miss Jacobs-Creek, in no way whatsoever, could be considered a part of a marriage in any shape of form. You are, to put it bluntly, a Spinster Lady, and therefore would not be permitted to entertain anyone of the male gender in your room at any time.
The Reverend Hugh Halitosis being the one and only exception to our little rule. He (may I point out) is usually called to the rooms of Residents when they are in need of the Last Rites, or Extreme Unction as our Papist friends would have it.
I would like to point out that this ruling is not only made on Moral Grounds, but also in he interests of Basic Hygiene. Tom Mould was guilty at one time of entertaining his companion Betty the Sheep, in his room and we turned a blind eye and tended to let her stay until the witching hour on special days, Christmas, Hanukah, her Birthday etc., but after some time it appeared that on more than one occasion, more than one sheep was on the visiting list, and the parties that ensued, tending to become exceedingly rowdy, we had to put a stop to same. Tom now must conform to the rules laid down for the whole establishment.
Raj is a very dear and treasured member of staff, and I am sure would appreciate being in one of your productions, if that would suit you. Twilight Lawns, however, is run on a very strict budget, and you would need to fund the complete production from your own personal purse. I do not know this little Samir chap, but Raj has confided in me that he is a real sweetheart, but that is yet to be seen.
Please don’t feel slighted, Miss Jacobs-Creek. Rules were made to be adhered to (and sometimes rules are made to be broken), but if, however, you would be prepared to be located in one of the ancillary cottages, we would make you most welcome. The cost to your good self would be high, but not prohibitively so. There, I am sure, you would be permitted to entertain Gentleman Callers and one could turn several blind eyes to whatever entertainment you should require, so long as the Personages involved were of a Decent Class and any money passing hands would be substantial enough to make it worth our while.
Your Obedient Servant,
To Whom it May Concern
On reading through certain pages of Twilight, I am most distressed that one is not permitted to have folk of the opposite sexual gender in their rooms after hours. I am considering applying for a placement at your home for retired gentlefolk, but this is the only thing that disturbs me terribly.
Surely at our time of life one could not relax the rules for us gentlefolk. Most of us have hearing-aids, so if you maybe made it a rule to remove them after 9.00pm then no-one in the vicinity would be alarmed by echos of passion and debauchery!
Please consider this very carefully, as I have loads of money to whom my niece will inherit if I'm not very careful, and would rather be better suited keeping me in pleasure for the rest of my days. I do feel you would benefit from receiving me into your abode at Twilight Lawns as I fulfill all the entrance criteria and am a dab-hand at writing scripts, maybe a version of Pygmallion, but I would insist that Raj been head of cast, as he does such a good job helping in the gardens and caring for the chickens. Also I am friends with his cousin Samir Khan, who relishes in the upmot of charm and sophistication, although his dialect at some times, does make me cringe innit!!!
I feel you have your arse around your ears once again. The Sister Vestibule to whom you refer is certainly not the lady who came to give architectural advice to all of us at Twilight Lawns recently. Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh had shown an interest in creating a little chapel dedicated to Saint Setrag. Sister Vestibule was brought in by Sister Mary Perpetua, as, before she found her Vocation and having entered the Convent, this Sister Vestibule was a very promising architect.
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in fact. She studied there before she decided to follow the ways of the Little Sisters of Selective Charity.
She is a large person, perhaps with spatters of paint on her large, dusty shoes; her glasses may have been speckled with spots of paint also; she may look like a burly rugby player in nun’s habit, but the voice that flows from her mouth has certainly brought joy to Hilda Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh’s ears and soul. It is a voice that any baritone at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden would be happy to own, but what is more, Sister Vestibule has the most perfect Upper Middle Class accent that Matron has heard for many a day. Mrs P-F knew instinctively on meeting her that Sister Vestibule would never have uttered a non-U word in her life. This is the perfect example of pure unadulterated class on two legs that she can imagine.
On her initial visit there was a lot of tonnage that stood before her, but she knew, and knew right through to her exquisitely well bred soul that this woman, Sister Vestibule, and she, Hilda, Matron were one person beneath the skin. Class, breeding, manners, family, all were there before her. The woman was Posh with a capital P-O-S-H. Hilda only just refrained from embracing here… only good manners prevented her.
She had been doing a bit of painting and decorating to keep her hand in. The ceiling at Saint Benedict’s, Streatham Hill needed tarting up and who better? Up the ladder, easy bit. But she couldn’t decide on the colour. Majored in the Farrow and Ball colour wheel at Art College, but couldn’t decide what shade of white to have. There was Bone, of course, and Dover Chalk, and of course there’s Refectory Ceiling, which is too intense, so one decided on China Clay. She eventually had recourse to seek the advice of Mrs Judi Line, a lady who is able to tell at a glance, every single paint shade, and their respective names in the Farrow and Ball Brochure and Colour Chart.
Is this the cringing little Nun you are thinking of, High. I think not.
She will be staying at Twilight Lawns for the foreseeable future, adapting and planning the chapel (when the venue is decided) to be dedicated to Saint Setrag, and I can assure you that that ample frame will need a large and comfortable bed, and the clever ministrations of Cook in the kitchen for her to fulfil her tasks adequately. She will be living as well as, if even better than, she did when she was at the Convent of the Little Sisters of Selective Charity.
Our dear soul Sister Vestibule has seen fit to leave her calling and join your home it appears. She is such a sweet soul will you do your best to see that her Eucurist is taken regularly. We would not want her to miss out on her place in that theme park in the sky, where all peoples, both young and old, who have lived a most holy life in poverty and sufffering, go. Her eyes burn like the very fires of hell because they need rest she wont give them , her body aches from walking stone wrecked floors and her throat is parched from constant prayer. Yes, she knows what it is to suffer. She knows that suffering is the only true route to the kingdom.
I am sure the cell that you have for her will be kept suitably cold and her food minimal.
Yours in faith
Rev H Halitosis.
Dear Mr Gutenburgh,
I have no idea why you should think that there is any connection between the gaggle of old ladies you discovered in the wine and spirits department of Fortnum and Mason. As you know very well, your Maiden Aunt die Herzogin Hildegard-Louise-Katharina von Spatzen-und-Vögelein is a resident at Twilight Lawns, and has been for a good many years. Has this slipped your mind? Or perhaps it has also slipped your mind that you are three months behind in payments for keeping the Old Duck fed and watered. Between you and me, Herr Gutenberg; and I use the correct spelling of your name, you dodgy Kraut, we only put up with her because she is a Herzogin and because she doesn’t eat such a lot.
Die Herzogin Hildegard-Louise-Katharina von Spatzen-und-Vögelein has an account at Fortnum and Mason (with all her requisites delivered once a fortnight), and consequently would not need to go there to charge around the shelves, and most of her friends spend most of their inebriated lives in her room with her.
With regards to the four old dears previously mentioned, we make a regular head count, and the numbers tally quite well. In fact the last tally was only made on 1st December. Due to New Year Festivities we have not managed to get around to another, but Nurse Smythe has just leant across my shoulder while I was dictating this letter and she informs me that for some reason, there are an extra five old ladies whom nobody has noticed here before. May I suggest that if you don’t stop harassing us every few months because some old dears have broken into your store and consumed the occasional bottle of Dom Perignon, we will be forced to decant (my little pun) our extra ladies in your direction.
By the way, your Dear Aunt’s order has not arrived this fortnight, and we would be most grateful if it were to arrive as soon as possible. Tell the lovely man in the delivery van to bring it straight to my private apartments.
Yours most respectfully,
Mrs Hilda Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Matron)
The manager at Fortnum and Masons has found four elderly ladies in the wine department who claim they were stranded there, because of the recent snows. It is also noted that there has been a depletion of the vintage port supply. We cannot confirm that the two incidents are connected but our manager has his suspicions. We are anxious to return any ladies of senior status to their respective homes but need to ascertain their appropriate dwellings. At the last head count at Twilight Lawns did anyone notice any absenteeism?
Cecil Gutenburgh. Senior Store Manager.
Is handbag swinging at old gentlemen, one has come to disagree with, taught at your establishment or is it part of the acceptance ritual on initiation? It has been noted in parts of Surrey and London that the incidents of handbag abuse have been on the increase in the high streets and the finger of suspicion has been pointed at various old people's homes, yours included. I understand that, one such incident was caught on camera and put on youtube and I wondered if it were to be displayed here as a warning to all?
My Dear Hugh,
I also spoke to Cissie (Take a look on the name tag on her hook in the long corridor) when she was doing her sewing in the Craft Room the other day. We seemed to have roughly the same conversation; "Is it New Year yet?" she asked, and I did notice a strong smell of cooking sherry and also noticed a liberal sprinkling of mince pie crumbs clinging to her mouth, eyebrows and apron. "...'cause sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. You never can tell at Twilight Lawns whether it's Christmas, or Eid or Diwali or Easter. Mind you they're all pretty much of a muchness as you get older, you know, and you couldn't care less either."
Having put her sewing away in her basket, she struggled to her feet, and looked as if she had decided to call it a day. She made for the passageway outside the Sewing Room; not completely steady on her feet. I think it was at this stage that she collapsed into a clothes hamper that Harriet was pushing past, and the two of them proceeded down the corridor laughing and shrieking in a most festive manner.
"Is it New Year yet?" asked Cissy emerging from cooks pantry, much the worse for finding the cooking sherry last night. "...'cause sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. You never can tell at Twilight Lawns whether it's Christmas or Easter as you get older you know and you couldn't care less either."
It has been drawn to our attention that you have not been well and that this impaires your ability to offend people properly. I suspect that that will soon change.
Dear Miss Nonnymus,
Obviously English is not your first language or you would have realised that English is a Proper Noun, and should be capitalised. .Your comment should have read thus:
“You obviously don't have English as your first language or you would realise the length a poem is meant to be".
The word English can also be used as a Proper Adjective if one were to say;
“You obviously don't have the English (Proper Adjective) Language (Proper Noun)as your first language or you would realise the length a poem is meant to be”.
Incidentally, poems do not require to be of a specific length, unless they fall into certain categories. For example, the Sonnet; the Haiku; etc..
You obviously don't have english as your first language or you would realise the length a poem is meant to be.
Miss Anne Nonnymus.
Dear Mr A Clark,
We were somewhat confused when reading your entry in our Guestbook last week. We searched high and low; asked wither, thither and yon; burned the midnight oil; all to no avail. Your name (A Clark) didn’t appear in the Register of Residents, Past or Present; neither was it located in the lovely Morocco-bound Guestbook that has, since time immemorial lain on the superb quality Victorian rosewood Prie Dieu, with finely turned barley twist supports and rococo carvings to back and front, that stands outside Matron’s Office.
Then Sister Mary Perpetua, happening to be passing in search of hospitality and a glass of Amontillado, noted the similarity in the wording of your entry, to that of one of the parishioners at the Church of Saint Agatha the Confused, an Anglo-Catholic establishment quite close to here. This church is noted to be so Papist, that no one has ever been sure whether it is Roman Catholic, Anglican or whatever; it is certainly closer to Rome than the Vatican in its teachings.
Your, “You cannot rush the issue. God alone will decide who is to go and when” was the deciding clue. That struck a chord in Sister Mary Perpetua’s memory… Apparently you are constantly spouting such quasi-Christian anal clap-trap.
Sister Mary Perpetua said that there’s enough of that sort of stuff going around already, and suggested that it were better left to the Baptists.
We, with the help of the Good Sister, have tracked you down, Sir. You are not Mr (neither are you Mrs, nor even Miss) A Clark; you are none other than Mr Michael Buck-Rabbit-Holmes AKA “Who am I? Where am I? Have you seen my keys?” Buck-Rabbit-Holmes, presently residing in the Lord Kitchener Annexe.
Please try to remember who you are and where you are and what you are about, Mr Buck-Rabbit-Holmes; keeping track of you has stretched our resources enormously of late.
All good poets and artists die young. It is part of their make up. You cannot rush the issue. God alone will decide who is to go and when.
Dear Mr ACDC,
The poem concerning the Ostler was one written by our dear Mr Cornwallis who is one of our Gentleman Residents. He is presently situated in the Lord Kitchener Annex.
If you remember, Mr Cornwallis was the gentleman who, being deeply sensitive to the effects of Poetry and Music, had to be forcibly evicted from the Llandudno Eisteddfod for dancing in the aisles during the Crowning of last years Bard Mr Dai Apwilliams, .
Mr Dai Apwilliams (The Enthroned Bard) suffered a minor stroke as a result of the fracas which ensued, and as a result, sought an early grave somewhere in Mid Glamorganshire.
Mr Cornwallis’s intensely spiritual and uplifting poem may be found on our site under Poetry Corner… It is entitled: “If I’d Got There First” or its alternative title: “Sorry, Mr Noyes”.
My initials should be A.B. not A.C. This is Arthur Brown who wrote concerned about the now, non existent, Celia Wicket.
What did happen to that poem about the Ostler?
Dear Mr Palmistry,
As I pointed out in a previous missive, I don't think we are talking about the same Dolly Pentrieth.
Old Dolly Pentrieth has not set foot outside her home since Armistice Day apart from the weekly cleaning of her stone step with lye. It is said that the circus processed through Albemarle Terrace on the way to the Recreation Ground where they were to be part of the celebrations; Dolly (Our Old Dolly) had been scrubbing her stone step at the time and an elephant, part of the Circus Procession, had investigated parts of Old Dolly with his trunk (parts of Dolly which had never, until that juncture, seen the light of day); invading her privacy somewhat.
The outcome was a Dolly who never left her home, and a stone deaf elephant. Apparently her scream hit High C and maintained that note for forty-seven seconds. A record in Albemarle Terrace which has not been beaten, nor even approached, till this day. Poor old Jumbo was known ever afterwards as Deaf Jumbo and developed an absolute horror of flannelette from that day until the present… if, in fact, he still lives.
And in conclusion, Mr Palmistry, there isn't, nor ever has been, a POSH bone in Dolly Pentrieth's body. The girl was bred for service, and quickly found her niche, and remained there for her whole working life.
Dolly Pentrieth of Albemarle Terrace fame.
Albemarle Terrace must be inhabited by asylum seekers now and I am convinced that Dolly Pentrieth has taken up residence in the suburbs of Halstead. Probably the posh end.
I keep seeing her weekly, complete with her nimble efficiency, buying good food from the Turkish restaurant here and I would bet dollars to doughnuts, only Dolly could eat a meal of this calibre thus.
Please have a word with some of your senior residents as I fear they are nursing a well kept secret.
With regard to your recent letter, I write with concern, that it is primarily interested only in justifying the actions of Twilight Lawns’ moving standards.
My cousin, Lady Marion Bart-Lamb, has been a resident at your home for some twenty years and is, I understand, a resident of good standing whose opinion is valued. It was she who first drew my attention to the overtly vulgar nature of the poem in the first place. My point is this: would it not be better to stick to the standards Mr Palmistry advocates in order to avoid unnecessary offence? Far be it from the standards of the home, I say, to cause offence anywhere north of the Wash or to any working class peoples anywhere, as has always been the case.
Shifting standards and where will it all end? (rhetorical question) Might I guess? February will be allowed to omit the R after the B? Will Twilight Lawns start accepting Febuary and say that'll do? I am sure, one of the friends of the association, Mr Dorking-Clark, will have strong words to say upon the matter if this were the case.
Acorns have the habit of producing mighty oaks I am afraid to say and not necessarily for the better of mankind. Lady Marion Bart-Lamb has, I understand, used her influence to convene a special meeting of the Management Committee where the said controversial sheep poem will be read to the Rev Hugh Halitosis. Twilight Lawns has often used his moral standards as litmus paper. If upon reading the poem he is still free from reaching for his heart pills, the debate will continue as to its suitability.
Dear Mr Buck-Rabbit-Holmes,
I think I went to school with your brother, Warren Buck-Rabbit-Holmes. I seem to remember that he was known as the Sloe Fairy because of his tardiness, if I remember correctly.
With regard to the poem which you found so distasteful, our Head Gardener, Mr Tom Mould specifically asked Mr Jack Lincoln Palmistry if he would waiver the obligatory verse pattern which some upper working class persons consider adequate when creating poetry. Five verses each containing four lines in Iambic Quadrameter may be all very well for those at Hallmark Cards, but there are other verse forms which are more appropriate when one is expressing admiration, adoration or just plain old fashioned love for God’s little creatures, and whilst Betty may not be one of God’s littlest creatures, she certainly is very close to Tom Mould’s heart.
He may be working class, but he certainly adheres to good standards.
You may not be aware, Mr Buck-Rabbit-Holmes, that there is a tradition among our Landed Gentry of seeking solace in the arms of many a farmyard animal that may pass one’s way during a day out in the fields. My Great Uncle, Sir Hubert Bascombe-Ducke (known to his friends as Old Bombay-Duck-Shagger) was known to have a preference for the native wildlife over the native female population when he was Collector in Assam Province between the Wars. The song “I Wonder What Happened to Him” by dear Noël, had a verse absolutely devoted to my Uncle Hubert. We fondly remember him every Christmas when all the family gather around, sloshed to the eyeballs with Gin Fizz and bawl the verse that includes:
Have you had any word
Of that bloke in the Third',
Was it Southerby, Sedgwick or Sim?
They had him thrown out of the club in Bombay
For, apart from his mess bill exceeding his pay,
He took to pig-sticking in quite the wrong way.
I wonder what happened to him!
Ah! Happy days. The days when a man knew who he was and what he was, and bugger the rest of them (Please excuse my little pun!) One feels that as I knew your dear brother, Warren, the Sloe Fairy, that you will understand.
May I mention at this stage that the Bishop of Guildford and I have been enjoying a little intimate supper together this evening, and as he arrived with a couple of Jeroboams of Moët, I feel very relaxed.
Regardless, Mr Buck-Rabbit-Holmes, may I assure you Betty’s morals are above reproach, and apart from the odd flirtation with Raj, Tom Mould has been an ideal partner for the Dear Sweet Thing, and their connubial bliss is apparent for all to see.
Yours most sincerely,
Someone has disgraced your establishment with an ode to a sheep whose standards are far from the recognised standard of your institution.
We could easily overlook the over versing of the project that would make the poem far too long to sell, but the content is that of a desire for bestiality
Far be it from me, platitudes and all, to judge today’s modern poetry but surely a traditional establishment of this nature, for example Twilight Lawns, cannot tolerate the procurement of animals for comfort?
Oh dear, Celia will pose as a problem as you will soon discover. Signs like this from Celia bode no good.
Dear Mr Brown,
With reference to Little Celia Wicket
A head count was made as soon as we received your enquiry, and although Nurse Smythe is usually most diligent when required to do so, her field of expertise lies more in the medicinal than the mathematical, so at the end of Medication Time, as she was so overworked dispensing the odd little tablets and potions that lie closest to her heart, she asked Sharon, Cook’s assistant, to not only search for your Celia, but also to count the plethora of Celias who reside in Out Little Corner of Surrey.
The numbers seemed to tally, and, as you can imagine, time moved on and the matter slipped from our minds. However, yesterday evening during Staff Debriefing, over some leftover apple crumble and cocoa, Cook mentioned that she had not only noticed that the Double Gloucester cheese and Bath Oliver biscuits that were reserved for Matron and special guests were diminishing at a remarkable rate… but also, and apropos of nothing, the china and glassware were looking smarter than usual.
Raj, the Gardener’s Lad, facetiously observed that perhaps we had mice and that they were not only eating the Double Gloucester and the Bath Olivers, but were repaying us for the privilege by washing up. Dear Raj (you may have seen him in the role of Ptolemy, in out production of Cleopatra… Lovely boy. Lovely legs!) proved to have been correct in his jesting. The lad is quite psychic, one would have thought; because the very next day (this morning, in fact), Cook had a closer look at those helping in the kitchen, and noticed a new face…Well, not a new face. This face was an old and wrinkled one. The face turned out to belong to your Celia Wicket.
Yes! Your Celia was our mouse, but an extremely capable mouse with a dishcloth and hot water. We have discovered that it was she who has been the architect of all our sparkling china and crystal, and hardly costs anything to feed. Of course we have weaned her off Double Gloucester and Bath Olivers but she seems quite content with LIDL Cheddar and Family Size Economy Biscuits. We still haven’t discovered where she’s bedding down for the night… so if you really don’t want her, she would be quite useful here,
May we keep her?
H. Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Matron)
Little Celia Wicket has gone missing from our village. She has heard so much about your esteemed establishment and I fear that she is chasing a fantasy to belong with you.
I have told her that she does not meet with your criteria and that being a scullery maid for the late Lord Henshaw in the mid thirties would not in itself, stand her in good stead.
Cake knives and fish slices are all very in order but a Co-op bank account, a northern accent and a C.S.E in Horticulture are hardly posh enough, for an acceptance presentation to your Committee.
She is easily recognisable to the most discerning middle class person because of her cheery disposition and her language. If she should wander to Surrey, would you be kind enough to give her a Yorkshire bun and send her merrily on her way.
If she should be tearful, please do not soften your hearts to encourage her in any way, as her true place is here in the North.
It was run as well as any old peoples home.
I think this sounds a wonderful home. If only the British Army in India could have been run on these lines.
Our Little Corner of
Heaven on Earth.
Some come to visit
Some come to
Look and to Admire.
Some come to
End Their Days in
Peace and Tranquillity…
Which one, Dear Visitor, are You?
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