For as long as I can remember, my family has served the noble House of Windmore. Before I took over, my father has worked for Lady Windmore till his death about ten years ago. Duty fell upon me to serve her from then. She dared not to trust any other family, so I assumed my post right after my father´s burial. She moved out to her country estate then and hasn´t returned to the city. Though it is beside the point to expect being asked to come along, I have spent ten years in solitude with Lady Windmore.
Lady Windmore is a rather peculiar lady. One might call her eccentric, but as her butler, I´m far from judging. I do not wish to reflect on her living situation and comment on the way she spends her days, for it is not my business to do so. My only duty is with serving and helping her. Lady Windmore trusts that I manage the household, take care of the garden, the cars, and her two prize-winning English Mastiff´s Sir Frederic and Sir Archibald, named after famous members of her noble family. They need special taking care of, since the Lady Windmore wishes to present them at the upcoming Annual Conformation Show. She plans on winning both the prices for waggiest tail and handsomest dog. Thus, additional attention in my day-to-day routine must focus on the care of the Sirs.
Usually, my day starts with a brisk walk across the premises with both Sir Frederic and Sir Archibald enjoying their morning walk. At the same time, I have the opportunity of noticing little flaws in the landscaping and make mental notes to see to it. The Sirs prefer a twenty minutes walk. Thus, we walk along the periphery of the country´s estate. First, a short jog for five minutes. Sir Archibald is usually faster than Sir Fredric, but the latter is not bothered much. He will surely win the prize for handsomest dog and believes that the five-minute jog should be enough to maintain his physical appearance. Sir Archibald, on the other hand, loves to feel the cold morning breeze on his face and thus drags both his fellow thoroughbred dog and me along with him. After the short jog, we fall back into a brisk walk with a considerable pace that should ensure maximal heartbeat raise. The cardio training is of special importance for both dogs, for they usually spend their days laying at the feet of Lady Windmore, who enjoys sharing her dinner with them. Thus, the training is vitally important when considering that the Annual Conformation Show is only six months away. But then again, Lady Windmore said she´d go three years ago and hasn´t yet filled out the registration form I put on her morning table every year about eight months before the show. She has missed the due-date for this year´s registration as well, but it is not my business to question her on it.
After their morning walk, the Sirs prefer to eat their breakfast out in the winter garden. Depending on the season, they wish the doors to the estate to be opened or closed. Again, Sir Archibald doesn´t mind a fresh waft, but Sir Frederic is prone to colds, so I leave the door closed when the temperature drops below twenty degrees. Celsius, mind you.
While the Sirs enjoy their deer canapés with a side of mashed potatoes and an additional silver bowl with fresh water, I am in the kitchen preparing the Lady Windmore´s breakfast. Unlike her companions, she prefers nice porridge for breakfast, freshly made, but that goes without saying. While boiling milk and water on the stove – a unique antique that still uses wood – I keep an eye out on the Sirs. Archibald demands a full body massage after breakfast to loosen his muscles. Sir Frederic, on the other hand, enjoys trotting through the house in search of his mistress, before returning to the kitchen to get his massage.
While the oatmeal simmering with the water and the milk on the stove, I go through the double wing door into the dining hall, a rather large hall with a long wooden table on which all dinners in the house take place. Lady Windmore never eats anywhere else in the house than in here. She says there is no need to consume food elsewhere, if you have a designated room to do so. Now, setting the table for Lady Windmore is a task that requires precision, care, and the necessary knowledge of how a table should look. With just the breakfast, there is no need for wine glasses, seeing that Lady Windmore prefers a cup of Earl Grey with a shot of milk. But she will not sit down at the table, if the plate is not 0,98 inches away from the end of the table. The glass of water she request but never uses stands on the right-hand side of the plate, next to her cup of tea. Never without a saucer, that is. She prefers to eat her oatmeal with a spoon, which will rest right to her plate, exactly 0,98 inches away from the plate as well as from the end of the table. Only for special occasion am I to bring the tablecloth. She tells me that she enjoys the sound the spoon makes when she picks it up from the table. Furthermore, the sound of her picking up the spoon from the table should be a sign to me to leave the room and leave her to it. While when having guest, I´m not to leave the dining hall, for one of her honorable guest might wish for something, therefore, so says Lady Windmore, there can be a tablecloth on the table, for I´m not to wait for the sound of her picking up the spoon, since I´m not to leave the room.
After having set the table, I will return to the kitchen to stir the oatmeal and add salt to it. It has to simmer for another fifteen minutes. During this simmering time, I will massage Sir Archibald until he flatuates. It is a ritual of his. Sir Archibald then retires to the living room to sleep for approximately thirty minutes.
When I hear Lady Windmore on the stairs, I walk through the foyer to greet her at the end of the stairs with a long, deep bow and the words Good Morning, Lady Windmore. I am not to say more in the morning, for the Lady wishes not to be spoken to before her first cup of tea. She will go directly into the dining hall. I will follow after her and serve the oatmeal with Earl Gray. After having added the milk to Lady Windmore´s tea, she will pick up the spoon to commence eating. At that sign, I am to leave the room immediately.
While the lady eats, I will fetch the post and the daily newspaper, locate Sir Frederic and give him his massage, then go into the study. After her breakfast, Lady Windmore retires into the study to continue working on her latest novel. As a woman writer, she is working on a genealogical tree of her family, enriched by thrilling stories about her loved ones. Lady Windmore prefers to read her newspaper and the mail in here, for she says that she sees no point in reading elsewhere in the house, if you have a designated room to do so.
Lady Windmore wishes not to see me while changing from the dining hall into the study. She does, however, prefer to be followed by Sir Frederic or Sir Archibald. Both, if they are in the mood to go with her. Lady Windmore will then sit down behind the great oak desk in her study, will open the mail if have laid out for her, will study the newspaper, and then commence reading old family letters, which shall help her gain insight into the lives of her relatives.
The Lady Windmore will work till noon. She likes not to be disturbed during that time of hard work. I will, henceforth, use those three hours to clean the house, dust the old armors and paintings, water the flowers in the winter garden, prepare lunch or dinner or tidy up her chamber. However, Lady Windmore wishes not to know that I do so. She says that her chamber should be a room to herself and she wishes me not to enter it, however, she wishes it to be cleaned on a daily basis. I feel horrible going behind her back and entering her room, even though I should not, but I hope, should she ever find out, that she´ll forgive my infringement and understand it as mere concern for her Ladyship.
At noon, the Lady Windmore will ring a bell. It is the sign for me to accompany her into the dining hall, where she wishes to be served canapés. The Sirs will join her at the table and will be fed from her plate. As energy-efficient as the Ladyship is, she says that there is no need for three plates. She is more than willing to share her plate with the Sirs.
After noon, Lady Windmore will retire to her chamber. I am ever so lucky if she doesn´t notice my infringement. She will nap for exactly thirty minutes, during which I clean the plates, do the dishes and drive the car out of the vehicle hall. At precisely one o´clock, the Lady Windmore will open the front door of her country estate to take her ride through town. She says that it is only right that she takes time off her hard work to meet her lady friends in town. I will hold the door open for her and wait till she is seated to close it. Then I will drive her into town. At no point am I to go faster than twenty five miles an hour. The Lady Windmore thinks nothing of speedy drivers and she wishes not to die in a car crash. She does, however, wish to die amongst friends and family. Preferably at noon, she says, for her relatives and close friends can then drown their sorrow in the food they will soon after consume. However, she says, if that should not be possible, she wishes to die before appetizers. If they cannot numb their soul´s pain by eating, they should at least be entitled to a large pouring of Brandy.
At exactly fourteen minutes past one, we will arrive at the little café where the Ladyship meets her friends. She prefers if I walk her from the car to the door of the café, hold the door open for her, hand her the purse she chose for her outfit and then leave her alone. She says that at her age, she does not need a butler to follow her around all the time. Apart from that, there are servers working in the café who could help her with her chair.
I drive back to the house and prepare the dinner. It is usually a stew or a roast. The Ladyship has little patience with new dishes and prefers to eat what she has been eating every day of her life. She says there is no need to try new things when you already know what you like.
I tend to the garden that needs little tending, for the Lady Windmore has hired a gardener. But as with all gardeners, they do not understand precise specifications as to how their Ladyship likes the garden to be. It is my duty to see to the fulfillment of her specifications. While doing so, the Sirs join me in the garden and play a chasing game, which is rather immature for Sirs their age, but since the Lady finds no wrong in it, neither will I.
I have enough time to change the bouquet in the foyer, before driving back into town. I enjoy the little pleasure of going twenty six miles an hour. I arrive early to pick up the mistress. She usually enjoys the meetings with her lady friends very much and is in a good mood when she returns from the meetings. She then keeps the partition wall between driving cabinet and the Ladyship´s bench open and asks about the progress of the Sirs. She wishes to be informed about the weight, height, and fluffiness of the Sirs´ coat, their diet and daily exercise routines. When we return home, she will give me specific orders in regards to things around the house she has noticed that need taking care of.
She will then have a cup of tea in the dining hall. Most patiently does she wait till the tea water is done boiling and the tea is served. She usually converses with the Sirs about their days and they are most contributive. Depending on the season, the Ladyship enjoys a brisk walk across the premises. She wishes to be accompanied by me so that I can give her updates on the progress of the landscaper´s work. The Lady Windmore is most proud of the rose bushes that grow on the east end of the house. She has planted them herself while my father was still serving her and she is rather swollen with pride when examining them.
Depending on whether they are hungry or tired, the Sirs join the Ladyship in the garden. Usually they wish to stay inside and take pleasure in a refreshing nap. After the garden inspection, the Lady will return to her study to work some more. I will prepare the dinner and set the table in the dining hall. I will pay special attention to the 0,98 inches distance of plate to end of table and cutlery to plate and end of table. The Sirs will eat their dinner in the dining hall as well. Their golden place settings will be placed in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the garden part with the large fountain and the heart-shaped hedges.
Lady Windmore wishes to be drawn from her study by the most mouth-watering smell of her dinner. Furthermore, she wishes me to play Mozart´s last symphony #41 in c-major, the so-called Jupiter Symphonie. However, if she is in a somber mood, she prefers Vivaldi to lift her spirits. Once seated at the table, she wishes me to retire to the kitchen. While the Lady dines, I eat my humble dinner in the kitchen. I do not dare to sit down, for the Lady might ring for me any minute. However, I will not enter the dining hall before she does, for I am merely a servant and she does not wish the servant to overhear her private conversations with the Sirs.
When her Ladyship rings the bell, I will clear the plates and pour her two fingers of Brandy. After she has had her Brandy, she will go into the library for some reading. It is rarely ever the case that she goes into the entertainment room after supper. She says there is no point in watching the news on television for she knows that the world is in a mess and that politics will do its damnest to keep it that way, otherwise, what´s the use of all those over-paid politicians that spend more time enlarging their rear ends than solving the nation´s and world´s most important problems. The Lady Windmore supports several health and help organizations and wishes to contribute to the aiding of the people in need.
The library is a room with a large fireplace. The shelves reach from floor to ceiling and are filled with exclusive, hand-made books, handed down from generation to generation in the Ladyship´s family. Her Ladyship does not wish me to touch the sensitive backs of the old books, but I dust them at least once a day, for the Lady suffers from asthma and should not be exposed to the dust on her precious books she loves so much.
I will ignite the fire in the fire place. It smokes a bit, but the Lady sees no point in reading anywhere else in the house, if there´s a designated room for reading. I once pointed out that she does read in the study, but I no longer do, for she got indignant with me and scolded me for belittling her. The study, of course, is for hard work, whereas the library is for leisure reading.
The Sirs join her Ladyship in the library, while I ignite the fire in the Lady Windmore´s chamber, turn down her bed and let the heat from the fire place spread onto the bed, so that my Ladyship doesn´t shiver when she retires to her room and goes to bed. I take the liberty of placing her house shoes in front of the fireplace, so that her Ladyship will have warm feet. Then I leave her chamber. Every time I open the door and step out of her chamber, I do hope she doesn´t notice that I have been in her room again.
I will go downstairs and wait in the kitchen till I hear the ring of the little bell. The crystal clear sound of the ancient bell will be a sign for me to accompany the Lady Windmore upstairs. The Sirs will come along. They usually rest in little beds near the fireplace in the Lady Windmore´s chamber. She wishes they would sleep in my room for they snore terribly loud, but they are quite fond of resting in the same room as their Ladyship and return to her room, even if I asked them kindly to let me accompany them to my room. It didn´t help that I offered them my bed, either.
Lady Windmore bids me good-night at her door and walks into her room, but she leaves the door open. Patiently, I wait for half an hour outside her door, till she´s finished doing what a Lady does in the bathroom, and returns to her chamber. She tells the Sirs to be good boys and go to bed. I can hear the rustling of her sheets when she slides between covers and pulls the blanket up to her chin. That´s when her Ladyship calls me in to see to her private desiderata.
Some might call the Ladyship quite peculiar. Eccentric, even. I however, as Lady Windmore´s humble servant, only allow myself to call her my life´s purpose – and wouldn´t dare to say anything else about her at all.