If, sadly, you have never read of the exploits of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman's personal gentleman Jeeves written by the sublime P G Wodehouse then this will mean nothing to you.
Madam and I were in need of a break so a little rootling around unearthed a hotel in Cornwall on the River Helford with a swimming pool. A telephone call to the helpful Reception people secured a three day break with dinner, bed and breakfast and I was just about to pledge quantities of the green stuff when a respectful johnnie at the other said "You are required to wear a jacket and tie at dinner, sir". I don't mind telling you I was thrown for a moment. I mean to say one expects to dress for dinner in the home counties and Gloucestershire but in the Celtic fringe?
So I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do in the circs - I rang Jeeves. Of course he is no longer my man, having retired to a cottage in Tunbridge Wells but I still consult him on sartorial matters, what the well-dressed man about town is wearing etc.
" I hope I am not disturbing you, Jeeves" I said brightly. "Not at all,sir. It is my custom to read Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus at this time of the fore-noon but if I may be of assistance I will happily put that engaging work aside." I explained the posish and craved advice and volunteered that I had planned to wear a purple sweater and corduroy slacks. "The purple sweater would be ill-advised, sir" "But the lads in the Drones Club have asked me where I bought it, Jeeves" "Possibly so that they could avoid the emporium in question at all costs, sir" "Well I have a rather cheerful bright green bow tie" The shudder in Jeeves voice was almost palpable. "A conventional tie,sir, avoiding a Windsor knot, of a quiet shade, with a blazer or a heather mixture jacket would be acceptable should more formal attire not be required" "With the Old Etonian socks I bought a while ago, Jeeves?" "Most decidedly not,sir. You may recall that I gave them to the porter at the flats in 1970 just before your marriage to Mrs Wooster. Will that be all, sir?" "That will be all, thank you Jeeves. Most grateful and all that rot" "One endeavours to give satisfaction,sir"
Somewhat chastened I packed quantities of ties and subfusc and we tootled down to Cornwall in the four-seater. The hotel lay down a longish drive with hydrangeas still in bloom. Everything from then on was absolutely ooh jah cum spliff. Helpful johnnies positively clustered around whisking the baggages up to a very decent Room 51 which looked out over gardens of which Aunts Agatha at her most critical would approve. The staff all reminded me of good old Jeeves in a way which almost brought tears to my eyes. They were all so jolly helpful and unobtrusive and materialised at just the right moment.
Whilst madam took herself for a swim at the spa, which she pronounced very adequate, I donned waterproofs and boots and pottered down to the river which contained a good selection of local boats bobbing away: not anything the size of Aunt Dahlia's yacht, you understand, but jolly picturesque.
Then the sluicing and browsing commenced with a cream tea which set us up to mangle an excellent four course dinner. Waiters and waitresses all buzzed around jolly effectively and we were surprised to find that they were not from Eastern Europe working over here to get enough money to study for their second or third degree or what not but good sturdy locals. All the excellent fodder was also local. We were delighted to find that our fellow diners were of, shall we say mature years. The eighteen year granddaughter of some coves on a nearby table walked in and lowered the average age by decades and raised the average ladies' skirt height by several feet.
Gosh, nearly forgot to say that they have this thing called WiFi here. In the old days Jeeves would simply shimmer in with the odd telegram on a silver salver. So all jolly well up to date. In fact the whole experience was the cat's pyjamas.
The corner new block rooms are good as they have windows on two corners overlooking the gardens. Do...
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