Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fortnum & Mason!

Honestly I think this house where I serve as butler would completely collapse were it not for Fortnum and Mason. We depend upon this British store for so many things I can't even think straight teas, coffees, honey (they have their own bees) wines, chocolates, perfumes, and wonderful gifts for my employers to give to others.

This company has been around forever, dating back to Queen Anne in the 1700's. For all I know, they might have carried the original line of Queen Anne furniture styles - which survives to this day in furniture stores and households everywhere.

Both of the original founders, William Fortnum and his partner Hugh Mason, vehemently denied it was their tea that was tossed overboard in Boston Harbor during the beginnings of the America Revolution. (Wasn't it Shakespeare who said 'Me think thou doth protest too much' - from Hamlet as I recall?)

In any case, this store is truly remarkable. They've had many royal warrants over the decades and we all know that Regina herself, Queen of England, shops there. Although if I'm not mistaken they close the store to other shoppers when the royals come in. (If anyone else knows more about this, please let me know.)

Whatever your household needs, you can't go wrong with this company. Here's the link to the fabulous world of Fortnum & Mason - usually referred to as just Fortnum's. But beware, you can get lost in their webpage for hours and even shop online. So get out your credit cards and have fun, but don't blame me when the bills come in!

Thanks for stopping by tonight,


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dogs of the Rich!

There seems to be a lot of interest about where canines fit into the lives of the rich. In fact, if you google the words rich people's dogs you'll see literally tens of millions of articles.

We've all heard stories about diamond-studded collars and lavish inheritances left to pets (i.e. Leona Helmsley). And I have a vague memory of an event when Elizabeth Taylor chartered a private yacht to keep her Pekingese off shore to avoid the six-month quarantine to get a dog into England.  

If you've been reading for a while, you know we have two Great Danes here on the estate, and my rich employers seem to genuinely adore them. But their input into the dogs' care is minimal (make that non-existent) and their welfare is dumped entirely into the hands of house staff.

There was an article in Forbes Magazine a while back by Liz Moyer wherein she quotes Russ Alan Prince (President of Prince and Associates) who's organization authoritatively tracks the habits of the rich.

Says Prince: "For some wealthy people, the only true love they get is from their pets. They're estranged from their children, they are at war with their business partners, but their pets are always there for them."

Sounds kind of sad and pathetic, right? But I guess there's some truth to it. At least their pets are not asking them for business advice or loans, or throwing investment opportunities in front of every step they take. And I know for a fact our Danes are not begging him for charity contributions - just treats now and then.

Here's what my employers do for the Danes, which is mainly all the fun stuff:
- Pet and hug them.
- Sometimes they'll pick up a ball and throw it.
- They also pay for the groomer to come here once a week.

And here's what the house staff does for them, mainly all the hard work:
- Feed them twice a day plus lots of snacks.
- Clean up their accidents in the house, which are all too frequent!
- Give them their monthly heart worm and flea meds.
- Get them to their regular and emergency vet appointments.
- Administer whatever meds and restrictions the vet prescribes.
- Brush and check for fleas and ticks between the groomer's visits.
- Make sure they get enough outings and exercise. who gets the short end of this deal? Sometimes I get the feeling the Danes are just living ornaments around here, along with all the other possessions my employers own. I wonder what a sincere dog lover would think about this. Taking on a pet is such a huge commitment and responsibility, is it not? My employers, however, effectively dodge all the mess and problems of pet ownership, and pass it off to their house staff. Perhaps understandable and very convenient, right?

But then - they also pass off their children to a Nanny. Who am I to judge?

Just some observations tonight. Thanks for stopping in.