It seems that Dame Covington has taken full-time sanctuary here ever since her unfortunate incarceration a couple of months back for assault. Other than a small bruise and hurt feelings, her victim sustained no permanent physical damage, has dropped all charges, and no lawsuits have been forthcoming. Yet still the Dame is hiding out here to let the dust settle and regain some modicum of dignity before venturing back out into local high society - and we are so pleased with her delightful company.
Last evening, in fact, she saved a cocktail party from becoming an utter disaster. I mentioned a couple of years ago that I'm not a big fan of Antonio Vivaldi. His Four Seasons composition is pleasant enough. But his concertos (relegated to breakfast music by most civilized people) are just so dingy and repetitive - totally maddening in my opinion. In fact, composer Igor Stravinsky said, "Vivaldi didn't write four-hundred concertos, he wrote one concerto four hundred times!"
Apparently Dame Covington has a similar opinion, which endears her to me even more. My employer's latest girlfriend (number seven by our count) invited a few of her déclassé friends over for holiday cocktails. The Dame was already downstairs, and just as I setting out the hors d'oeuvres Miss Seven came downstairs and greeted us with charm, if not grace. She went over to the CD player (yes, we still have one of those) and thumbed through the collection of albums, randomly pulling one out and popping it in before her guests arrived.
When it turned out to be Vivaldi concertos, Dame Covington's eyebrows shot up in surprise and she gave me a look of what can only be described as alarm, bordering on panic. And I'm afraid my own expression of shock offered little to relieve her distress. But with finesse, aplomb and well-practiced diplomacy, Dame Covington stood up and began her plan of attack:
Dame: "My dear, I see you're a fan of Vivaldi?"
Dame: "The composer of these charming concertos."
Dame: "Have you ever heard his Four Seasons?
Seven: "Not that I recall."
Dame: "Would you do an old lady a kindness and put them on now? They're just so lovely, especially for this time of evening."
Seven: "I'd be delighted, if we have it."
As Miss Seven shuffled through the CD collection to find the requested piece, Dame Covington looked at me with a devilish grin and rolled her eyes. I had to suppress a laugh, but I really wanted to kiss her!
Seven: "Who's this Edit Piaf? There's several of her albums here."
Dame: "Oh, how wonderful. Lets do listen to her!"
And thus the evening was saved! Vivaldi free, as it were. In fact, I'm going to hide his albums up in the attic so we don't have to run into this nightmare again.
With Christmas fast approaching, it seems that my employer and Miss Seven will be spending the holiday in Cabo San Lucas. Not very Christmas-y in my opinion, but at least they'll be out of here for awhile. Which leaves only me, the house staff, the dogs and Dame Covington to celebrate the day together. Chef has generously offered to serve up a Christmas dinner for all of us, and asked the Dame what she prefers.
At her request it seems we'll be having a traditional British meal. Except instead of turkey there will be individual Cornish game hens for each of us, along with stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But Chef declined to personally make the Dame's request for a British Christmas Pudding and took it on himself to ask our personal shopper in London to send one over from Harrods - which will be a great gift and treat for all of us!
I asked the Dame if I should set a formal table in the dining room for the event. But she insisted to sit with us at the High Table below stairs where servants have their meals. Now tell me, how classy is that?
I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season and planning a splendid Christmas dinner with family and friends. As always, thank you for reading - not just tonight but for all this year past! Merry Christmas, and a peaceful and Happy New Year!