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Apology from Matron

Updated on April 20, 2013

Christmas 2012

A letter from our Dear Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh (Matron) of our little Paradise on Earth at this Blessed Yuletide.

Printed on our new and very expensive Deckle Edge Quality Notepaper.

Dear Friends, Relatives, Patrons & Supporters,

It is with great distress that we have to inform you that, unlike as in former, Happier Times, Twilight Lawns plc will not be sending our usual tasteful and wonderfully created Greeting Cards this year.

As you may know, we had quite a little cottage industry running at our Little Paradise on Earth.

Our dear Miss Lettice Rogers-Allbody, Art Instructor and Bohemian Dilettante, created the lovely designs and pictures for our little home-grown Greeting Cards, while lovely Mr Jack Lincoln-Palmistry (Poet Laureate, Retired) created the jolly verses and stories to accompany the day to day escapades of our lovely residents. And, of course, we must not forget Dear Raj, Tom Mould’s gardening assistant (Now Second Gardener) who printed them with the use of Nurse Smythe’s Computer and Printing Machine... clever, clever Raj.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of September, one of our more senile (or should I say, irresponsible) residents, Mr Dorking-Clark, had a fall down the stairs of the Lord Kitchener Wing. Not only did he land on his head but the Silly Old Duffer also landed up in hospital and after a period of what one could only assume was malingering on his part, he was returned to us; fairly intact. Goodness Gracious! These old people are always slipping and falling over. Clumsy oafs. Careless, every one of them. We usually let them lie there, where they drop, for a while to let them know that calling attention to themselves in that pathetic and needy manner doesn’t really work with us. We’re far too busy to go around collecting Residents who can’t stop falling over their own feet.

But then: Whine! Whine! Whine! Mr Dorking-Clark didn’t stop complaining that he couldn’t get downstairs for meal times or at medication time. Several of his chums took him some leftovers when they thought of it, but regardless of their kind actions, he still moaned and complained in a manner which one could only describe as Non-U and not as we, the Management and Staff at Twilight Lawns, are ready to accept.

Cissie and Elspeth, two of our more enthusiastic residents, decided to help in a caring way. Deciding that Mr Dorking-Clark should have access to the downstairs amenities of the Home, they devised several ways of transporting the Old Fellow down the stairs from his room on the second floor.

One of their more inventive ideas involved pushing him down on one of Cook’s tea trays. This worked quite well, but getting the Old Chap upstairs again wasn’t quite so easy. However, Mrs Prendergast (Ghastly Prendy as she is affectionately known) came up with a wonderful idea.

There is a disused dumbwaiter which the Dowager Lady Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh had installed, for when she would be taking afternoon tea, and sometimes breakfast, in her suite of rooms overlooking the Virginia Woolf Memorial Pond.

Cissie and Elspeth, encouraged by Ghastly Prendy, managed to get most of Mr D-C into the dumbwaiter, but unfortunately, he is a bit tall, and they were about to give up trying to lever him into the contraption when Mrs Eulalia Hawkins appeared on the scene. La Hawkins is very big and powerful, and within minutes she had folded the Old Chap more or less in two and stuffed him in securely.

All was going well, and he was being transported successfully down towards the ground floor, when the dumbwaiter, with Mr Dorking-Clark neatly packed inside, jammed somewhere between the first and second floors. No amount of pulling and shoving dislodged him; neither could they get the vehicle to travel up or down. But, the bell rang for luncheon, so they hurried down and left him there. After all, who would want to be late for one of Cook’s delicious luncheons?

Now this is where the two strands of my little tale come together.

What Cissie and Elspeth hadn’t known was that the Christmas Greeting Cards for this year had already been planned, designed and printed, and that only the envelopes remained to be addressed. And to keep them safe, Dear Lettice, Mr Jack Lincoln-Palmistry and our lovely Raj, had secreted them in the dumbwaiter for safety. Of course, if the dumbwaiter hadn’t been half full of Greeting Cards, Mr D-C would have fitted in there with room to spare... long as he may be. But it was.

A couple of days later, Ghastly Prendy remembered that he was still there and, having given a couple of tugs on the still unyielding ropes, left him to his own devices until, on the next morning, Cissie and Elspeth also remembered, and thinking that he may have been a little peckish, went to the second floor, and managed to drop half a packet of digestive biscuits and a slice of Battenberg cake down to him.

When he thanked them, but in doing so, pointed out that he was getting thirsty, both Elspeth and Cissie, kind souls that they are, returned after afternoon tea, carrying a large tea pot that they had spirited away from the Queen Alexandra Day Drawing Room and Recreation Area where our Sharon had been serving afternoon tea with scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream.

They couldn’t manage to lower a cup and saucer down to the Old Boy so they told him to open his mouth and they poured the half-full teapot’s contents down to him. It may be that his complaints that the tea was still a little too hot, brought his whereabouts to Nurse Smythe’s attention. But although these do not constitute her designated duties, she kindly helped a little.

Unfortunately, despite a fair amount of effort and a good deal of laughter, we still couldn’t bring the dumbwaiter up or down to release him and as our Polish handymen Józef, Wladyslaw and Czcibor are on holiday until the New Year, he will have to stay there until Twelfth Night when they return.

We have attempted to keep up his spirits, and several of the Old Girls entertained him with a medley of Christmas Carols. The Rev Hugh Halitosis also helped entertain him by retelling his popular Christmas Sermon, (’Surely God must be an Englishman’). Well, it passed the time nicely for both of them.

But even more unfortunate than his incarceration in the dumbwaiter, the Christmas Greeting cards are also with him, and as he has reported to us that they are wet with tea and covered in moist digestive biscuits and Battenberg cake, it seems that your anticipated Twilight Lawns Christmas Card will not be popping through your letterbox this year.


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    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      My goodness. where have I been to miss this. Sorry, dear friend, I must remember to take my Alzheimer's medication - if I can remember where I put it.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      5 years ago from TEXAS

      So far, 2013 is starting off OK. I'm fully optimistic about it. We'll just have to be sure Mrs. Plantagenet-Featheringstonenaugh's sensitivities aren't taunted with tacky papers, As for Mrs. Eulalia Hawkins, though, her couth is at such a strain, I'm amazed that the two dowagers can even appear in the same story! How gross!

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you Svetlana. You were almost with me in the writing of it and the preparation because I unburdened my soul to you on the telephone when I went on and on and on about it. Thank you for your support and your listening ear.

      The best wishes to you over the NEW YEAR period, and I hope that 2013 is an amazing year for you with all you desire coming to you.

      Regards to Daniel also.


    • kallini2010 profile image


      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I think this delightful story is a much better gift than any well-crafted Christmas card.

      I guess being stuck in a dumbwaiter was pure inspiration for Mr. Dorking Clark.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Nellieanna, my dear friend.

      They considered lowering a plate of scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam that had fallen on the floor when The Major fondled Sharon's bottom at afternoon tea time. There was only a bit of carpet fluff on them. But Mrs Eulalia Hawkins suddenly appeared and before they could say, "Happy Christmas and a happy New Year," Eulalia had swallowed the lot in only three of four mouthfuls.

      You're right about decent notepaper. One would hate to have to make do with some of the coarse Inkjet papers (Whatever they may be) that one is subjected to nowadays.

      Touching stuff like that has always drawn a well bred Ouch! from the mouth of Mrs Plantagenet-Featheringstonehaugh.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      5 years ago from TEXAS

      Ian! What a treat to see you and to enjoy your hilarious Christmas story! I've been missing Hilda, Nurse, Smythe, Ghastly Prendy, Raj, and all the crew. . . but the very most - Mr.Dorking-Clark! It's good to see that the imprisonment in the dumbwaiter didn't cause your wit to wilt, in spite of being doused with hot tea and all that pastry. It's surely just as well that they didn't think to lower scones, strawberry jam ad clotted cream down there. Think how sticky it would've gotten and the cream might have 'ripened' a bit by the time they get/got you outta there after Twelfth Night! Ugh.

      (I'll never forget the first introduction of me by you to Battenberg cake and you by me to Battenberg lace! Who says that the internet is not a great cultural vehicle?

      How lovely that a dear caretaker has installed a computer in your room! Lovely! Indeed, a saint.

      I hope we'll be hearing more of the TL escapades in the New Year, m'dear! NO one can write of such but YOU! Thank you for the Christmas 2012 greeting printed on the expensive Deckle Edged Quality Notepaper. I love the feel of that paper!

      Hugs and - please. . . try to take care of the bod, avoid falling down stairs and getting stranded in dumbwaiters!! You're loved and missed!

      By the way, I think they tell us it will be 24 hours before our new hub is posted on our profile page and, possibly, before it's announced via email, etc. But looking at those one follows on the list in "My Account" seems to show them up sooner, well before they're announced via email.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Hello, Chris. Great to hear from you again.

      Hoping you are still writing up a storm and your plans are bearing fruit.



    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Dearest Angie, thank you for being so kind and accepting this all too familiar little offering.

      May I hasten to state here and now, dear Hubbers, that Lettice, our dear Lettice Rogers-Albody, sprang fully clothed (in rough country tweeds, anorak and sensible brogues) from the talented and imaginitive (Some say deranged and deluded) mind of Dear Sweet Angie Jardine... a birthing for which I, and any deep thinker, should be most grateful.

      Where, Angie, would I be without your encouragement, intellectual sustenance and support.


    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Rosemay, my dear antipodean friend, I am afraid that many of last year's cards, which had been destined to parts of the Empire, failed to get much further than the book shelf in our Miss Lettice Rogers-Albody's day room and writing nook.

      One would hope that, when this little offering has been put through the washing mangle in the scullery, poor Sharon, presently turning for the life of her, that they will be dry enough to be sent winging on their way.

      Until then... Pip! Pip!

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      drbj, you should be aware that, as an invited guest, to are most welcome to partake of any comestibles on offer, but as you have declined the chicken liver pâté, our dear Cook has suggested that you might like to enjoy some of her special Bread and Butter Pudding made with marmalade created by her very self.

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      5 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi Ian, so nice to read on the ups and downs of the residents of Twilight Lawns again. Hope you are well and have a great New Year!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      … and here it is!

      So glad you shared this, dearheart … far too good to be tucked a way on a dusty website that gets only a few thousand hits a day.

      Mwah! Oh, and Lettice and I send you felicitations for a Happy New … etc. etc.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      My grandmother told me it is rude to laugh at another's misfortunes , the sound you hear is that of my new pet hyena.

      Maybe the cards will have dried out enough to use next year, I do hate waste

      All the best and Happy new year

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Very funny, TL. Do hope that poor Mr Dorking Clark survived his dumbwaiter imprisonment. I'll be happy to share a sherry with you, but I'll pass on the pate. Happy New Year!

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      It was only one bounce, Becky. The height of me (6'1" at best) plus the height of 17 stairs and a bulls eye (bull's eye) on the tiled floor below.


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Hier is French for yesterday. Heheehee! Glad you have an outlet for your mind ramblings.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thanks Mike, and a happy New year to you too.

      I've been away for a while and although I don't know if I'm quite ready to get into the saddle yet, it's nice to receive this little reception.

      Please note, all invited guests are requested to repair to the Princess Margaret-Rose Cocktail Lounged and Bar where Amontillado sherry and Cook's chicken liver pâté will await you.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      It's a shame about this dumb-waiter fellow. You just can't get good help these days. Now for the lack of a Christmas card dropping through the mail slot. Hiding out with servants bringing you digestive biscuits and Battenberg cake just does not stand for an excuse. Merry Christmas Sir Twilight.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      'hier' ??????????

      Glad you like it. Becky. I thought it was a fitting and "refined" manner to let other Hubbers know where I've been for so long.

      I only had my smartphone with me upstairs and I was there with very few trips downstairs for twelve weeks. About ten in all!

      I was going Cabin Crazy.

      Last week I went upstairs when my new "device" arrived, and discovered that, during a "cleaning up" session, I discovered that the guy who has been taking care of me had installed a computer in my room.

      What a saint.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Very funny and soooo fitting that you should be stuck in a dumbwaiter. I am assuming that either you were brought to your computer or that your computer was brought to you. The tea cascading down and soaking the dumbwaiter would also cover nicely for lack of facilities. Hopefully you will be freed from the dumbwaiter soon. By the way, bouncing down the stairs on your head is so 'hier'.

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Thank you, Mark. I think you know that your opinion, and also that of Snakeslane, goes (go?) a long way with me.

      Your kind comments gratefully received

    • Twilight Lawns profile imageAUTHOR

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Snakeslane, my old chum, I am amazed that you have seen this posting. I thought they would keep it under wraps for a couple of days and then tell me to bugger off.

      They SAID 24 hours!!!

      Ah well, their idea of quality and mine cannot be the same, but as long as I am getting away with it, let's not tell anyone.

      Glad ou liked it.


    • Mark Ewbie profile image

      Mark Ewbie 

      5 years ago from UK

      For some reason the Virgina Woolf Memorial Pond stood outfor me in terms of tickling my funny bone but the whole piece is a perfectly crafted slice of that world which you have brought to us. Loved it.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Oh jolly good Ian, was hoping to hear from you, so sorry about the greeting cards. I laughed and laughed at the matron's letter, tales of tea trays and dumb waiters have given me a lift, and of course I am pleased to see you are tucked away all cozy for the duration of the holidays. Regards, snakeslane


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