Chatsworth House is arguably England's finest stately home. It was there last evening amidst much pomp and ceremony that the Laughing Horse blogging awards were presented to the various winners. Above you can see fireworks bursting in the Derbyshire night and the grand Regency house itself distinctively illuminated in blue. Use of Chatsworth had been made possible only because the writer of these words has become a personal friend of the Duke of Devonshire over the years - since meeting in "The Castle" pub in Bakewell back in 2001.
The house boasts over 175 rooms and a third of these are luxurious bedrooms so there was plenty of accommodation for Laughing Horse winners though Mr R. Brague had to be satisfied with an austere room in the servants' quarters. It used to be the private suite of a former butler and notable womaniser called Percy.
The main event took place in the Grand Ballroom which in its heyday looked like this - very suave and sophisticated:-
|Katherine from NZ, Carol from Cairns and Helen from Brisbane at the ballroom bash|
After The Arctic Monkeys (from Sheffield) had performed on the ballroom stage, the room was skilfully hushed by your faithful compere -
"SHUT THE F*** UP!" "Pray be quiet!" I bellowed. A bucket of iced water was thrown over Ms Kate De Chevalle, the bohemian Kiwi artist as she had continued shouting at the top of her voice - "One Edouard Manet! There's only one Edouard Manet!" like a rabid football supporter.
The awards were presented by The Duke of Devonshire who welcomed the international blogging community to his home and said he'd spotted some gorgeous "fillies" in the assembled ranks who he would happily invite to join him on an invigorating morning ride. "Dirty sod!" whispered Adrian from "Adrian's Images".
The first award was presented to itinerant blogger, Mr GB from both Napier, New Zealand and Eagleton, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Dressed in an evening suit and with his beard neatly trimmed, it was unfortunate that Mr GB hadn't realised that his flyhole was unzipped and this fact caused much suppressed mirth as he read out his lengthy acceptance speech. It was even more unfortunate that the tail of his dress shirt was peering through the hole like a miniature white sail.
Penguin-like waiters flitted about the seated guests, filling their crystal champagne glasses while the awards ceremony proceeded.
Overall Welsh winner, Earl John Gray of "Going Gently" of course delivered his acceptance speech entirely in Welsh, putting his success down to the inspirational power of scotch eggs and the love and support of both his animals and his long-suffering partner and live-in therapist Dr Chris of the University of Bangor's Bestiality Studies Department. Throughout it all, Jenny the "Demob Happy Teacher" smirked at the Earl's woeful pronunciation.
Top Catalonian blogger Brian Cutts appeared on the stage in traditional Catalan dress, raving that his "people" needed the support of the rest of the world if they were to achieve independence for Catalonia and remove the repressive yoke of Spanish imperialism:-
Top Feline Care Blogger, Jan Blawat slid onto the stage like a cat, wearing a tight-fitting cat suit made entirely from feral cat fur. "Hi y'all!" she grinned coquettishly as The Duke of Devonshire's blood pressure rose like an old steam locomotive preparing to leave King's Cross.
And then The King himself was called - The Blogger of the Year who had arrived from Johannesburg that very morning. Dressed in a khaki safari suit and wearing a brand new bush hat made by "Tilley" of Canada, he looked every part the adventurer with medals dangling from his breast and an electronic cigarette in his muscular right hand.
"Oooo! He's gorgeous!" swooned Carol from Cairns.
Cap'n T. Gowans pulled out his long speech. It had been written on Izal toilet paper and rolled back into a familiar cylindrical form. It was a speech that should have been witnessed by "The Guinness Book of Records" people such was its length. It covered happy childhood days in and around Cannock Chase, the important influence of his beloved father, the trials and triumphs of soldiering, snake bites, whisky, African maidens, the love of his two sons, vehicle maintenance, man management, cooking in a medieval helmet, the importance of accurate grammar and spelling, Cliff Richard, his brothers, map reading, airport security....zzzzzzzz!
"God, he goes on a bit doesn't he?" moaned Adrian.
And Mr R. Brague agreed as they slugged back their French champagne.
Finally, Cap'n Gowans was suitably applauded and the evening consequently descended into an unwholesome vision of debauchery and excess that was reminiscent of Gomorrah. After being plied with strong drink, Jan Blawat - the Catwoman - was ushered away to The Duke of Devonshire's private quarters while Katherine de Chevalle's tongue explored Brian Cutts's Catalonian tonsils in the exotic palm house and Earl John Gray chased one of the liveried footmen up to the hay loft in the stable block. And throughout it all, the author of this post sat in a wing-backed armchair like Methuselah with legs crossed simply observing the goings-on. What a night!
At least your description of me has the possibility of truth within it. I am quite forgetful enough to forget to do up my zip (to the extent that I once put a notice on the bathroom mirror to remind me). However I'm unlikely to be sartorial inept enough to have shirt tail showing through it! How could you even think such a thing? It was, however, a night never to be forgotten.ReplyDelete
I am deeply sorry if my description has caused you any personal offence sir but it is my duty to report the facts as accurately as possible.Delete
Oh, Mr. Pudding. What an absolute riot you are. How you make me laugh and guffaw at the goings on in your mind. My goodness, after spending the last few hours shoveling snow and gathering wood, you have really made me feel like the tops. I expect to still be smiling as my eyes close in slumber.ReplyDelete
We heard on the BBC that marijuana may now be purchased legally in Colorado. Did your eyes close in slumber because of this? Please send me a fistful as I haven't experienced any of that natural herb since I was at university - and yes, I did inhale!Delete
A wonderful night, I'm glad you took the time to record it as I have only the vaguest of memories.ReplyDelete
I have just taken a phone call from Chatsworth. Doris, one of the older waitresses, has complained about an indecent assault that occurred in a broom cupboard around 2am. The CCTV footage shows you shoving said waitress towards said cupboard.Delete
Now where did I leave that award? If anyone finds it, please send it on.ReplyDelete
El Brian, please do not fear, the award has been found in the disabled toilet at Chatsworth and will be forwarded to you by FedEx. Cash on Delivery I am afraid!Delete
I did not realise the Duke was a mate of yours so I feel guilty about having my bearers carry off that Marble fountain we found in his gardens. He has so many and I did not think he would miss it, it would have looked so nice in the centre of my pond. Please tell his Grace it is in the BA air cargo warehouse at Heathrow. He will have to be pretty sharpish, though, as the aircraft leaves for Angola tomorrow evening.ReplyDelete
I will write to him separately to apologize for using the chandelier in the great dining room for target practice.
As requested, I shall inform the duke in the near future. Frankly your behaviour was embarrassing Cap'n. One would have thought that a former military man would have displayed more self-discipline. Have you told Madam Marcia about the scullery maid?Delete
Oh God, I feel AWFUL... and it looks like I might need a trip to the dentist as I need to do something about that terrible overbite I have ! Thanks for bringing it to my attention in such a subtle way. That's what friends are for!!ReplyDelete
I hate to say this Helen but you let down the noble teaching profession. I wanted to talk to you about assessment and cognitive development but all you wanted to do was to guzzle cans of Fosters and smash champagne glasses in the duke's marble fireplace. Oh and are your bloomers always purple?Delete
Wonderful as alwaysReplyDelete
I wonder who will play me in the movie?
Earl - Justin Bieber has already been contacted.Delete
A night to remember! I am now going to check Youtube for blurred, wobbly video footage of the party. The few pictures you show here simply do not to the event justice.ReplyDelete
I am so sorry you weren't invited Arian. Perhaps next year. I have heard that you party like it's 1999!Delete
I would like to thank Lady Gaga's wardrobe assistant for my costume. I was so happy not to have to wear an evening gown. I assure you, the Duke and I spent our time together discussing poultry care, I am advising him how to build coops for his show cocks.ReplyDelete
My dear Jan...In the interests of common decency we would prefer not to know what did or didn't happen in the duke's chamber but you may like to know that this afternoon he was rushed to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield with heart palpitations! Poor man!Delete
Ah. So that's what happened. I did wonder. I remember gliding up Chatsworth's front stairs and the rest is a blur. Thanks to the person who put me on the plane again.ReplyDelete
It wasn't a person as such, it was The Border Agency and if you try to visit England again Katherine you will find you have been blacklisted.Delete