Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Only Certain Thing in Life is Death and Taxes

Nell and I were in the linen cupboard taking an inventory of the manor's linen supply as well as determining what needed to be laundered and repaired before the holiday season when we heard Mrs. Clowes, the cook, verbally lambast one of our manservants. By the tone and volume of her voice, she was quite upset, so I hurried down to the kitchen to see what had upset her so.

The stockpot was on the stove, simmering away with visible signs of lunch preparations on the large kitchen table. Beyond the table stood Mrs. Clowes, her face flushed, brandishing a large wooden spoon as Giles Earnshaw assisted men with bringing in many large packing crates with the state seal of Caledon stamped on the side.

"What is the meaning of this?" I asked.

"Ah, good morning ma'am," one of the workmen said, "we are bringing in the crates the Guv'nah is giving to all of those who are being unsettled with the new Linden Laws. Since the weather outside is rather rotten, we thought we'd bring them in to the kitchen."

"You oafs are tracking mud all over my kitchen floor as well as letting in vermin and heaven knows what else!" Mrs. Clowes fumed.

I looked at the floor at the mud and the water that the workmen had brought in with them. Giles was looking rather sheepish when he too looked down at the mess.

"Sorry Mrs. Clowes, I just didn't want the crates to get rained or snowed on. The weather's been so bad lately that leaving them outside would be the end of them for sure."

I sighed deeply.

"It's all right Giles, you meant well. However, you're going to have to help with this clean up. Now, while we have the extra hands here, would you be able to move these to the Mooring Tower? Mr. Gears is out there seeing to the vehicles, he can direct you where to put them. Cook will hardly be able to do her job with all of these crates about."

Some of the workmen gave me a less than friendly look at my suggestion, but I was in no mood to tolerate their nonsense and looked them down with a steely eye. I considered fixing CHED upon them, but I decided it might be prudent to save that should things go for worse.

"Sure thing ma'am, we'll get them over there in a jiffy!" Giles said, happy to escape the fury that Mrs. Clowes would love to lash him with.

The workmen managed to get the crates out to the Mooring Tower, and I relieved Nell with the linens so she could help Mrs. Clowes and Giles tidy up.

An hour later I heard Edward arrive home from the meeting with the Guv'nah. Mr. Gears must have told him where to find me as he came directly to his study, where I had been arranging the recipes for the Steelhead Community Cookbook. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and poured himself something from one of the decanters on the sideboard.

"The weather is still showing us it's worst" he said "It will be a grand day when it decides to get over this fit of ill temper it's having". He went and had a seat on the sofa.

"I agree. It's been a trial to do anything, and usually it's so nice this time of year. I hope it improves before Christmas, or at least for when we move."

"Ahh, so you've heard the news then?" Edward asked.

"Oh indeed! A group of workmen arrived with crates in tow and proceeded to dirty the kitchen floor and annoy Cook to no end. I'd not be surprised if lunch is a bit off today...she probably is still flustered and upset."

Edward chuckled softly. "I can see her reaction now. I'm glad I was not the one bringing in the crates! The Guv'nah has graciously granted those of us moving with packing crates, which is helpful seeing as we destroyed the ones we had after the move from Winterfell."

I sighed. "Yes, yet another move. This has been the year of motion and moving. The next move I make will be inside one of those packing crates and it will be a one way trip to the graveyard! I suppose there's really no point in getting the Christmas decorations in order for here until we are moved.....providing we are moving before Christmas. When are we slated to move?"

"That's not been decided yet, I'll be receiving a cablegram as soon as the Guv'nah knows. However, it will be sooner than later, so I'd not be worrying about the decorations just yet....besides, it's too early for that just yet."

I grinned at Edward "It's never too early for Christmas! I suppose I will content myself with getting the shops ready as well as Rosehaven. I really must go there soon to attend to the bakery as well as see the new land Lunar was telling me about in his last letter. Rosehaven will need to be cleaned will for the holidays too. Perhaps now that we know for certain we will be moving we can take a little vacation to Steelhead for a change of scenery?"

Edward thought about this for a moment. "I suppose we could, I can leave a forwarding address at the Guv'nah's mansion so they can send any messages there. Perhaps we can go in a few days, once we get the packing details sorted?"

I smiled "That would be good. A change is as good as a rest they say, and I'm sure the weather in Steelhead has got to be a little less volatile than in Caledon right now. I shall write Lunar and ask him to make sure there's plenty of firewood at Rosehaven, and if he wouldn't mind lighting the fires....I'd ask Tensai but asking her to play with fire on purpose is always a risky decision."

After sharing a laugh, we both sat in companiable silence, mulling over our own thoughts. I started to do a mental inventory of all that needed to be packed and what supplies we might need. I was very sorry to be leaving Argylle and would miss it, but I was certain that we would weather this nasty storm and eventually the sun would shine again in Caledon for us.


Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

*smiles and hugs his wonderful wife*

Rhianon Jameson said...

With all the Mad Science in the Realm of the Roses, even Death is not entirely certain. Taxes, however, are another matter entirely.

I shall miss Argylle, and Carntaigh, and any other duchies that end up affected by the price increase/performance cut. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you and Lord Edward will be equally delightful.

Insist that the workmen are careful packing the china!

Gabrielle Riel said...

*looks up from supervising the packing of her 800 trunks being filled with her gowns and smiles*

The Duchies of Carntaigh and Argylle will still exist, even after we become neighbors in the region of Caledon Rothesay. :-)

Amidst all of this trouble, that is one good thing...we will be neighbors again! I miss when we lived in Caledon Cay and I could see your (and Edward's) green dot on the minimap!


Christine McAllister Pearse said...

Yes, it will be nice to be close neighbours again! As much as part of me is very upset and sad over the move, another part of me is looking forward to it as well. :-)