Series 3 of “Downton Abbey” has finished, to the usual criticism that it doesn't reflect everyday life in the UK. To refute this, here is an extract from my diary, to be published by Harper Collins next year at £57.65 and expected to outsell Pippa Middleton’s next etiquette book. Readers can study the extract below for free.
Weds. 8.30am Carberry, my under-valet, brought up my tea and copy of “Radio Fun”. He inserted the sugar lumps into my shirt and dropped the cufflinks into the tea. I need to speak to him about this. Yesterday he spread toothpaste over my collar, which did at least whiten it. But a man can’t face the day with wet cufflinks.
11.45 I got out of bed. On the way to work, played my usual couple of games of cricket with the servants. I invariably win: it’s hard to throw balls about when you’re balancing silver trays.
12.10pm Work involves staring at a book in the library while stroking my chin and sipping a sherry. It may not sound very strenuous, but I have to keep it up all day.
6.00 As usual the entire household assembled in the conservatory for the daily family crisis. On Monday the second footman had fallen off the roof, on Tuesday anthrax spores had been found in the kitchen garden, today one of my daughters had been caught listening to jazz. It is always solved by 6.05pm so I can dress for dinner.
6.05 I have 27,000 collar studs which Carberry lays across the lawn. Today he recommended the ruby-studded one as it would perfectly match the Strawberry Mousse.
7.30 At dinner, an ancient family tradition: the weekly vote on which family member is to have an affair with the Chauffeur. Cousin Ethel won by a narrow margin but the Chauffeur has finally escaped across the Channel with the Bentley.
11.05. In the bedroom, my wife asked me the difference between a second footman and an under-valet. Embarrassed to say that I didn’t know. Summoned Carberry, but he didn’t know either. I thought about sacking him, but wouldn’t know what I was sacking him from.
Thursday 8.30am Carberry brought up today’s “Beano”. He told me there’d been a revolution and now the servants were in charge. I was sent down to lick the grate clean. Carberry may be speaking the truth, but I don’t know. I never read the papers.