Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All smiles at lunch in 1977

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A beautiful day and everyone in a good mood at lunch. L to R: Corky Gregory, Kate Gilbert, Jo Bacon, Rosie from Lytham St Annes, Ros Cleal, Jim Irvine, and is that a youthful Dave Hollos in the foreground? Jim's positioning and the hint of tablecloth tells me this was the day he sat down to lunch with Max Glaskin, Robert Roberts and John Howell with Jane waiting at table, known as Wibble, because of a terrible but very funny joke about a butler that Max told that year. Wine, most unusually was served as evidenced by one very early post on this blog. Photo: Anna Behan. Update: and, now, I realise I must have taken this photo just before or after Anna took hers.

The butler joke Max told went something like this: "An English Lord had a butler named Wibble. One very hot summer's day, his Lordship summoned Wibble and said, "Wibble, would you run my bath, please?" "Certainly, my Lord," replied Wibble. "Will there be anything else, my Lord?" "Yes, Wibble, please see that some cool clothes are laid out after the bath. It's confoundedly warm." "Indeed it is, my Lord. Certainly, my Lord. Your Lordship's linen suit, I think. Will there be anything else, my Lord?" "Yes, Wibble, please tell her Ladyship I will dine at my club." "Of course, my Lord" "Anything else, my Lord?" "That will be all. Get on with running the bath, man."

Wibble ran the bath, told his Lordship it was ready and, having escorted him to his bath, hovered nearby in case there were any further instructions. "Will there be anything else my lord?" "This bath is not too hot is it, Wibble?" "No, my Lord, I have checked the temperature by dipping my elbow in it. Your Lordship will not be scalded. Will there be anything else my lord?" "No, Wibble. If I require anything else I shall call you." With that, his Lordship lowered himself into the water and let out a long, loud fart. Font size

The blisteringly hot day sapped the energy of both Lord and butler. His Lordship went for a walk, dined at his club, came home and, at last, retired to bed. It was still sweltering. He was aghast to find a hot water-bottle in his bed. Furious, he rang the bell for Wibble. "Wibble, have you taken leave of your senses, man? What the hell is a hot water-bottle doing in my bed? It's one of the hottest days for months. One can scarcely bear to move. There isn't a trace of a breeze. I'm gasping for the touch of cool bedlinen. And you take it upon yourself to put a blasted hot water-bottle in my bed. What on earth were you thinking of, man?"

"But my Lord, you asked for a hot water-bottle." "I most certainly did not! Why would I order a hot water-bottle on a day like this?" "But you did, my Lord. As you lowered yourself into your bath this morning, I distinctly heard you say, "Whadabowdawadderboddlewibble?"" © Max Glaskin 1977 and Julian Parker 2009.

1 comment:

Max said...

Your memory for jokes is clearly phenomenal. Wibble I remember clearly although I have no recollection of one you have attributed to me about Moshe Dayan and a parrot and I'm not at all certain that I want to be reminded.

BTW, that formal dinner in 1977 was, I believe, a meeting of the heads of state who were engaged in a game of Diplomacy which was being held over several evenings. It led to all kinds of subterfuge and mistrust.

There was a boy who offered to spy on my rivals' plans for me, in return for Mars Bars. Bars and information were duly exchanged but, after I started losing territories unexpectedly, I learned that the boy had subsequently been "turned" by one of the other players who had access to a more toothsome selection of confectionery.