The ponderings of John Ward, 2nd Viscount Dudley and Ward – by David Ford

Since the family downsized from the castle to Himley years ago, the estate is desperate for a makeover, after all a viscount has standards to keep. I sent Bowen, my coachman with a message for Capability Brown the landscaping guru asking him if he could work his magic on the estate. ‘Cappo’ as I call him, suggested a huge lake in front of the hall, which I could then charge a penny for a days fishing, and tuppence for boating, this I thought a cracking idea and left him, spade in hand to start the dig, he may need help!

The halls next for a spot of TLC. As luck would have it Bowen’s cousin Larry is one of those new fangled interior design chappies. He arrived from London in a disgustingly bright purple carriage and dressed in a mauve velvet coat, orange breeches and a pair of ghastly pink stockings. “ Darling, you must be Johnny, just fabulous to meet you, do call me Larry, I understand you want some ‘va va voom’ putting inside the stately pile”. Before I had chance to get a word in he was gone, strutting about like a peacock making notes on what he called his ‘mi-pad’ whatever that is.

It was not a good start to the day. I sat down, head in hands wondering what on earth I’d let myself in for, I didn’t have to wait. The door burst open, “Ah, there you are darling, I’ve seen a vision, a vision in lilac’s, pink’s, magenta’s, of wallpaper, curtains and carpets. Sit down, take your wig off, relax and get a load of this”.