Episode 5. The most unbelievable truth ever imaginable but still beyond our ken at Downham …

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December 9, 2012 by patrickpadget

“Zat leaves only you Mrs Gilbert!” says Piaget, drawing himself up to his full four feet, nine and a half inches. “You are ze mastermind who has planned zis fiendish cover up! All ze while you are making your vegetarian lasagne and roast potatoes with chips. Sitting quietly in ze background wid ze clicking needles und ze sizzling free range breasts. Piaget knows what you are up to Mrs ‘Di’ Gilbert or shall I call you (sound recording of mini wind organ fanfare offstage) ‘Princess Di’? ”

There is a gasp from the assembled audience: “Ooooooh Eeeerrr!”

“Oh my goodness little Piaget, you are right, I cannot deny i!.” says Mrs Gilbert/Princess Di. “Aided by dear Sir Julian Hardwhistle, Christopher Biggins and Pete Townsend of The Who, I staged my own death in that tunnel in Paris all those years ago and secretly came here to Downham Abbey disguised as Mrs Gilbert, the wife of Mr Gilbert the butler* and became a humble cook in the kitchens here.”

*History relates that The Spenser family are descended from Seneschal Osbern de Crepon, a close ally of Gilbert de Brionne and Alain III of Brittany so the connection between Gilbert and the family was a long-standing one and with many links to The Grand Order of The Knights of  Swaffam Bulbeck and the Holy Monks of Wimbotsham Priory all of whom are still in waiting for the ‘King Denis from over the Water’ whose return was prophesied in the Holy Book of Saint Etheldreda Titmarsh in 1246.

“It was hard at first”, said Mrs Gilbert/Princess Di, “very, very hard, I had to learn everything from scratch: starting off making pork scratchings but the pigs soon got fed up with that, then peeling knobbly carrots to look like big willies for visits by Esther Rantzen, hard-boiling wet walnuts, coddling rhubarb, filleting badgers, oiling up Mr Gilbert’s loin of cod and macerating his fish balls with Rosemary, then Rosemary left! Fluffing up Angel Delight into stiff peaks, cooking scrag end of lamb for twelve years in a water bath at 50 degrees fahrenheit and poaching winkles in gravy at 3,574 degrees centigrade for exactly thirty two seconds under the supervision of the brilliant but obnoxious, spotty fourteen year-old master chef Jason Pillock of The Turdenham Mill. But I survived and, by God, I have flourished! Mr Gilbert has been upstanding throughout and now I will have to give it all up and go back to that horrible, horrible German family near Victoria Station who are always belching and farting at the table and cracking filthy jokes about my little James Hunt. Is this really what you are condemning me to?”

She stumbles and nearly falls but is deftly caught by Lord Cuthbert who is also kneeling, bowing, scraping, kissing her hand, spreading his cloak on the parquet flooring and doffing his purple-feathered cap in an ecstatically multi-quasi-Royalist gesture, all at the same time!

CAN THINGS GET ANY WORSE! WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT IN THIS WIDESCREEN EPIC? WILL MRS G./PRINCESS DI BE SENT BACK TO HER OLD HOME(S) TO LIVE IN LUXURY? WILL MR GILBERT BE LOCKED IN THE TOWER OF BOTTISHAM? WE CAN ONLY STAND BACK AND GASP IN TOTAL DISBELIEF AS THE STORY UNFOLDS!

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Downton Abbey

01 Downton Abbey - The Suite
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