The Taylor-Vaknikovs have gone too far. There’s a certain amount of tact one must display in business and life, and they seem to display neither. I took Archibald along to the unveiling of their new, decorative window glass display, and I was expecting something crude and ill-thought-out. It was even worse than I expected: an entire room dedicated to the history of their family’s business acquisitions. Bear in mind that the people they invited to this event were their business partners and rivals, ostensibly in order to thank them and show that the Taylor-Vaknikovs could not have made it in the business world without their valued contacts.
Tripe. Tripe of the highest order, in fact. The one thing that was actually of benefit in the meeting was seeing the work done with decorative glass. I must make a note to buy out that entire industry, because the artisans had done a wonderful job. It certainly wasn’t their fault that they were forced to depict the Taylor-Vaknikovs and their acquisition of certain key sectors. The glass artists simply did their jobs, portraying this family in their efforts to rub their success in the noses of the people they’d gathered for ostensibly friendship reasons. I was particularly enamoured- that is, in the same way one would be when looking at a train crash- by a large piece of glass near the door that depicted Mikail Taylor-Vaknikov and his acquisition of the vacuum cleaner company that later went on to conquer most of Vietnam. I wanted that deal, and he knew it.
Still, there IS something to be learned. The Clancey family have achievements that go beyond that of simply business, such as the lengthy land disputes to acquire Whitehall Chapel, and the quelling of the great servant civil war of 1892. Once I own the commercial decorative window film sector and have knocked the Taylor-Vaknikovs off their perch, I’ll convert one of our rooms into a history of our family, told in glass.
-Percival Clancy V
Sometime I wish I could be invisible. Now, sometimes in this house I DO feel invisible, but that’s not what I mean. It’s just that Mother and Father, despite their good intentions, are rather protective and want me to do certain things at certain times, and I simply cannot wait until I am grown and can make my own decisions. I’m allowed to explore the grounds, but as large as they are, I have traversed them all, and I find the prospect of being observed by security cameras dull and limiting.
Oh, just imagine the trouble I could get up to if I were invisible! I have a school chum who got in on a scholarship, and she tells all the most wonderful stories. For example, her father recently took the car into their local Ringwood mechanic for brake repair and replacement. I know OF Ringwood, but it’s not the type of place Mother and Father would allow me to visit. And even if we did go there for a ball, or a gala, or a grand opening, they wouldn’t let me near places that do car servicing. Imagine if I were invisible, so I could sneak out and find a mechanic, then go into the workshop and see exactly what they do to get by. And also, I would be a fly-on-the-wall for what mechanics talk about while they work! I have very little idea what that might be, but research has led me to indicate that it might be about parking spaces, water coolers and who ate the sandwich in the fridge that did not belong to them. That seems to be what a lot of people have talked about on the very rare occasions I’ve been into work with Father. Surely if there are car mechanics available in Ringwood, they talk about more or less the same types of things? I wouldn’t know. I will possibly never know. Father always flies in his personal mechanics from the Netherlands to service our cars, so we don’t even have the ‘mechanic-visiting’ experience.
Cecelia seems to terribly sad to see Miguel go. He was her favourite footman, after all, and she seems to think there’s going to be an unfillable gap in the household now that Miguel is going back to Guatemala to help with the flooding of his home village.
I keep saying that we need to hire more local help, if only because you avoid this sort of thing. Just last month we lost Jetta because she had to return to Albajeria for a ceremony involving her son being accepted into a monastery, and she hasn’t returned because the celebrations continue for 46 days. Jetta is the only kitchen servant we’ve ever had who’s ever managed to properly prepare my Consommé Turducken, so imagine how I felt!
I should do something to help raise Cecelia’s spirits. I have been meaning to contact some Melbourne professionals in timber window replacement to do something about that eyesore we have in the autumn bedroom. Quite what possessed us to sample aluminium window frames is quite beyond me, and Cecelia is always talking about how it doesn’t mesh with the Ukrainian silk she chose for the drapes. We may only employ that bedroom for part of the year, but that’s no excuse to let such a thing stand. Timber windows it is, and I’ll be sure to keep it a surprise so that she has no knowledge of it until it’s finished.
I have noticed from my business trips that timber windows are rather in right now. Why stop with the autumn bedroom? I’ll send Cecelia away on a day trip with one of her tea-and-scone chums, and when she comes back, Whitehall will be entirely timber window fitted. I’m thinking one company won’t be enough, however; we’re going to need every single well-rated timber window fitter available in Melbourne, for the greatest act of window frame fitting ever seen in this fair city.
And then perhaps I’ll feel better for having been robbed of the chance to taste a perfect turducken.
-Percival Clancey V
Dad has never been the type to get caught up in the details. This can be a good quality when it comes to certain things, like making stupendous pancakes, improvising a tune on the piano or figuring out what makes a Maltese terrier tick. But it can be a bit of a problem when it comes to other stuff – filing a tax return, for instance, or purchasing property.
Well, right now, dad is in the process of buying a house. At least, he’s gearing up to be, but he doesn’t seem to realise that there’s more to it than just handing over a wad of cash. I mean, maybe there isn’t when’t it comes to some of the more obscure off-market opportunities, but even then there’d have to be some paperwork. There’s no doubt that he has the money to snag the kind of thing he’s after; he just needs to get his act together on the technical front.
You’d think the man had some kind of allergy to title deeds, buyer agreements, architectural assessments and anything that even vaguely whiffs of the official. There’s no other explanation for his refusal to try and figure this stuff out; I mean, on the whole, he’s more than competent when he wants to be. How else could he have made such a successful career as a musical theatre critic?
I think I’m going to have to intervene and get to hiring him a buyers agent. Melbourne property isn’t exactly the easiest market to break into if you know what you’re doing, let alone if you believe you can just waltz in and grab whatever you want, when you want it. He needs a real estate professional to help him get real: draw up a brief of his buying parameters, identify appropriate sales scenarios, assess the properties architecturally and with regard to the brief, and negotiate with vendors on his behalf.
Maybe dad’s approach is something to do with his having been on the move for the past few years, rotating between short-term rental properties organised by his agent in London. Go figure.
I’ve grown terribly bored of our kitchen, and I’ve only been in there a couple of times. Of course, I’m talking about the prime kitchen that services the main dining hall. Kitchens two, three, four and…let’s say six are all on the list, although I don’t think we’ve ever had to use them so that’s quite far down said list.
But the prime kitchen? Oh, it’s just so outdated. I went in there the other day after dinner to pay my compliments to the chef- the lobster thermidor was especially excellent, thus causing me to break my usual mantra of not interacting with the help- and I noticed that the place just isn’t up to our standard. Whitehall Chapel is a place that deserves contemporary kitchen design, even if it’s a room that we never actually see. I just can’t stand the thought of it being there…existing…right next to the room where we dine! I know the lavender tiles were my idea, but ideas have moved on. I met up with Lena Pettiwell the other day for scones and a live violin concerto, and she said that she gets comprehensive kitchen renovations every six months.
Why haven’t I thought of that? Just because we never actually see the kitchen? That’s no reason to become slack. We have standards to uphold, for our good name. Oh, and we have some connections with companies that let you custom design your own kitchen. I’d been needing a personal project after the topiary was finished and the stables were just renovated. We don’t even have horses at the moment, but…well, you can’t live in a manor house and not have stables. A manor house without stables is like a manor house without custom designer kitchen renovations. It’s a horrible space that isn’t worth living in. And while we’re on the subject, the dining hall is so 18th century. Perhaps more chrome. More chrome everywhere!
As much as I do not envy our live-in psychologist, at least I still visit him on occasion to make sure he has SOMETHING to do. Psychologists always make for interesting enough conversations partners. And when Percy is off in the office, the children are at school or with their tutors and the servants and workmen have been properly directed to their tasks, sometimes I still have some time left.
Not so for our physician, consigned as she is to the medical wing in the easternmost corner of the mansion. The Clanceys are famously hale and hearty from years of excellent breeding and plenty of money to start every day, so we never fall ill. We just needed that insurance, and all the other rich families have them.
Still, I remain fascinated in this trend of people having hyperbaric chambers for hire in Melbourne, and I suppose beyond. I keep saying to Percy that we need to get some oxygen therapy chambers installed, just for the experience and perhaps for the continued health of the live-in staff. Elliaphelia from two mansions over just had them installed after her husband got a cold- imagine, something so common!- and he was having a bit of difficulty both breathing and smoking at the same time. Percy has never been interested in cigars like many of those in his various Gentlemen’s Clubs, although I’m sure he could down them with no real ill effects if he so desired.
Still, oxygen therapy just sounds so exciting, and quite good for you. Maybe after I’ve been on the cardio machines I can step inside and catch my breath, or…I don’t know. Just the thought of Melbourne’s best portable hyperbaric chambers being part of our medical repertoire just appeals to me, on a completionist level. We have all the other technology, such as the MRI machine, incubation chamber, x-ray machine and the physician to operate them. Oxygen therapy might just complete the set.
What a tale I’ll have to tell my school chums! ‘My Very First Environmentalist Protest-Slash-Hunger Strike’. Such fun! I only did so for about an hour, but it was thrilling nonetheless.
Mummy and Daddy are always telling us that we should use our great wealth, intelligence, good breeding and general superiority to help people who were not born with such marvellous talents and gifts. Then I heard that Daddy was building a new golf course over near the grove, which just so happens to be where I thought I fairy community lived until last year when I grew out of such things. It would involve bringing in all of these swift, efficient tree felling services to bulldoze the place and leave it fresh and flat.
We’d JUST been learning about the environment in our World Studies class, and how trees being cut down is just really quite horrid, sometimes. I wasn’t sure if this was one of those times, but I thought I had a duty to protect this defenseless bunch of trees, given that they weren’t born with any money at all, and could not even be asked politely to move.
Daddy said that the tree lopping men would be coming around twelve o’clock on Saturday, so I enacted my plan. I took a picnic basket to the grove, along with several large pieces of paper from the art room alongside a number of paintbrushes. I didn’t want to appear rude, so while I ate my salmon and cucumber sandwiches I put up signs on the trees with polite-yet-firm messages such as ‘Is This Tree Removal Strictly Necessary?’ and ‘Perhaps We Should Discuss This Over Tea’ and also ‘Perhaps There Are Trees That Need Removing Even More Than These Ones Elsewhere. Have You Checked? Just Wondering.’
The I climbed the one nearest to the house and waited. And waited. And golly, it was a bit breezy up there. The tree was rather uncomfortable to sit on, and I realised that the log I mistook for a fairy city was really just mouldy and full of spiders. Also, I’d accidentally fluffed the ‘hunger strike’ part by bringing and partaking of my picnic basket.
Ah, well. Who was to stand in the way of professional tree removal services in Melbourne? I still had a most exciting time protesting and being terribly counter-establishment. Of course, I put my signs in the recycling as well, because that’s just basic responsibility.
I really do feel sorry for our in-house psychiatrist. The Clancey family are famously sound in both body AND mind, so he doesn’t really get to do very much. Sometimes I like to think I’ll go along and fake some kind of steady, psychotic breakdown, just so he’s not twiddling his thumbs. Still, he gets the bi-annual checkup for each of us, so that’s a grand total of two hours of work per year. Heaven knows how he manages to entertain himself.
I suppose it all stems back in time to when our family was gaining business success. Of course, our family’s first mansion was in Mornington, where the Clanceys first came to Australia. Great Grandfather Harrington made liberal use of this new-fangled profession of psychiatry, practices in Mornington having been set up a few years prior. People turned up their noses and thought little of it, but Great Grandfather Harrington bought into the idea of good mental health, and it’s placed us in good standing over our competitors ever since.
It was he who established a routine for good mental health: half an hour per day of discussing and reflecting on the day’s events, and half an hour of some serious self-talk of a positive nature. Everyone thought it was old toffee, and his business competitors spent all of their time making money from morning to night. Well…when they reached their limit and burned our, Great Grandfather Harrington was taking the advice of his personal psychiatrist and working into the hours of the morning, brain unfettered by cares and worries.
Such a great shame he forgot to go to the doctor had a retire shortly before his death due to exhaustion, but his mind was doing just fine right up until the end. Now we have an in-house doctor as well…obviously. Regardless of our peerless mental health, we must still remember that humble calling of psychology around Mornington. If only we could buy out the entire business. Alas, medicine retains certain privileges that place them above such things, and it’s probably for the best.
-Percival Clancey VI
I am continually at war with myself. On the one hand, I revel in the thrills of business and professionalism. On the other, I simply wish to watch television all day, stay in bed for extremely long periods of time and go out to visit friends, where we may trade ‘Sidockebeast’ cards. That’s short for ‘Side Pocket Beasts’, a Japanese trend that I find intriguing.
It does irritate me to no end, being subject to my own instincts. For example, yesterday Father allowed me to sit in on a group meeting involving a meeting of investors. Nothing especially secretive, but I was expected to take notes on the portion of the meeting involving the ownership of glazier companies within Melbourne who do glass balustrading. To my shame, I became distracted halfway through over a debate within my mind as to whether Shell-Blaster could defeat Titan if the latter was submerged within its natural saltwater habitat. See, Shell-Blaster is an ordinary pocket beast, but it gets a fairly hefty advantage from its environment, and combined with the fact that its shell is immune to divine damage might make up for the fact that Titan is a seventh-tier legendary.
GAH, you see? Why is my child brain so obsessed with childish things? It makes no sense! I need to focus on glaziers, and replacement windows. My notes should have been full of references to Melbourne’s window repair and related industries, and yet they were taken up with silly diagrams about beast attributes and EV training methods.
Perhaps business is not meant for me…is what I would say, were I not a Clancey and it was in my blood. I shall do my own research on residential glazing and such things, and in my own time as well. Meanwhile…it’s time for these childish things to get out of my head, one way or another. Growing up just takes such a long time.
-Archibald Clancey IV
Oh dear, one of the attendants has quit in an overly dramatic fashion again. Poor fellow said something about everything being too much, jumped off the top banister, swung off the chandelier and very much tried to- and I can only be partially sure- jump through the circular piece of stained glass that adorns the place over our front entrance. Instead, the chandelier snapped and took him down with it.
To take a long tale and compress it down to the essentials, we’re in need of some new lighting. Such a pain how the entire entrance hall is now cordoned off until the floor is fixed and all the crystals are gathered.
Perhaps I’ll leave the replacement process to Cecelia. She knows designer lighting companies in Melbourne quite well from all those magazines, and also her friendship with that Ingrid Chantelia woman. I’m vaguely aware that she owns and produces some sort of home design program that people seem to quite like. Not really my thing, both that sort of television and the issue of Miss Chantelias being new money, but Cecelia doesn’t seem to mind.
Oh, and I think I own some company somewhere that deals in LED lighting in some capacity. I try to keep up with all of my acquisitions, but they’ve grown so numerous, and I rely far too much on electronic means. I’ll have a look through my records and see if we can’t fix our current problem using some business connections. That method hasn’t failed me yet; that much is at least certain. Is Melbourne’s commercial LED lighting sector something to consider purchasing? A question for later. In the meantime, we need our entrance hall cleaned up as soon as possible. And I’ll have to call the agency, since it’s become abundantly clear that we need a new footman. One made of sterner stuff this time!
-Percival Clancey IV