for writers and readers….

Yes, Mrs Finnegan is NOT back yet. Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Still has Far TOO Much To Do

I want to make it as clear as a window pane that I am not on holiday.

Dear Mrs Finnegan

It’s awl right for some to take it easy when they please but the rest of us have to struggle on without the advice what we’ve got used to having

Yours etc
Put-Out Patsy and friends from Paddington

Dear Madam,

I know the HOURS until my return must be long and lonely but it may comfort you to know that I am not enjoying this separation any more than you and your lady friends. In truth, I am drowning in ledgers and regrets. Multiplication tables dance before my eyes and I am forced to keep a ready reckoner about my person at all times.

In short, I am a walking, talking accounts book that has to oversee the daily business of a fine HOUSE in Brunswick Square while attempting to untangle the muddle of my husband’s financial affairs.

Make no mistake, at the same time as I am deciphering Master Peregrine’s income and expenditure for the second week in May three years back, I am:

  • supervising a team of servants,
  • arguing with the grocer about the quality of his artichokes,
  • assessing the Hankey’s laundry needs for the next 7 days,
  • negotiating terms for the supply of coal,
  • pacifying the local night soil men (don’t ask)

To amuse you until my return I thought I would share again one of my favourite question and answer sessions.

Dear Mrs Flannagan

Wretched at remembering names, I often find myself in embarrassing social situations with friends and acquaintances. Does this ever happen to you? I write in the hope that you have found a solution.

Yours respectfully
Mr Forgetful of Fittleworth

Three good things have come out of France: garlic, claret and the Napoleon hello* and it is the last I RECOMMEND to you.

Legend has it that when Napoleon was inspecting troops he would pick on a lowly private and ask his name. When the poor trembling fellow answered, Napoleon patted him on the shoulder and said: I knew that! It was your first name I couldn’t remember.

With a few added flourishes, I have perfected the Finnegan hello.

Imagine the situation. I am walking along a BRIGHTON THOROUGHFARE when I see a lady of my acquaintance approach. Her face is already breaking into a SMILE.
I cannot escape so I step forward with WORDS OF WELCOME on my lips.
What a treat to have your company even if it is only for a few moments, I say.

Then I look aghast! Shocked!
Something terrible has happened. Her name has completely gone from my head. 

Maybe it is a consequence of the fall I took the day before, I say. Or the heat from the sun, or the effects of the damp air. (You must improvise here.)

She will immediately respond with I’m Mrs Wilmott or similar, at which point I look into her eyes and tell her that I would never in my life forget that she was a Wilmott. It was her first name that had momentarily escaped my mind.

If instead she should reply My name is Amy, I will grab both her hands as if she is teasing me. Amy! Amy! How could I ever forget my own precious Amy, but it is your last name etc etc.

Warning: You will find this strategy works very well the first time, but is less successful on subsequent occasions as I have discovered to my cost.

*Four good things have come out of France because there is Burgundy. Well, five because you can’t leave Merlot out and who could live without cassoulet once tasted, or Coquilles Saint-Jacques or Sole meunière for that matter. I swear I could not survive a Sussex winter without a bowl of Pot-au-feu and then there is French fashion…

This is an interesting alternative tactic for ladies: shake hands while pretending not to see the person whose name you have forgotten. Alas it only works if you’re wearing a big enough bonnet.

Mrs Finnegan, sage advisor to all and the “Boudica of Brunswick Square”, is Housekeeper at The Regency Town House on the west side of Brighton by the sea.
If you would like to find out what happens at this esteemed establishment Mrs Finnegan recommends you sign up HERE for the free newsletter where her name is often mentioned

6 comments on “Yes, Mrs Finnegan is NOT back yet. Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Still has Far TOO Much To Do

  1. Sarah Waldock
    March 7, 2023

    It is quite shocking that the state of your esteemed spouse’s accounts are in such a sad state that you must still wrestle with them. However, I am certain that you will make a full and meticulous job of it, and will be able to lay down law as regards future expenditure.

    • bridget whelan
      March 7, 2023

      Certainly that is Mrs Finnegan’s intention. It is the only sound basis for marriage, although Master P goes very quiet when she mentions it.

      • Sarah Waldock
        March 7, 2023

        A man needs to know where his place is, and that is under his wife’s gentle but firm rulership.

  2. beth
    March 7, 2023

    I love the Napoleon hello and intend to put this into practice.

    • bridget whelan
      March 7, 2023

      It works! (But remember to only use it once on the same person)

      • beth
        March 7, 2023

        an excellent point

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