Lord Downer has marked the start of regular end-of-year festivities at his family residence Pout House in the Adelaide Hills with the traditional installation of the living angel on the estate’s Christmas tree.
Gathering local media representatives in the main drive of the sprawling residence, His Lordship arrived borne in his sedan chair by four stout young and shirtless men whose oiled torsos glistened in the noonday sun.
On alighting from the conveyance, Lord Downer declared the beginning of the family’s official period of paying homage and gift-giving.
“I hereby declare that from this day until the end of the year, my family and I will be in residence and ready to receive honours and gifts from local residents as tributes for the services we have performed throughout the year for our great nation,” he loudly declaimed.
Pointing at a group of local residents peering into the grounds from outside the Pout House fence, His Lordship told them: “You may leave your gifts at the gatehouse where my under-butlers will examine them for their suitability for me and my family.
“In the spirit of the festive season I demand that your gifts be of a standard and quality befitting my and my family’s status.
“My under-butlers are under strict instructions not to allow any cheap and nasty or home-made, bedizened tat being passed off as a ‘gift’ by some beetle-headed addle pate.
“So be well warned you shiftless, lollpoops, and fuddle caps,” he said.
Lord Downer then turned his attention to the installation of the living angel on the family Christmas tree.
“Each year at this time we gather to witness the living angel being lifted into place atop our glorious Christmas tree,” he said.
At this the four young bearers of His Lordship’s sedan chair on his orders arranged themselves to enable Pout House’s second pantry maid attired as an angel to be lifted to the top of the tree and fastened there with stout rope despite her struggles and protests (main picture).
“There she will stay with neither food nor water until the new year arrives,” Lord Downer explained.
“Isn’t this a grand tradition — started by my dear great grandpapa — and are we not fortunate to be able to continue it?
“It brings such joy to my family, especially after the first few days when the angel’s lily white skin has acquired a rosy festive glow and at night when those of us in the warmth and comfort of Pout House can hear the angel’s prayers on the still cold air before she falls silent, or just falls.”
When asked by a media representative whether the practice met contemporary workplace health and safety standards His Lordship’s face appeared to lose colour as he uttered a tiny squeal, grew unsteady on his feet, drew a perfumed kerchief from his sleeve and covered his nose before slipping sideways into the arms of the four young bearers who then carried him away in a forthright and erect manner.