The Clay Pigeon Shooting Society’s Tweed Ball – A Night to Remember


Bertie rushed out of his Hatfield college accommodation, locking the door with his teeth while held in his right hand a bottle of Chateau Peyraguey to drink en route and in his left, his trusty shotgun.

Neither could touch the ground for an instant. Heedless of the imminent public possession offence, he flew down the stairs and was caught on the way down by Jasper and Sebastian. They linked arms and burst out into the old school anthem, and after carefully dodging a barrage of hoi-polloi, were safely aboard the double decker bus to Wynyard Hall. It was going to be a tremendous evening.

When they arrived, the champagne was flowing freely from the specially commissioned champagne- dispensing statue (don’t ask where the nozzle was) and an echoing cry of “PULL!” announced the launching of vol-au-vent into the waiting bouche of a young man in plus fours.

Bertie thought that was a little infra dig and made a b-line for the choccy fountain. Of course, a man’s first priority should always be chocolate, but the fact that Henrietta Hervey was standing by it didn’t not influence his decision. She looked particularly ravishing tonight in her tweed blazer. Bertie appreciated a woman who dressed for the weather – it meant he wouldn’t have to sacrifice his own warmth later on in the name of chivalry when she whined about being cold.

‘Henrietta! What a coincidence!’

‘Hardly, I am a member of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Society, after all. Surely there can’t be many people who would go to that.’

‘Gosh knows. Anyway, you’re looking well, is that Harris Tweed?’

‘Naturally, it’s the Tweed Ball you ninny! What else would I be wearing?’

Bertie supposed so. The conversation had come to a grinding halt. Bertie pulled at his bowtie and took a sip of his champers. But Henrietta gave him a look over her glass and said, 

‘You know, Bertrand, I think you have the best aim out of anyone in the club.’

Bertie gulped. Now was not the time to be sheepish, however. He produced an enormous wink.

‘Call me Bertie.’

She blushed.

‘Call me Hettie.’

Bertie was jubilant. Spurred on by this flirtatious remark, he picked up a skewer of strawberries, wafted it through the fountain and held it to Hettie’s mouth. Suddenly, time slowed down. A drop of chocolate was trembling on the end of the stick like the tear in the eye of Bertie’s mother when he announced his Oxford rejection. It was suspended directly over (of all things!) Hettie’s blazer! Bugger! It was too late. The chocolate globule fell. The blazer was ruined. Bertie raised his eyes painfully from the brownish stain to Hettie’s face. It was aflame with rage. Hettie quite rightly socked him in the nose. Poor Bertie slumped off in shame to rejoin Jasper and Sebastian and, after a round or two of ‘pin the groundskeeper’s house on the estate map’, was soon feeling pretty cheery again.

‘Oh well, old boy,’ he thought, ‘there’s always the next Tweed Ball.’


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