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At Home with the Chattertons


OUR man in Westminster, Sir Charles ‘Chatty’ Chatterton MP, is committed to truth, transparency and decency. He is happy for TCW Defending Freedom to publish his correspondence to his constituents. Sir Charles has represented the people of Greater Tittleham since entering Parliament in 1966. He is an Assistant Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health. In his latest letter he tells his supporters of an unusual foray into the world of television.

My Dear Friends

You may well have become aware of some commotion recently in Middle Tittleham from a group of earnest-looking youngsters wandering around holding large cameras, lights and other paraphernalia. For this intrusion I must offer an apology. They have in fact been compiling something called ‘footage’ for a television documentary to be titled At Home with the Chattertons. The programme is to be shown on a channel called Nitflex, or Nutflix, which I am assured has no connection with the disgraceful BBC. 

I agreed to their intrusion as I feel it is only right that you should have more information about the sterling efforts Lady Veronica and I make on your behalf, and the moderate payment will make a useful contribution towards the refurbishment of the Hall roof. I also felt it appropriate that you should have a glimpse of what goes on ‘behind closed doors’ at the Hall and in the corridors of power in Westminster.

It would be remiss of me to let you know too much of the content of the programme; suffice to say that it begins with me storming out of the office of my former boss, the scoundrel Shapps, having given him a dressing-down about the idiocy of the Government’s treatment of motorists. Incidentally, it does beggar belief that fresh from his failures at Housing, International Development, Transport, the Home Office, Business, and the oxymoronic Energy Security and Net Zero Department, the obsequious poseur has now been put in charge of Defence. God help us all!

The programme then depicts me in more an emollient mood making suggestions about how we deal with the rise in the number on hospital waiting lists. You will see me explaining to my current boss, the intelligence vacuum Barclay, that instead of saying 8million or whatever, we should announce that it is only 12 per cent of the population; surely 12 is a far more acceptable number than 8million.

Before I leave Westminster to return to the sanity of Tittleham, you will note how I am approached by sundry lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry offering me various inducements to promote their untested snake oil. You will observe that the amiable countenance that you know so well turns into a scowl that would pulverise a gargoyle when I encounter these vicious villainous vampires.

While I am busy in London, you will find Lady Veronica eagerly marshalling the good ladies from the WI as they are given instructions about their role in our famous Summer Fair. In addition to the usual favourites such as the wife-carrying competition, quartering the sheep and hunting the socialist, new activities are discussed. They include ducking a Greenie in oil, vermin shooting (for children 5-8), and otter racing. Our grandson, Ivanhoe, makes a brief appearance to confirm that he is happy to repeat his much-appreciated pig-sticking demonstration. Following complaints about the smell at last year’s fair, he reluctantly agrees to use balloons as his targets.

Zlata, our Ukrainian refugee, is also featured. As she helps to prepare dinner, you will hear her talking on her iPad to her cousins on the Black Sea coast as they enjoy their beach holidays in that war-ravaged country. Later you can follow her discussions with the council panjandrums in Bath as she seeks to arrange accommodation in a new house for herself and any of her family who wish to join her.

In one of the highlights of the show, the film crew follows as my secretary Catherine and I embark on a vital Parliamentary fact-finding expedition to Trinidad. Our task there was to investigate the nesting sites of the leatherback turtle, a project which had received a large grant from our overseas aid budget. After the obligatory visit to a rum distillery you will follow us as we poke and prod on a beach. We are there to help the ungainly little blighters get out of their bunkers and find their way to the ocean. Catherine, who is far more agile than I, can be seen valiantly fending off vicious frigate birds, enormous lizards and giant crabs to ensure that any tardy turtles survive as they make their way through the sandy slaughterhouse. I am sure the walrus-botherer Attenborough will be proud to see us doing our bit for these weird wobbling wonders of the natural world.

The viewers will then see that in the evening I officiate at a martini-making competition organised by the producers of the local speciality, Angostura Bitters. I am sorry to report that the tapes for the rest of the trip were mislaid.

In a particularly poignant moment towards the end of the film Lady Veronica is featured attempting to play Bach’s English Suite Number Two in A minor on her harpsichord as I, with slice of lemon drizzle cake in one hand and a tumbler of Vintage Glen McYousaf in the other, watch the gardeners deadhead the roses and sharpen the lawn edges. In the distance you will see young Ivanhoe chasing balloons on his charger. At the back of the room Catherine is busy dealing with your concerns about the potholes on the B7492, whilst Zlata can be heard shouting at local government bods about the kitchen fittings she requires in her promised new house.

While I continue to urge you not to bother watching television programmes which seem to be designed for people with the IQ of a moth, I do urge you to watch At Home with the Chattertons on Notfilx. By doing so you will be reassured that as long as Tittleham endures there will always be an England.

Your humblest of servants

Sir Charles Chatterton MP
Tittleham Hall
Middle Tittleham

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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