Harry squinted at the petunias Lady Smock had dropped on the patio table. He stood blinking like a forgotten turn signal, his serene mien disturbed by this flagrant floral bad judgement. Petunias at Smock Manor? What next – garden gnomes?
“Our war ensign, Harry. We’re going to plant them at the entrance to the estate. If dear, brother Bertram thinks I’m going to take exile to the Gatehouse without a fight, he’ll soon know the cut of my jib.”
Harry liked his Lady all fired up, especially when she used nautical lingo (Gilbert and Sullivan and tight bodices came to mind) but were petunias the best weapons in this newly declared war against Bertram Smock, Lord of the Manor? Lady pulled out more tricks from her arsenal – no gnomes but lots of gewgaws to decorate the gatehouse entrance to show the world The Estate had gone to seed.
Like all Smocks before him, Bertram fancied himself a paragon of taste. He knew people looked to him for guidance on all things dignified and sophisticated. “People want what Bertie’s got”, he always said. The giant tin ladybug at the gatehouse entrance would send him looking for an exterminator.
“Hold on, luv. Let me get my tools. I want to add something.” Harry disappeared into the shed. He returned just before sunset, with a spotlight and a wooden plank with words burned into the grain. Humming “I am the Monarch of the Sea”, Harry hammered the new sign in the bed of petunias and tchotchkes:
Welcome to the Estate of Bertie Smock, Lord of the Manor.
BS is the heart of our beds.