‘Twas a cold Winter’s day in November, in a House in Olde Kingstone Towne. Ye old King Steven (for it was he) lounged on his shiny new office sofa and surveyed what was left of his rapidly diminishing Kingdom. He rang for his loyal servant, Sir Greysuit Loanalot, who came running quickly up the newly varnished stairwell. ‘Sir Greysuit’, cried the old King, ‘I have devised a cunning plan. Forsooth, let us have our traditional SLT Away-Day in somewhere more grand and majestic, this time fit for Royalty.’ ‘You mean stay in the Borough?’ ‘Nay, nay, you silver-haired fool! Let us hire a Lodge in Great Windsor Park! We can escape the masses and all our messes and make merry. We can invite all our Knights of the £600,000 Table, and all our token lasses, and all our tribe of anonymous Guv’ners, including their Chair’.
Sir Greysuit frowned worriedly. ‘But that would cost yet more golden dosh, my Sire’. ‘Yes, yes’, cried the old King, ‘much more dosh, but more suitably posh. And who will know?’ ‘But what about the River?’ ‘Never mind the Thames’. ‘No, no, Sire. I mean the River newspaper?’ Sir Steven grew visibly angry. ‘Have you forgotten our secret SLT motto? Confirm nothing, deny everything’.
The very next morning, as the heavy fog slowly lifted and ye old clouds cleared, Sir Greysuit waved his magic money-tree wand, and a booking suddenly appeared. And then, verily, the big day came. A grand and merry time was had by all, in a Royal Lodge in the Great Park, ‘with a strong reputation for its fine dining’ and ‘luxury en-suite overnight accommodation’ (according to ye advertising scroll). While the big booze flowed, and King Steven glowed, knives were sharpened for yet more ‘efficiency savings’ for his old Kingdom and its Estates. But after the deeds were done, it was time for some fun. Sir Colin and Dame Angela sang some old ditties, while some of the Guv’ners ate more cream cakes, direct from their plates. Former Court Jester Stone was wheeled in for ye olde fireside tales, claiming he had ‘once single-handedly privatized the whole British rail network’. Next on the list, as the guests became p—-d, was failed FASS Dean, Sir Simon Shagalot, who told the good and attentive Knights about his sincere concern for women’s rights, especially lasses in tights. But what was this?? An olde ghost at the feast? A former Knight named McQuilly tried to ambush the throng, but King Steven blocked him off, with a dismissive ‘Be gone!’, supremely confident that a super-deluxe ‘non-disclosure agreement’ (inked by hand on old goat’s parchment) had dealt with the irritating Scottish foe.
The only Knight to quiver with real fear was Sir Simon, who was once McQuilly’s close peer (the former pair’s dubious past could now ruin his career). King Steven smiled knowingly to himself: ‘Thank God I kept a nice little dossier on both, as one is a fraud and the other’s an oaf’. And off the SLT all went, treading clumsily into the Windsor Park Park’s snowy breeze, safe in the knowledge that their pay packets will never, ever freeze. Merry Xmas, peasants!