The Drones have an annual rowing race against the Chanters, a rival, more upright, conscientious and striving club. This is always a close run event but this year the club "Hercules", Beefy Trotter, has had a bust-up with his jolly-hockey-sticks soulmate Chubby Winston-Smythe and become embroiled with the weedy Alison Pendryk, a lover of the poetry of Sir Walter Scott.
She disapproves of the Drones and has persuaded Beefy to resign and join the Chanters, a much more improving club which holds poetry readings
It is discovered that a sporting trophy given to the club many years ago has been pawned by a club member. It must be retrieved. Archie discovers that it has been purchased at auction by his Uncle (Aunt Amelia's husband), who is a connoisseur of silverware. It must be recovered.
There is to be a village fete in the village where Archie's Aunt Amelia lives. She is known to have invited 2 or 3 attractive and eligible young ladies to stay with her. She has an excellent French chef, Pierre.
In order to meet the ladies and eat the superb food, chaps need to get an invitation from Archie or his Aunt to spend the weekend. It may be possible to meet the ladies if one puts up at the village inn.
One of the ladies is mischievous and gets a gullible chap to steal the fish steamer from the kitchen (probably to keep newts in) as a dare. It is then discovered that a poached salmon is on the menu for dinner that evening.
It is then essential to (a) avoid the discovery of the steamer in anyone's room or anywhere else and (b) get it safely back in the kitchen before Pierre needs it so he won't throw a tantrum and go back to France.
Technical note: a typical fish steamer is made of shiny metal, measures 70 x 25 x 25 cm and contains a loose trivet which rattles plus a loose-fitting, equally rattling lid.
Angus McDougal, Club membership secretary has (much to the amazement of all) been swept of his feet by a Calvinist girl of the highest Moral principles.
She is of course trying to force him to resign his membership of the Drones.
Without his administrative skills the club will collapse facing both financial ruin and worse, the open ridicule of the Chanters. The entire Drones club must work to break up this disastrous engagement in which they will be assisted by Angus's Ghillie, McTavish.
This will definitely involve going up to Angus' castle for the engagement 'party' with Scottish dancing and no drinking! The booze must be kept secret: if the Drones do bring it, it will be kept in sporrans and drunk in dark corners. Anyone had up as 'drunk and disorderly' will probably come up before Esther's uncle the judge.
Angus may not break off the engagement - this is simply 'Not the done thing'. She must be the one to sever the knot. This can be accomplished in various ways: getting him drunk and letting her see, making her find him in a compromising position with one of the housemaids etc. She, however, will take a fair amount of convincing as she sure she can "reform him" removing any influence of his misspent youth.
A sideline to this occurs in the existence of Rollo Jenkins (NPC), a socially climbing and somewhat unpleasant member of the Drones.
He sees our Calvinist Miss as a step up to the higher strata of society, good food, good living and a huge increase in respect. He plays the "reform me for I have sinned" card, attempting to pry her away from Angus who will resent this intrusion most mightily.
The Drones should assist Mr. Jenkins in every way, helping him get close to her at every opportunity and trying to portray Angus in as bad a light as possible.
The action starts at Angus' engagement party and finishes one month later at the wedding ceremony. During this time any PC might end up as the bridegroom. There will be a wedding - it's been paid for and will go ahead; the prospective groom will be ushered in by shotguns if necessary.
If all goes well she will marry Jenkins and they will wander off in wedded bliss, him only finding out afterwards that he'll have to give up booze, fags and gambling and will also have to attend the Kirk twice on Sunday and family prayers every morning.
The Readies 5: Island castle in the Scottish highlands which is inaccessible at high tide
Old Grey Matter 4: He can handle keeping the rent paid on the club building, handles membership lists, embezzles a little (not much)
Vim & Vigour 6: High endurance but low strength, well able to shoot grouse.
Appearance -2: Insists on wearing the McDougal Tartan at all times. Not actually scruffy, but looks a little odd.
Etiquette -2: Dour and grouchy, somewhat blunt.
Alcohol tolerance +1
Romantic Resistance+3: Hasn't realised what girls are yet (until he is taken over by Esther).
Employs a well liked Ghillie, "McTavish"
McTavish enjoys the odd dram and is most desirous of keeping his employer single, being a rampant misogynist.
The Readies 4 Good town house in Edinburgh. Daddy is a lawyer, Uncle Fergus is a Judge
Old Grey Matter 7: Has a degree in Mathematics, with a sideline in theology.
Vim & Vigour 6: Can survive on porridge and haggis, holds her own on a grouse shoot
Appearance 2: Health, robust good looks but a boring dresser. Inclined to be harsh, and overbearing giving -3 to her appearance anywhere but Scottish Highlands.
Alcohol tolerance -3: Never had a drink in her life.
Conscience-3: If anything goes wrong she will feel guilty
One day Members arrive to find that the bar in the Drones is manned by a stranger. Gone is the man who for so long has provided their cocktails, mixed just the drink they need exactly to a chap's individual taste, provided consolation in troubled times, given useful (if long-winded) advice, and - most importantly - been the judge of the annual Fat Uncle sweepstake.
This last is an event run at luncheon on the day of the opening of the Eton and Harrow match when chaps traditionally bring their uncles to eat at the Drones. The previous barman was able to give an accurate figure on the weight of a person at a glance and has been relied on to decide the winner of the Fattest Uncle sweepstake.
The match is in 1 week's time. Every member with sporting blood has coughed up his £5 stake and written the name of his fattest uncle on a slip of paper. The names have been drawn from the hat already. The winner stands to take £100 and no-one wants to call off the contest. It is vital to get the old barman back.
The new barman doesn't know exactly where the old one has gone. He is reluctant to say anything (discretion being part of his job) but if pressed by someone suitably persuasive, he might hint that he left to take a better-paid job. The new barman was shown around and briefed by the old one, thinks he knows the member's regular tipples, but usually gets it wrong.
Enquiries (e.g. of the Club Secretary, Angus McDougal) reveal that he had been lured away by the Chanters club. Attempt to get inside the Chanters to speak to the barman should be made: e.g. steal or borrow a Chanters tie, wear old school tie and bluff ones way past the doorman, sneak in while the doorman is distracted by someone else, bribe a hard-up Chanter to take them in as guests etc.
In fact, the barman is rather bored at the Chanters, where there are a number of teetotallers and those that do drink stick to whiskey and soda. He will happily return to his old post if (a) he gets more pay and (b) the new barman from the Drones is taken on by the Chanters.
Stuffy Herring-Waterhouse's family have plotted to send him off to Africa and an administrative job on a coffee plantation to get him away from the lodestone of his life, Binky Strudel, a Lyon's Corner House waitress.
The boat sails from Southampton in one weeks time. Stuffy is incarcerated at the Herring-Waterhouse mock-Gothic castle near Slough. It is moated and has very thick, high walls, having been designed by an ancestor obsessed with the Crusades who knew what he thought a real castle was like.
The Drones must either convince the Herring-Waterhouse family to change their minds, get either Stuffy or Binky to end their relationship, or spirit Stuffy out of the castle and away before the boat sails to give him time to sort the problem out himself.
Naturally, all known friends of Stuffy's will be denied entrance to the castle.
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Copyright Ian Crowther, Sheila Thomas, Victoria Uren 1995-1996