I’ve had this set in mind for the longest time, but of course what with one thing after another, it took a while to produce it. It’s for my friend’s dad’s birthday, and it’s only right he should be getting a Fawlty Towers set complete with the exceedingly rude Basil Fawlty, his domineering wife Sybil; Polly, the only calm and competent staff, and the language deficient porter/waiter Manuel. I remember walking past my friend’s TV set as a child and saw Basil Fawlty goose stepping around the dining room and immediately demanded to know if this was a lost Monty Python episode. Mr. S patiently explained the brilliance of Fawlty Towers to me and at my next play date there, my friend and I watched all 12 episodes, more or less in one sitting.

Fawlty

Here’s Basil, Sybil, Polly Manuel, and Manuel’s pet hamster, which is really a rat, named after Basil.

Years later, when my friend and I were driving around the UK, checking into whatever B&B we came upon at the end of the day, we met a real life Basil Fawlty. Actually, that’s not fair on his part. He was polite but uncomfortably stern. The man did not crack a single smile the entire time we were there. When we returned from a late dinner at the pub, we found him standing in the front hall with his arms folded, bearing the manner of someone who’s been waiting there for a very long time. I thought we’d get a tongue lashing about stumbling in at 10 PM, as we’d been conditioned by Basil Fawlty’s school of hospitality, but really, he just wanted to take our breakfast order. Still, the whole thing was just really really weird and we were simply glad that we didn’t end up buried in his garden.

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