‘Highs and lows…’

With Acting House Manager Lin on training days and annual leave for two weeks I had the unique pleasure of running the house during her time away… If ever there was a ‘step up to the plate’ time it was now. With many a volunteer to manage and various duties I was kept very busy. When visiting the house on a rainy day we ask our visitors to wear ‘blue over-shoes’, (They’re all the rage in Paris and Milan don’t you know…) basically to protect our beloved 300 year old floors and carpets from damp and muddy feet. This system although not perfect is great for minimising visitor impact. The only downside being when they are deposited at the end of the visitor route they fill up the bins quicker than you can empty them! (A small price to pay in conservation terms.) Our room guides, as usual, proved invaluable. On a few occasions, we had less than the required guides to open the house, and I had to step in as room guide myself, and re-arrange the rota system (nicknamed ‘The Dainton System’ after Katy’s valiant efforts in drawing it up…) at the same time as tend to the usual house manager duties! After a hectic schedule in charge and with many a ‘couldn’t have done it without you moment for staff and vol’s alike I looked forward to a bit of R&R.

On my triumphant return to Dyrham towers I decided to bring a gift in the form of rain. Lots of rain. Unless you have been living under a particularly dry rock you’ll know what I mean. This unfortunately sent torrents of water to the courtyard which looked like a lake at one point, and right outside the stable block. It was decided we would close for health & safety reasons but it was the right call to make. When trying to assess the situation my ‘macho nature’ took a tumble when I needed to see Katie M and got a piggy-back from ‘Garden Queen Sarah’ across the flood, much to the delight of the outdoor team, just as I spotted a shallow bit… As the roof and cellar are not the most water tight areas of the property I was given the task of inspecting both, so I went armed with a torch & camera. The trip to roof void area is easy if you have the build of a Hobbit so by the time I had got up the ladder, crouched along through the various ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type doors and emptied the drip buckets, I was sure glad to stand upright…

A trip to the cellar is always welcome and has been ever since a colleague informed me a T.V. version of Dracula had been filmed down there. But Count C. has long since left the building and with no sign of excess water, Bats or anything sinister it was time to return to the surface-world…

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About arlingtoncourtblog

Welcome to my blog! I've been keeping it to document my training as a Conservation Assistant for the National Trust at Dyrham Park. View all posts by arlingtoncourtblog

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