Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Basics

Hello! I'm Doris. At least for the purposes of this journal. Certain identifying details have been cunningly altered so I don't get myself, or anyone else, a strongly worded memo. I work for a nationwide conservation charity. I look after a historic house at the heart of a large estate. My job title is that of Visitor Services Manager, but it could just as easily be Custodian, Cleaner, Woman Who Buys the Tea Bags or She Who Distributes Bog Roll. That is to say, my job is varied. It is a big estate with a handful of staff to care for it and a slightly larger fistful of volunteers helping out.

Unlike many jobs, I never leave. I am on site 24/7, living in the part of the house which is not open to the public. (Oh, all right, I do leave site now and then. Mainly to get more tea bags or bog roll). My life here is fascinating and frustrating, restrictive and demanding, challenging and fun.

I am not alone in the house, oh no. I have a husband, a daughter, a daughter’s boyfriend, three cats, one dog, tiny tiny frogs and a colony of bats.

History Matters, Pass It On. That’s been emblazoned across our Ticket Office all summer, the box of special, expensive, colourful postcards, where you can write a missive on why history matters to you, remaining largely untouched and unregarded by our visitors. Well, you can’t blame them. What can you say on one measly postcard? (Actually, quite a lot, and we’ll be sharing some outstanding achievements in the field of visitor comments as we travel this way together).

So, I shall take up the challenge and send my own missives from my exciting world of conservation, customer care and historic buildings. Or, more accurately, stories of bat poo, tiny frogs, bizarre behaviour, tea, biscuits and why our timbers aren’t black.


Anonymous said...

Frogs and bats?! Wow! The bats are domestic, or ones you specifically bought? Or did they just turn up one day and live in the grounds?

Doris said...

The bats have been here for hundreds of years - they roost in the attic and flap about the Hall at night. Luckily they very rarely venture in the domestic side of the house!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's so cool! I love bats. I have to lie on a sunlounger late at night to see them though.

Will said...

I so wish I'd read this earlier instead of spending ages puzzling over what your job is exactly. All is becoming (slightly) clearer.