Well, that’s October over and done with. November sees us in that wonderful, and all too brief, period of time when the house is closed to the public.
No more visitors (apart from a few Christmas events) until March! Well, no more legitimate visitors. Have already had a couple of opportunistic visitors who managed to bypass the closed signs, locked ticket office, deserted car park and then saunter into the house for a bit of a chat with the alarms engineer. This will happen frequently over the winter. When I have to leave the gates unlocked so that workmen can get in, opportunistic visitors soon follow. They will cheerfully pick their way over trailing cords from electrical appliances, weave their way between the step ladders and building detritus, somehow failing to notice the dust sheets covering the contents of the house, and utter those immortal words “Are you open?”
Having persuaded them that, contrary to the – admittedly confusing – outward appearances of scaffolding, builders vans and enormous "No Entry" signs, we are in fact not open at the moment, I returned to the scene of devastation that was previously my office. McColleague and I were having a clear out. Apparently my Jenga-with-box-files storage system is unsafe. As is my habit of storing heavy and sharp-edged items on the stupidly high shelf.
So, it all had to go. The wardens were pleased, they love getting hold of stuff they can burn. You have to put big labels on things you just want them to put in the shed, saying “DO NOT BURN!” We have learned this through bitter experience.
Should be a corking bonfire night. Especially if they leave the cans of paint and batteries in with the boxes.