Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Mother of a Day

12.01am - Finally get to bed after a long, long day. (As yesterday was World Forestry Day, we had put on an event in the afternoon where the public could have a go on a pole-lathe, or building a bird box. Amazingly no one got nailed to anything they shouldn't. Though the wardens did accumulate plasters as the day wore on.

Once the house closed, McColleague and I set about transforming it into a high class venue for the local history society's cheese and wine tasting event. This involved much shifting of heavy oak tables, fetching in 50 extra chairs and protecting as much as possible from potential damage. We then hung around for the rest of the night, sweeping up broken glass here, mopping up wine there. The plus side was that we were given wine and cheese to sample along with everyone else. The negative side was that we had to listen to the very dull wine talk that went with it. McColleague and I retired to the office and speculated on our own version of a cheese and wine event.

"I like this cheeky little red, as you can get four bottles for a tenner from Londis."

"Indeed. I find it goes particularly well with a Dairylea Triangle on a TUC biscuit."

We even got "shhhhushed" at one point, we were giggling so.

We were on duty until 11pm, when the last attendees finally left.)

3am - Wake up from a dream involving bits of wood and Dairylea Triangles. The wind is whistling around the house like a bad sound effect. Struggle to return to sleepy oblivion.

8am - Discover the dog has not been well in the night. Maybe the wind bothered him, too. He has opted to not be well in front of the Rayburn, so that by morning it has pretty much baked onto the tiled floor. Don disposable gloves, fetch cleaning products and fantasise, as I scrape up stinky brown nastiness, of an alternate reality with less poo and more leisurely lie-ins and breakfast in bed.

8.26am - Discover message on the answer phone from one of my volunteers. She has car trouble so won't be in today. The chances of finding another volunteer on Sunday morning who has not already made plans for Sunday afternoon are slim to none. Bugger. That means I am going to be room stewarding all afternoon.

9am - Go through to showrooms and assess what needs putting right before we open. Rather a lot.

9.30am - Stuff wine-stained cloths in to a bag, ready for sending to the laundry, pack away the table protectors and marvel at the many and varied places I have found cheese and biscuit debris.

10am - 50 chairs and 3 trestle tables stubbornly remain in the house. I am all achey and simply can't face carrying them across the courtyard and up the stairs, back to the Granary, where they belong.

10.30am - 50 chairs and 3 trestle tables have been removed by my lovely daughter and her lovely boyfriend. I am pleased. I am so pleased I also get them to bring in the 20 solar-powered lights I put out to illuminate the drive last night. Before my pleasure at a job well done can lead to any more tasks, lovely daughter and boyfriend make themselves scarce.

10.38am - The house is finally looking as it should. The furniture has been shifted back into position, the pewter plates and candlesticks are all where they belong and I have vacuumed up every last crumb and shard of glass.

10.50am - Remember we promised Mother's Day card-making activities in the Family Room today. Go on a hunt for art and craft materials.

10.55am - Unearth cardboard box filled with motley collection of dried-up felt tip pens, felt-tip pen lids, broken pencils, empty glitter glue tubes and crayons. Hurrah! Crayons! They'll do. Decide to sift crayons into this useful wire letter tray.

11am - Why did I choose this crappy wire letter tray? It's designed for sheets of A4 paper, not crayons. They keep falling out of the big lattice-work squares. Decide to line letter tray with something, so the crayons can't escape.

11.01am - Why did I choose a 1-ply paper napkin?

11.05am - Carry the basket of crayons carefully, at optimum angle, and put, with sheets of card, in Family Room.

11.06am - I forgot the glue.

11.08am - And the scissors.

11.10am - Check toilets are clean and have adequate supplies of loo roll, soap and hand towels.

11.11am - Remember we promised lavendar-bag-making activity too. Check the "you will need" list.

11.15am - Nuts to that, no way am I cutting out dozens of muslin circles. Squares are quicker.

11.30am - Put muslin squares, lavender, wool and tags in Family Room.

11.35am - Go to kitchen to fill kettle and fetch milk, cups and spoons for volunteers tea-making corner.

11.36am - Realise I left the front door open and the dog has fucked off.

11.37am - Step out of the front door, yelling "Zed!" as my Visitor Recption Assistant arrives to collect his cash box.

"Zed's round the corner," he says, pointing. "And I think he' something."

11.38am - Go round corner. Zed is in the flower bed, doing something.

"Noooo! No, Zed, not there!" I am too late. He is still not well.

11.40am - Fetch watering can to wash away sticky brown nastiness from flower bed and indulge in a brief fantasy of an alternate reality involving less poo and more poise and readiness. And space hoppers.

12noon - Open to the public!

12.01pm - 3.59pm - Welcome hundreds of people, explain why the timbers aren't black, exclaim over the snow/wind/sunshine and smile, smile, smile.

4pm - Close the doors!

4.05pm - Put bat covers back on, close all curtains and doors, set alarms.

4.30pm - Abandon cashing up. Too tired to stand much chance of an accurate return. When I was a girl I always put "7" as my answer to unfathomable maths questions. It worked for me then (surprisingly often), but I have my doubts as to its efficacy now.

5pm - Wonder if it's too soon to start drinking?

6pm - Yeah, that hit the spot. Happy Mother's Day!


Garry said...

You should have left the one by the Rayburn a bit longer - that stuff's so much more amenable when entirely dried out.

Doris said...

A good concept but

A) it was whiffing the whole house out and
B) I would only end up stepping in it before it reached the anhydrous state.

surly girl said...

have you ever thought about a nice little job in a shop?

(and if you do, can i have the job you've got now?)

Doris said...

Ah, Surly, I do sometimes ponder the benefits of nice little Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 existence, but know I'd be bored 2 minutes into it.

(If I were to ever leave, though, I'd be sure to post you the vacancy details :) )

Robert Swipe said...

Deraest Doris,

I l.o.l'ded - which, Shaggy Blog Story aside, obviously, is very much a rarity...

I really had no idea you were out there, but I will add you to the top table immediately.

Sadly I can't offer much beside commiseration vis a vis the encrusted poo. Emery board?...

L.U.V. on ya,


p.s. don't you find the visceral *earthiness* of a screwtop, current crop Thunderbird sets the Dairy Lea rather beter than Chateau Londis? Although, to be fair, you'd eat the silver foil and not notice after the third bottle.......

Doris said...

Hello, Bob, thank you for stopping by! I only recently discovered you, myself, and was muchly impressed. Refreshingly honest and pithy. And hurrah, I made it to the top table! That's where the Dairylea Triangles have the foil peeled off for you, I heard. Class.

tea and cake said...

Blimey! I was exhausted by 11.35, and would have sat down with the cup of tea!

Hope Zed is better today ... I wish him more solid poos.

Doris said...

I was exhausted by 11.35 too, but had gone into automaton mode. I made up for it later, with much tea, many biscuits and buckets of wine.

Zed has just stolen the cat's food again, so I don't hold out much hope for the flower beds, frankly.

cogidubnus said...

One of the dodgiest things I discovered with both our Rayburn (and to a lesser extent) our black lead range ,(note the oven competition again!), is that if something overcooks or worst, burns inthere you simply don't know because there is no burning all goes up the chimney.

And unless you use the Rayburn regularly, (which I'm ashamed to say that owing to haste, we dont),

We once came home from a week away and found a blackened baking tray and an equally blackened tin plate, both with carbonised remnants thereupon...No-one could quite remember what on earth they'd been, or indeed, how long they'd been there.

I suppose it's not so much a condemnation of Agas/Rayburns etc, but more a sideswipe at our lifestyle.

(The indoor ducks send their regards)