"And you actually live here? You're so lucky!"
I hear this at least once a day. I try not to let on that I live here. When visitors ask about the part of the house not open to the public, I just say that it is still lived in. If pressed, I'll go as far as to say it is lived in by a member of staff. The volunteers, however, will rat me out in a heartbeat. "Doris lives here!" they state, pointing at me as I try to slink by, unnoticed.
And yes, it is amazing, and I am lucky, and it is beautiful....but....
The drawback is, of course, it is incredibly rare to just enjoy it, as when you live where you work, you are never really off duty. Closed days and evenings are very important to me, and the family, as these are the only times we can relax and treat the place as our home. Which, of course, it is, it's just that when the public are here you can't go playing loud music, washing the car in the courtyard, letting the dog out, lighting up the barbecue or even hanging out the laundry.
Next year the amount of time when the house is closed is set to diminish further, with opening times set to be earlier in the mornings and the open season starting in February and continuing until December, wherever possible. This means the time I can have to myself, undisturbed, is very precious to me.
The trouble is, my colleagues, the ones who work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, who go home at the end of the day to a house they have all to themselves, keep booking in extra events and visits for every closed day and evening they can. I am thinking of becoming a naturist, just so I can go outside for a game of wobbly volleyball, or maybe jiggly pilates, and unsettle everyone so much they never disturb me during my time off again.