Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Uninvited Guests

I stood on the lawn in front of the house, smiling and chatting to the assembled group.

They had each paid to be a part of our Pledger and Benefactor day and we were making sure they felt they received their money's worth. I had given a guided tour of the house and was now making myself available to answer any questions they might have.

As I explained for the seventh time in as many minutes about why the house is limewashed, and therefore not black and white, I noticed a couple of people in the crowd that I was certain were not part of the group. For a start, our Pledgers and Benefactors were all dressed in wet weather gear and sensible footwear, having previously toured the woods and farms on the estate. They also wore name badges. A couple in brightly coloured shorts, with a dog in tow, stood out somewhat.

I watched them for a while, as I continued to chat to our official guests. They'd obviously taken advantage of the unpadlocked gate, as this was actually a closed day, and they would have found the ticket office unmanned. Dogs are not allowed beyond the Gatehouse either, so my hackles were up, but I felt loathe to have a public confrontation in front of our VIPs.

Eventually the man separated from his companion and headed into the house. I was agog at the cheek of it. I finished my conversation about limewash and excused myself. I found the uninvited guest in the Great Hall.

"Hello," I smiled. "Are you with the Pledger group?"

"Oh no, " he replied, "we're just visitors."

"Ah," I said. "Well I'm afraid we're actually closed today. This is a private function."

"Well nobody told us!" he exclaimed.

"That's because there was nobody in the ticket office to tell you. Because we're closed."

I walked him back outside and locked the house before any other opportunistic passersby wandered in.

I then scampered over to the courtyard where McColleague was in charge of the refreshments. I began to recount my tale of naughty visitors blagging a free visit.

"So, I had to usher him out of the door and - bloody hell! There they are again! I've asked them to leave once already!"

Sure enough, the completely unfazed couple, with dog, were now wandering into the courtyard and having a good look round.

"Well," huffed McColleague, "the nerve of it! I'd be so embarrassed, wouldn't you, if I found out I was in the middle of a private function and shouldn't be there?"

"Absolutely," I agreed. "They'll be over here wanting a cup of tea and a biscuit next!"

Our steely stares may have dissuaded them for trying for a free cup of tea, though. As it was they made a point of having a leisurely stroll around, before sauntering off - in the opposite direction to the exit. It was most frustrating. It was as if they knew I couldn't go for the jugular, wouldn't risk a potential scene, it being a day to impress our paying guests and all.

How very, very naughty some people are.


Miss Despina said...

GRRRRS! That would make me so cross!

Boz said...


mym said...

But really, what harm did they actually do?

Doris said...

Miss Despina - it annoyed me, too.

Boz - indeed. (Shakes fist for good measure).

Mym - they harmed my inner peace and tranquility by their rudeness, in failing to leave when gently informed they shouldn't be there, and from their willingness to ponce a free visit on the backs of those prepared to pay. Also they were in brightly coloured shorts, I tell you. Isn't that enough?

stitchwort said...

There should be burkas at the entrance kiosk, for the offensively dressed visitors.

Dick could run it, he has the customer service credentials.

zak said...

I'd have gone up to them the second time and said very quietly, you've been told the place is closed. Please leave now. Or we'll call security.

But then I'm really nasty like that.