Friday, 12 March 2010

Manors maketh woman

After spending the winter working from home and in the corridors of power on the council Death Star, I realised if I didn't get out more I was going to go quietly insane.

Which is exactly what Mr Grigg called me when I declared I was going to take a job for one day a week in the gift shop at a local stately home at the minimum wage. Not just any stately home, though. This is Mapperton, heaven on earth, the best little manor house in Dorset in the most beautiful countryside in the world.

Two Facebook friends said they loved it too - and working in the gift shop was their first job at the age of 13. You've heard of career progression? Well this is career regression in my case.

The lady of the manor thought I was mad too.

'Are you sure there's nothing else you should be doing?' she said with a shrug (or it could have been a trug), hastily adding: 'But we'd be delighted to have you.'

So last week I started my first day in the Pot Shop, rearranging the products on sale and making conversation with the punters. Of which there were two. And even they came in on a special two-for-one deal. Like stately homes all over the country, the season has just begin. Business is slow.

'You just wait until the coaches start coming,' said the handyman, sending the fear of God up my spine because I am rubbish at maths. I have a till to help me, but I usually break all things electric, and the thought of hordes of tourists talking at once and flashing fivers began to send me in a spin.

I managed to get by without completely wrecking the till and this week we had more customers. Three to be precise. There was also an Indian runner duck that struck up conversation with me and a party of doves that spent the morning tap dancing on the corrugated iron roof above my head.

Life doesn't get much better than this.

I'll keep you posted.

Love Maddie x


  1. Oooh, be still my heart !
    I'm so excited for you....
    Just a short drive down the road is home to The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson.
    Beautiful old grounds, and mansions. I have wanted to work in the gift shop there since I first set eyes on it thirty eight years ago, and still hold that dream close to my heart.
    Can't wait for more pictures !
    Good Luck ...

  2. Maddie, you rock! With your engaging manner, you have *no* reason to fear the swarms of customers the coaches! I'm looking forward to delightful accounts of "Today at the Pot Shop"!

  3. Oops! I meant "customers the coaches will bring". Sorry.

  4. You had me laughing at the number of customers you've had. It's a busy little place isn't it!

    But seriously, would love to hear more, always fascinated by these gift shops and usually spend far too much money on stuff I don't need. And in most cases, don't want.

    CJ xx

  5. I'm sure you'll be a welcome breath of fresh air !!


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