Through the swirling mists, you can just about make out the vague shape of tall, twisted chimneys and the snarling face of an eagle on top of the gatepost.
The start of the season is quiet, so very cold and only the crocuses and snowdrops shout out above the still, fog-bound air.
I busy myself by rearranging the exquisite Emma Bridgewater pottery and colour-co-ordinating the tea cloths on the clothes horse. I am pleased I finally bowed and became a slave to fashion because my Merino Ugg Boots keep my feet warm against the freezing flagstones and my pink Musto jacket makes me feel as snug as a bug in a rug.
I dust along the shelves in the children's section and accidentally set off two clockwork donkeys and a springy-octopus. I spill my coffee from my Thermos all over the counter and use up my tissues trying to clear it. In the afternoon, my nose is running for England and I apologise to the head gardener for using my sleeve.
Not the best look for the front of house of a manor house declared as the nation's finest four years ago. And you can read here why Mapperton is a cut above the rest.
Incidentally, I am not being paid to write this blog, much to Mr Grigg's annoyance. I am doing it because I love the place and can't get enough of it. The combination of the beauty of the setting, the formal gardens fighting off the advancing encroachment of the ancient Dorset landscape beyond the walls and the harmony of architectural styles is good for the soul.
And besides, I get staff discount working in the Pot Shop. Which is what I point out to Mr Grigg when describing some of the beautiful items for sale.
'There are some lovely doormats up there,' I say.
'Yes, you,' he replies.
I'll keep you posted.
Love Maddie x