Saturday, 10 April 2010

A flock of visitors

The sound of contented, hen-like mumblings is coming from the car park. I peep out of the Pot Shop doorway expecting to see a couple of bantams scrabbling around in the mud, only to find two elderly ladies in deep conversation around the plant table.

They are joined by their husbands and then a man comes in wanting admission tickets for seven people. And still the cars come in. I have a slight panic attack when the till malfunctions, the digital display telling me 'operator error'. But visitors to country gardens are generally a cheerful and patient lot. Which is just as well, bearing in mind the terrible combination of maths, electrical equipment and me.

It has been busy at Mapperton since Easter. Glorious weather means scores of visitors coming through the gates. The cafe is now open and people are enjoying their lunch in the sunshine, joined every now and then by a bold bantam cockerel.

A member of staff hands me a brown envelope. My wages! I feel like I did back in 1979 when I had my first pay packet. The amount is about the same too.

Meanwhile, her Ladyship has discovered the blog. Summoned to the office, I stand close to the door as she peers over her spectacles, looking at me and then at the computer screen. There is a pause.

'You write very well,' she says. 'Light, humorous, rather in the style of the English essayists...'

This is quite something coming from a woman who has letters from Samuel Pepys. Is she being sarcastic? I edge closer to the door. Did I complain about the rate of pay? Or mention the time when her Ladyship took me on a guided tour of the gardens with the pet cat wrapped around her neck like a living stole?

Plucking up all my courage, I stammered: 'I can feel a "but" coming on...'

'Not at all,' her Ladyship says. 'How can we get more people to read it?'

So there you go - all followers gratefully received.

I'll keep you posted.

Love Maddie x


  1. That was a close call!
    Spread the word - and I hope it causes lots more pleasant visitors to come around.

  2. It is a pleasure to read your blog, I shall endeavour to return here once a week simply to keep abreast of the Batams.

    If Madam happens to read the comments :) let me say that publicity does not come cheap or even cheep and a goodly bonus for the author of this blog would be a just reward !


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