The presence of tradesmen in Farthing Hall – a frequent occurrence since preserving standards is imperative - inevitably generates challenges, I find. This morning offers a fine example. As I was exiting my Jewellery Room, having selected my favourite ruby ensemble which complements my chosen jersey twin set with such clarity, I spotted an overalled youth wandering the corridor. Given that he was some considerable distance from the refurbishment area, I confronted him aside the aspidistra.
He justified his presence by insisting he’d lost his bearings whilst negotiating the west wing. I directed him to the servants’ staircase, made a mental note to dissuade Cook from being so generous to labourers and headed for the gift wrapping room.
As I crossed the threshold, however, I was overcome with displeasure. Indeed a lingering aroma of hand printed wallpaper and bespoke paint did imply a measure of progress. Yet instead of appreciating newly honed décor, my gaze was drawn to swathes of unacceptably filthy fabric which coated my weave, my bureau and my custom-made walnut with suede inlay shelving. Curled edges of said fabric revealed a multitude of stains on both sides.
The function of dust sheets is to offer a resting place on which the result of labour can accumulate. Yet what I fail to understand is their lack of cleanliness. Surely regular removal of grime is crucial? For otherwise dirt is merely left to infuse those very items the fabric is designed to protect.
This preponderance of filth and air borne particles ingratiating themselves upon my belongings induced much angst on my part. In truth, a resolution to personally purchase fresh ones came perilously close. Yet this is far from my responsibility.
Meantime, a brace of workers acknowledged my presence. The more responsible of the two (though, in all honesty, the difference was marginal) engaged his listening skills when I vocalised my disaste of dirt riddled equipment. Yet his subsequent incomprehension at my grievance prompted a ripple of angst the like of which I have not experienced since a chandelier restorer attempted to convince me he could cleanse my finials for a mere three figure sum.
Who knows, I emphasised, what germs could be invading Farthing Hall and smearing my treasures with infested grime.
I went on to suggest, in as authoritative manner as I could summon, the provision of new cotton calico or, at the very least, the laundering of the present supply, before the continuation of further work.
The boy’s disdain was barely credible. The business, he enlightened me, is unable to produce unsullied kit for every customer.
I took a moment to remind him of the value of my patronage. His mother’s position on the Embroidery Federation Committee and the local Council vacancy to which his father publicly aspires was also mentioned.
Pristine dust sheets, he murmured, will be in situ tomorrow morning.