When Two Worlds Collide

Sister has sold house, and after various complex manoeuvres is house-sitting for charity landlord of vast but neglected country mansion until she and family find Dream Home. Cannot resist opportunity to inspect, and head off to ____shire in manner of Jane Austen heroine to find mansion, park and surrounding village looking exactly like set of BBC costume drama in soft evening sunlight, and delicious Taste of Greece supper from Lidl waiting in servants’ kitchen. Spend happy evening exploring corridors and discussing Madagascar, petits fours and fridges.

Following day visit mother-in-law in residential home; run through customary conversation, several times, and am just showing her photos on my phone (mostly Selfies of younger son) when smiling young woman enters lounge with drums and castanets and announces that it is time for their Musical Afternoon. Escape is impossible, so spend next hour singing along to Music Hall and Country Classics (everyone else is word-perfect), and listening to animated debate on who did the best version of I Love You Because (conclusion: Jim Reeves). Am surprised to find how much I enjoy it, and by the time the kindly kitchen staff bring round cups of tea and slices of Swiss Roll feel rather disconcertingly at home.

Return to own home in time for normal collage duty at church Harvest Crafts morning. Vicar tells me that ____shire is Quite The County Nowadays, but own county not looking bad at all on these glorious autumn days.

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22 thoughts on “When Two Worlds Collide

  1. Wonderful , am sitting here laughing out loud at the ‘disconcertingly at home’. You never cease to make me feel more cheerful. Thank you! Penny Lx

  2. How wonderful to house-sit a vast mansion. I think I’d be good at that. Glad you had a blast at the residential home.Something to look forward to. Well done you for manning up at the Harvest Crafts morning, I imagine collage can get quite messy.CJ xx

    • The house-sitting is a slightly surreal experience but yes, a wonderful opportunity to imagine a completely different life! Collage-making does indeed get quite messy, but I still find cutting and sticking strangely therapeutic. Perhaps it will be the next big trend, after colouring books for adults?

  3. Perhaps you could serve slices of swiss roll in your own home to relive the happy memory? Even Lidl swiss roll, to combine two happy memories? They say we make our own lives.

    • Thank you – I must say that all those places look wonderful. I’ve been to Dublin a couple of times (n rather more modest accommodation)- I’d love to return.

  4. Having had very brief stays in a couple of Jane Austen-like mansions, all I can say is, I hope your sister’s is better heated – nothing quite like washing and dressing in arctic conditions – they bred them tougher in those days…

    • We spent quite a lot of time gathering all their possessions into a couple of rooms in one corner, ready to huddle together for warmth. 21st century practicality is not the mansion’s strong point, and yes, I think we both have a new respect for our ancestors!

    • Thank you! That Jane Austen website does look good. I’m sure the children would like the virtual drums website as well but I have decided not to tell them about it just yet…

  5. I am reminded of the time when MrM tried to check into a hotel in Bristol but the delightful receptionist in a white uniform expressed some surprise. He insisted that he had a reservation but she suggested that he was significantly younger than the other residents. When he realised that his hotel was further along the street he was extremely embarrassed.

  6. I think your karaoke experience stood you in good stead for the singalong, Mrs F. Were you secretly wishing you had a mic and a screen with the words to follow? Fabulous line ‘Escape is impossible’. Am really enjoying your diary. More please!

    • Thank you! I think my karaoke days are behind me, though, and while I naturally still harbour occasional fantasies of worldwide superstardom was quite happy on this occasion to take a strictly background role…

  7. Would you like to come to our weekly Seniors’ Lunch? We have Cds playing – 50s and 60s (ballad-style, not pop). I’m beginning to know all the words…..

    • I might just drop in if I am down your way! We don’t have any music at our weekly pensioners’ Lunch Club, but I can imagine it working really well – songs do somehow seem to get through to people when other things don’t. And they certainly lodge in the brain – I keep finding myself humming “The Black Hills of Dakota” ….

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