Early last Wednesday morning, team Highclere each carried a tearoom chair across to the front of the marquee to gather in a circle under the new awning there. It is a good place to have a meeting with great views but we tend not to dally too long as it is only partially sheltered from the English mizzle plus it can get slightly breezy. The meeting is all about checklists and trying to ensure no one assumes someone else is doing something. Lacking a table, however, I tucked my cappuccino down by the leg of my chair and balanced my phone in a convenient flower pot.
An hour later, of course, I could not find my phone. Through experience, I have learnt it is better to immediately stop and retrace my steps straightaway and everyone is very kind, long-suffering and helps me by dialling my number. Geordie is, as usual, simply annoyed and sounded just like the grumpy TV character Victor Meldrew (from the programme “One Foot in the Grave”). Nevertheless, he went to check some obvious places, Hannah tried the office, Matthew was in the Saloon and Luis tried a few jokes. I do not really mind being without a phone except that now I post the Instagram for the Castle, it is less of a laughing matter yet again to have mislaid it.
I had thought I had already checked the flower pot but after borrowing a phone to walk round dialling the wretched thing, rather like the memory game of Pelmanism, I found I had checked the wrong flower pot and there it was, nestled amongst the petunias, in a different flowerpot. It has a bright case which works well on furniture in the Castle but less well amongst flowers. Geordie threw his hands up in despair and retired to his office again.
Recently we have been using my phone to film for both Channel 5 and Viking TV. It is therefore often on silent and may have been in strange places. One rather embarrassing time recently I could not find it and in fact it was, in fact, switched to silent and under all the papers on my desk. It also ends up in the dog food sacks, balanced on walls and fence posts as I say hello to a horse, or in the chicken shed somewhere.
One of the main practical points is that there is not much signal or any Wifi in the Castle, so even if the phone is somewhere relatively sensible, it may well not ring. Sometimes, in order to get a signal, I am to be found leaning out of a window or standing on a desk in Sally’s stock room.
The other challenge, of course, is the issue of whether it is charged (or not) and therefore likely to be able to ring. Finally, as Geordie often points out, there is the fact that I don’t always have my mobile with me so it is, in fact, an immobile mobile.
When I go out on a ride the phone does come with me but is turned off so it does not spook the horse. One Friday evening (last year!) friends were coming down from London for supper and to stay the weekend. Obviously, I could not find my phone and was feeling panicked as all the phone numbers were in it in case I needed to call. Eventually I realised the horse and I had proceeded in a rather enthusiastic manner through the last field back to the stables (the field in the first top photo) and there was just the off chance it might be there. It was by now dark and Luis kindly came with me using the car headlights whilst we used a phone app to make it make a noise. I was so lucky Luis heard it and found it and that it was not yet wet and the battery was just about gone. As usual, Geordie was saying I don’t believe it….
He then asks me to give the phone to him for safe keeping but then he of course cannot find me for better or worse.