You might well be wondering what exactly I am going to write about here! By way of explanation, Justine very much sits in the driving seat in the Estate Office, so much so that I bought her a toy driving wheel with indicators and hooter to adorn her desk.
Underneath her steering wheel, however, she has a set of “office” drawers. The word “office” is out of context as, in fact, the drawers are full of dog treats, biscuits, soups and snacks. All the dogs, but especially Stella and Freya, are interested in her drawers and, in true Labrador fashion, they bound into the office and put their paws up on Justine’s lap to offer kisses, hoping she will open her drawers for their delectation. They are always in luck, although first of all she asks them to sit and shake hands. They then curl up around her chair and feet until the magic drawers open again.
Hannah G, who sits at a round table in my office, has no drawers at all. Next to Hannah is a vibration plate machine which is supposed to be good for us, and particularly for Maggie, who helps with the horses and who has hurt her ankle. She comes in for a wobble after a feeding round. Sometimes she wobbles twice a day.
Hannah has to launch herself around the wobbling machine and Maggie in order to answer the telephone, whereas I have to climb past a dog bed, so sometimes it is just too tricky to achieve and we do coffee rather than phones.
Alfie, who is Stella and Freya’s uncle, is always sloping off to the Castle office to see what he can rustle up by way of a snack. He quietly makes his way round the office bins, checks for open drawers, but tends to give John the Castle Manager a wide berth as, although John’s drawers are so full they are overflowing, it is with boring things like pens and paper. Other tables in his office have no drawers at all but just big brown paper files piled high.
Alfie rather prefers Sally’s gift shop and desk area, which has drawers which don’t shut and baskets acting as additional drawers on the floor. The door opens the wrong way for him to nuzzle back out of, so he can sometimes find himself inadvertently shut in with Sally’s drawers and, if he is missing, that is always a good place to start looking.
The Castle itself has some beautiful desks and it is always worth opening the drawers from time to time to see what might have been left there. In one rather large old desk, I once found a small Egyptian photo album from 1922 which was just amazing. Inspired, I started an almost systematic search for other drawers to open. The archive room in particular has a huge desk with many draws full of treasure and every time I look through them, I seem to find something new.
The word “drawer” and its homonyms are rather curious in that they are used in so many contexts. You can draw water from a well, draw a parallel or a conclusion, you can be a drawer of a picture or even use the word to refer to an item of clothing. The phrase “top drawer” is used to describe something that is first class and I suspect Freya and Stella think that Justine’s bottom drawer is precisely that.