“Mrs Giles. Welcome back from New York. How was the wedding?”
“The wedding was wonderful, a little tiring with all that travel, but I was glad to be there.”
“I’m taking this tray to the library. Alice & Morgan are already in there and expecting you. I have counted you in, and only need to know which you prefer: Tea or coffee?”
Gigi moved to open the library door. “I am a coffee fan, tall and strong, please.”
“Just like yourself. A good combination for the post of Housekeeper. Thank you for holding the door.”
“Ah, Mrs Giles. Come in. Come in. I see our George has you working before you take your coat off. How was the journey and the wedding?” Asked Morgan.
“Gigi, please. I’m told it is a short form of Virginia, my grandmother’s name, and that the meaning is Brilliant. I will leave it to you to decide if that applies to me or not, Mr Troy!” Gigi’s eyes twinkled as she spoke. Good morning Mrs Slythe. Thank you both for being patient and agreeing to see me again. The wedding was wonderful. In fact, we rented a period house for all the groom’s family for the week, it was wonderful to have us all together again in the one place. It also gave me some ideas, which I hope to share with you.”
“That sounds interesting. I am glad the wedding went off so well.” Said Alice.”
With that, George arrived with the coffee, closely followed by Caroline.
“Looks like I timed that well, The aroma of George’s coffee, called me down from upstairs. Good morning Mrs Giles, it is good to see you again.”
George, poured and served the coffee, all five sat sipping while enjoying general chitchat for about twenty minutes, then George & Caroline left them, to go and continue with their morning tasks.
Alice, Morgan and Gigi, turned the conversation to the business of the moment: The roll of Housekeeper. They recapped the ground already covered in the first interview, and now discussed in detail, the requirements from both sides, the hours and the pay scale. Gigi, seemed pleased, and she only had one problem.
Gigi’s family home was a large rambling house thirty miles away. With the last of her children now married, it was time to down size. She wondered about housing in the locality, if there were houses available to rent closer to Hour House. It would mean she was closer to work with less chance of delays on dark icy mornings. Renting would give her the opportunity to get to know the area and not commit to buying a house, until she was ready.
“We may have an answer to that problem. We have two mews houses in the old stable block. Alice and her sister are in one and I occupy the other. They will become vacant when we move in here. As Alice will tell you, we planned to rent them as self catering units when we moved.
The rooms in the main house and extension are well dried out and aired by now, so if Alice chooses which one she wants to live in, either she or I could move.
The house I now occupy has two bedrooms, we can let you see it before you go away today, if you wish.
I have personally tested all the new showers here in the house, and beginning on Monday, I had planned to test a new bed every night. I am bound to get through them before November 21. We need to know they are all well and truly comfortable for future guests! Don’t you agree?” Grinned Morgan.
“I do!” Said Gigi through her giggles. “I would very much like to see the mews house this morning, it would give me a starting point in the adventure of selling the home I moved to twenty five years ago. At this stage, all I know is I want to move house and am not sure of exactly what I want for the future.”
George handed Alice his keys. “You take Gigi over to look at my digs. Kick any dirty socks under the bed, she will never notice.” He winked.
“Goodness, Mrs Slythe, this might be a revelation into your Mr Troy. Do you think we should have a peek in his cupboards while we are there? You never know what skeletons we might unearth.”
With that there was a tap on the door and Carolyn came in. “You all seem to be having fun. I hope I am not interrupting.”
“Not at all.” Said Alice, “We are finished here, meet our new Housekeeper. We are on our way to inspect Morgan’s drawers, do you want to come with us?”
“Now that might be fun, you never know what secrets lurk there.” Said Carolyn.
“Actually, I am taking Gigi to see the Mews houses, she wants to rent a place closer to work. One of them might suit her needs until she is ready to buy a place of her own.”
“What a great idea.” Said Carolyn.
With that the girls headed towards the old stables.
Morgan, too made his way outdoors to see Wacky and Willie. They both jumped at the chance of working at Hour House and began the very afternoon of their interview. Already you could see the mark of their hands on the grounds. The shrubs to the front had a birthday haircut by Wacky, and the herbaceous borders were the main focus for sorting and clearing today.
The old ride-on grass mower had been cleaned up and serviced in the workshop, by Willie, before he set to work on the lawns. Morgan noticed that he had put all the tools back in their proper places and cleaned up when the job was done. That pleased him. He would welcome seeing Willie work on his own jalopy, some day in the future when life calmed down and was on a more even keel.
Plans & sketches with notes for the enclosed kitchen garden were given to Morgan and he made copies for George, The soft fruit cages and the orchard could wait until the turn of the year. The original ventilation and irrigation systems in the greenhouse and potting shed would benefit from updating, but Willie would check them out over the next few weeks to discover how much work would be involved.
Already these guys were proving their worth. They were certainly not afraid of hard work. The brothers worked well together or alone, both using their skills to the full.
Seeing the lads were content, Morgan returned to the house. He made his way to the kitchen, where George was busy making preparations for dinner. The sound of laughter announced the arrival of the girls. They came through to the kitchen, this time accompanied by Lovell. Accepting the welcome offer of a coffee before commencing a tour of the house. This time Gigi would have her official hat on, she was no longer a candidate or a visitor, this time she was the Housekeeper!
Over the coffee, George offered sweetmeats as a trade for tales of Morgan’s inner sanctum. The tales they told were hilarious and even Lovell joined in. Morgan let them have their moment. He was happy that Gigi was on board and that she got on so well with Alice and Carolyn. Lovell had already taken to George, not alone did he give her treats, he also found time to make biscuits just for Crumbs. Now it looked like Gigi would become her friend too. Happy staff make for a happy hotel to visit or stay in.
When Gigi had gone for the day, Carolyn returned with Alice to the kitchen. Putting her hands in her jacket pockets, she found the stub of the ticket for the Jazz concert they had attended together. Pulling it out and waving it about, she asked “What did you think of our very own Charlie Yates and his jazz quartet the other night?”
“Jazz swing is right up my street.” Said Morgan. “I can see myself dancing Alice off her feet on 21st. Alice, we need to have a practice, what do you think George?”
“Oh yes, we cannot have you beginning married life by stepping on you wife’s toes. Than would never do. Our Charlie, has plenty of strings to his bow, never mind reeds to his Clarinet! I actually think he would like to play at functions here.”
“Then Alice, we better have a word in his ear tomorrow when he calls in.” said Morgan.
“Right folk, time to clear my kitchen, dinner will be ready in half an hour, so like good children, it is time for you to go wash your hands,. Don’t be late, I am trying a new recipe and I think you will like it.”
George’s food was always tasty, so they did as they were bid and went their separate ways. Nobody wanted to be late for the meal.