You might think that, with the house being closed for the winter, and weather not always being ideal for exploring outdoors, we’ve had a quiet time in the office. All nattering over a cuppa and a biscuit? Well no such luck! And certainly not in the past few weeks. It has been all go as we open up for a new season!
The house re-opened on 15 February and we class this as the beginning of our next ‘season’. With year round opening of the grounds, restaurant and shop, it does begin to merge somewhat, but we need an end and beginning to each year.
January flew by and thoughts quickly turned to those jobs we needed to get done to enable us to open in time. Not only does this include ensuring we’re on track with our winter cleaning schedule, but also those little things that often don’t even get a thought.
Here is a bit of a photo diary of such things as we were counting down to opening…!
- Checking first aid boxes:
Although these are checked on a regular basis throughout the season, topping up and replacing items when required, it is good to have a proper sort through at the beginning of the season. With 14 boxes/bags across the site and 10 first aiders, you’re never far from help when it is needed – but in the nicest possible way, we hope that you won’t ever need our assistance!
- Annual fire equipment testing:
Again, we hope never to have to use it, but we do have to ensure we cover every eventuality to protect our special place.
- Saying ‘thank you’
Before we get opened, we had a ‘pre-season’ meeting with our all of our staff and volunteer team. This gave us a chance to reflect on what we’ve achieved the previous year whilst also planning ahead and looking forward. We talk about any changes ahead and share news. At this meeting, we give out our long service awards. The National Trust recognises and thanks volunteers at every mile stone year (5, 10, 15, 20 years…). This year we had lots to hand out including some awards to volunteers who have stacked up an amazing 20 and even 30 years volunteering here at Charlecote!
- Volunteer Rotas:
Organising the daily schedules for over 300 volunteers is no easy task. It can take most of the winter to gather in the information and get these sheets written up and circulated to the team leaders!
- Deep cleaning!
The winter clean of the house reached its final stages at the beginning of February! The house elves built the scaffolding up to the very top of the picture frames in the Great hall – and they tell us its a long way down! After this the elves waxed and buffed the marble floor in the hall to give it a protective coating to stop damage from people’s feet. Then a final race around to get everything uncovered and looking lovely for our returning visitors and volunteers!
When will we see you at Charlecote again?