Today is my first day "back in the world".
I got myself up, got dressed, dried my eyes and went into work this morning.
I'm so glad I did. Everyone here at Charlecote has been amazingly supportive through my crises with Lucy, and today was no exception. I arrived to hugs, cups of tea and tons of sweeties!
The place has been transformed in my absence, all things in preparation for our visit from the Antiques Roadshow. Yes, my dream has finally come true, the Antiques Roadshow is coming to my neighbourhood.
My despondency eased as I got caught up in the Roadshow atmosphere. Everyone's whizzing round, and there a buzz in the air. I've been helping out in any way that's needed, which has entailed shifting bits and pieces, answering phones, and even fetching a spare water boiler from St. Peter's Church in Barford.
At one point, I was summoned to the Great Hall by the Antiques Roadshow director to proof and approve the text of Fiona Bruce's Intro script. That was quite an honour and a treat. I proudly pulled out my iPhone, and with the complete works of Shakespeare at my fingertips, provided the exact textual references the script needed.
I could have died a happy woman just for doing that, but things actually got even better. When I returned after lunch with the water boiler, Julie 2 met me at the door. "You're being called on the radio!" she said rushing past, with arms full of god only knows what.
My radio has been switched on the wrong channel all morning, so I had no idea. I answered the call, it was Julie 1: "Could you come to Library, we could really use your help?"
I dropped the boiler on my desk (not literally) and ran to the Library.
"What's up, Jules?" I said, slightly out of breath, when I arrived.
"Fiona Bruce wants to ask you a few questions about Shakespeare." Julie 1 said with a smile.
I stepped into Charlecote Park's beautiful, old Library, that now resembles a movie set with lights and camera hung all around it. Fiona Bruce, THE Fiona Bruce was standing in the centre of the room, flanked by make-up artists and camera crew members.
Before her, on a lovely mahogany table, a copy of the Second Folio, a rare second edition of the plays of Shakespeare, was propped open on book cushions.
Emma, the director, turned round and introduced me to Fiona Bruce as "the Shakespeare scholar", and explained: "Fiona has a few questions for you."
There is a legend about Shakespeare poaching deer from Charlecote Park as young man. There are a few allusions to this incident and the people involved in it, e.g., Sir Thomas Lucy, in the plays (particularly Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV, part 2).
Fiona Bruce wanted to talk about this, and asked me to describe the characters of Falstaff and Justice Shallow.
...Shakespeare scholars live and die for moments such as this....
Afterwards, I became a groupie and asked to take a photo with Fiona Bruce. She was very gracious, and said, "Of course, I'd be delighted to have a photo with our Shakespeare scholar."
She's very tall, and kindly compensated by bending her knees so that she wouldn't tower over me like a giant.
Fiona Bruce in the Library with the Second Folio