...aren't you open at 10am?
We often have people turn up before the property opens at 12. And while nobody really ever complains that we are not open, I think people are puzzled as to why not.
There are several reasons. Some properties are limited on how much light they can let into their rooms - it's one of the reasons that some places can seem a bit dark and gloomy - the light levels are kept low to protect the precious furniture, textiles and paintings - in some instances properties are limited on how long they can open their display rooms for this very reason.
There are also one or two things that have to be done before we're ready for the public; gates and doors have to be unlocked, litter has to be picked, plants watered, every display room has to be opened, checked and dusted, floors have to be swept, tills have to be checked and prepared, toilets cleaned and stocked, shelves stocked in the shop, lawns checked for gifts from our canine friends, out houses have to opened, fresh soup has to be made, the tea room cakes have to laid out, sandwiches need to be made, animals need to be fed, clocks wound, fires laid and lit, bins emptied, leaflets restocked, posters refreshed and loads of other tasks. Each property is unique, so it will have it's own challenges and tasks to perform before we can let visitors in.
So spare a thought as you peer through gates, windows and hedges, wondering if everybody is just hiding away drinking tea until it's time to open - for our property, it takes around 2 hours to prepare for opening, so serene it may look - but in actual fact...