Interview over. We left the curator's office in the east wing of Mellerstain and entered the east courtyard. The tea-room was open; we went in and had a coffee. It would take us almost three hours to drive back to Lincolnshire and I was in no hurry to set off.
We were just about to leave the tea-room for a stroll around the gardens when the factor came in. "Oh, so glad I caught you before you go; we haven't paid your travelling expenses. How much are they?"
I hadn't considered it. Nobody had said we would be re-imbursed. "I don't really know ... " I replied.
"Well, here's £50 for petrol. Should cover it don't you think?" said the factor, handing me five ten pound Scottish notes. "If it's any more just let the curator know before you leave. Oh, and by the way, Lord Haddington says that if you want the position it's yours!"
I was so surprised. Totally unexpected to be offered the job in this manner.
"Well yes" I replied, after recovering my speech. "Yes, we'd certainly love to take the job."
"When could you start?" asked the factor. "The present chap and his wife will be retiring in September, when the visitor season is finished for the year. October would be a good time for us.." he went on.
"And for us too!" I replied.
So that was it. It would be a hectic two months or so before we took up our new life in Scotland but we were certainly up for it.
We drove back home; a home that would soon be history. It was almost dreamlike. Everything was happening so speedily and yet so smoothly. Yet it was all real. Not a dream at all but something I'd often dreamed of was actually happening...