Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 30 April 2012
And what do you do?
I hardly ever go to dinner parties these days, but staying on the Levels with good and old friends meant that - unless I stayed up in the guest room, staring out of the window all day and night - dinner and lunch with the residents plus guests was the backbone of our trip to Somerset this weekend, it being too tempestuously foul to go for a walk anywhere - even in Wells.
One thing that struck me about the conversation during meals was that - these days - nobody who I have never met before asks me what I do for a job anymore, probably thinking I have reached the age when I no longer have to work. I must look even more distinguished and successful than I thought.
Everyone - almost without exception - around the table, could have been described as 'high-flyers' in their chosen profession, whether they still worked or not. Our hostess (who we have been good friends with for many years), is a prominent figure in the world of stone conservation and the art history attached to it; her brother is a very successful author of many books, as is his wife; another female guest and friend is also a writer and lives in nearby Pilton (where the rock-festival is held); the charming, 80-year old couple who sat close to us were both film-directors, and spent some of the evening telling us entertaining stories in the first person about household names that they have worked with, and their son is another household name in the world of T.V. and radio.
Despite this, there was no name-dropping going on at all. Honest. Well, I suppose the story about our hostess going for lunch with Prince Charles at Clarence House, getting drunk and listening to him telling suggestive jokes involving 'pumping old-fashioned organs' might have just strayed into that territory, but was still well worth telling and listening to.
On the rare occasions when I do actually confess to working with my hands, people often seem to be very impressed, and I have come to believe that this is usually a genuine - if misguided - reaction. When I used to do a lot of general building work as well as masonry (I paid my dues, and have the scars to prove it), people would ask me about my profession, and I would describe myself as a 'builder'. They would then ask how many people my company employed, and I would tell them 'none', explaining that I was just that - a builder. Maybe I looked successful even then. I have never had a tattoo - that probably helps.
The net result of this stormy night on the Levels was an early bed last night - 8.30! Now I have to go off and bash stone again.
I will post pictures of the interior tomorrow for all you Lifestyle gurus. The house itself is a real hybrid mixture of traditional and modern building techniques which has produced a home which took hardly any time to get that soft, lived-in feeling. Oh no, I'm straying into Lifestyle Blogtopia.....