An old article, 50 things every manor house should have, we found from The Telegraph (naturally) in 2009
makes for entertaining reading – how many do you have?
1 An Aga
– the cast-iron altar where even the urban come to worship by warming their bottoms against its burnished steel rail.
2 A scrubbed-pine-top kitchen table – frequently with incongruous legs, that is the all-purpose receptacle for morning-after elbows, plates of bacon and egg, coffee, keys and notes for the cleaner.
3 Boot room – (however small), with extensive range of gumboots, old walking sticks and awful rain hats.
4 Barbour (old) – the wax jacket, and its quilted sister the Husky, that hangs in every boot room like a mouldy wraith from the last century.
5 Umbrella stand – frequently a capacious fake Chinese vase that is certain to house an old shooting stick, broken whip and redundant swagger stick, but rarely an umbrella.
7 A hall clock – that is inaccurate, ticks loudly and sometimes chimes.
8 Expensive wooden salad bowl – usually a wedding present – that is never washed.
9 Shoe cleaning kit – contained in a box with a muddle of brushes and at least one tin of hard-caked Kiwi black polish.
10 Leather-bound visitors’ book – with no entries after the first 18 months.
11 Drinks cabinet (or tray) – containing a dusty bottle of Angostura bitters, a half-empty bottle of Pimm’s, a silver-plated cocktail shaker and a full bottle of some disgusting liqueur brought back from a foreign holiday.
12 A Waitrose eco-friendly shopping bag
13 Pyrex dish – still the only correct receptacle for pies (shepherd’s) and puddings (crumble).
14 Earl Grey tea and builder’s tea plus instant coffee – for the daily.
15 Leather desk blotter – with triangular corners, on the desk in the study (but no ink).
16 Small embroidered cushion stitched – with an unfunny epigram, regimental colours or similar heraldry of a school, university or clan.
17 Silver cigarette box – inherited from coughing grandparents, now containing useless trinkets.
18 A school or university team photograph – in the downstairs loo featuring the man of the house at his athletic pinnacle.
19 A book case – containing Penguin books and pre-war hard-bound thrillers.
20 Kitchen island – an integral part of the obligatory farmhouse kitchen that also boasts granite worktops, American-style fridge/freezer and a Dualit toaster.
21 Aerial photograph – of house in cheap frame, normally hung in the downstairs loo.
22 Ingredients for Bloody Mary – including Big Tom mixer, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
23 Embossed notecards – with full name, title, address, telephone number and email address printed across the top, usually in dark blue.
24 Herb garden – with an uncontrolled rosemary bush and an abundance of mint.
25 Pine bath essence – the green liquid that invigorates after a hard day outside, further improved by internal consumption by the bather of an amber liquid.
26 Open fire in sitting room with attendant log basket – fire basket, dogs, poker and rarely used toasting fork.
27Chunky marmalade and home-made jam – usually bought from the W I stall at the church fete or farmers’ market.
28 Silver-framed photographs – one of owner’s wedding, one of wife in prettier days, one of each child, several of dogs past and present and one featuring a horse. Also, black-and-white Fifties portrait photograph from the Lenare studio of grandmother looking like a debutante.
29 Portrait(s) – of distant relation and at least one inherited oil painting of a sea or country scene that is, according to family folklore, very valuable.
30 A kitchen pin-board containing fliers – (for professional cleaners, cinema and local takeaway), postcards from friends, money-saving coupons and at least one pony club/dog show rosette.
31 Bowl of potpourri – without scent.
30 Out-of-date Ordnance Survey one-inch-to-a-mile maps – including one showing the area surrounding the house pinned up in downstairs loo or boot room.
33 An elderly chintz sofa – with dog hairs.
34 A noisy, dated diesel estate car – full of the detritus from dog and child, with a sticker on the back supporting hunting.
35 Unread parish magazine – with advertisements for local yoga classes.
36 Small plastic bottles of Molton Brown shampoo – and shower gel (stolen from the most recent visit to a London hotel) in the guest bathroom.
37 Upholstered club fender – around fire.
38 Folded tartan picnic rug – in the hall.
39 Hand-coloured 19th-century hunting prints – in the back corridors and spare rooms (or possibly dull pre-war framed Chinese silk pictures).
40 Reading matter in downstairs loo – including old copies of Country Life and Tatler, The Week, a Tottering-by-Gently volume and a copy ofSchott’s Original Miscellany.
41 An out-of-date London A-Z and up-to-date train timetables – in the hall drawer that also contains a magnifying glass.
42 Good Oriental rug – in sitting room, with Kilim rugs in spare rooms.
43 A soft-furnishing low oblong stool – in the centre of the sitting room, covered in glossy magazines.
44 Current (and recently out-of-date) invitations – “stiffies” – on the mantelpiece.
45 Unused bread-maker, juicer and ice-cream maker – in back kitchen cupboard.
46 Backgammon set – that looks like a Gucci briefcase, plus a Monopoly set and Scrabble.
47 Boot jack – outside the back door for pulling off muddy gumboots.
48 Large wooden trunks – in the attic with the stencilled name or initials of forgotten relation.
49 At least one large coir door mat
50 Large stainless steel dog bowl – by the Aga.
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