The Country House And Wine

India asked me if I would accompany the family to their country house this weekend as they have guests staying with them and want someone to watch over the children. So Friday afternoon we all packed up into the Range Rover after lunch and drove to Berkshire.

The children slept all the way and as if by magic they woke up just as we pulled into the drive.

The house is HUGE. I spent most of the rest of Friday getting lost, never really knowing where I was. It’s so confusing when there’s a sitting room, drawing room, morning room, family room… I mean what’s the difference between them all?

Both parents grew up locally and both sets of Grandparents live in equally big houses nearby, so I’m told.

They have a housekeeper, Mandy. She lives in a cottage in the grounds with her husband, Mike who is the gardener/handyman. She has two days off during the week and when the family are here, which is most weekends, she cooks for them as well as cleans.

This weekend two couples came on Friday night and they had a fairly low key evening. Saturday saw three more couples arrive. Some of them have children but the kids weren’t with them, they had all been left with grandparents or nannies.

I get the feeling India and Tristan can be a bit wild. Mandy says they have house guests and parties all the time. They have a few local babysitters who cover most weekends.

“They spend a good deal of the weekend hungover,” Mandy told me. “I dish up the food and clean up afterwards, I’m usually gone by 10pm. They are only just starting the party by that time usually.” She gives me a knowing look. I’m not sure what to read into it though.

When I questioned who gets up with Mini and Freddie, Mandy told me that when they have a party the babysitter stays the night and usually works until midday when India and Tristan take over.

I went to bed at 10pm on Saturday and I could hear the party getting rowdier downstairs. I’m sure plenty of alcohol was flowing. My room is ensuite and is in a slightly separate wing of the house with Mini and Freddie’s bedrooms.

The children were up by 7am and when we went downstairs there was no sign of life. I gave them breakfast, got them dressed and after Freddie had a morning nap we went outside to play and still hadn’t seen anyone other than Mandy.

When we went back in at 11.30am I went past a room (sitting or drawing room, not sure which) there were some people in there lounging around, cradling mugs of tea or coffee. None of them looked in a particularly healthy state.

I made myself and the children lunch. Mandy was doing a big breakfast for everyone at this point. We still hadn’t seen India or Tristan by the time we went upstairs for a post-lunch nap.

It wasn’t until almost 4pm that India finally came downstairs with Tristan following in a maroon coloured kaftan (click here to read about Tristan and kaftans). India’s hair was stuck up all over the place. She had on a nightshirt that was buttoned up wrong and was very close to exposing her chest, which may well have been the point. She was gripping onto the handrail as if her life depended on it.

“Oh my darlings, ” she said, “Mummy hasn’t been feeling well today, nor Daddy.”

“Too much wine,” said Mini.

She’s wise beyond her years that girl!


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