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by Robert Cooper

Chapter 9


On a whim I thought I would look in the two old filing cabinets in Seymore's old office.

I hit pay dirt!

In there were old maps and papers concerning the Manor. Amongst them w ere very big floor plan s of the Manor floor by floor. As little had changed in the structure of the Manor they a re still accurate and, apart from converting to metric measurements, useable for our planning. Edward to organise 10 copies of each floor . We can start planning. Use the old blankets from upstairs to protect the big table and overlay with sheets of hardboard and we have a planning table. A bonus is that when the Manor was electrified in the late 19 2 0's tunnels and voids were constructed in floors and walls to allow the cables to be passed. There were similar voids made for the water and gas. All of which can be used to avoid undue disturbance to the building. They a re all marked on the plans. Showed to Standish, he was very pleased. He suggested separate sheets for electric, plumbing and paint colours. Just need to start gathering estimates. He also suggested the local history society will be interested in the other maps and papers some of which looked very old. He will deal with setting up the "planning table." All staff may view the planning table, there will be a pad nearby for suggestions.

Estimates should only be considered from companies with experience of period building repairs.

They can be given a copy of the relevant planning sheets to help them make their estimates.

Accounts Office Suite.

Electrical circuit.

Kitchen refit. Laundry refit. (Specialised companies)

Lines to road.

Plumbing and heating.

Estate Office and bedroom floor refurbishment

Front hall redecoration

Room by room redecoration.

Telephone system update/renewal.

Rode my quad down to the road boundary.

Found marker posts for water, gas and electric cable entry.

Looks as if the cable and pipe channel goes beside the main drive to the house.

Back to house, look at plans to see if cable and water entry points are marked.

Nothing marked as such but there is a big void in an odd place leading to the meter point.

Take big torch, collect Standish and ask to see meter point.

Meters and fuse boxes all well out date and feed cable looks too small and according to the loading tag already at maximum capacity.

W ater pipe is iron and the main tap is badly corroded.

Cable and pipe look as if they go in the right direction for the big void.

Wonder who pays for replacement? Edward to enquire.

Does electricity supplier have contractors for our sort of project?

If so get an estimate.

Edward and I spent most of the day on telephones arranging inspections and estimates.

Seems I am responsible for cost of road to house connections of electricity, gas and water but we can provide the trenches. (Sheldon)

The electric company lays the correct feed cable into the house with a master switch beside the terminal in the meter room location .

They supply and fit the input meters at the boundaries, everything from there is down to us. Contact gas supplier about new meter and pipe check. If new pipe needed it can use the same trench. Get Sheldon to dig exploratory sondages to establish line of cable run.

Potential Tutor Interview.

Mr. Iain Timms. M.A. B.Sc. Aged 3 0 . Unmarried. Lives in School House.

Will therefore need meals and accommodation. Bedroom and sitting room/study. Bathroom nearby. ( S ee Standish) No room service but laundry and fresh bed linen available weekly by arrangement with Mrs Renney.

Geoff and I have discussed at length the qualities that our Tutor should have. From our contact at school, this guy seems to fit the personality requirements and as he was employed by the school his academic qualifications should be O.K. but we will take up references.

We need to establish whether his teaching programme will fit with our performance of our duties and what his aspirations are. We need to study on a "modular" basis so that we can tailor our studies around our Manor duties. Perhaps two morning 'tutorial' sessions per week with options of extra 'advisory' sessions twice a week. We will regulate our private study sessions to suit our duties but they will probably be late afternoons or early evenings when the bustle of the Manorial day has died down. Once the major work is complete we shall be able to devote more time to our studies.

We shall need to explain the upheaval in the Manor during the repairs but we would aim to sit our A.levels next year if possible. Our subject selections should be guided by our University Course selections. Finance and Estate Management.

If he is interested he can investigate the opportunities for a day school catering for the estate residents' children at whatever level he thinks there is a need. That should keep him occupied while he is not teaching us. He can also supplement his income with private tutorial activities. The Manor will subsidise any staff tutori ng . In addition to his room and board we shall also provide a classroom for his use in the Manor. What sort of salary will he expect? Does he ride? Driving licence? Vegetarian? Alcohol? Family? any other skills?

The interview went well though he was a little surprised at being interviewed by his potential pupils. His salary expectation allowing for board and lodging was within our budget. He was intrigued by the prospect of a Manor Estate S chool. He thought that our learning plans were very reasonable. He does ride. Has a driving licence and a car. Not a vegetarian and does not drink alcohol ever.

Estranged from family due to "lifestyle" issues but wishes he could reconnect with his two younger brothers. His hobbies are painting and drawing. Likes to exercise regularly to keep fit.

We suggest he contact his brothers through our solicitors, they can keep things anonymous f or first contact.

He accepted our verbal offer subject to satisfactory references. His existing contract expires at the end of this coming term (30th June) and he would like to move in shortly after that if possible. That would suit us very well as we expect to be very busy for the next couple of months getting the project under way. Gives Standish plenty of time to get his rooms organised.

When we have taken his references and made him a formal written offer through our solicitors we shall meet up again and sort out his accommodation and introduce him to the other staff. He will work up a study plan around our Manor duties and in line with ou r intended University plans.

Now Geoff, sell this plan to your parents. Get them to visit next weekend if possible. We can show them round and explain everything. Tell them how much they will save on school fees. They can stay overnight if they wish.

Edward has made contact with the local L.B.O. and they are very interested in our project. It would seem from their somewhat sketchy records that the Manor dates back to the 1200's, Norman times. The local history people are also very interested as the Manor has had so little work that they think lots of it are original and they cant wait to have a look. Standish's 'Visitors' badges are going to be well used. Might even be more grants available from English H eritage Trust. Certainly there will be lots of informed advice for us. Edward to make arrangements for visits but keep Standish in the loop and only small parties at first. Edward to follow up and ask for contacts with companies specialising in restoration and repair of period buildings . With all this interest from the start we may not have to dig so deeply into our Manor funds. Keep Standish well informed. Also this is interesting information for the Monday Staff meetings.

Geoff's parents are visiting on the Friday after Easter for the whole day b ringing his 12 ½ y/old brother, Anthony. If he fits in he can visit during the summer holidays and ride with us on our estate inspections. Advise Standish and Mrs. Lang extras for lunch and tea. Seems Mr. & Mrs. Lang have a son his age ( Andrew, Edwards brother) who would be a good riding partner for him. Get him over to meet.

Standish has the clearance of the top floor organised for next week they estimate two days possibly three.

Edward has organised the first two estimates for water and electricity, again for next week, from the water and electric utilities. They were pleased to hear about the existing voids. They have specialist crews for listed buildings.

Edward has found a surveyor with a big printer and has 10 copies made of each floor plan. The originals are back in the storage cabinet. Standish has the planning room already set up. First two floors on the big table and the top floor on another table that he found somewhere. Decorating plans not out yet. We want to get the heavy work out of the way first.

The references for Mr. Timms came back very quickly, all good especially the school letter. We shall send copies to our solicitors and our interview notes and ask them to draw up a contract of employment commencing 1 st July for him to sign and return us one copy. He can move in before then if he wishes.

That is one more persuader for Geoff's parents.

Friday came and also Geoff's parents. They were slightly in awe of an Earl and a Norman period Manor.

They looked round the Manor and agreed that we had a huge job ahead. They were very interested in the history of the building.

They took notice of our Tutor arrangements, especially that he was from Geoff's school.

They took note of our University plans.

They agreed that it would be a good place for Anthony to spend the summer if he wished.

They met Edward and Andrew. Mr.& Mrs. Lang and Standish.

They went off with Geoff into a huddle for discussions.

They agreed that Geoffrey could leave school and go into Tutored Education but they wanted monthly reports on his educational progress from Mr. Timms.

As they did not have school fees to pay they would send an allowance for his keep and towards Tutor costs

They would meet at the school on Monday and tell the headmaster what they had agreed. I would send him in the limo for his kit.

We also agreed that they could come and see him any time they wished and his brother could visit at weekends and school holidays. He could bring some weekend kit and leave it here to save him lugging stuff to and fro. Once the major work is finished he can bring a

friend with him.

We would arrange a suite of rooms for him, and if the parents wanted to stay over then that could also be arranged though it might be difficult for them while the water and electricity replacement was going on.

They agreed on that and said they would make day visits until the turmoil had died down. Anthony would be no problem, we could put him in where there were no works at that time, even share Geoff's room. Once the stables were ready in about three weeks, we were buying in some horses and ponies from a retiring riding school owner so he would have his own mount and he would have Andrew as his riding coach and companion. Andrew is Edwards brother and has been riding since he was 5 years old. Anthony seems to like the idea of spending time here with his brother. With all this agreed they departed, agreeing to meet at school at 9.00.

Car to school to collect Geoff. Driver plus one footman to assist with kit. Perhaps young enough to be valet for Geoff?

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