Last week I dreamt I went to Milton Manor again

I know I’m always banging on about the time when I worked at Milton Manor, but I found myself back there once again last week.  I’m delighted to say that nothing’s changed in the last seventeen years, and that Anthony, Gwenda, and Cleopatra the llama are all still alive and thriving.

Here are some photos from my trip, and at the same time a recent little piece I wrote for The Telegraph, who were asking all sorts of people about their first jobs.  I reproduce mine, but it’s definitely worth reading the whole thing. Some of the others really made me laugh.

‘When I arrived for my interview at Milton Manor, a minor historic house in Oxfordshire, I was surprised to see the back end of a submerged boat poking out of the lake, upon which was painted a prominent swastika. I didn’t then realise that historical re-enactments were a regular occurrence there, and that D-Day had just happened.

I had found Milton by ringing round all the stately homes listed in Hudson’s Historic Houses that I could reach by bus from my college in Oxford, and asking for work. And I use the word “minor” as a compliment; it was just the sort of offbeat, eccentric and magical place I like.

I was employed to give guided tours, wash teacups, and look for important pieces of paper my boss Anthony had lost. I also fed the llamas, and in due course got to take part in the historical re-enactments. This included, most memorably, performing the lead role in the coronation of Elizabeth II. I think my salary was £5 per tour. Plus unlimited gin. If only all work since had been as crazy and fun.’

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