Yesterday morning we showed thirty three people round the house and then gave them coffee. It was great fun and provided a bit of cash to help towards the house upkeep. The unfun bit is the lead up to the arrival of the visitors. It is true that it was only the previous evening that I happened to mention en passant to my wife that,shortly after breakfast, a coachload of some thirty odd people would be descending on us for a 'tour & coffee.' It is also true that due to the burst pipe damage of the winter much of the interior is a building site rather than a pristine historic house. Lastly the children are back on holiday so passages are blocked up by trunks which appear to have vomited half their contents over the floor. Still, as I explained, to my wife this is what visitors want. Simon Jenkins, the Chairman of the NT is on record as saying that he wants NT properties to have a more 'lived in air' and judging by the rather pathetic effort in this detraction made at Saltram, which I visited the other day, NT staff need to take lessons from me and my family.