Since everyone at Dunrovin spent most of the time in the kitchen, it’s worth noting that we had plenty of ovens and stoves to choose from. Or hobs and cookers, as they are called in Britain. This is the oldest, a wood-burner, which must have been just too heavy to remove when the new-fangled Aga arrived.
There is a smaller version of this stove right next to it, to the right. It’s like a toy stove, and I don’t have a photo of it, but it’s thought to have been used by the servants when the family was away. After all, servants don’t need to eat big sumptuous meals, right?
Across the room from these is the Aga. I’m not a plumber and I couldn’t play one on TV, but my understanding is that some Agas can actually serve as boilers for the whole house, and/or produce hot water for the house.
The concept of the Aga is simple and beautiful. They are always on. The basic model has one hot burner and one warm burner. Also one hot oven and one warm one. So you never have to wait for a burner to heat up, or serve food that’s gone cold.
They are also works of art.
They cost an arm and a leg to operate because they are always on. Since Lynn and Richard have a fourth set of modern ovens and cook tops, they only turn on the Aga for parties.
A few years ago when I was remodeling my miniscule kitchen I checked out Agas just for fun at my local appliance store. They started at $5,000. I settled for a flimsy Avanti, which cost $399. I got what I paid for.
I was installed in the premium guest suite at Dunrovin. And by premium I mean I had my own bathroom. I have never had such a large room in any of my own houses or apartments. It contained a queen-sized bed, a large wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a chair, and—mercifully—an electric space heater which I tried not to use “too much” but honestly I had it on most of the time when I was in the room.
This is the fireplace in “my” room. Note the bell next to it with which I could have used to summon a servant if I had been there 100 years earlier.
Knowing I am an early riser—I mean really early, like 5:30 am—Lynn had placed a tray in my room with a kettle, instant coffee, and tea. I just had to remember to bring some milk up at night before I turned in, and I was all set to work in my room until a decent hour, like 8:00. Otherwise, if I snuck down to the kitchen to make coffee I woke the dogs, who’s barking woke Lynn and Richard.
I’m sure Lynn thinks I’m weird for chronicling the ancient contents of the medicine cabinet in my room. But I can’t help it—I notice details like this. It’s not just the big things that make other countries interesting, it’s the details too.
I just checked and I also have items in my medicine cabinet that might seem peculiar to a foreigner—like Breathe Right Nasal Strips, a vial of essential oil (a gift; I would never buy such a thing myself), and a prescription medication that I wouldn’t be able to afford if I didn’t have health insurance through my job. That’s a hat’s off to the NHS, in case you didn’t get it.
Here’s what I had to draw upon should I get terribly dirty or have an accident.
Imperial Leather soap, which comes with a metal logo embedded in it. For any of you closet imperialists out there.
Dettol: It’s good to know Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth appointed someone to make a 74p product.
TCP: One product for everything from bad breath to acne.
And lint. It’s what I have always removed from the clothes dryer filter and thrown away.
If I were going to use lint as a medical treatment I would definitely demand that it be British made. None of that fluffy French lint.