Well I am still in northern NSW. The weather is warm to hot, which is a nice change from Melbourne!
What with one thing and another I have barely touched my camera the whole time I have been away. I guess I will be getting withdrawal symptoms soon!
I have managed a little time writing but nothing serious. Which brings me to this week’s Hilda scene
Hilda carefully emptied the dustpan into the covered bucket. If you dumped it in too quickly it caused a puff of fine ash to billow out and you had another job ahead of you.
Hilda’s knees ached, her back ached and her head spun. Miss Jane’s room was the fifth and last hearth of “the family’s” rooms she had to do before she went down for a cup of tea. Hilda had been on the go since three in the morning. It seemed years since she had paused for breakfast at six, now it was ten and she was ready for a break. With practiced speed she crumpled paper and built a pile of kindling into a little tepee. She didn’t put a match to the fire, Leanne Deer the house-maid who did for Miss Jane would light it later.
A quick wipe over the tiles in front of the hearth and Hilda stood back to check her handiwork. Her back grumbled as she straightened, the hearth would do. Surely Even Leanne could not find fault with it.
Leanne was the only member of the house staff Hilda did not bring herself to like. To be sure Mister Young the butler frightened her, but she had never had a cross word from him.
While she had plenty of cross words from Mrs Smither and Mrs Garraway the cook, both women were likely to scold when she didn’t finish something as quickly as they expected, but neither of them was spiteful.
Leanne was the very essence of spiteful she took every opportunity to pick at Hilda and her work. A dozen times in the three months Hilda had been at Ettington Park Leeanne had complained to Mrs Garraway that Hilda had left ash or dust in a hearth in one of the rooms she looked after. A speck here or there was all Hilda had ever seen when she was sent back to clean it again. Going back was especially trying, because she ran the chance of being seen by one of the family. As the scullery maid and hence out of uniform, she was not meant to be seen by the family.
She was beneath notice and shouldn’t sully their day with her presence. Hilda wasn’t certain anything would be said if she was seen but the prospect terrified her anyway.