Here in Stratton, sometimes known as `Room Seven’, is our only ready-made family room. Other rooms can sometimes accommodate an extra bed or cot if needed, but here there is a half-tester double bed and a pair of bunk beds. The en suite is a shower, w.c. and hand basin; all neatly situated in what was formerly a roomy cupboard under the stairs to the top floor. It was into this room way back in 1988 that I had shown a mother and her adult daughter who had knocked the front door on the off-chance that I might allow them to explore `……the house where mother had lived as a child.’ Always keen to hear stories about the earlier days of Chymorvah, the three of us had gone around together. I warned them that we had to install en suites or perish so the rooms were bound to be different and they seemed to understand. When we arrived in Stratton, they spotted the corner where the cupboard under the stairs once was and the daughter mysteriously said to her mother in a sombre tone…. “Is this the cupboard where the red dress was hanging?” A hush fell on us all. I turned to look at `mother’ as she hesitated for one small moment and then she very slowly nodded her head. Without another word and in silence, all three of us left the room to continue our tour.
No, I never did discover the story behind the episode, and thinking back, I don’t think they would’ve shared it with me anyway.
But we’re in the business of making people happy, and a joyous part of that is to make them laugh when we can. With that in mind, I would often show folk into this room, folk who had come to us `off the road’ and not pre-booked, that is. In an effort to `sell’ the room to them I might say “You can lie in bed in the morning, sipping your cuppa and wave to Lord St. Levan in the castle across the bay. But if you want him to wave back, that would be an extra £5.” Just about everyone, would hesitate for a moment, study my face, realise the joke and then relax into a laugh. Only on one occasion did a lady in her best Hyacinth Bouquet voice tell me “Oh no no no no……we won’t require that – thank you.”
As for details of any very early occupants of this room, there are none. Blessed with the view across the bay towards St. Michael’s Mount, this was not the master bedroom of the house and all we can tell from any record, is that this room served as a guest bedroom during at least one census when an aunt was visiting from some other part of Cornwall. I don’t know what views she left behind at her own home, but with a vista like this, I doubt she was in any hurry to leave. And instead of the tea and coffee we now supply in the room, we know from scraps of a bell system we have found, she would’ve called for a maid. And instead of reading herself to sleep, if the delicious sea air hasn’t coaxed you off, the t.v. will amuse until you doze.