I work in one of the most wonderful places that is managed by the National Trust. Yesterday we had around a thousand visitors and only 10 staff to look after them. Why?
I have my own theories.
More people are looking after their grandchildren than ever before. They have spent their lives bringing up their own children, now when they should be getting a well deserved break they are unpaid childminders. So they can't use their time doing what they'd love to do, such as working a couple of days a week in a National Trust House.
My next theory is that the general public are so rude to us. I thought they were coming out to enjoy themselves, but they come in wearing their RBF's (resting bitch faces). Complain about everything, pick things up, slap the furniture, and when asked politely not to do so,
always say. "I didn't do it." Thereby calling me a blind liar - because I actually SAW them do it which is why I asked them to stop.
Deep breath here, while I say that a lot of our visitors are lovely, ask interesting questions and do appreciate the collection. It's so easy to forget the nice people as they now in the minority.
Yesterday someone thought it would be funny to smear chocolate on the marble walls of the staircase as they went down it. Making their mark on history my husband suggested, why I asked exasperated, WHY ? WHY would anyone do that?
A little girl was swinging on a light switch and when asked to stop by a kindly warden,her mother snapped, "Who woke up and made you God?" When the warden said "I'm here to look after the house."
The mother replied "We own the house, we own the National Trust so we can do what we like."
OH NO YOU DON'T!!
You may pay to get in, you may be a member, but you do NOT own a charity started by
a kindly Victorian lady, Octavia Hill in 1895. She wanted to preserve beauty and historical places for everyone to appreciate. She also worked with the poor giving them better living conditions and open spaces to enjoy to improve their lives.
Educate, have fun, for ever, for everyone. It's a loan if you like, and we have to look after it
for EVER. The families who share their houses and collections with the National Trust are
often very involved with the properties.
It's a priviledge to walk where history was made, to look at paintings by the famous masters and in the case of where I work, at Waddesdon, new upcoming artists as well.
So smile at the Wardens who are on their feet for over five hours or more with ten minute tea breaks and twenty for lunch. Don't be rude, there's no call for it, we however badly provoked, are never rude to you. Keep hold of your youngsters and explain things to them, point out interesting items, or if they are unhappy take them out to the grounds and let them play in the woods or the playgrounds.
For ever, for everyone, won't last very long if we abuse it, and as the supermarkets say
"when it's gone, it's gone."