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Conversations in the Dining Room

Episode 13
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Emma Knytleigh: In an attempt to record the current history of Stoney Grove a number of interviews and conversations will be recorded with some of the people who have connections with the estate. Accordingly the Dining Room has been supplied with hidden microphones and recording equipment to allow the process to take place in as natural a setting as possible.  Participants are, of course, aware that conversations are being recorded.


James: Do you think we should tell them about last night? Do you think they’ll think we’re crazy people?

Amy: Ann already thinks I’m crazy. She always has. Don’t sweat it.

James: Okay, but she doesn’t think I’m crazy.

Amy: Sure she does. As soon as I told her I was pregnant, the first thing she had to be thinking was, "James is out of his mind to have a baby with you!" She didn’t say it though—Ann never does.

Ann: Good morning. How’d you guys sleep?

Amy: Morning. Not a bad night. It’s kind of creaky and drafty, but I'm getting used to it. I guess I expected everything to be fancier –you know, more like you’re rich.

James: I slept fine, thank you.

Simon: So you think we’re slumming it, then? Not posh enough for you?

Amy: Hey Simon. No, not really. Kind of like staying in a hotel that’s seen its best. I guess you can fix it up. You’re making progress downstairs—but upstairs it’s all kinda shabby.

Simon: And I suppose you live in…

Amy: I live in a concrete box. But I’m not the one who won the lottery and has been drinking cream teas for the past six months. I’m allowed to live in a dump. I’m a grad student.

Simon: Well if you don't like it, you can...

Ann: Toast or cereal this morning? Shirley’s got a kettle on for tea, but if anyone wants coffee, I’ll go ask her to make a pot.

Amy: I can’t face another cup of tea. Coffee’s good.

James: I’d love a cup of tea, thank you.

Simon: Tea here as well. Thanks Ann. So James, are you going running again this morning? I’m afraid I won’t be able to join you. Got lots to do today…

James: Yeah, I thought I’d go. The path around the lake is good. I think I’ll try to get further today.

Ann: Amy, what do you want to do this morning?

Amy: Maybe we could go check out some stores around here? Nothing fits right anymore. Besides, I’m freezing all the time. Does it ever get warm here? Can’t you afford any heat?

Simon (muttering): I thought fat was supposed to keep you warm.

Ann (whispering): Simon!

Amy: Yeah, fat is supposed to keep you warm. Pregnancy isn’t though. And if you think I’m fat now, wait a few more months.

Simon: Are we to have the great pleasure of seeing you then as well?

Ann: Simon, be quiet.

James: So who’s been growing the weed?

Ann: We don’t mean to.  I don’t have time keep up with it all. We need to get someone in again to keep things straight until winter.

James: No, no, I wasn’t criticizing your garden. I meant—the pot, the cannabis. It’s looking good, really healthy.

Simon: Pot? You saw some here?

James: Yeah. Saw a big patch of it down by the lake.

Ann: Where exactly?

James: There’s an old house back there on the hillside. Someone was sitting in the doorway having a smoke. Place smelled like a disco. I didn’t want to breathe!

Simon: You didn’t stop in for a puff?

James: No man, I don’t smoke. Anything. It slows you down.

Amy: James is a real health freak. Got the pecks to show for it, don’t you, sweetie?

Ann: Do you think that was Frank? I don’t believe it. Emma would kill him!

Simon: I’ll kill him myself if he gets busted. That’s all we need—"Stoney Grove Owners Pushing Drugs" will be all over the bleeding paper.

Shirley: Drugs? Are you getting into the drug trade now Mr. Tinsley? Keeping up your biker image, are you? Here’s the tea. It’ll be a few more minutes for the coffee. It’s going to be coffee every morning, is it?

Amy: For me anyway. I hate tea. All those little things floating around in dishwater. Yuck.

Ann: Thanks Shirley. We’d appreciate it if you could make us a pot of coffee tomorrow morning too.

Simon: And bring us a hash pipe, could you be a dear?

Shirley: Sorry, Mr. Churchill’s got the only hash pipe I know about…

Simon: Really? So he does smoke?

Shirley: Like a chimney. Always has his own little garden round the back of the cottage he lives in. Martin won’t touch the stuff—doesn’t get big enough and you can’t really show it now, can you—but Frank keeps a patch.

Ann: Does Emma know?

Shirley: That’s why she’s so mad! Don’t you pay any attention? Go ask her yourself.

Ann: I thought she was mad because Frank wouldn’t tell her about John’s father.

Shirley: Well now that’s nobody’s business. Nobody’s business at all. Nothing to do with her, or with you. Bunch of outsiders who don’t know enough to keep your noses…(sound of door closing on Shirley’s muttering)

Ann: She’s so touchy sometimes. Oh, God, I told the florist she could take whatever she wanted from the grounds for the arrangements! We could have a house full of the stuff !

Amy: Ann, I don’t want to be too obvious here, but if you’re tenant has been growing pot on your property for years, I think you should be worried about more than the floral arrangements.

Ann: You’re right. We’ve got to get him to get rid of it. We’ve invited half the police force to the party for goodness sake. Simon, run down with James and tell him to clear it out.

James: Thanks for breakfast, Ann. I’ll see you later. Good luck shopping—get something as beautiful as you.

Amy: Are you nuts? Nothing is going to be beautiful. This is England. Have you seen how people dress?

Ann: Well, you don’t have to start off negatively or we might as well not go.

Amy: Sorry, sorry.

Ann: What’s your problem this morning? You’ve been all over Simon. You even managed to get him to stick up for the house!

Amy: Hey, I’m sorry. I guess I shouldn’t take it out on him, I mean, who’s to say that it’s all his fault, but, you know, you’re not happy.

Ann: No, I’m not happy, but I think I’m okay. This place is still really hard sometimes. I don’t feel like I've made any friends…everyone wants something. I have staff that are mad at me because I’m rich, or I’m not one of the Halls, I have acquaintances at the church who are very nice, but just want a juicy donation, the local newspaper hates me…you know Simon’s really the only one on my side.

Amy: So, it isn’t working out. Why not do something else?

Ann: I want to be connected with something. I want to do something with my life that’s constructive.

Amy: Like worrying about floral arrangements for a party full of people who you just said hate you?

Ann: Well if I don’t, we’ll get arrested! No, seriously, I think I can do something great with this house.

Amy: Have you finished your paper for the SOMEH conference?

Ann: No. Done the research, haven’t written a word yet.

Amy: That’s bad. Not for me, hell I never write a word until the day before the conference. But you, blowing off an international meeting? That’s not good, honey.

Ann: Yeah, I’ll get it done. Don’t be mad at Simon though. It’s not his fault. Really. Things are getting better.

Amy: Okay, I’ll back off. Let’s go out. Can we take his bike?


Very early next morning….