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Conversations in the Dining Room

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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.

Transcript: Dinner in the Dining Room, 24 July, 1999.

Ann:  Emma, could you give Shirley a hand getting the food brought in?  I'm still hunting for more candles.

Emma:  Right. 

Frank:  I've got some lamps and oil at the Hermitage.  Shall I go get them?

Shirley (entering with large tray): Never mind, never mind.   Martin's got a whole box of candles.  Go fetch the candelabra from the Library, will you? 

Frank:  Which one?

Ann:  The silver one--I don't want to risk the crystal.

Frank:  (leaving) I live to serve.

Shirley: How's Mr. Tinsley feeling?  Is he better?

Ann:  No.  I've never actually seen anyone look green before.   He looks awful, and is still running a fever.  I'm going to try to get out tomorrow. 

Simon's Dad: He's alright.

Martin: Do you need any help Missus?

Shirley: Run and fetch us some clean glasses, will you?  I can see the dirt on these, even in the dark.  And give Emma a hand with the sandwiches. Ta.   I could send John down to the village on his bike to fetch Dr. Waterfall if you'd like.   It wouldn't take him long.

Ann:  Thanks.  Why don't we eat dinner and then see how he's feeling?

Simon's Dad: I tell you, he's fine. Just a bit of upset tummy. You're all making a fuss over nothing.

Shirley (to Frank): Here, let me take that, there's a lad.  Won't take a minute and...light at last.  Nice, isn't it?

Frank:  Quite romantic, actually.  Where's Emma gone to?

Emma:  I'm here.  Take these plates for me, will you?   I'm fagged.

Frank:  Sit down love.  You look done in.  Who fancies a glass of wine?

All around:  I do.  Me. Ta very much.

Shirley: Now where's Martin gone to?  Can't have a drink without a glass, can we?

Martin's Dad:  Probably tastes like vinegar anyway.  Not a decent drop of liquor in this house.

Martin:  I'm coming woman.  Couldn't find a thing in the dark; had to bring out the paper cups from the loo.

Shirley:  Martin, you old fool!  I'll go myself.

Ann:  Sit down Shirley.  The cups are fine.  They go well with...pickled beetroot and luncheon meat sandwiches?

Shirley: There are some cheese and pickle there too, and some plain bread and marmite.  And a bowl of pickled onions.  Did anyone bring in the mustard?

Simon's Dad:  What a load of rubbish.  Where are the beans?? Aren't there any crisps?  Salt and vinegar? I only like plain.

Frank:  I could go for a tin of beans myself.

Emma:  He eats them cold you know.  So Ann, how is Simon feeling?

Simon's Dad: Oh, for the love of God, not again.  He's fine.

Ann:  Actually, I'm really worried about him.  I don't think he is fine. He hasn't been able to keep anything down for three days, and he's still got a fever.

Emma: You know, they say that's what happened to William Blake.

Simon's Dad:  Who the hell is he?

Emma:  The man who built this house.  He was ill for about a week, and then died.  No one's sure why, but they think his wife poisoned him.

Ann:  Well lucky for Simon, I'm not his wife.

Muffled voice (quite faint):  Get out of my house, you whore!

Ann:  What was that?

Frank:  Dunno. 

Shirley:  I didn't hear anything.

Simon's Dad:  So somebody did the old man in, eh?  What was he worth?

Emma:  Quite a lot, really.  He was a wealthy man, and his entire estate went to his wife.

Simon's Dad:  And what happened to her?

Emma:  She lived another 20 years, and then apparently drowned in the lake.

Simon's Dad:  Silly woman.  Mind yourself near the water, Ann.

Ann:  Could you pass me the wine please, Martin?

Martin:  Anyone else fancy a glass?

Frank and Emma together:  Yes please.

Muffled voice:  I hope you choke on it.

Simon's Dad:  I wish you'd all stop muttering.  I can't hear a thing.

Ann: I want to thank all of you for working so hard today.  The place was a mess this morning and I really appreciate you pitching in and helping to clean up.  It means a lot to me. And to Simon. I realize you are busy people, and I can't pay you for all you've done...

Frank: For God's sake woman, it's our house too!

Martin:  We've lived here for more than 50 years, isn't that right, Shirley?

Shirley:  Indeed it is.

Ann:  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insult anyone.  I'm just, well, glad to have friends like you.

(Door opens)

Chester Vyse:  Hello.  I was just stopping by to see how you'd weathered the storm, and I found this old bloke wandering around the place, so I thought I'd bring him in.

Old Bloke:  Hello.  My name is Roderick Dinnell...