I for one have really missed the opportunity of visiting heritage houses since the global pandemic has caused absolute restrictions on all gatherings and visits. It must have been very hard to manage some of the large estates, with no income to offset the pay of the gardening and housekeeping teams. Having been a volunteer room guide at a heritage house for several seasons, I really appreciate some of the issues that arise throughout the year and how much effort goes in to keeping the antiques and pictures in place without damage. With very ancient wooden furniture for example, it is critical to keep the sunlight off each item – it has a serious drying effect that makes the patina fade and gradually crack through dryness. Previous generations would not have known this so may not have always cared for their furniture in the same way we do now. In the ‘close’ season, all major items are covered with dust cloths and huge sheets and on a rota are cleaned and the wood fed to protect every piece.