One or two days a week I volunteer at a country house – it is only a small place in relation to the several others dotted around my part of the world.  I live in an area that was very active and important in the history of the english civil war, and this is reflected in the many historic houses that were handed over during the retribution period.  What I like about the house I’m now associated with is their new venture.  They have opened up the working end of the house.  The below stairs experience incorporates the servants’ quarters and where they carried out their every day duties to keep this busy little house at a peak.  The kitchens are vast compared to the rest of the working space – early ‘fitted’ cabinets feature as do several ingenious cooking devices – all designed to speed up the provision of hot food.  But still a far cry from today’s fantastic doestic kitchens!