"...the bedrooms at Gilverton are amongst the chilliest bits of that chilly house and June is always the coldest month of all; we give up on the groaning, clanking radiators after Easter whenever it falls and the servants have an unshakeable penchant for throwing windows wide as part of their big spring cleaning. I sometimes think, in a spirit of mutiny, that if we hoarded the hard-won warmth of winter fires a little more jealously we might, in those odd years when the weather is kind, float all the way to summertime with the house snug about us like a tippet, instead of spending May and June noting that every day a little more comfort seeps out of the old stone walls until at last it is colder inside than out in the garden.
Mrs Tilling, briefed by Hugh one assumes although I cannot imagine the scene, sent up supper in the shape of egg and bread in a cup and a flask of cocoa and Grant, heaven be praised, left my clothes overnight on a chair. All in all, I do not think I have been so comprehensively coddled by the members of my household in the entire course of my life, and as the the dire warnings always have it, it very quickly spoiled me: the next morning, lying stretching deliciously in my warm bed with [the dog] Bunty rolling and moaning just as deliciously beside me, the thought crossed my mind that if only I had a telephone in my bedroom as they do in pictures from Hollywood I could ring Alec and begin to chew things over without the nasty preliminaries of cold floor, uncertain bath water, wet neck and draughty corridors. In my imagination my bedroom was flooded with light, my bed jacket trimmed with swansdown and my bed itself was oval in shape and raised up on a platform like a sacrificial altar in a jungle clearing. I looked around and sighed. My bedroom faced due west and was gloomy as a cave in the morning, my dressing gown hanging on the back of the door was best tartan felt with buttons from neck to ankle and my bed was one I rather suspected Hugh might have been born in; I had always been very careful not to find out for sure.
'Anyway,' I said to Bunty, who recognised my tone of voice and slithered to the floor, stretched and shook herself all over, 'what possesses a person to sleep on a platform? And how does one tuck in the sheets on an oval bed?' "
How indeed? I wish I could share the whole book with you, really, especially my pleasure that Dandy's long-suffering husband Hugh, who rarely lifts his nose from a grim perusal of the household finances long enough to do more than grunt disapprovingly, has just come storming onto the scene in satisfactorily heroic fashion. Good old Hugh - that cheered my morning up considerably!
(My own dog is still in bed....when I got up she rolled her eyes at me and stayed firmly put.)