Conversations in the Dining Room
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: Drinks in the dining room, 11 August, 1999
Ann: This is very nice. What's the occasion?
Simon: Nothing much, just thought we could treat ourselves now and then. I sometimes forget we're rich! Champagne?
Ann: Wow, sure. Are you up for this?
Simon: I feel fine, Ann. Really.
Ann: I know what you mean about the money. You know, sometimes I think maybe we should give it all away, and then I think that this place really needs us and there is so much we can do here. And for the first time in my life I can control my research and go places I want to, and do what I want to do.
Simon: Right. But some days it seems like this place has been such a drain. I never realised how much money it would take, and we're really only scratching the surface of what needs to be done. And there are places I want to go, too. So I thought, how about a holiday?
Ann: That would be wonderful. Maybe when winter comes, and we can't get as much done, and the garden dies back, we could take a trip. How about Italy? I could show you my dead Nuns. It was really beautiful in Tuscany this spring, and I missed having you there.
Simon: I was thinking a little grander in scale. Look at this baby!
Transcription note: Several moments of silence...
Ann: A motorcycle?
Simon: Not just any bike-- a Harley Tourer. We could do Europe for a few months, maybe take it to South America. Hell, we could do a road trip in the States and go see your parents. "Head out on the highway, do do do do do-do, looking for adventure, do do do do do-do. Born to be Wi-ild!
Ann: You bought a motorcycle.
Simon: What, it'll be a blast. We'll get you some leather and a big helmet, you can be a biker babe!
Ann: Simon, what are we doing here?
Simon: What do you mean?
Ann: I mean what does all this mean for you? Us, the house, living here.
Simon: It's great, the house is brilliant, you're really into the history and stuff, I get to play cricket on the lawn, Shirley cooks her bloody awful meals for dinner, and we pay Martin to grow prize vegetables and a Hermit to have sex with our research assistant. I just thought it was time for a break. Do what we want to do. Spend some money on us.
Ann: But this is what I want to do. And have you seen any money recently? Despite the assurance of the comic book lawyers you hired, who knows when we'll get another check. How much was the Harley? You know, I've spent all week agonizing over how we can possibly afford to buy the portrait of Fanny, which we talked about, and you bought a Harley?
Simon: Well, it's not like it was top of the range or anything. But we talked about travel, I thought that was something we both wanted to do. I mean, is it the bike? Jackie said I should have got an MG.
Ann: So you spring this on me, but you discussed it with you ex-girlfriend?
Simon: Phil, maybe Phil said an MG. Jackie just sent me an email so I replied. She's an old friend, that's all.
Ann: An old friend who you went to see in London.
Simon: Dad told you, right? Interfering old bastard. I didn't say anything because I knew you'd get mad. We just had a drink and talked about England and stuff. Nothing happened.
Ann: Simon, maybe this has all been too much. It's been less than a year and we have a house, a staff, and ex-girlfriends in the way. Maybe we should just take some time to think about what we want for ourselves. I feel like all I've done lately is fight with you, or make up, or think about fighting and making up.
Simon: O.K. that's fine. Taking time is fine. That's what the Harley's for. Where do you want to go?
Ann: Simon, you're not listening. You, me. Let's take some time off. Apart. Whatever.
Simon: Wait a minute. You can't just say time out and walk away. Where are you going?
Ann: The sad thing is, I'm a millionaire and I can't afford to go anywhere. I'm going to bed. Let's sleep on all this. Alone. Goodnight.