Down a corridor, an elderly lady in a black cardigan sat alongside one of the bedrooms open to the public. She looked quite still and very official, but rather too old and frail to be a security guard. I assumed she was a guide of sorts, brimming with facts and fables and historical anecdotes.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Can you tell me something about the house? The connection with Beatrix Potter?”
“No.” She smiled vacantly, eyes unblinking, then went on proudly, “Don’t know the first thing about it.”
I thanked her, if not for her knowledge, at least for her honesty.