How the other half (barely) lives (Rousse)

When I was supposed to be at work I poked around my sister J’s vastly extended house in West Sussex.

On the ground floor there was a luxurious self-contained holiday cottage that looked out onto a large rectangular pond destined to become a swimming pool, and a small field that housed a collection of miniature rare breed pigs.

Upstairs in the main house I worked my way through room after room (including a fully-operational woodworking studio and a dark wood and leather boardroom), astonished at the quantity of precious objects that my sister and her husband had collected from all corners of the earth over the years. All that antique silver, ebony and ivory: no wonder they always appeared short of cash!

The only rooms that did not ressemble museum galleries were the children’s bedrooms. All that P’s contained was a bed covered with green and yellow duvet, a couple of old plastic dinosaur toys, and a collection of limp green balloons.

Perhaps of most interest to me, however, were the open boxes of very posh chocolates in the upstairs drawing room. JB, who was also meant to be in the office, also had her eye on these.

Meanwhile, just across the road an impoverished disabled couple lived on a mattress on the ground of a rough single-roomed concrete hut. With only a dirty blue blanket for a door, tourists regularly peered into the hovel to witness how the other half (barely) lived.

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