Country houses for sale

Buying bellows

Dear Mrs Danvers, I would very much like to find a pair of bellows to boost up recalcitrant log fires when there are frosts outside. I don’t seem able to find any.

The place you want is Morgan Bellows (01576 300232;, where they not only make bellows in different sizes and lengths of handle (assuming your fire is too hot or too distant for normal handles), but they come in black, navy blue or dark green leather. What’s more, you can customise them with initials or, better still, your family crest. We know they work extremely well, because we’ve tried them. An alternative idea is to search antique shops, where they can occasionally be found but always test them, because the leather can have perished, which means you get no blow.

Dear Mrs Danvers, Could you advise how to remove stains of red wine from a two-year-old carpet, which I would prefer not to clean professionally as yet? So far, I’ve blotted up the excess with kitchen paper. There is one large area of stain and lots of spray spots in an area of about 3ft.

How curious you should mention this when I’ve just written a book full of tips called Red Wine on the Carpet: Secret Tips from Country Life’s

House-keeper Mrs Danvers (Swan Hill Press, £12.99). I won’t force you to buy my book although you should. Here is the answer to this oft-repeated question. I never throw red wine on my carpet, but I have taken advice from experts. With newly spilt red, you should first soak

it up with dry blotting paper or a J-cloth so you did absolutely right then attack it with a good carpet shampoo. Do not use salt, white wine or soda, as they are likely to make it worse. For old stains, try putting a solution of equal parts glycerine and water on the spots for an hour, then sponge off with water. If all else fails, the dry cleaner may be necessary, I’m afraid, unless you want to dye the carpet a nice claret colour.