Tuesday 15th December

We said goodbye to the last of our guests yesterday morning as we are taking a break until the 22nd December when we will be working throughout the Christmas festivities.  I have booked the window cleaner for Wednesday to come and do all the windows front and back. This morning I went with my gardener Minty to Covent Garden Flower Market to buy the plants and flowers to decorate the house. I also ordered the lights from Lights4Fun  for the Eucalyptus also recommended by Minty and they should arrive on Thursday.  So the house will be looking very festive indeed! 

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It’s good to have time out and to collect one’s thoughts and do a few changes here and there. Having guests staying at Christmas can be very enjoyable and not at all intrusive – the key is setting the parameters at the time of booking.  Many are just happy to be in a warm and welcoming environment and need very little maintenance.  Others come to see relatives as there is not enough space for them to stay so they want to be close by so that they can just walk to their destination, which means they spend very little time in the house except to sleep! 

I have stocked up on most things that I will need for the next two weeks and only have to do one more supermarket shop before the 24th to top up with the perishables i.e. fruit, vegetables, salad stuff and, of course, several pots of cream. 

I cooked a selection of comfort foods at the weekend, the first was a sausage hot pot and second a custard tart (will be published this Thursday), it’s that time of year when comfort is in and healthy takes a back step a little bit… Plus I had plans to see friends as well as attend a Christmas Recital, so my sons asked me to leave them something that they could graze on in the evenings.

I also experimented with the apricots that were left over from making the Apricot Liqueur by making some apricot and hazelnut strudels! Christmas will have come to Parklands by the weekend, and the whole house will be properly arranged and organised. I’ve another batch of Christmas Cakes to prep and bake this evening so I will keep this blog short!

Oh, I forgot to mention, we also had a no show last night. I stayed up until 1 am just in case their flight was delayed but it obviously wasn’t. If I had missed out on another booking I would have been very annoyed but as all rooms were free it was not a problem – just one of those things that do happen from time to time… 

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