I thought I’d get up a bit early today, since I’d made no preparations at all for lunch, but I overslept instead and woke up well after 8 o’clock.  Andy, my fellow organist, is in hospital, which I only found out last night, so I was playing at today’s service.  So it wasn’t until nearly 11 that I started getting ready.

Fortunately, I’d planned a simple meal – caesar salad, roast chicken with green beans and roasted vegetables, poached pears with almond tart.  I also had to light and maintain two fires, which is the tricky bit as Russell always used to keep an eye on them and he’d also lay the table, if asked.  In addition, two friends called in during the morning, but that’s always a pleasure and they were both being helpful, so I certainly didn’t begrudge the time spent in making coffee and finding things for them.  And after an hour and a half scuttling round I was ready and it was so good to see Ed again, we’ve been friends forever but have hardly seen each other for an awfully long time.  We fell into a lovely, easy friendship and Charlotte is a great friend of both of us too, so it’s been a good day, though we spoke of some painful things at times.

Now, at 11 o’clock, I’ve had a bath and am sitting by the fire with Ben on the sofa behind me, dozing.  I’m so tempted to stay and sleep here – I won’t, of course, my bed is far more comfortable.  But falling asleep by the fire is lovely.  When I had my hip operation nearly five years ago and Russell kindly brought a bed downstairs to encourage me to take an afternoon rest, sleeping in a room with a fire was the best bit and I was shamefully reluctant to start going upstairs to bed again.  I remember that after my father died and we needed to do anything that could possibly cheer us up, my mother started using the fireplace in her bedroom and it became our favourite room.  It was a lot of work though, carrying coal upstairs and cinders down, so I don’t suppose we did it for more than a couple of winters.

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