One of the residents invited us to her Christmas Buffet the other night. Hubby insisted I went and he would stay here with the dog rather than leave her alone in the house.
Having checked with our host by email as to what I should take so as not to embarrass myself, I went armed with a bottle of wine and a handmade card.
Hubby, bless him, had gone down to check on the boat and came back with my jeans and new sweater so that I could look smart (we’d only brought up our basic clothes, nothing for ‘special’).
I was surprised by the warmth of my welcome, as I don’t know this lady very well, only really because she has a dog, a dog that sadly doesn’t like collies, so always barks at Maggie. I was greeted with hugs and kisses like a member of the family, and when she said ‘I am SO pleased you came!’ I felt myself blushing and coming over all warm and fuzzy.
She had laid on a fantastic spread, catering for all tastes, including vegetarian. Conversation, like the food, was plentiful, and I recognised a lot of faces as it was a good mix of residents and boaters.
The house was packed, and I was soon sweating profusely. I couldn’t take my jumper off as I had nothing on underneath other than a (new) bra, so I stood as near to the door as I could in the hope of getting some air.
Her house has a totally different layout to this one with the lounge at the front and an open staircase. Her kitchen is at the back, and behind the stairs is an entrance to a dining room with patio doors leading into the garden.
I didn’t get to eat very much actually, mainly because someone or other was always engaging me in conversation! What was really lovely though was that everyone asked after Maggie. It would appear that she has won the hearts of a lot of people who see us on our daily walks.
Everyone knew we were house sitting and were curious as to how we were getting on ‘off water’. Although we’re still new to the boating life, adjusting back to house living has been ‘interesting’.
We have managed to reduce our utility usage by turning down the thermostat on the central heating, turning off the under floor heating during the day, discovering which is the short cycle on the washing machine and not using the electric fire in the conservatory. Some of the residents found this odd, but I explained we were not here to run the bills up.
We have made ourselves at home, are very comfortable, and as always, budget aware, even though we are not responsible for any bills during our stay.
Time sped by, and before I knew it, it was almost 10 o’clock and people started to leave. Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I asked if there was anything I could do to help with the clearing up. There were already several volunteers, so I asked if I could take some little nibbles back for Hubby which was greeted with an ‘Of course!’ and a helping hand to fill a tray with a few miniature pastries, samosas, spring rolls, mince pie, quiche, sausage rolls and a small dessert. He had quite a feast!
The evening was really mild, so I changed and we took Maggie out for her final wee. We didn’t need coats. It’s hard to believe it’s December! We should be having this: