I'm reaching that piled-up state myself. I feel ever-so-slightly out of control - work is manic as we try to atone for a two-month lull while the our IT system played silly buggers and we achieved nothing but expanding our repetoire of hate crimes; the children have social schedules on a par with Paris Hilton; I have been up and down to London peddling my wares and sitting in stalled, unheated trains. None of which makes me the fragrant, calm lady who should be presiding over this household.
So. The Colonel has stepped in, and this is his recipe for a de-stressing evening of pre-Christmas peace:
- He has lit a fire. I cannot think of anything more seductive and primitive than building a fire for someone you love. This is the first of the year, and the first the dog has ever seen. She has a ten-minute window while I write this, then I will be replacing her on the rug to gaze at the flames.
- He has poured me a gigantic whisky mac. Those dear readers in recovery look away. Warming ginger and an afterburn of peat. Heaven.
- He is playing Damien Rice's incredible album, O. If you don't have it, treat yourself immediately. It is quite the most beautiful thing you will hear this week. Play it loudly.
- He has, quite brilliantly, arranged for Episode Three of Spooks to come on while I am eating supper.
- There are candles lit all over the shop. It makes all hovels look wonderful and the light turns any haggard harridan into (in my case) Cate Blanchet. Excellent.
- I have the latest Tatler to drop into the bath later.