We have just had the pleasure of having our daughter and son-in-law staying with us for an extended weekend. It was decided Saturday would be our day to spend together and it worked on many levels, reminding me that having a day different from other days is a really good thing! (It was so good to get away from the ‘to do’ lists and Christmas preparations and just ‘be’ in the moment with loved ones). Although cool, the weather was fair and gave us a lovely opportunity to walk through the woodlands of Basildon Park (a house and grounds owned and maintained by the National Trust).
After changing out of our muddy wellies we sat at a table in the old stable yard and ate our picnic (there is something very British about having a picnic in December!). Then we walked up to the house and enjoyed a leisurely amble around the ground floor rooms. There were fewer visitors than usual, perhaps because it was the Saturday before Christmas and most people were busy elsewhere spending their share of the estimated £1.7 billion of retail takings for this one weekend!
The house at Basildon Park holds extra interest as the location for several film and television productions including the 2004, Keira Knightley, version of Pride and Prejudice (you may recognise the house as Netherton Park, the house rented by Mr Bingley) ; also some scenes of ‘The Duchess’ were filmed there; and perhaps most famously of all, lots of the rooms have been used as the interiors of the supposed London home of Downton Abbey’s Crawley family.
Now our first set of guests have gone and been replaced by our older son returning home for the holiday 🙂 and tomorrow my husband’s Mum will join us too 🙂 . This morning I managed to put the final stitches in my final Christmas make; photograph it; wrap it and pass it on as a gift to a friend.
My machine is packed away for a week at least and I’m already feeling a bit twitchy without it! But I have some hand quilting within reach and I’ve made use of the class sale on Craftsy and treated myself to ‘Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing’ by Carol Doak.
Apart from celebrating Christmas with family and friends I’m especially looking forward to listening to ‘Carols from Kings’ on Christmas Eve – a tradition picked up from my husbands family – which gives a time to pause and focus afresh on the wonder of Christ’s coming to Earth. I do hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.