Thank goodness my house is alive again. Not that it was really dead - just in a kind of semi coma for a few days.
During the week before Christmas, none of my adult children were in residence,and Retreats for you had no guests. Bob and I were madly busy making and wrapping presents, and we both had bits of work to finish up before the holiday season - but those activities took up only a fraction of this rambling old house. I took my laptop into the kitchen and worked by the Rayburn, and in the evenings, Bob and I ate in the kitchen - and spent the evening there too. We were warm in there, and there seemed little point in heating the rest of the house.
Occasionally, as I whizzed through the gloomy sitting room and the deserted dining room, I felt a chill that had nothing to do with the temperature. And as I whisked into the tv room one evening in search of a spare lightbulb, I felt a strange pull as I closed the door behind me. Almost as if it were pleading with me not to go. Big old houses don't like being empty, I thought. They need people, and warmth and life.
Three days before Christmas, two of the children arrived. One for a brief visit and one for the Christmas break. The walls of the house seemed to curve slightly, as the central heating cranked into gear and lamps flickered alight. Bob stacked logs into the huge fireplace, and the soft glow of the flames bathed the room in gold. Delicious cooking smells wafted gently from the kitchen, and noise and laughter echoed around the walls. Warmth and companionship filled the house again, and I could feel it start to relax around me.
Christmas came and went, as did the children - only to be replaced by guests. Retreats for you is buzzing again. And the house loves it.