We did work very hard for our money, though: we cooked, served, tidied, made beds and generally took the stress out of house parties (Henry even did a very grand butler, if the host was out to impress), but it’s surprising how many of our clients seemed to expect us to do all the cleaning and provide twenty-four-hour room service, too.
‘She only told me yesterday, so I suppose I’d better change our availability on the website,’ Henry said. ‘I could try contacting people who enquired about a Christmas booking and were turned away, I suppose. There was that woman quite recently who was very pressing and didn’t want to take No for an answer.’
‘They’ve probably all made alternative arrangements by now,’ I said rather gloomily. Our Christmas booking is so lucrative we don’t have to take another one till Easter.
‘It gets even worse, Dido,’ Henry said. ‘If I’m not away working, Mummy will force me to join the annual family gathering instead, and apart from feeling I’d rather be shut into a small walled town rife with Bubonic plague, I simply can’t afford all those presents.’
‘I suppose that’s the drawback with having so many richer relatives,’ I said, and of course, we’d be much richer if we worked for most of the year, and not just a few selected weeks of it. But we preferred to earn just enough to keep us during our precious time off, when Henry worked on his increasingly popular blog and I wrote my recipe and reminiscence books.
It was a way of life that had worked well for us both for ten years now.
‘Well, Granny Celia and Dora will still be away and I’ve just seen Dad, so if we don’t get a booking I won’t have anywhere else to go.’
‘You could come to the gathering of the clan with me,’ suggested Henry.
I shuddered, remembering the year I’d tried that, before the business took off. ‘No, thank you. I’m still traumatized by the experience of dancing the Gay Gordons with your cousin Hector.’
‘He’s very hearty,’ he agreed, which was one way of putting it.