I have been particularly dutiful this week, even if I do say myself. I began the week in Cornwall, entertaining my beautiful, happy, intelligent niece. As duties go, this was an absolute joy. Martha has taken to walking like a duck takes to water, and is now in proud possession of her first pair of shoes – red – her uncle’s favourite colour. Just one of Martha’s gummy smiles is all that’s needed to secure my devotion in perpetuity, but my loyalty was tested when our winter walk at Trelissick was abruptly ended. Despite a generous number of layers, Miss M took umbrage at the biting wind and had a mini-meltdown in the middle of the garden. We were just approaching a clearing flooded with trembling snowdrops, so I quickly sank to my knees, took a few snaps and accompanied my charge back to the National Trust tea-room. All that was required to restore her normal good humour (and everyone else’s for that matter), was a sizeable chunk of cake – a girl after my own heart.
Work has demanded a different kind of dedication. Sign off on our Christmas ranges looms and my team of wonderfully conscientious colleagues have been working like stink to get everything done. I am extremely lucky to have such great people around me: the camaraderie takes the sting out of the most dreary tasks. After a series of 14 hour days I yearned for a nice quiet weekend to recover, but duty called again. We’ve spent today piecing our seaside home together after an excessively protracted kitchen project. Between ourselves and the fitters we managed to create mess and mayhem in every room of the house. Where fine, pale-pink dust has not reached is not worth knowing about. I am sure it will all be worthwhile when Him Indoors is finally able to cook up a storm using all the latest gadgets and appliances. He would be doing so now, were he not asleep on the sofa. Being dutiful, whilst rewarding, can be rather exhausting.