It is 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Everyone else is still asleep. I am greatly enjoying the silence of the hour. I can hear the clock ticking on the mantelpiece as I sit on my laptop at Mrs Doubtfire. The bird feeders on the cherry blossom trees outside the window are quiet, just one or two draggled sparrows have come for breakfast in the steady rain. Meg greeted me enthusiastically when I came through, but she has now lost interest and has lain down on her bed again, snoring gently, dreaming of muddy walks and rabbits no doubt. Her peaceful presence is comforting.
I have a busy day ahead. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and we are having a celebratory meal. Lamb is traditional, but I will be cooking a glazed ham, and making a salmon coulibiac for the non meat eaters (Mum, and me), though everyone else will have some too. Lots of vegetables, and small new potatoes cooked slowly with a slick of olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper. Pudding is still to be decided; something chocolatey for the boys, and perhaps an apple fool, or something lemony. As you can tell, I haven't done a huge amount of forward planning for this meal, but I am looking forward enormously to having everyone here.
I am confident that by the end of today the house will be tidy, the Easter decorations will be up, the food for tomorrow will be well under way. The big kitchen table will be laid with a bright cloth, and scattered with small posies of flowers. A Lindt Easter bunny will mark each guest's place the table.
However you enjoy Easter, be it for you a religious festival, or, like me, an opportunity to gather dear family and friends together for a celebration meal, I wish you a very happy day.