Gues­tad­vi­sor

The Mail on Sunday - You - - First Person -

pre­fer be­ing at home to rush­ing off to visit cathe­drals or farm­ers’ mar­kets, so I couldn’t have been hap­pier. The cloth­ing I re­quested was ‘some­thing to knock about in’, and mag­i­cally a black silk kaf­tan was pro­duced as we snug­gled down to watch a boxset. The next an­noy­ing re­quest (and a pos­si­ble point re­duc­tion) was a ra­dio for my room so that I could drift off to sleep lis­ten­ing to the ship­ping fore­cast.

Two de­mands, both met with good-na­tured josh­ing. If you are stay­ing with old friends you can usu­ally gauge pretty early on how they ex­pect you to be­have and work out for your­self an­swers to ques­tions such as should you at­tempt to make break­fast or is the kitchen area no-go? Are you ex­pected to help with the an­i­mals? Is it a good idea to be up and at ’em, wellies on by 8am wait­ing to be en­ter­tained?

One thing I did learn was that when you are let­ting your small dog out to do its busi­ness, it’s im­por­tant to check that the chick­ens/goats are safely away in their pens, and if the other dogs go out too, make sure they all re­turn. That is all I am pre­pared to say on the mat­ter. Points lost: 10.

Still, we con­tin­ued to have fun, vis­it­ing a gor­geous rug and kilim em­po­rium and rum­mag­ing through an­tiq­ui­ties and vin­tage clothes (a

WHAT MARIA’S HOSTS SAID ABOUT HER

MAX AND DAVID Our vis­i­tor was amus­ing com­pany, par­took in nu­mer­ous out­door ac­tiv­i­ties and brought a splen­did gift. Un­for­tu­nately, she also brought in some­thing un­to­ward on her train­ers, al­though this was quickly reme­died with­out us hav­ing to ask. She may have been travelling light but we sus­pect that she left heav­ier: co­pi­ous amounts of cheap con­fec­tionery seemed to dis­ap­pear from the larder with fright­en­ing speed. 4/5

GEMMA AND ED An easy guest who went with the flow, amused her­self and didn’t out­stay her wel­come. We would be de­lighted to see her and Dolly back soon. 5/5

ANNE Maria tested the beds with a swal­low dive, re­veal­ing her pants. Then she tried to get off with my neigh­bour. She also ate the choco­late brown­ies be­fore I had even made the tea. 3/5

PA­TRICK A pleas­ant enough woman who was pop­u­lar and funny but in­ter­fered with my banana and cus­tard pud­ding; a sim­ple dish sab­o­taged by the ad­di­tion of choco­late sprin­kles and cream. She also gave Bob treats. Bob is on a diet. 4/5 Maria with her Ra­dio 2 co-host Gra­ham Nor­ton

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