There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Saturday, 16 January 2016

As 2016 Begins

"I have a fine lot of hopes
 here in my basket," 
remarked the New Year. 
"They are a sweet
smelling flower—
a species of rose."
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Our first guests of 2016 are due to arrive any minute now and even though Stuart and I have been greeting guests into our home for 7 years, I still feel a little nervous. Is everything done, everything ship-shape and 'tickety-boo'? (One of my favourite English sayings.)

The front door greets guests with bright cyclamen,
and the much-photographed butcher's bike out
in front is a landmark and a bright spot on Holywell Street.

The windows are clean, a month's worth of cob-webs swept
 away from the front of the house, and the Queen
waves to passers-by from her perch in the breakfast room window.

Inside everything has been dusted, wiped, polished,
 Hoovered, swept and brushed within an
 inch of it's life. Fresh flowers
 grace the tables in the breakfast room and the
 refrigerator is groaning with breakfast supplies.

Keys and menus are at the ready, the doorbell rings
and here we go, 2016 begins for Holywell Bed and Breakfast.

Every house where love abides 
And friendship is a guest, 
Is surely home, and home sweet home 
For there the heart can rest. 
~Henry Van Dyke

None of this preparedness has come easy and now that we're ready, there's a giant sigh of relief. Stuart and I both returned home from our Christmas holiday two sick little pups, and it felt like we had to rise from our death-beds in order to get the B&B back in shape after a month off. But those are the lessons of running a bed and breakfast, the lessons of hospitality. Running through hospitality are veins of grace and kindness, and it means we can set our own needs aside for awhile for the sake of someone else, for the sake of a perfect stranger. 

Those are the lessons I'm most grateful for after greeting guests for seven years. Our luggage, hidden from view, is an explosion of clothes and boots and Christmas gifts, and we both feel wobbly and shakey, but that will all be resolved in due time. For now our guests are happy to be in our home and excited to be in Oxford, and Stuart and I are looking forward to 2016 being a year of happiness, joy and prosperity, meeting new friends and greeting old friends. Welcome 2016.

Take care to keep open house: 
Because in this way some have had
 angels as their guests, 
without being conscious of it.
 ~Hebrews 13:2.”

Happy New Year and we wish you
many blessings and much joy in
from Stuart, Jack, Max, and Me.


  1. Dear Carrie: Bless you both. Prayers for healing. Your selfless attitude on behalf of others, your guests, is an inspiration, truly. Looking forward to good health and wonderful things in 2016. Jane xo (And I imagine there were 2 happy pups on your arrival home!)

    1. Oh my--such happy pups. Jack wanted to do nothing but lick my face for almost an hour. They both were such a sight for sore eyes--as was Oxford. Very glad to be home and back in our routine, which is why we go on holiday right??!!😊 Just could do without the jet lag and plane germs! xoxo

  2. I hope you are feeling better and that your 2016 is as welcoming to you as you are to your guests! Blessings to you both!

    1. Thank you very much Maricruz--we're feeling better already. Many blessings to you as well in 2016. Carrie