Though the sun is shining and it’s warm today, all of 20 degrees, not the usual below zero temperatures we’ve had here lately, I will not be venturing out of the Inn yet again. As Innkeeper I have to oversee the workmen who are finishing the floors here.
The men will soon be arriving. Their machines are already in place and these machines can be pretty noisy once turned on, but the sound is music to my ears for it means progress on the Inn’s addition.
By my next Country Inn Day I expect the main new room of the Inn will be ready to receive furniture, the furniture which has yet to be delivered as well as the pieces which arrived earlier and have been crowding existing rooms of the Inn. I’m so anxious to see everything in its right place as you can imagine for this project as been going on for quite some time.
Luckily some rooms here at the Inn have been undisturbed by all the construction so a Country Inn Day here can carry on very much as usual.
The Inn Cook has been working from early morning whipping up a nice breakfast treat, Cable Car Morning Muffins. This recipe comes from a book called “San Francisco Entertains”. The book was purchased on a Country Inn “Travel” Day when Cook dropped into a William Sonoma store in San Francisco’s Union Square.
These muffins give me, Inn Guest, a good healthy start to the day. They are made of wheat flour, oats, ground flax, raisins, carrots, apples, pecans and blackberries, plus a half dozen other ingredients.
So once I have a bit of nourishment I’m ready for a fun activity here at the Inn and my very favorite activity is letter writing.
On an ordinary day I’ll write one letter with my first cup of coffee and another letter later in the afternoon, but on an Inn Day I can spurge. Today I write five “search letters” first thing. As a member of The Letter Exchange (www.letter-exchange.com), a wonderful organization for letter writers, I regularly answer ads in the club’s magazine from people all around the world, people who seek correspondents and friendship.
I call my letters of introduction to these people my “search letters” because like Queen Isabella sending out ships in search of treasure, my “search letters” go forth seeking out new pen friends who I treasure. Letters from these pen friends arrive daily. My post man picks up my letters and delivers more to my door. What fun!
William James, the 19th century American philosopher once said, “As long as there are postmen life will have zest”. He was so right!
The Art of Letter writing is not dead and gone as so many think. It is alive, well, and quite delightful – art that is personal, expressive, creative and lasting. It’s become my mission to spread the word concerning the pleasures of a letter. Too many people are oblivious to this delightful art form. I hope you’re not one of them.
It’s so nice to step out of my regular routine one day a week and escape to a Country Inn Day. Here I’m free to do whatever the spirit moves me to do. I think a little work sprinkled into a week is a very good thing because it helps us fully appreciate our free time. But too much work or even too much free time can be trouble. It’s the rich mix of work and play, just the right blend, that seems to do the trick, at least for me. How ’bout for you?
If you’re designing Inn Days of your own I suggest you start by creating a list of your favorite pleasures. Simply creating this list can be great fun even before you partake in the activities. I created a basic list but it is so long I never expect to fit all these pleasures into one 24 hour period so I choose just a few to enjoy each Country Inn Day. I could enjoy coffee or lunch out or perhaps fuss over a lovely afternoon tea. Some days it’s nice to have cocktails with a “dead friend”. I just pull out a biography of some interesting person from the past and as I sit comfortably with my drink reading, I feel as if that person is with me, telling me their story. They really are too. They’re truly with me if only “in spirit”.
I would love to slip away to the dining room of my favorite Red Lion Inn for dinner each and every Country Inn Day, but since it’s about 500 miles away that’s not usually possible. So the next best thing is to get busy as Innkeeper/ Cook creating a pleasant meal and table setting for two, or maybe more if I feel like entertaining. The creativity involved is fun. Why have pretty things if we don’t use and share those things regularly? Country Inn Days give me the opportunity to use my nicest china, crystal and linen and the presentation is not only for me and any guests I might have. I”ll photograph the setting and then create photo note cards for my correspondence. In doing so I enjoy the fruits of my efforts over and over again and sharing doubles the joy.
You don’t need to explain what you’ve been doing when you send a card with a picture like this one on its cover page. Whether we dine by ourselves or with a host of others it’s fun to fuss a little now and then. We’re worth it, aren’t we?
Other of my basic Inn activities are the letter writing which I already mentioned, time creating rituals for daily life, lovely spa activities, and all those other favorite things I like to do. Making a list of our favorite things is fun. Have you done that lately? Oscar Hammerstein II wrote, “I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.” But when I think of my favorite things, list them, and then make them happen, I feel better then “not so bad”. I feel GREAT! On Country Inn Days favorite things are the main events, thinking about them, listing them, and then making them a reality.
Creating rituals is a wonderful Inn activity for as attention is paid to the details of ordinary tasks those tasks become much more enjoyable whether they’re done on Inn Days or on any ordinary day. Some of my favorite rituals relate to menu planning, reading, housework, letter writing and entertaining. Without a carefully thought-out ritual in place it’s sometimes hard for me to get started with even my most favorite activity, but once a ritual is designed that same activity becomes automatic and full of grace.
The bath is a great place to dream up rituals. While enjoying spa time the mind is free to be creative. Why not use that time to think up ways to make every day more and more special? No one is going to do the thinking for us. It’s our job and a delightful job it can be.
Work and worry are sturdy weeds, but joy requires cultivation.
A Country Inn Day is a day to not only stop and smell the roses. It’s also a day to cultivate joy.
I’ll leave you now for I have a date with Sara Ban Breathnach. She has some ideas to share with me, ideas from her book “Romancing the Ordinary”. I’m hoping she’ll inspire more Country Inn Day pleasures and if she does, you can be sure I’ll share them with you because sharing doubles the joy. Yes it does.
See you next time at the Inn and till then