"I want lanterns," I said. "On sticks. You know, like the ones carol singers tradtionally carry in old pictures."
I needed to illuminate the path from the ticket office to the house for our evening event, and apart from our solar powered outdoor lights not looking as historically correct as a nice lantern, they also tend to be entirely deficient in the light emitting department.
Lovely Warden was very excited. Not only had I requested something involving bits of wood, I had also introduced the element of fire, which is always a winner.
Once I'd handed over the paraffin and a box of matches he was away.
Meanwhile McColleague and I put our finishing touches to the house, which, come to think of it, also involved bits of wood and the element of fire. We'd decked the hall with as much foliage as we could gather, and arranged it artfully around the many candles needed to light the house in the evening.
"Beautiful," we agreed, once we'd lit all the candles, and stood back to admire the effect. Flickering flames, ancient timbers. "Best keep the fire extinguishers within arms reach," we concurred.
Next came preparing the refreshments for the evening. The mulled wine was rigorously tested for temperature and flavour. "Needs more wine," said Lovely Warden. We couldn't be bothered to rigorously test the mince pies, we were sure they'd be fine. Besides, we were still sick of the bloody things from last year.
Our catering this time was spot on. Every morsel was consumed. It was slim pickings for McColleague and I at the end of the night.
"Do you want a clove-studded orange, or a walnut?"
"Are there any nut crackers?"
"No, I didn't want the public eating the display."
"I think I'll leave it."
I have promised something much more appetising for our staff gathering (me, McColleague and Lovely Warden round my kitchen table) next week.