As usual, the best china, the snowiest cloth and the most delicious supper awaited me.
Miss Clare's cottage is a model of neatness. The roof was thatched by her father, who was the local thatcher for many years. She has early-flowering honeysuckle over her white trellis porch, and jasmine smothers another archway down the garden path.
In the centre of the table stood a cut-glass vase of magnificent tulips, flanked by a cold brisket of beef on a willow patterned dish garnished with sprigs of parsley from her garden, and an enormous salad. The freshly-plucked spring onions, were thoughtfully put separately in a little shallow dish.
'It's not everyone that can digest them,' said Miss Clare, crunching one with much enjoyment, 'but my mother always said they were a wonderful tonic, and cleared the blood after winter.'
Miss Clare's silver was old an heavy and gleamed with recent cleaning. how she finds time to keep everything so immaculate I don't know. Her house puts me to shame, and she has no one to help her at all, whereas I so have Mrs Pringle occasionally to turn a disdainful hand to my affairs."