What (we hope) the guests don’t see
Guests at Little Leaf have never felt intrusive, predominantly because this house has never been our ‘family home’. Johnny didn’t grow up in Room 2, no one had their first kiss in Room 4, Little Amy didn’t have a sleepover in Room 5, etc. We have no emotional attachment to any of the rooms at Little Leaf, they don’t even feel like ‘our’ rooms, they feel like ‘guest’ rooms hence when we show people into them we feel nothing of an emotional nature (apart from pride of course), and that’s just how we like it.
Equally we have well and truly moved into the parts of the house that the guests don’t see, our room looks like a bomb’s hit it most of the time, the kitchen is a combination of ‘where the magic happens’ and ‘where all the admin takes place’ and the garden is our little sanctury (when it’s not raining) usually with wetsuits draped over the wall and the remnants of washing that we haven’t yet brought in.
The two worlds exist alongside each other pretty peacefully until the inevitable argument. After all, we are in a relationship and, from my experience, a relationship isn’t complete without the odd, blazing row. Maybe some of you out there exist in a little bubble of marital bliss, never a cross word exchanged and no need to reinforce the glass in the front door for those ‘walk out and slam the door’ moments. Danny and I do not fall into this category…
We are prone to the odd argument and, as sod’s law ensures, this rarely takes place when we are in the house on our own. Our favourite time to really let loose is post-breakfast after 3 hours in a very hot kitchen, having had the same discussion again and again. This is punctuated by running out to the dining room to deliver tea, toast and delicious cooked breakfasts. I’m ashamed to say it but I have been known to hover in the kitchen door, teapot in hand, trying to deliver a scathing last line before scurrying out to the waiting recipient.
We do our best to argue through gritted teeth and whispers but often, with very little alternative, we just descend into silence which, when you think about it, is a vast improvement from screaming at each other the way we can when we know we’re alone.
On the plus side guests (unbeknownst to them) often save us from rows exploding. On the springboard to a biggie we often stop to say hello to people who have walked in the front door or whom have arrived after a long journey. Distracted by interesting conversation and / or making tea we often forget where we were once we’re alone again and the embryonic argument never develops.
Danny and I have been together just 2½ years and were not even living together when we moved down to St Ives so this journey has been baptism by fire: Thrust into living and working together with a new business and an impending marriage I often marvel at how well we’re doing, especially as we have very few friends in the area to dilute our own company. However, we are only human and as much as we would love every guest to never hear a cross word exchanged I suspect I’d be kidding myself if the odd row wasn’t overheard or the odd mood wasn’t detected over an evening’s discourse.
Equally, and fairly, the opposite can happen and we go through stages of being blazingly happy, questioning how we could ever argue when we are so in love or laughing at the stroppy versions of ourselves who co-existed in the house just the other day. In this instance our unsuspecting guests can come in the door and be greeted by a ridiculous over-exuberance; I’m also embarrassed to admit that one poor guest popped their head into the kitchen after breakfast to find me spoon feeding Danny yoghurt in one of those nausea inducing ‘couple moments’: For that I can only apologise.
Most of the time (thankfully) we’re somewhere in between, getting on with day to day stuff and attempting, in between all the guesthouse madness, to maintain a relationship that is a little bit more than business partners and a little bit less than honeymooners.