03:00 Do excuse me. I went out last night (hic) and have only just stumbled in from the cold. I'm pleased to report that my February Becks count, which a few hours ago stood at zero, now rates a boozy bottled-up three. And would have been six, if only the second bar had actually sold the stuff, damn them. I think a long sleep beckons. And then I need to get up and get moving, because tonight I'm doing something I've not done for years. I'm having an overnight visitor. So much to do, so little time.
10:27 After a decent night's sleep I'm woken by unforecast rain beating against my windows. Good, that'll encourage me to stay indoors rather than waste my day gallivanting off somewhere. There are always 'things to do' before a visitor arrives, and I really need to knuckle down and get them done. A bit of tidying up, a lot of clearing away, then making sure there's food in the fridge and generally readying the place for two-person occupation. When you live by yourself, without an audience, it's easy to slip into certain ways that others might find sub-optimal. I'm looking around right now and deciding where to start. Probably with breakfast, and then I think I'll take it from there.
12:16 Ok, that's the bathroom sorted. It was the corner behind the door which needed the biggest seeing-to. I never normally need to close the bathroom door, there's no need, which is a little unnerving when a visitor comes round and exposes the dusty micro-environment lurking beyond. Shouldn't be a problem this time. I'll never have one of those bathrooms that gleams and sparkles like a TV advert, but I've been scrubbing so hard that mine currently smells like a lemon explosion in a pine forest.
13:52 I've remembered to stick a post-it note to the fridge door handle. This broke a while back, a hairline fracture you'd not necessarily notice before grabbing hold, and one more accidental tug would surely snap the plastic outright. Superglue's proved ineffective, and my letting agents have thus far failed to track down a replacement part, so I've had to teach myself over several months to open the door via alternative means. Not a problem, not while there's only me in the house, but one single visitor instinctively delving for some milk could cause irreversible damage. Hence the post-it note. I bet it falls off overnight.
15:38 I suffer dreadfully from piles. Piles of paperwork and other stuff around the house, that is, which doesn't normally correlate with an inability to sit down. These piles include semi-important papers I need to deal with and other things I might want to refer to later, and by leaving these on view I ensure I they don't get don't overlooked. Then when guests are expected I endeavour to tidy these piles away, lest perhaps my visitors imagine I always live my life like this. Sometimes I stash the contents elsewhere, sometimes I combine smaller heaps to make one larger megapile, and sometimes I realise the paperwork wasn't worth keeping after all and chuck it out. I've done well today, filing lots away and exposing gleaming surfaces to daylight. But I know I'll set about recluttering once my visitor's left, else I'll surely forget where I've stashed everything, and that would never do.
17:03 When I lived nearer to Norfolk, my family used to come visiting a lot more often that they do now. I'd always rush round with the duster and hoover before they arrived, for that final homely touch, trying to make sure I'd covered every location they might possibly look. I'd always fail. The sun would inevitably come out just after they'd arrived, illuminating one dusty corner or imperfect surface I'd not previously thought to notice, and my omission would be duly noted. Tonight's family visitation occurs after dark, and the chief inquisitor won't be present, so this time I'm hopeful that my forgotten crevices will go unnoticed.
18:33 I had it all planned out. Still plenty of time for a final whisk round, and to iron my shirt for work, and to sort out the sleeping bag, even to finish off writing a post for the blog tomorrow. That and setting the video, because visitors never want to watch the same thing you do, and having a shave, because I don't normally have to on a Sunday and I forgot earlier. But my visitor's just rung to say he caught a rather earlier train than expected, so I'm about ninety minutes short in my calculated preparation time. Best laid plans, and all that. Not to worry, I'm sure I can tweak those last few finishing touches in the brief time that remains.
19:06 That's the doorbell, heralding an unfamiliar experience, and time to welcome an overnight guest to my humble abode. Fingers crossed my brother won't notice how much rushing around I've done to get the place ready (at least, not until he gets back home tomorrow and reads this).