It feels very British with its cushy leather chairs...

I am sitting at the table in the Gladstone Room whereupon lay today's editions of the Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times and The Guardian. There is no Daily Mail, which is just as well. 

The room is awash with sunlight entering through windows that frame views of the broad green lawn, the hedge flowering with soft pink blossoms, and the small border with pansies and cosmos and spent rhododendron. 

This room is a gathering place, before dinner for a drink and after dinner for coffee and conversation. Just now, it serves only me. 

It feels very British with its cushy leather chairs, Oriental carpets and cases of books. 

At breakfast today I sat with an Englishman who studied at Harvard and who spent a summer as a counsellor at a youth camp in Wyoming. 

I enjoyed my second cup of coffee with the Americans who were also lingering in the dining room: a young man from Nevada who is doing doctoral work at St. Andrew's University, an ex-pat from the South who came 15 years ago and works with material about Virginia Woolf, an educator-psychologist and her historian husband from Maryland who happened to read about Gladstone's in a magazine, and a man who writes video games, teaches in Sweden, and came to trace some of his ancestry. 

So in this little village of Hawarden, in the cocoon of Gladstone's Library, one is never very far from the world and never far from the most interesting people. And it's only 10:00 in the morning!