One of my delightful guests sent over a bouquet of flowers. It needed a bit of tweaking, (such as the removal of the pink and gold-threaded ribbon), and placement in a grander and more over-the-top bowl with gilded lotus flower feet. He did not see it before it left the florists, and was terrified it might be too ghastly for words, but I assured him, when I rang to thank him, that it was exquisite, and I'm sure you'll agree. But apart from that thoughtful gesture, its arrival in the late morning meant that it was not something that needed my attention when guests were arriving.
At about the same time, I was preparing the set up, with champagne and wine waiting to be placed in the fridge, once room had been made by the removal of the large casserole of coq au vin, which we had made the previous evening. Champagne does slip down easily. All of this did.
The table was laid during the late morning. Cleaning it all the next morning, (by hand) is a task that concentrates the mind and is certainly not quite il dolce far niente which would have been my preferred activity for the day. But it's good for the soul, and there is a reward in doing things for others whom you cherish.