From the back seat of the car, out my window, I watch London concrete and skyline blur into verdant hills punctuated with white, wooly sheep. Weaving around farms, through dales and down high streets, we wind down on a Friday before dusk, traveling through the country. My mind and heart slow in the exhale of a commute to the Cotswolds for a writing retreat.

Behind me in the boot, next to a bag of books, computer and suitcase are cardboard boxes holding the delicate jewelry of two chandeliers; light fixtures potentially worth more than the car for which I am graciously being chauffeured.

“Do you want me to turn on my GPS?” I ask my friend behind the wheel and his wife holding a map.

I am travelling with third generation owners of Denton Antiques in Notting Hill, selling circa 1750-1900 masterpieces that once donned the walls and ceilings of castles and places of storybooks. A voyeur to the ways of a 100 year old family business boasting of clientele around the world, I am attempting to assist in finding the house of a client’s son tasked with selecting a chandelier his parents are buying for him.

He hasn’t made a decision yet and we’re in the area, so why not sample each antique light fixture in the room?

His mother, the client, greets me in the driveway. I am surrounded by a stone wall, canopied by a walnut tree and flanked by flowers growing through cracks. A dog pokes his snout through the fence in welcome.

She tells me the house where she grew up had one of Mrs. Crick’s chandeliers (how the business was known in the early years), one hangs in her house and now she’s delighted to carry on the tradition with her son and his wife. This gift of lighting up a dark room where her grandsons gather in the evening isn’t for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion. No, it’s something much better than that.

Join me here for the rest of the story at Grace Table, where we are celebrating the one year anniversary of hospitality around the virtual table. And receive a download of a gorgeous cookbook here with fall/winter recipes. My recipe for granola is on one of the pretty pages.