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John Evans is seasonal senior guide at Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire. He lives in the village of Pontiets with his wife Julie and stepdaughter, Clare.

MY wife and I get up between 6.30am and 6.45am during the week when we're both busy working. We get up this early for a reason.

Our very first task is to greet and make a fuss of our two Jack Russells, Lily and Lwlw, who share a bed in the utility room.

They are then let out into the garden to do what dogs do. My wife attends to our house cat, Alfie, a Blue Point Siamese. And would you believe that all the animals are the best of friends?

Breakfast for us humans follows shortly after that - cereal for my wife, toast and marmalade for me and a cup of tea. Julie then leaves for her work as a legal secretary at 8.25am, Clare for a building company at 8.30am and finally myself at 8.45am.

I start work at 9.30am making sure that everything at Aberglasney, in Carmarthenshire's beautiful Tywi Valley, is ready for opening at 10am.

It's always a wonderfully varied and busy day with ticket office duties, guided tours and time spent ensuring that all visitors are satisfied and happy.

The person in the ticket office is the first person visitors see, so it's important to create a welcoming atmosphere. I enjoy meeting people and finding out where they are from and helping them to enjoy their stay.

There is never what you would call a normal sort of day in Aberglasney. There are things that you do on a daily basis but you see different people and have different experiences. If we have a group visit it gives me a lot of enjoyment to take them on a tour and to be able to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for Aberglasney, its history and heritage.

Aberglasney closes at 6pm and after a detailed locking-up procedure, I arrive home at about 6.45pm. After Julie and I finish work, it's our special time to sit down and catch up. We relax in our sun lounge and talk over our day - it's quite ordinary but at the same time very special. I also get great satisfaction from taking the dogs for a long walk. It does help to keep my waistline under control.

Julie and I have been married for 16 years. I have two married daughters, Bethan and Cara, and Clare my stepdaughter who lives at home with us. We also have two grandchildren.

At the end of the day we are both usually exhausted. We get ready for bed between 10.30pm and 11pm. It's my job to see to the dogs and Alfie the cat gets special attention from Julie.

It's then off to bed and a read from an historical novel to finish off a busy but rewarding day.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 21, 2008
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