Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Month of January

Started with a small supper party to celebrate the new year.
After the postponed meet ups with Warmth and his brother we finally met for drinks at The Duke of Wellington.
Hurrah! Both Warmth and I had the Tuesday off work. We braved the elements to walk into town and then had the last day of Christmas munching, took down the tree and the cards and finally at 4pm on the last day of my holidays I started some school work.
A Warmth Family gathering for Card of the Year. A Warmth family tradition of judging each Christmas card and then announcing a winner, and also loser... This year betting was added to the mix. We then played Charades, although I so now want to call it The Game after Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Finally Consequences. All washed down with much laughter, prosecco, sausages, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. Christmas has finally ended.
Exploring our new home. A walk to Oxlea Woods. Lovely - I know we will return.
Book Club - discussing our book, Christmas, shopping and so much more.
An early Saturday brunch on the opposite side of London. Lovely to catch up with old book club friends. Then a wintery mooch in Barnes and meeting Warmth's brother and wife for drinks.
A delicious Sunday lunch with friends and then a cold walk around their local park.
Finally swapping to the new blogger - and liking it very quickly.
Meeting a friend in Shoreditch. Exploring BoxPark and a warming supper at The Albion.
Friday supper with the dear old colleagues at Sofra.
Saturday travelling westward again, this time back to Putney, home for my first six years in London. A late afternoon hot chocolate and glass of red wine with one of my first teaching friends. Then a party at one of the boat clubs along the river.
A Sunday birthday celebration lunch at Baltic for Warmth's father's 75th birthday.
Meeting up with a dearest best girl and exploring Drink Shop Do. Oh it is fantastic and feminine. Cocktails and cakes with a little bit of shopping thrown in for good measure.
Finally ordering our wallpaper for the dining room.
Off to friends for the night. Delicious Chinese take away and more importantly a catch up.
Setting up a tumblr JHD366. I've managed a month of a photo a day. Hoping to keep going for another 11 months.

Books read - Finishing Good Wives, reading Wait for me! by Deborah Duchess of Devonshire. I realise the last few books I've read have all been about sisters - and lots of them! Finally my Persephone Secret Santa - Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge.
Discovering the first snowdrop in our garden...


Monday, 30 January 2012

Very Sundayish

Thirty-first January
Wake very late after night's revels. The sun is shining and everything looks and feels very Sundayish. D.E. Stevenson Mrs Tim of the Regiment

We woke up at friends' home. Drank copious cups of tea. A cold drive home. The weekly food shop. A delicious afternoon sleep. Fresh bed linen. Warming supper.
How was your Sunday?

Friday, 27 January 2012

Like Audrey Hepburn

Our Book club book for discussion this month was The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.  An unusual story that created a good discussion. I especially liked the words he uses, in fact there was nearly going to be a blog post on the way he uses words, but I decided to read and enjoy the words instead of recording. This line made me smile.

'She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.' Jeffrey Eugenides
It may be sacrilegious to write Audrey in the same sentence as SJP but here is another example of a woman whom women love and men just don't understand why.
There's something similar with women and clothes, and I think it's probably where the Audrey SJP thoughts relate. We all have one. That item we love, other women love, but our partner loathes. At the weekend we, well all the women, commented on Sister in Law's necklace. She loves it. We loved it. It's that item that she always receives compliments on, from women. But her husband dislikes it. For Warmth and I it's a black velvet three quarter sleeved jacket. Do you agree? And if so, what is that item for you?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A fairy, a sylph

"She was more than human to me. she was a fairy, a sylph. I don't know what she was - anything that no one ever saw, and everything that everybody ever wanted. I was swallowed up in an abyss of love in an instant. There was no pausing on the brink; no looking down, or looking back; I was gone, headlong, before I had sense to say a word to her.' Charles Dickens David Copperfield


Reading through all my Dickens quotes I realise how passionate he writes about love. Yet my love isn't a passionate, violent, headlong love. I definately am a person who pauses on the brink. Still his passages on love speak and stay with me.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Stop all the clocks

A very very close friend of Twin, her husband and The Blessings has very sadly and suddenly died. I looked through my books and this blog for a passage to send. It was this poem that kept running through my mind. I think I understand it now.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever:
I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Her pearls, her satin train

It took me a long time to read The Ladies of Lyndon finally I finished it. There's alot about marriage in it and as it's the anniversary of our first date and engagement I thought we'd have these passages.

The silence in which she drove with her father to the church was comforting and lovely.

John, handsome and competent as ever, waited for her at the chancel steps, and at the sight of his cheerful self-possession she became more collected. While the clergyman was haranguing them about those carnal lusts of which the bride is supposed to know nothing, she reflected composedly that John ought really to be married as often as possible, he did it so well.

As she returned down the aisle Mendelson's triumph seemed to epitomise her own satisfaction in her beautiful behaviour. She had quitted the maiden state becomingly.

They had drawn up before the Cocks's door, triumphant with its gala awning and crimson carpet. It was flung wide by beaming maidservants and John handed Agatha and her lilies, her pearls, her satin train and lace veil, out of the car.

She was already rather tired of hearing her new name.


John twitched her train into becoming folds round her feet and assumed the posture of happy groom at her side.

"I've not crushed your flowers," he murmured in her ear as a bevvy of bridesmaids flocked into the room. "Isn't that exemplary in a bridegroom?" Margaret Kennedy The Ladies of Lyndon


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Her Heart

'Her heart - is given him, with all it's love and truth. she would joyfully die with him, or better than that die for him. She knows he has failings, but she thinks they have grown up through his being like one cast away, for the want of something to trust in, and care for, and think well of." Charles Dickens Our Mutual Friend
Re reading this passage I'm not so sure about what I think. Dying for someone? If I love you I want you to be with me through life. What do you think?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Like nothing on earth

"I never was in Agatha's bedroom," said Hubert wistfully, "What was it like?"
"Like nothing on earth. A wonderful Elizabethan bed, all hung with old Italian tapestries... And a Louis Quinze dressing-table, and a crystal jug and basin from somewhere in Hungary. And, by way of pictures, a Gainsborough portrait, and a landscape... And a good deal of carved jade and ivory lying around. It was just like all the other rooms in the house, only she had seized on the very best things."
Margaret Kennedy The Ladies of Lyndon

I'm not sure Agatha's bedroom would be my idea of nothing on earth, but this one might be... And when we gather ourselves to decorate our bedroom well then that shall be Like nothing on earth.

How would you like your dream bedroom to be?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A better world

I'm using Dickens in January as an excuse to post some of my favourite Dickens quotes. I first read Great Expectations at school but it was the re read, having watched Gwyneth Paltrow's film, that changed my thoughts on him. After that I tried to read a Dickens a year. I've slightly slacked recently but still hold Dickens dear and claim him as one of my favourite authors. Maybe this will kick start me to read another Dickens this year.

"If you can tell me that you will go through the world with me, you will surely make it a better world for me, and me a better man for it, and I will try hard to make it a better world for you." Charles Dickens Great Expectations


Monday, 9 January 2012

An alarum clock

"That's not an alarum clock going off upstairs?" she cried. "It must be late! I can't bear to think of people getting up already; I need to recruit a lot of energy before I can even think of a new day." Margaret Kennedy The Ladies of Lyndon

Do you need an alarm or do your have your own internal alarm clock? I need an alarm clock and a cuddle from Warmth to wake me...

Friday, 6 January 2012

A dash of yellow

Let's brighten things up. Shake the possible January gloom away and think of flowers.
'Lady Slane liked them [his little offerings] best when they took the form of flowers... He would make daring and surprising combinations of colour and form, till the result was more like a still-life painting than like a bunch of living flowers, yet informed with a life that no paint could rival. Set upon their window-sill, luminous in the sun... he would produce a bunch as garish as a gipsy, all blue and purple and orange, but next week a bunch discreet as a pastel, all rose and grey with a dash of yellow..' Vita Sackville-West All Passion Spent


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

January Afternoon

"... she stood by the landing window. The twilight was disappearing into darkness; there was the wonderful pause which comes between the two. The chestnut tree stood out against the sapphire sky, black, calm and majestic. Such a winter's twilight is perhaps the most beautiful of all aspects of the year. She had never failed since she was a child to gaze at it on some December or January afternoon." F.M. Mayor The Rector's Daughter

It's my first day back at work today and I would much rather be standing by the landing window, or lying on the sofa reading, gazing at the twilight. Where would you like to be this January afternoon?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Oceans are moving

"A whole year passed, unremarkable, one of those periods of consolidation in change when one is growing and filling out into the spaces of a life the shape of which has been set but not yet seen: the time will come to stop shout, and look, up and around at the walls, the ceilings, the staircases leading from here to there, that one has built around oneself out of daily dabs of mud. Or the year was like a ship; inside it seems much the same town you have always lived in... But beneath the patterned carpet oceans are moving past your feet; and you yourself have determined this with a ticket you bought months back." Nadime Gordimer The Lying Days

For us 2011 definately wasn't like a ship - we knew we'd moved...
What was 2011 for you a staircase or a ship? And how would you like 2012 to be?