Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Month of July

Mama and Papa Warmth to lunch, a walk around the garden and a lovely catch up.
Meeting a friend and having the opportunity of seeing the Olympic rings over Tower Bridge whilst eating a pizza at Strada.
Friday night mooching in Selfridges with a dear friend, exploring the beauty halls, the fashion, the home ware and then resting with a beautiful glass of rose and some snacks on the roof garden. Somehow it did stay dry though the blankets in buckets were most welcome by the end of the evening.
Celebrating Warmth's birthday with friends to stay. A BBQ with so much meat that the only pudding was Warmth's Birthday cake - all he wanted was a Gingernut loaf from his childhood.
Watching Murray in the Wimbledon final.
Meeting a friend on a soggy Thursday for drinks at The National Theatre at Propstore pop up bar. The Southbank is looking so wonderful it just needs dry weather for everyone to be able to stand out and enjoy.
A sad Saturday of meeting a dear friend for a farewell afternoon tea at Fortnum&Mason, then a slow mooch up Bond Street window gazing before going to leaving drinks for another friend. Both lovely times but I do wish they weren't leaving.
Hurrah the last day of term, an end of year social in the hall with huge vats of curry from a local restaurant.
My birthday gift to Warmth was a Eurostar trip to Paris.
An earlyish start the next day to cheer on the Olympic Torch as it went down both ends of our road. Then off to dear friends of Warmth's for a BBQ and catch up.
A lovely, lazy sunny Sunday ending with a BBQ in the garden.
First day of the summer holidays and the sun in all its glory shone. Popping into school and meeting a dear friend for her birthday. I'd suggested Inn the Park but alas Beach Volleyball scuppered those plans. So we found a great lunch deal at Maze where we had a cooling glass of fizz, a four course taster, coffee and then a tour of the kitchen. A delicious and lovely way to start the holidays.
Off to Kew to cheer on a friend who'd been nominated to for the Torch Relay. Oh it was hot but what fun it was. Spending a lazy day in Kew. Cooling lime and sodas in a shady pub garden and then to Ask pizza a whole group of us, plus the Olympic Torch.
Sitting in the shade by Blackheath pond meeting Rachel for lunch, book mooching and gentle chatting.
And then to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It was amazing. The whole Olympics are amazing and in fact I felt like just writing this sentence for The Month of July as it surpasses everything else this month, yes even Paris.
A family party with fun games in the garden, lots of delicious food but not quite enough Olympic watching.
Sunday lunch with mama and papa Warmth the Olympics were on all the time.
The month finished with Mother coming up for a day of gardening.
Lots of cakes baked for school Fun Day and the cake stall. Lemon Drizzle and iced star biscuits were the biggest success. Lots of fairy cakes baked and a banana loaf. A different banana loaf with added seeds - hoping this one doesn't sink.
Books read Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge, Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. The first of my new birthday Vogue subscription and The Mirador, dreamed memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her daughter, by Elisabeth Gille.
Are you enjoying the Olympics?

Friday, 27 July 2012


London by A.S.J. Tessimond (1902-1962)

I am the city of two-divided cities
Where the eyes of rich and poor collide and wonder;
Where the beggar's voice is low and unexpectant,
And in the clubs the feet of servants are soft on the carpet
And the world's wind scarcely stirs the leaves of The Times.

I am the reticent, the private city,
The city of lovers hiding wrapped in shadows,
The city of people sitting and talking quietly
Beyond shut doors and walls as thick as a century,
People who laugh too little and too loudly,
Whose tears fall inward, flowing back to the heart.

I am the city whose fog will fall like a finger gently
Erasing the anger of angles, the strident indecorous gesture,
Whose dusk will come like tact, like a change in conversation,
Violet and indigo, with strings of lemon streetlamps
Casting their pools into the pools of rain
As the notes of the piano are cast from the top-floor window
Into the square that is always Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Paris in July

Paris in July started very slowly but then sped along. I managed to read Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard and The Mirador, Dreamed memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her daughter, Elisabeth Gille.
The best part though was our day trip to Paris for the day in the month of Paris in July.
It was my birthday gift to Warmth and was fortunate enough to be joining him.

A brutal alarm at 5.00am so we could catch the train and tube to Kings Cross St. Pancras ready for the 7.30am Eurostar to Paris. A snooze, a good book and a queue for coffee.

We walked to Monmartre from Gard du Nord and had an explore of Sacre Coeur, the stained glass windows were a delight.

Then a lovely meander through the streets of Monmartre, a stop for a croque monsieur and plotting castles in the air where a daydream apartment would be.

Semi seriously thinking about coming for a night in December for Christmas shopping and staying in this area.

A quick hop on the Metro. A glimpse of the Tour Eiffel from the Tuileries Gardens.

A walk along the Seine glimpsing, Paris Plage then to Musee D'Orsay (two for the price of one with our Eurostar tickets.) Discovering a new artist, Odilon Redon.
Odilon Redon

Truly time for a late lunch now. Searching for a  Luxe Guide recommended restaurant led us to rue St. Honore. Although our walk took a long time I enjoyed gazing in shop windows and along streets that together we would never walk through. We popped into Colette, a shop I've read much about. A glimpse at Annick Goutal's windows. Finally we found a lovely place for lunch, sitting outside with our Orangina and steak. Then up and onto another walk, crossing over the Seine again and to the Left Bank to search for a Luxe recommended place L'Heure Gourmande.     

We ordered a cafe, a chocolate tart, a chocolat ancienne and assorted dry cakes. The waiter came up to check the same person hadn't ordered the chocolate tart and the chocolat ancienne. A delightful sit in this cafe. The place where one would possibly daydream of resting and reading if fortunate enough to live in Paris. 

Repleat with flavour and food we then stirred ourselves. Walking through Ile de France, wishing I could remember more of Marie Antoinette's life from the biography I read. A hop on the Friday evening commuter metro to Gard du Nord for a biere and vin rouge before boarding our return journey.

A most lovely day, talking about the previous time we visited together on our first holiday, enjoying the sights and senses of having the day here and plotting when we'll return and what we'll do.

Thank you Karen and Tamara for hosting another wonderful Paris in July

Monday, 23 July 2012

a drop of dew

Whilst hanging out the washing early yesterday morning the sun was shining and the dew was glistening.

"The sun lights up a drop of dew
The drop of dew soon dries
You are the light of my eyes, my eyes
I'm brought to life by you..."
Laura Esquivel Like water for chocolate

Thursday, 19 July 2012

in the old-apple tree

Today is the last day of term, last day of our academic school year. I don't quite have three months off but this is how I'm feeling.

"Three months' vacation! how I shall enjoy it!" exclaimed Meg, coming home one warm day...
"What shall you do all your vacation?" asked Amy...
"I shall lie abed late, and do nothing," replied Meg, from the depths of the rocking chair. "...now I'm going to rest and revel to my heart's content."
"Hum!" said Jo; "that dozy way wouldn't suit me. I've laid in a heap of books, and I'm going to improve my shining hours reading on my perch in the old-apple tree..." Louise May Alcott Little Women
lie abed

I intend to be a bit of Meg and Jo - lying abed late reading.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The coffee had disappeared

On Saturday I went with a friend, before she leaves the country to Fortnum&Mason for afternoon tea in their new Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon.

"The coffee had disappeared and its place was taken by a silver tray with a lace cloth on it. There was a silver tea-pot, and a silver kettle with a little spirit-lamp underneath, and a silver cream jug and a covered silver dish full of muffins. There was also hot buttered toast and honey and gentleman's relish and a chocolate cake, a cherry cake, a seed cake and a fruit cake and some tomato sandwiches and pepper and salt and currant bread and butter." Evelyn Waugh Vile Bodies

The sandwiches were delightful, especially the cucumber, we had our own pots of jam and lemon curd for the scones, the cakes were oh so delicate especially the pistachio, raspberry and white chocolate. I wasn't so sure about the addition of peach to the early grey and chocolate. We didn't even make it onto the large slices of cake. All washed down with copious amounts of earl grey.
 It's sad saying 'au revoir' to friends but good to make excuses for afternoon tea.

Friday, 13 July 2012

sitting in the garden

One flower bed is looking especially gorgeous this summer. I think it might be something to do with an abundance of foxgloves.

"They were sitting in the garden. The acacia, after dying back twice, had recovered and was full of milky flowers. The borders had thrown up blue and white spikes of lupin, white foxgloves and bell flowers." Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to Fortune

Perhaps sitting admiring the garden is another criterion for a beautiful day?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Green Paper Serviettes

Perhaps one criterion for a beautiful day is being able to plan for and have a picnic?

"They unpacked the basket and saw that Mrs. Brimsley had done them proud. Nothing that Mrs. Holly had provided had ever equalled this. Hard-boiled eggs, ham cake, cheese cakes and buns and oranges, and even a bottle of milk... 
There was something about in the way the picnic basket had been arranged, in the green paper serviettes wrapped around the cake and buns, in the oranges, and in the bottle of milk, so carefully wrapped and labelled..." Winifred Holtby South Riding

Oh to spend today sitting in a field munching on a delicious picnic.

Monday, 9 July 2012

positively magnificent

The British weather this summer has not been good. There has been a lot of rain, so much that the hose pipe ban has been lifted. This passage from a birthday book made me smile.

"Have you observed," began Evelyn with a giggle, "that Mrs. Thatcham's one criterion of a beautiful day is whether or not it is possible to see across as far as the Malton Downs? 'Can you, or can you not, see across to the Malton Downs?' -that is the only question. For the farther you can see, - why, the more beautiful the day! And not the day only, either, for the beauties of the landscape, and the countryside also, hinge entirely on the answer to that question."
Evelyn sniggered, and continued, warming to her subject: "Thus, if it is possible for Mrs. Thatcham to see two counties at once from the top of the hill, then the view from there is a fine one, -the country exceedingly lovely. If three counties are visible at the same time, it is then more lovely than ever, - the country-side positively magnificent, and so on and so forth." Julia Strachey Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

What are your criteria for a beautiful day?

Friday, 6 July 2012

Magic and Lavender

This seems the perfect quote for a Friday when it's Paris in July.

'It was our favourite time of the day, this in-between time, and it always held and seemed to last longer than it should - a magic and lavender space unpinned from the hours around it, between worlds.' Paula McLain The Paris Wife
favourite time

Hope you have some magic and lavender this Friday.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

bookshop to bookshop

After a delightful Friday evening mooching in Daunt Books, spending my birthday book money, and a little bit more. I was fortunate to buy two of the lovely Daunt Books published books Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge and Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford. I was looking out for these but the cover of Mrs Bridge by Evan S. Connell tempted me and so another book was bought.

"Afterwards they would walk from bookshop to bookshop, and they knew them all, considering the books which, one day, they were going to buy. The very look and smell of them was fascinating, their clean wrappers, the exciting reds, the sombre blues and rich browns. There was a bookshop smell, too - a smell of old settled dust, watered down in layers, printer's ink, and a taint of glue. They would stand close together, looking in through the window .
'We'll have that some day..and that...' 
'We must get it in a really good edition,' William would add. 'I like a book that opens decently and has good clear print. I never feel the same about a book I've read in a cheap edition.'
'I'd sooner have a cheap edition than no edition at all,' Catherine would argue." Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to Fortune

Are you a Catherine or William as far as books are concerned?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Paris in July

One of the many lovely things about blogging are the annual events. Paris in July is one of them. This year I'm going to read Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard and The Mirador, Dreamed memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her daughters, by Elisabeth Gille. Then on the 21st July we are actually going to Paris for the day.

Will you be journeying to Paris this July?