Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Month of December

Started with Christmas shopping in full swing. Hopeful awaiting of parcels, marching through the crowds, trying not to buy presents for me...
A visit to Mortlake to see Warmth's brother and wife's new home with the other brother and his wife. A fun evening of laughter and then tapas lookng forward to many more in their home.
Meeting up with university friends in Browns for our annual Christmas lunch.
Meeting Warmth's brother and wife who live near us in their newly renovated local pub.
Getting ready for a family Christmas gathering. Lots of cooking, cleaning and decorating in advance. Much fun on the day. And many left overs to nibble on afterwards.
Travelling back to West London and back in time to leaving drinks for a former colleague. Lots of memories and catching up.
Meeting up with a dear friend to discover she and her family are going to be moving to Singapore in the summer. We don't see alot of each other but I will really miss our six monthly meet ups in Angel over supper and a bottle of wine.
A quiet weekend together ending with Sunday afternoon tea at Warmth' s parents. Mince pies, tea loaf and warming tea.
Finally the end of term. Celebrating by meeting a dear friend for mooching, Wahaca and cocktails.
Meeting my dear old colleagues for a celebratory supper and catch up. Each time we meet we say 'oh I miss you'. Then a hop across the river to catch up with other dear friends reuniting. Finally the last train home.
A lovely Christmas Eve with Warmth. Leisurely morning then into town to Dickens' house for a reading of A Christmas Carol, mulled wine, mince pies and a good old nose around his house.
A cold and quiet walk to London Bridge to meet Brother for drinks. Alas chosen pub was closed. Off to where they live. Alas their local pub was closed. So back home for a Christmas Eve drink.
Christmas Day. Opening gifts in front of the fire with a delicious cup of tea. Part of the Warmth family, with Granny Warmth came for bucks fizz & biscuits. Then some of us walked to the other brother's so we were all together for a lovely delicious family Christmas day.
Boxing Day a drive to Kent to my family. A cold Christmas meal, more pudding, brandy butter, fizz, wine, laughter and family.
Meeting friends in Blackheath for lunch, just a salad for me please, at The Railway.
Meeting Warmth for a Friday Late at Tate Modern viewing Gerhard Richter and then on for tapas at Brindisa
A re arranged New Years' Eve. Now just Warmth and I. We're going to the matinee of The Pitman Painters then a cocktail before being back in our new home for spaghetti carbonara and bubbles to welcome in 2012.

Baking for Christmas gathering shepherd's pie. Nigella's courgette fritters, Yule log, a rebake of the plum and orange cake from River Cafe Easy. Mother kindly brought along the family favourite of Bethlehem Star Pie. Nigella's Gold Dust biscuits as gifts for friends with a glittery bird attached just incase there wasn't enough sparkle. Chestnut and Lentil soup for Christmas Eve. Stilton and walnut biscuits for Christmas Day.
Books read The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides for book club. Little Women and Good Wives by Louise May Alcott for Florence Finds book club.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year x

Sunday, 25 December 2011

That this is the best time to dream

For, after the gospels,
After the human and divine comedies,
After the one thousand and one nights,
After crime and punishment,
War and peace, pride and prejudice,
The sound and the fury,
Between good and evil,
Being and nothingness,
After the tempest, the trial,
And the wasteland,
After things have fallen apart,
After the hundred years of solitude,
And the rememberance of things past,
In the kingdom of this world,
We can still astonish the gods in humanity
And be the stuff of legends,
If we but dare to be real,
And have the courage to see
That this is the best time to dream
The best dream of them all.

Ben Okri, last stanza 'Mental Fight'

With Christmas Love x

Friday, 23 December 2011

This time in December

Today it's Carol Ann Duffy's birthday and so any excuse for some Duffy. This piece comes from her 'Another Night before Christmas'.

Then she watched as the room filled with magic and light
As the spirit of Christmas made everything bright
And suddenly presents were heaped by the tree -
But she didn't wonder, which ones are for me?

For the best gift of all is to truly believe
In the wonderful night that we call Christmas Eve,
When adults remember, of all childhood's laws,
This time in December will bring Santa Claus.


How will you be spending today?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

It's like Tiffany's

'It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody. We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: he's an independent, and so am I. I don't want to own anything until I know that I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it's like.' She smiled, and let the cat drop to the floor. 'It's like Tiffany's...' Truman Capote Breakfast at Tiffany's


Over on Florence Finds Breakfast at Tiffany's is being discussed. Do pop over read and add your thoughts...

Monday, 19 December 2011

My day in books

This really caught my attention and so I had a go myself.

I began the day with Breakfast at Tiffany's.
On my way to work I saw Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
and walked by Union Street
to avoid Mrs Tim and the regiment
but I made sure to stop at The Moon and Sixpence.
In the office, my boss said "Excellent Women"
and sent me to research Chocolat.
At lunch with The Third Miss Symon's
I noticed The Cat
under Miss Buncle's Book
then went back to my desk All Passion Spent.
Later, on the journey home, I bought Snowdrops
because I have Round about a pound a week.
Then settling down for the evening, I picked up The hand that first held mine
and studied The Virgin Suicides

before saying goodnight to The Ladies of Lyndon.

Christmas Reading

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Persephone Secret Santa

Last week a parcel arrived. On the back was written 'Persephone Secret Santa!' And inside.....

A lovely card, holly Christmas tree decoration and Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to fortune from Simon at Stuck in a Book. What is so lovely is that I gave to Simon last year for Persephone Secret Santa, and he mentioned this in his card.

Thank you Simon for the gifts - I look forward to finding time to read this inbetween Christmas and New Year.

And thank you Claire and Verity for organising it again this year.

What did you receive/give for Persephone Secret Santa?

Monday, 12 December 2011

The pleasantest week

"...and the second week in December, when she chose her Christmas presents for all her nieces and nephews, was the pleasantest week in the year to her." F.M. Mayor The Third Miss Symons

Some how I don't think Miss Symon's would buy this many, wrapped in pink and piled high on a car - but maybe she'll suprise us.

How is your Christmas shopping going?

Wishing you all a most pleasant week.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A feast of cake

'She remembered the great decorated kitchen, with holly hung from the rafters among the salt-rimed shrouded hams and puddings, a fiddler on the back stairs, and a feast of cake and fruit and pasties, wine and whisky.' Winifred Holtby South Riding
cake, fruit
What are your Christmas memories of food?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Delight in human relationships

'But her heart was so generous, her range of acquaintance so wide and her delight in human relationships so unstaled, that she could have spent a national income without difficulty. As it was, she was put to desperate straits to accommodate her lavish tastes to her narrow fortune.' Winifred Holtby South Riding

If you want to be stirred up for Christmas do go and read the whole of this passage. it's Book v11 Chapter 1 Mrs. Beddows Receives a Christmas Present.

A few instagram images from Liberty's and Fortnum & Mason's Christmas windows. I should think Mrs Beddows would have loved to do her Christmas shopping at these two shops.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Scarlet Tulips

As you know I read South Riding this year and there were so many lovely Christmas quotes that I've decided to have a week of South Riding Christmas quotes to truly get in the festive spirit. Let's start with the gift of flowers.

'On the wet pavement women stood selling flowers in odd-shaped curving baskets; chrysanthemums, vivid dyed crimson leaves, holly, tight little bunches of scarlet tulips and roses in buds hard as porcelain.
She stopped before a basket of red and yellow rosebuds. 'Oh,' she thought, 'I must have some for Pattie.'
Winifred Holtby South Riding


What flowers would you like to receive this Christmas?

Friday, 2 December 2011

Knowing a person

I'm meeting up with university friends for lunch this weekend. I realise we've known each other for over 20 years. Re reading my letters last month, there are many from them. Letters written whilst on holiday, on gap years after university, thank you letters, good luck in new home, sharing the excitement of engagements. Many memories. Our lives are quite different somehow, I don't know about their day to day thoughts and emotions. They're not the friends I would go to in a crisis. But they are friends I've known for a very long time.

'Well, this is one way of knowing a person, I suppose; to know the outline, not the detail; to sit on the veranda and look at the contour of the hill - that shoulder, such a jagged shoulder it looks, running down steeply into the silverwater of the loch. I know Mrs Anstruther in that way - just a few jags, sticking up into the blue sky, just a rounded piece of hill with a few pine trees on it. Some day I may climb the hill and feel the smoothness of the jagged rocks, and find a piece of bog-myrtle in a crevice, or move a stone and see the ants and beetles wriggling amongst the pale roots of grass.' D.E. Stevenson Mrs Tim of the Regiment
Thankfully we no longer need to snuggle by the fire to keep warm as we did in student days. What are your thoughts on friendship over time?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Month of November

It started with The Ofsted Telephone Call. So the first week was lost with school.
As a Friday end of Ofsted treat I bought this lovely perfume bottle. Mooched in Selfridges and then met a friend for supper at The Waterloo Bar and Kitchen.
Saturday a day of epic sleeping. Sunday a gentle mooch around Greenwich.
Thankfully we had a day off for Eid on the Monday. Meeting a dear friend for lunch at Peter Jones. I'd quite like to work a four day week.
Meeting my dear dear old colleagues at Royal Festival Hall Bar for drinks and more importantly catch up and friendship.
Supper with Warmth's old school friends at Browns.
A day trip to Margate to visit Turner Contemporary. Lunch in the cafe. Stunning sea views. A mooch around old town in the shops and then tea and teacakes at The MadHatters Tea Place. It was truly mad.
Book Club meet and discuss of Snowdrops and the chance to walk and admire Fortnum & Mason Christmas windows.
A coffee meet at The Albion with Anna. It turned into a little bit of a Carol Ann Duffy appreciation society.
Purchasing a new beret and scarf. Both grey with tiny flecks of silver in them. My take on the glitter theme this season.
A Friday evening shop in Liberty's and Paperchase - getting our Christmas card pieces together for a weekend of making.
An evening with Warmth's eldest brother and wife. Wandering the streets of Hither Green for Lee Open Studio. How lovely to mooch knowing that if we had seen something we do have a litttle 'need' to buy. Alas all our favourite prints and paintings had already been sold. The evening finished with a warming curry.
Starting to find a church to call home in our new area.
An afternoon wrapping up the garden for winter.
Meeting a dear friend for an early supper along Bermondsey Street and eating at Zucca.
A Friday evening cinema trip to see The Help.
A perfect Saturday. First stop to The Book Club for Patchwork Harmony's Merry Magpie Christmas Boutique. Should have been buying gifts for others. Alas two things for me, a lovely tote and bird trays for my dressing table. Then I hopped on the bus and stopping off at Bea's of Bloomsbury for a coffee before meeting a friend for a trip along Lambs Conduit Street, a pop into Ben Penreath, Something and of course Persephone for Persephone Secret Santa. We had a lovely chat about PSS too. Then finally onto Cockpit Arts where it felt a little like one gift for others, one gift for me. After all that we needed cocktails and food. Hurrah for The Zetter and Morito.
A very festive Sunday. Coffee from a Starbucks red cup, a Pret turkey sandwich, Christmas shopping in John Lewis and then an Advent Carol service.
The month ended with this.
An delicious orange, plum and almond cake from River Cafe made easy. I had said that November was a no entertaining month and it shows in the cooking.
Books read The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy. That's all I've read in November? I am finding it a alow book. Has anyone else read it?
Wow it's been a long month. How was your November?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tufted Bundles

There's now a small monthly Farmer's Market in where we live. Not quite as amazing as this sounds but still....

'The stalls were piled high with scarlet tomatoes, clear green lettuces, tufted bundles of white whiskered crimson radishes. Sacks of new potatoes squatted low on the cobbles... cottage women offered for sale long sticks of bright pink rhubarb and bunches of forget-me-nots or wallflowers.' Winifred Holtby South Riding


Friday, 25 November 2011

Used to being adored

I'd had The Third Miss Symon's noted down to read for a long time but found The Rector's Daughter first. When reading The Rector's Daughter I loved it and knew I'd found a special book that would stay with me and I should definately like to re read again. Having finished The Third Miss Symon's I'm reflecting on the two stories.

As it's finally going to be the weekend tomorrow and one of the many lovely parts to the weekend is a leisurely breakfast this line seems fun. I hope it brings a smile to your Friday breakfast in the hopeful knowledge of maybe a lie in tomorrow.

'She was as used to being adored as having her breakfast.' F.M. Mayor The Rector's Daughter. 1

(Just in case you haven't read this book this passage doesn't refer to The Rector's Daughter.)
Wishing you a lovely weekend when it arrives.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wash you ashore

Reflecting on the previous post being a young woman waiting for love and continuing to mull on the emotions and stories remembered through sorting letters from the years. I'm thinking quite a lot about memories.

'He knew that memory was as uncertain in its behaviour as the sea; it could wash you ashore on any old forgotten beach;' Rose Tremain The beauty of the dawn shift in The darkness of Wallis Simpson

Thankfully I've now been washed back to the present shore.


Monday, 21 November 2011

The Magic Season

I finally managed to find a second hand copy of The Third Miss Symon's. There are two pages that a previous reader has turned down. Both of them mention Jane Eyre. (I'm intrigued why?) At the same time I read two really good posts on the Brontes. All this is really making me want to re read it in 2012.

'...Henrietta discovered that heroines after the sixteenth birthday are likely to be pestered with adorers. The heroines, it is true, were exquisitely beautiful, which, Henrietta knew she was not, but from a study of "Jane Eyre" and "Vilette" in the holidays, Charlotte Bronte was forbidden at school owing to an excess of passion, Henrietta realised that the plain may be adored too, so she had a modest hope that when the magic season of young ladyhood arrived, a Prince Charming would come and fall in love with her.' F.M. Mayor The Third Miss Symons

Do the books we read when 'the magic season of young ladyhood arrives' help or hinder us?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Certain Moments

In amongst all these letters are quotes and poems sent to me, mainly from mum. A quote in a card sent from Twin when nursing a broken heart in 2001.

'For a while she [Mrs Morel] could not control her consciousness; mechanically she went over the last scene, then over it again, certain phrases, certain moments coming each time like a brand red hot down on her soul; and each time she enacted again the past hour, each time the brand came down at the same points, till the mark was burnt in, and the pain burnt in, and at last she came to herself.' D.H. Lawrence Sons and Lovers

Monday, 14 November 2011

A proper letter

Last time I saw mum she raved about this book. She lent me her copy. I loved it so much I now want my own. At the same time mum also made sure all the letters I've been storing at home are now here with us. I am currently trying to go through over 20years of letters. Wish me luck as I try to decide which to throw and which to keep. So, as well as loving this passage it also seemed relevant. Thinking about all the different papers used to write these many letters.

"Nonetheless, as she read them over and over, she forgot for a moment where she was and she could picture her mother in the kitchen taking her Basildon Bond notepad and her envelopes and setting out to write a proper letter with nothing crossed out. Rose, she thought, might have gone into the dining room to write on paper she had taken home from work, using a longer, more elegant white envelope than her mother had. " Colm Toibin Brooklyn

Have you read Brooklyn? If you have what did you feel/think? If you haven't please do and then write about it so I can think about it more.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Seed of goodness

'But for war to be won without a winner, to be lost without a loser, how is this to be understood? How, except it be clearly seen who is the enemy? Who is the worst enemy all men must fight till the victory without a vanquished be won? To ask that little question is to see the answer. The worst enemy every man must fight is himself! ...It comes to a question,'....'of whether there is enough of what we are calling kindness left in the hearts of men to triumph at last and for always over brutality, greed, cruelty. ...And yet in every man is there this seed of goodness, in every man the free will to choose what he will be, what he will do. Not once, but a thousand times win or lose the war against himself.' Jocelyn Playfair A House in the Country


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Just another Autumn day

We haven't had any poetry for a while, I think we can just about still call it autumn and there's a lot going on in our world so here is

Just another Autumn day by Roger McGough

In Parliament, the Minister
for Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness
announces, that owing to
inflation and rising costs
there will be no Autumn
next year. September, October
and November are to be
cancelled, and the Government
to bring in the nine-month year instead.
Thus we will all live longer.

Emergency measures are to be
introduced to combat outbreaks
of well-being, and feelings
of elation inspired by the season.
Breathtaking sunsets will be
restricted to alternate Fridays
and gentle dusks prohibited.
Fallen leaves will be outlawed
and persons found in possession
of conkers, imprisoned without trial.
Thus we will all work harder.

The announcement caused little reaction.
People either way don't really care
No time have they to stand and stare
Looking for work or slaving away
Just another Autumn day.


How will our world be next autumn?

Monday, 31 October 2011

The Month of October

Twin and The Blessings came to stay for their first sleepover. We had a bbq, a hose shower down in the garden, not what we'd expected in October.
Our lovely new sofas arrived. They are wonderful to sink into these autumn nights.
Deciding that having a swimming pool less than 10 minutes walk away we really should use it. Enormous respect to Verity, and any other long distance swimmers. How do you do it?
Another family filled weekend. Including house guests of Warmth's brother and wife whilst they're inbetween homes.
Meeting a friend and visiting an Orla Kiely sale. One bag and one bath mat purchased.
Working out that as another weekend of having friends to stay drew close that since we've been in our new home we've entertained every weekend, bar one. And that was when we took the Blessings out. There shall be no entertaining in November.
Finished planting my first bulbs. Eagerly awaiting, and hoping, their splendour.
Meeting a dear friend for afternoon tea and catch up at The Botanist.
A wonderful mooch in Blackheath. The Bookshop on the Heath has a fantastic selection of affordable second hand books (two Viragos bought. One being The Third Miss Symons by F.M.Mayor. I've been wanting to read this since reading one of your reviews.) I look forward to delving further into the rows of books for special present books.
Off to Berlin. What an assault on history. Ancient civilizations at The Pergammon. Regal Prussian living at Schloss Charlottenburg and that's before you've even arrrived in the twentieth century.
New bedroom furniture arrived. Oh how we love it. Oh how many more clothes I have than Warmth. Enjoying thing about how to arrange my dressing table.
Supper at dear friends who have just moved in this week. Lots of new home talk & excitement.

Read Breakfast at Tiffany's and watched the film for Florence Finds Book Club. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin on Mum's recommendation. Snowdrops by A.D. Miller for Book Club. The Third Miss Symons by F.M. Mayor.
Baked my first cheesecake - Hummingbird Summer Cheese Cake and Berry muffins. Loved the cheesecake so much that I baked it again the next weekend. First roast in our new home. A Julia Child's inspired supper. French onion soup, boeuf bourginon and tarte au citron. The latter was also insired by GBBO.
How was your October?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Golden Afternoons

We may have just come home from a wonderful time in Berlin but... Who can resist a quote by Gabriel Garcia Marquez about Paris, love and autumn?

'In Paris, strolling arm in arm with a casual sweetheart through a late autumn, it seemed impossible to imagine a purer happiness than those golden afternoons, with the woody odor of chestnuts on the braziers, the languid accordions, the insatiable lovers kissing in the open terraces...' Gabriel Garcia Marquez Love in the time of cholera

Where would you like to be strolling this weekend?


Friday, 21 October 2011


We're off to Berlin for a few nights. Here's Mrs Tim's thoughts on sleeping in a hotel bedroom.

"How many hundreds and thousands of people have awakened in this room; awakened to their sorrows and joys, their hopes and their fears? Strange that I should have slept so well, untroubled by the haunting of their thoughts!" D.E.Stevenson Mrs Tim and the regiment

Some day dream bedrooms to dream of lazing in...


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Regarding Lipstick

One of the lovely ladies I follow on Twitter referred to her 'Autumn wardrobe of lipsticks'. It made me smile. Then I read this passage in South Riding.

'I regard lipstick as a symbol of self-respect, of interest in one's appearance, of a hopeful and self-assured attitude towards life,' Winifred Holtby South Riding

How do you regard lipstick?

Monday, 17 October 2011


"The dew glistened on the grass like millions of diamonds..." D.E. Stevenson Miss Buncle's Book

Walking on the grass this weekend the dew really did glisten. I am loving, and quietly coveting, all the sequins being showered in front of my eyes this autumn.

toast dew

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Last smiles of the year

'Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn, that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness, that season which has drawn from every poet, worthy of being read, some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling. 'Jane Austen Persuasion

Do you have a favourite autumn poem?

Monday, 10 October 2011

Dead Leaves

Dear, dear Norland," said Elinor, "probably looks much as it always does at this time of year. The woods and walks thickly covered with dead leaves."
"Oh!" cried Marianne, "with what transporting sensations have I formerly seen them fall! How have I delighted, as I walked, to see them driven in showers about me by the wind! What feelings have they, the season, the air altogether inspired! Now there is no one to regard them. They are seen only as a nuisance, swept hastily off, and driven as much as possible from the sight."
"It is not everyone," said Elinor, "who has your passion for dead leaves."
Jane Austen Sense & Sensibility

Are you a Marianne or Elinor in your regard for autumn leaves?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Gingery Spices

After the glorious warm weather autumn has arrived.....

'The autumn smelled of these brown bitter leaves and of many other gingery spices. Greedily he breathed in the mixed peppery smell of chilled apples, bitter dry twigs, sweetish damp earth and that of the blue September mist which smoked like the fumes of a recently extinguished fire.' Boris Pasternak Dr. Zhivago

What is the scent of autumn for you?


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Tea Table Waited

In honour of the final GBBO and finishing South Riding. A post dedicated to South Riding cake moments, and there were quite a few.

'...where, before a leaping cheerful fire, the tea table waited, silver kettle bubbling and shining teapot already warmed, caddy of Earl Grey mixture a covered hot-plate of buttered anchovy toast, an angel cake like a snowdrift.'

'Tea was tea at Willow Lodge... the plates were piled high with bread and butter, currant loaf and queen cakes; the cheese cakes and lemon tarts lay on frilled netted d'oylies; the spice-bread was rich as buttered cold plum pudding;'
'Up on the first floor Lily could see ladies in green arm-chairs eating muffins...The tea was good. The toast was hot dripping with butter.'

'And even the so-called plain teas included cheese-cakes, tarts, scones, spiced bread, currant tea-cakes.'
Will you be watching The Great British Bake Off?

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Month of September

Started with a gentle introduction back into school.
A Friday mooch around Borough Market.
Taking The Blessings out for the day to a Kentish Country Fair.
Discovering The Painted Lady for nails. I shall return. They're small, they're friendly, they have a good selection of OPI and Essie and they offer you wine on a Friday night.
A wonderful wonderful evening at Any Other Party. All the women there were so warm, fun and thoughtful.
My mother arrived with boxes of letters from the past for me to sort through and store now we're somewhere larger. What to keep? What to throw?
A first, and by no means last visit to Eltham Palace. This was for an Art Deco fair. Oh I should have bought the beautiful wooden bookcase...
Celebrating a friend's 40th at Gauthier in a private dining room. The company was as gorgeous as our surroundings.
Buying furniture - quite a bit of it.
You've read about it before - meeting up with my old colleagues at The Electric for Porn Star Martinis. These meet ups are so precious. We've all gone our separate ways. But there is a tie that I don't think anything can break.
Drinks at Electricity Showrooms in Hoxton. How strange that over ten years ago I looked at a flat in this area, how would life have been different if I'd chosen that path?
Meeting up with dear friends to supposedly watch Spinal Tap. I've still to see it all the way through but it was great fun to meet up.
Trying to fit too much into one day. Ordering a carpet, visiting an open studio in New Cross to buy a painting and then back in time for a friend to come to lunch. Such glorious weather we sat sipping our gin and tonics outside.

Baking - lots of apple dishes from our apple tree. Apple and almond pudding, apple crumble. Salted caramel macarons - they tasted wonderful but they would have been marched off GBBO on looks. A Lemon Drizzle cake with an extra spoonful or two or lemon curd woven through it. A delicious Nigella Onion Supper Pie - devoured in front of GBBO. Finally bought the new Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days. Now what to bake?

Finished Persuasion. But you already knew that. South Riding by Winifred Holtby. It started off being interesting read a novel where the author has such hopes for the role of the local authority to change lives when we're in the midst of such local authority cutbacks. And then it became truly emotional and absorbing.

And just for the record on the 30th September I wore white linen shorts, a t-shirt and sandals to work!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Purple Evenings

..."a month of vintage September weather; travelling in easy stages through autumnal landscapes which seemed to be moistly wrapped in fruit-skins....There were purple evenings, juicy as grapes, the thin moon cutting a cloud like a knife..." Laurie Lee As I walked out one midsummer morning

Ours has most definately been a vintage September. The first in our new home, enjoying the apples from our tree. Even managing to sit outside some days.

How has your September been?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Later Love

And the final passage linking my thoughts to Persuasion. As Anne and Wentworth walk together ' There they returned again into the past, more exquisitely happy, perhaps, in their re-union, than when it had been first projected; more tender, more tried, more fixed in a knowledge of each other's character, truth, and attachment;' Jane Austen Persuasion

Reminds me of this passage. I may wish I'd met Warmth earlier but this reminds me of all the additional thoughts and experiences we bring to our relationship.

'How is it that poets have said so many fine things about our first love, so few about our later love? Are their first poems their best? Or are not those the best which come from fuller thought, their larger experience, their deeper-rooted affections?' George Eliot Adam Bede

As you know I have so enjoyed this Persuasion read along. Reading by myself and then reading all your thoughts. Thank you Rachel for initiating and organising this event. What was your favourite part of the readalong?


Friday, 23 September 2011

Princes Welcome

This passage reminds me of Anne at the concert, trying to catch Wentworth's eyes, annoyed at having to speak to Elliot and then the next day when she is overheard by Wentworth speaking to Captain Harville and he writes that letter.

'You've got to be responsible for your own happiness - you can't expect it to come flopping through the door like a parcel... People sit at home thinking Some Day My Prince Will Come. But that's no good unless you've got a sign up saying 'Princes Welcome'. Julian Barnes Talking it Over

And it works both ways in having a sign 'Princesses Welcome'
'for now I could at least put myself in the way of happiness... I could do something.' Jane Austen Persuasion

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Polite and Cheery

Oh Anne and all the time she spends with her sister Mary, the lovely Mrs Smith. Surely she must have thought this sometimes? I know I did.

'I help little old ladies across the road. I'm polite and cheery... I don't leave litter. I give to charities. I don't lay music too loud. When mail is misdelivered, I promptly repost it... When I'm tired of clothes I take them clean and neatly folded to a charity shop... I give blood... I eat carefully... I'm told I'm attractive. I'm told I'm good company. I don't want to be rich. I don't want to be famous. I don't want to rule the country. I'm twenty-six and all I want, please is someone I can love.' Tibor Fischer The Collector Collector


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You pierce my soul

Whilst rereading Persuasion I was reminded of favourite quotes from other books about waiting for love to arrive. Here follows a week of passages prompted by Persuasion. I've already posted some over the time of this blog. They're in the 'Threads of Thinking' cloud under 'desiring love', 'waiting' or 'painful love' if you were interested in reading more.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Response to Persuasion

Rachel suggested a read along of Persuasion. After having read the final word I felt compelled to write her a letter, and I shall use this as my first post, of possibly many, regarding Persuasion.

Dear Dear Rachel,

Oh thank you for suggesting a Persuasion read along. I've just finished it and felt compelled to write my thoughts down in a letter to you. I write this on the train to work on my first morning of term at 7.30am.
Persuasion has thrilled, delighted, touched, inspired and moved me. This read along will stay with me forever. I didn't want the story to end. I wanted it to all be about Anne and Wentworth and became impatient to return to their story.
I first read Persuasion as a gift from Warmth, within the first year of being together. I think I must have been so caught up with being in a strong relationship that I missed so much of the story and emotions.
Now I read. I remember. I reflect. I am so pleased to have fallen in love with Anne and Wentworth now. Whilst waiting for my ship to sail in, in the middle of 'a little fever of admiration', with a troubled heart, I would have read and re read . Whilst waiting for the 'phone to ring or when it was dawning that another small relationship coming to an end. "Should I have been different? If I had changed my ways would the 'we' of that moment succeeded?" Maybe Anne would have encouraged me to not doubt being the constant 'me' that makes up Rachel.
Jane Austen writes so knowingly about the thrill and turmoil of attraction. Yes it is like 'a thousand feelings rushed on Anne.' Reflections on having met up with a previous boyfriend ring true 'she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on the subject.' When Mr Elliott notices Anne as she's out walking, and how Wentworth notices Anne is noticed and Anne notices Wentworth notices she's noticed. The cheeky joy and expectation that such occasions would bring.
The sensation when you can sense that something is changing, perhaps the attraction is mutual? 'All the over-powering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her. Still, however, she had enough to feel! It was agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery.'
Reading about the concert in the octogon room was also delight and misery for me. The guilt of rearranging meeting a dear friend for the hope of meeting that someone. Oh how well I recognised trying to catch a glimmer of a glance 'It seemed as if she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe, he did not look again.' Or the anxiety of being seen speaking to someone else.
Oh That Letter that leads to these final emotions.

'and grew steadfast and fearless, in the thankfulness of her enjoyment... and always the knowledge of his being there!'

So now, just incase you hadn't guessed, if asked for my favourite Austen I shall now whole heartedly, with immense pride and without any persuasion say 'Yes - Persuasion.'

Thank you. I spend today in the glow of Anne and Wentworth thanking God for Warmth and praying for your Wentworth.

With love to you,

Rachel Anne (yes I share her middle name.)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Quiet Days

September 15th. - This is the month of quiet days, crimson creepers, and blackberries; of mellow afternoons in the ripening garden; of tea under acacias instead of too shady beeches; of wood fires in the library in chilly evenings. Elizabeth von Arnim Elizabeth and her German Garden

How will you be spending these September days and evenings?

Monday, 12 September 2011

A Spotless Abode

Warmth and I have lived in small flats before. He is much tidier than me. I'm quite happy with piles. I'd smiled when I read this passage during Persephone Reading Weekend and now as we find the path of decor styles and levels of tidiness it chimes true.

This comes in Round about a Pound a week under the chapter 'People'

It is a fact that a woman the law of whose being is cleanliness and order at all costs may, to a slovenly man, make a most tiresome wife. Her little home may be shining and spotless... at the cost of her vitality and temper.
But a steady woman who is not as tidy as her husband might wish her has many ways of producing a semblance of order which makes for peace.... better for the man's sake, the children's sake, and the woman's sake, a dingy room where peace and quiet are than a spotless abode where no love is.'
Maud Pember Reeves


How does it work itself out in your abode?

Friday, 9 September 2011

Charming Little Notes

We've been left a beautiful very old stamp with our address on, it looks a little like letterpress when used. I spent a delightful few afternoons using it to make our change of address cards. Scribbling small messages, or for friends far away writing letters to enclose in them. So when I read this it made me smile.

"My dear little Jane, everyone is born with a vocation, and yours is to write charming little notes." Mary Ann shaffer & Annie Barrows The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Having lived in a flat for all my London years I'd forgotten how exciting I find the thud of letters through the letter box... It's bringing back memories of Twin and I racing for the
front door as soon as we saw and heard the post van turn up.

Have you received any charming little notes recently?

little notes

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Late Summer Rain

I really enjoy reading short stories on holiday. Not normally a 'more than one book on the go at a time' woman short stories give a break from the main book, a change when able to read for extended leisurely periods of time. I remember reading Katherine Mansfield at school and have wanted to read more of her. A beautiful birthday gift meant here was my opportunity.

There were some days like this..
'It had been raining all the morning, later summer rain, warm, heavy, quick, and now the sky was clear, except for a long tail of little clouds, like ducklings, sailing over the forest.' Mr & Mrs Dove (in Something childish but very natural by Katherine Mansfield

Monday, 5 September 2011

Not the first woman

As I didn't post last month I thought this week would be a catch up of a quote from each of the books read in August. It took a long time, partly through the break of Paris in July but I finally finished it.

'She was not the first woman, nor the last, to resent watching men with considerably less talent than herself enjoy far greater and challenging opportunities.' Amanda Foreman Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire.

Friday, 2 September 2011

and a chaise longue

Our new house started to feel like home as soon as we unpacked the boxes of books. They are in no particular order, and we already need more book space.

'Thus: of windows, there were two. Both of them faced south, and were high off the floor... Between the two windows was a fourth shelf - the shelf for English and French books. Against the left-hand window was an office-type desk, flanked by a small table for the portable typewriter on one side, and on the other by a fifth bookshelf, this one for Italian literature, classic and modern, and for translations: mainly from Russian - Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov. On the floor, a large Persian carpet, and at the centre of the room, which was long but rather narrow, three armchairs and a chaise longue to stretch out on while reading.'The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Giorgio Bassani

Hope you get a moment to laze and read this weekend.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Month of August

Settling in to our new home. The days took on a gentle rhythm. Warmth leaving for work. A gradual awakening, a potter downstairs, watering the gardening, admiring the lovely roses. Maybe picking one and putting a single stem in a jar. A clean of a room, an unpack of a box, a little bit of a garden, the joy of being able to hang washing out outside. A wander into our new town center to explore and do a few chores. An internet browse - of blogs and gorgeous home ideas and possibilities. Waiting in for a delivery or someone to check on something be it aerial or internet or new bed delivery. BBQ suppers because we had no cooker.
Cleaning and a little more cleaning and imagining the women who'd have cleaned in this house of the years.... Feeling the need to have a scrubbing brush.
Visits from both sets of parents, within days of moving in.
Meeting a dear dear friend along the Southbank. I team taught with her as a newly qualified teacher. She is my friend, mentor and Early Years Guru.
Delightful bubbles in Selfridges and then along to Aubaine for supper. This included the purchasing of a fantastic denim tunic from Gap.
Twin and the blessings came up. They'd made a chocolate cake the shape of the house decorated with jelly sweets. So lovely to have a garden for them to play in.
A delicious day in Regents Park with goddaughter and mum. A picnic, a play on the climbing, alot of chat and a great ice cream to finish the day off.
A guest post over here.
Loving having a garden. Picking roses and hydrangeas to display. All the little glass bottles I've been collecting have a purpose. Enjoying the garden. Enjoying thinking about the plants and flowers and how spending time sitting. Weeding is a novelty and I, at the moment enjoy it. Though currently the blackberry bramble is winning the fight in whether it stays or goes.
Tea with our new neighbour.
Another gorgeous day with a friend in Regents Park.
Putting together said John Lewis deliveries. Or rather supporting Warmth.
Having read alot about da Polpo I finally sampled the delicious food. And my it was lovely. I already want to return there and eat in their two other restaurants. Pudding was courtesy of The Icecreamists.
We celebrated a second wedding anniversary in our locality at Cafe Buenos Aires with views of sunset over Blackheath. By the way the sunsets in south east London are just incredible. And oh my the rain....
Decorating the spare bedroom, the bathroom and house in chaos with a glamorous damp proof course being done. And finally on the 25th a cooker arrived.
A total of nine BBQ's for friends and family over the course of August.

Having a garden, no cooker and all the visitors means we've explored different foods. Lots of salads and our favourite marinades. Missing not having an oven to bake. Still hurrah for refridgerator cakes, Boodles, jelly and no bake cheese cakes. Experimenting with cake pops. I'm not sure about them. I have a sweet tooth and found them a little sickly. What are your thoughts? First cakes baked in the new cooker chocolate and hazlenut and an apple cake with apples harvested from our apple tree!

Books read. Finally I finished Amanda Foreman's Georgiana, tripped delightfully through a small book of Katherine Mansfield's short stories (Something childish but very natural) raced through The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows. For book club The Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Reader, I gave up after about 20 pages.) Starting Persuasion early. Reading many home decoration magazines and Decorate and modern vintage styling.
Returning from a blogging holiday and looking forward to seeing you all.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Blogging Holiday

Whoop Whoop hurrah we've moved home. I'm taking August off posting, but still hope to read your blogs, for starting the journey of making our house our home.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Verity and Ken

Dear Verity and Ken,
On this your wedding day,

A poem,

Hinterhof by James Fenton

Stay near to me and I'll stay near to you -
As near as you are dear to me will do,
Near as the rainbow to the rain,
The west wind to the window pane,
As fire to the hearth, as dawn to dew.

Stay true to me and I'll stay true to you -
As true as you are new to me will do,
New as the rainbow in the spray,
Utterly new in everyway,
New in the way that you say is true.

Stay near to me, stay true to me. I'll stay
As near, as true to you as heart could pray.
Heart never hoped that one might be
Half of the things you are to me -
The dawn, the fire, the rainbow and the day.

James Fenton

Flowers and books.

A gluten free pink wedding cake for you.

Just Married bicycles for you and Ken, knowing that Ken likes cycling.

And balloons - well what's a virtual celebration without virtual balloons?

Wishing you both a wonderful day, honeymoon, celebration lunch and marriage.


Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Month of July

Started with receiving a date for our move. Hurrah.
Celebrating a birthday with drinks in town. A great night but bad pub. I was asked if I wanted ice with my G&T!
Friends for lunch delicious time to cook together for Warmth and I before hand.
Celebrating Warmth's birthday with an evening of 20-20 cricket at Lords with friends.
Buying an iPad. Oh how we love it.
Supper with dear friends at Rocket.
Joining Mama and Papa Warmth at Cleaver Square Fair.
A second visit to The Summer Exhibiton with printmaking friends. Lovely to see favourite paintings again and seeing others for the first time.
In the midst of rain an afternoon at The Berkeley for Pret-a-Portea. It was delicate. It was delightful. It was delicious. And there was a very lovely pistachio green cake bag to take a few treats home with me.
Then onto Baltic to celebrate all the recent birthdays with Warmth's family. And the next day another meal out to celebrate all the recent birthdays in my family. Yes basically everyone I know is born in June or July. I'm running behind on presents and cards too....
Back to my dear and much missed friend Portobello Road for leaving drinks with dear friends at The Electric. Even though they're leaving the area we will return for Porn Star Martinis. We even have the date in our diaries.
Finally the end of term. The end of the school year.

Paris in July celebrations
Reading Ripening Seed by Colette, rereading Chocolat by Joanne Harris, The Cat by Colette.

By the time you read this we shall hopefully be in our new home. I've decided to take the month of August off blogging as there will be too many lovely/tiring things to be doing in our new home.
Happy August and see you in September!

My Mark

Today is Granny's birthday. Our first without her with us. Granny had asked for this to be part of her funeral and it seems fitting to post it today.

'My daughters, I am written into you forever.

When you have children I'll be written into them too.

There will always be a genetic inscription that reads - MY MARK.'

Morris West - Eminence