We are in a state of transition between late summer and early autumn, when mornings and evenings are darker and chillier, but days are still quite mild, especially when the sun shines. The fruit bowl still has some nectarines and grapes, but citrus fruits and apples are making an appearance again, and ice cold G&Ts are giving way to port or ginger wine. We are not what you’d call ‘drinkers’ as neither husband nor I care much for wine, apart from a Muscat wine over ice as an aperitif, and even our bottle of gin, still more than half full, has been in the fridge for many months. But these fruits and drinks sort-of illustrate this transition period, when the light throw over a thin sheet is replaced by a duvet on the bed; when a cotton throw on the sofa is replaced by a woollen one; when we prefer a cup of Ovaltine before bed rather than a cup of tea – just slight changes marking the changing of the season.
The next job, but not an onerous one, will be chossing the bulbs for spring. Oh dear, decisions, decisions …
I have bought tulip bulbs from Sarah Raven for a number of years and they have always been beautiful. The actual bulbs might be the same as in any bulb catalogue, I really have no idea if they are different, but what is different is that Sarah puts many of her bulbs together in collections, colours and styles which look good together, although there are single variety packs, too.
Even the monthly magazines are adopting autumn colours and this month’s issue of Homes & Antiques is no exception; and in a morning, the bright blue of summer is giving way to a lighter, hazier sunrise over the sea (which we can now see, our neighbour having had his high hedge cut.)
I apologise for the slightly grubby look to this photo above, but it was taken through a rain-spattered window. That black blob in the centre was a bird flying past.
Yesterday, we had a few errands to do … a trip to the local tip, aka recycling centre, to take garden waste, after which a brief visit to the accountant, then to the bank, then to the supermarket and, finally, to my favourite charity shop which supports the local hospice so that I could give them the books I weeded out last week.
As I’ve shown before, this Boutique (for it’s a very up-market charity shop!) always has well-decorated windows. This week, as it has been the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay, one window has been decorated in 1920s style, and to great effect. Don’t you just love this blue, embroidered, 1920s evening dress?
It is impossible for me to get better photos as there is so much reflection in the window glass from passers by and parked cars. The whole window is decorated in shades of blue and cream and looks lovely – champagne saucers, paperbacks of Agatha Christie novels, jewellery and feather boas complete the 1920s look.
The other window is currently decorated with Autumn in mind …
I love the little ‘dog’ as much as the lovely cream wool coat.
Returning home, I found that two parcels had arrived for me, but these were quite disappointing. The first was from Boots the Chemist. I had ordered some make-up products but it looked as if they had been in their warehouse for a very long time. The make-up palette was scratched and with a lot of grubby fingermarks on it; similarly, a lip precision pencil (for lip-lining, a means of reducing the feathering which comes with age) was also grubby, and although a new lipstick looked reasonably clean, I didn’t want it when it had been in the package with these two other grubby items. The invoice also looked as if it had been on the floor and someone had stamped their size nines all over it. And so the whole lot has been returned. I’m not angry, such things are bound to happen on occasion, but where is quality control? Surely whoever put these items into the padded bag must’ve know they weren’t in an acceptable condition?
Similarly, a paperback book arrived. Admittedly, it was 2nd hand, but its condition had been described as Very Good. I used to help out in an antiquarian/2nd hand bookshop, and had this been in the stock in that shop, the condition would’ve been considered Fair, perhaps Good at most. The cover was creased (I expect a spine to be creased if a book has been read, but the cover doesn’t need to be badly creased as well, and not if described as Very Good), and several pages had curled up on the lower right hand side. Had I paid 1p plus postage and packing, I’d not have minded, but the total cost with postage was closer to £10. This book has also been returned. I will say , though, that the seller was swift to acknowledge my complaint and has resolved the problem amicably.
But another parcel arrived later in the day, and oh, how delighted I was (and am!) …
It is difficult making a bottle of perfume look good against a plain background, and so I’ve placed it one of my favourite silk scarves, one which I think is suitable for the fragrance, if that makes sense? I have never had L’Heure Bleue in an eau de parfum before, only eau de toilette, and the depth of fragrance is astonishing. I love it! It is in the same style bottle as that for Mitsouko, and on the Guerlain website it says of L’Herue Bleue:
L’Heure Bleue diffuses its atmosphere at the very moment when the sun disappears beneath the horizon and the sky is painted with night’s velvet. Jacques Guerlain celebrates this fleeting moment with an armful of suave and delicate flowers enveloped in a breath of powder taking wing toward oriental notes. His fragrance, L’Heure Bleue, is an exquisite ode to the enjoyment of life and romanticism. It superbly expresses the moment when “the night has not yet found its star”.
Designed by Georges Chevalier, its bottle is underscored with graceful scrolls typical of Art Nouveau. Its avant-garde stopper, in the form of a hollowed heart, evokes the delicate romanticism of this perfumery masterpiece and represented a real technical feat at the time.
So now I have two of my favourite fragrances to take me through autumn and into winter, Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue. Yes, it has been an extravagance, but I have a favourite website from which I buy perfume and these two fragrances were at a much-reduced price (and they are the genuine article.)
And today’s post brought something rather lovely, too …
Tom Holt is the son of the late Hazel Holt, best known for her Mrs Mallory cozy crime novels. Sadly, Hazel – with whom I corresponded for several years since I interviewed her in her Exmoor cottage she shared with her husband and their adorable Siamese cat, Flip – died almost two years ago, but I treasure the memory of that visit with my husband, and the many years’ friendship that we then shared following our visit, and the books of hers which I loved and which I reviewed for regional magazines. Tom wrote this book in the 1980s but it has now been re-issued, and I love the 1920s’ style cover. I think that the woman featured on the cover, no doubt Lucia, looks rather like Victoria Beckham! Perhaps from the pose rather than her features?
These two photos might be entitled “Gladioli’s last hurrah”, because soon these lovely late summer blooms will give way to chrysanthemums and asters.
And to end this post, the view of the road from Totnes to Paignton via Berry Pomeroy this morning (through the car windscreen) showing that the trees still have leaves but the season is changing …
I hope you will all have a lovely weekend.
Much later …
An amazing double rainbow this evening … how lovely when Nature springs such a lovely surprise such as this …
Until next time.