I will start at the beginning, like all good stories. I was up early. I mean, early. 4.30am early. No, I will not say “up at sparrow fart” or anything like that, as I think that’s silly. Just early will do.
The previous night hadn’t been good, husband was unwell, and so we slept little. But last night, as I was so very tired, I retired to bed (as they’d have said in Jane Austen’s day) at about 8pm, and slept until 4.30am without waking. When I did wake I felt fine, and as it was almost light outside, I got up and made coffee.
Before I knew it, I was taking photos of the sunlight coming through the walnut (again!) and actually reflecting on the camera lens. Oh, don’t you just love early mornings in summer?
I quickly showered and washed and dried my hair, dressed, did my makeup, and made breakfast which we had outside; husband also up and showered and dressed by then.
Melon, bacon and tomato and toast, with coffee to drink, and toast and marmalade as well. After which I quickly filled the dishwasher and then decided I’d clean the kitchen worktops (counter tops.) I removed everything, and gave it a thorough clean (not that it was very grubby, but crumbs sneak into corners when you’re not looking) and then I cleaned each item as I put it back, the toaster, the kettle, the bread bin, the knife block, etc.
I then decided, after so many days spent outside, it was high time to give the sitting room a clean. I washed the windowsills, and then washed the cut glass and cranberry glass items which ‘live’ in the bay window.
I then asked husband to help me move the cream sofa so that I could vacuum under it. I can manage the large terracotta sofa, as it has casters on all corners, but the cream one has only casters on the front – goodness knows why – and the back has legs, so the whole sofa needs slightly lifting at the back in order to roller it forward and it’s too heavy for me to do this. That done, I moved the other sofa and vacuumed under that, plus under the lamp tables, the standard lamp, and the nest of tables.
And then, in the corner of the sitting room, a pile of cookery books, which have been there for the best part of two years, looked reproachfully at me. I have been trying to think of a place to put them (in an already book-stuffed house) and husband even said he’d make a new bookcase for me, but it would mean moving a pretty side table and lamp (photo below) in order to do so, and I like this table where it is – it’s been in this position since 2002! – even though it now has a pile of décor books living underneath.
This is just some of my large collection of ‘interiors’ books
And some ‘overflow’ interiors books, with my four ‘London’ books by Liza Picard
And so, one thing led to another: I began to ‘weed’ my paperbacks. I began with the As and worked my way through to the Zs, and then the Virago paperbacks, which is a separate collection in itself. Oh, it pained me to do so, but I had to be ruthless in order to find space for the cookery books. I needed at least two shelves and I also needed to part with some cookery books (go on, weep. I almost did.)
Here is the ‘weeded’ pile for the charity shop tomorrow. What a shame all you readers can’t come and have a rootle through and help yourselves! And the books are all in good condition, too. No manky books here, no siree.
That done, I had space for the cookery books. I sorted the A-Z paperbacks, and this is what they now look like. Bear in mind this is only the paperback section of fiction. Hardback fiction is in the bed sitting room, and other various collections, such as my Joanna Trollope collection and my Mary Wesley collection, are elsewhere.
And now, ta-da, the cookery books, wedged in tightly but the titles are visible. They have to lie on their sides – because of their size – as these shelves were originally intended for my paperbacks (they are fixed shelves.) The remainder of the Viragos are here, plus the last of the paperbacks, the Ts and Ws. I parted with a title with an author whose names begins with Z, so no Zs (or Xs or Ys come to that.)
It looks like the shelves are sagging, but no, they are quite straight. The camera does this, I’m afraid. At one time I had a lot more cookery books than you can see here, but I’ve simply had to part with them because of lack of space. But I have kept two from the 1960s for sentimental reasons. One, the Woman’s Own Cookery Book, is the very first thing I bought for my ‘bottom drawer’ in 1963 after our engagement. Do young woman have ‘bottom drawers’ today? I don’t expect they do. And the other book is the Nancy Spain Colour Cookery Book which my father bought me at much the same time. My goodness, I could look up some retro recipes in those, could I not! One I used to do was called Swiss steak and it involved a packet of Knorr tomato soup! Truly. With steak! But there were no cook-in sauces in in the 1960s when we thought a dried Vesta Prawn Curry was exotic!
And so, all the paperbacks and the cookery books are now put away, and the sitting room is dusted, polished and vacuumed. There is no pile of cookery books any longer in a corner. I can now stand back and admire my housekeeping (only joking!)
So there you have it, a morning spent ‘weeding’ and cleaning. And I’ve photographed my books without any flowers close to them!
Until next time.