We have had rain for several days now, and the darkness – while not giving me SAD – has, nonetheless, made me sleepy during the day, but conversely, I’ve been unable to sleep at night. This is the usual pattern I experience after the clocks have ‘gone back’. I often go to bed tired and then sleep doesn’t happen and I’m still wide awake until about 3 am. What do I do? Well, I don’t just lie there, I get up and make tea, or Ovaltine; I read, and eventually, I’m tired enough to go back to bed.
Husband is much the same, arthritis plagues both of us, but hey, we have our limbs and we don’t – as yet – have any joint replacements; we’ve much to be thankful for. We don’t have to get up early the next day for work and so, if we don’t wake up until gone 9 am, then so what?
And gone 9 am it was on several days this week; indeed one morning we didn’t wake up until gone 10 am and the first thing I knew was that the window cleaner was propping his ladder against the wall! I always make him coffee, and pile up a plate with biscuits for him, and he was surprised to see me still in my dressing gown, I think!
After getting up late on such days we usually have porridge, regardless of the time of the morning, but one morning I made us a cooked breakfast. The photo above looks like quite a lot of food in some ways, but it’s just one egg, one rasher of lean bacon, half a tomato and some toast. At around 11.30 am, it was more like early lunch than late breakfast.
I was up reasonably on time yesterday as I had my manicure appointment at 11 am. How I am enjoying having my nails ‘done’ once every 6 weeks. Indeed, I’m surprised that (a) I’ve been indulging in this little luxury now – for it is a luxury, make no mistake – since last April and (b) why I’d not considered it before I was 73 (now 74) to have this done! The cost, of course, plays a part, but the pleasure I receive from seeing my nails nicely kept more than makes up for the cost. My lovely manicurist shapes the nails, buffs them, deals with the cuticles, exfoliates my hands and arms, massages then, and then there are four coats of nail polish: base, two colour coats and a top coat, and finally, cuticle oil. Sometimes, if we decide the colour needs it, she will apply a 3rd coat of colour. What a treat.
My manicurist, who knows of my liking for blue & white tableware, asked me if I would like a tureen in blue & white pottery that she no longer had a use for? Would I? You bet I would! But how kind of her to remember that I had told her of my blue & white Burleigh ware, and to think of me as a possible recipient for this lovely tureen.
It doesn’t match the Burleigh ware (on the right here, above) but that doesn’t matter one bit, it’s blue & white and I love it. I have now put grapes into it …
And I think it will look lovely with green apples in it, or lemons in the summer, or nuts or tangerines at Christmas.
Today, we did the shopping. I’ve not started on Christmas shopping yet but I did add the ingredients for the Christmas cake which I hope to make this weekend. I seldom make it earlier and often very much later. After so many Christmases, I could ‘do’ Christmas standing on my head, so to speak. We don’t make a lot of fuss and I certainly don’t faff making lots of do-dahs as some people do. OK if you enjoy fussing over Christmas, but I’ve never been one for doing more than decorating with a tree, flowers, fruit and greenery from the garden (or when our sons were little, going to the woods and collecting holly – perhaps this isn’t permitted any more, but we had great fun on these annual expeditions for the prickly stuff!)
(This illustration, although from John Goodall’s book, An Edwardian Christmas, reminds me of collecting holly with our two sons when they were young)
And so, shopping first today, and then we had lunch at the golf club. The kitchen hadn’t had a delivery of fish this morning, which isn’t surprising as the weather has been awful and perhaps the fishing boats didn’t put to sea. Instead, we had small portions of ham, egg and chips. This is the small portion! I dread to think what a large portion would’ve been like! I couldn’t finish this, but my goodness, it was so good, and the ham so lovely and tender and succulent.
Although we had torrential rain overnight, it was fine when we left home to do our shopping and rather than put on a raincoat or my quilted coat or even one of my two new quilted jackets, I thought I’d give my new green/blue herringbone coat an outing. It looked so forlorn, hanging there in the wardrobe, not to have seen light of day yet, so I said, “Come on, then, but don’t fuss if it rains!”
Sorry, I have these flights of fancy every so often! Anyway, I decided to wear my new coat, and I attached a brooch I’d not worn for many years to the lapel. This was given to me by a dear penfriend (we met once, more than 30 years ago) who lived in Glasgow and who sadly died 20 years ago from ovarian cancer at an early age. While not a good photo of the brooch, the colours went perfectly with the emerald/navy material, and it also gave me pause to think and reflect on our lovely penfriendship over many years.
The club house had been decorated for Christmas and looked very festive.
Home again now, and all the food has been put away in the fridge, freezer and larder. Husband – who has been cleaning out the third of the three glass-fronted cabinets in the kitchen for me, bless him, as he knows I don’t like climbing up to reach the top shelves – has just brought me a cup of tea and a Marlborough bun, treat of the week from Waitrose! We only have one of these each week – we began to buy more and to freeze them, but apart from all those extra calories, some things don’t freeze well, and this is one of them. In case you aren’t familiar with Marlborough buns, they look like this …
This is a photo I took some time ago – I’m already half way through eating today’s bun!
The shopping was expensive today as I’d added some extra things, including Plymouth Gin (we have only about two bottles a year, which isn’t exactly extravagant, is it?) and a bottle of Tia Maria, a Christmas treat. I might manage to squeeze a bottle of Cointreau out of the budget, too, and I’m also partial to Advocaat or Baileys. I feel sorry for real hardened drinkers; I can’t imagine spending so much on what is actually poison every week of the year. Indeed, we don’t care for wine, preferring a G&T or a glass of beer, or even chilled sparkling water.
I also bought my latest magazine which has a lovely English Cottages supplement (plus Waitrose’s own monthly magazine) and now I’m off to the sofa with my tea and also the book I am currently reading. I’m sorry to say I’ve given up on the Isabel Allende book that I bought recently. I have little doubt she’s an excellent writer, but I didn’t care for her main characters or even the story and when it came to describing gangs in Guatemala (and elsewhere in South America) I didn’t wish to read any more. I know awful people exist and there are the most awful atrocities in the world, but I see enough of that on the news. I don’t wish to be sickened by descriptions of tattoos on the whites of the eyes by gang members, rendering them blind. If you’re not enjoying a book by page 50 I think it’s time to let go. It’s in my basket ready for the charity shop. (Strangely enough, while still upsetting, the descriptions of the Nazi concentration camps in The Designer, or the appalling treatment meted out by the Gestapo in Evelyn Anthony’s The Occupying Power, while still powerfully written, seemed acceptable in the context of the books.)
I am, however, enjoying the late Evelyn Anthony’s novel, The House of Vandekar, which I bought a few weeks ago.
It was published in 1988, hard to imagine that that is now 30 years ago, but she is such an excellent story teller I can’t wait to curl up on the sofa and read some more. All readers will know this feeling; that treat in store. (I have now ordered a copy of another Evelyn Anthony novel, The Legacy.)
I hope you have a lovely weekend, wherever you are,
Until next time.