White roses from Sainsbury’s yesterday
I seldom plan what I’m going to write about and today I thought I’d show you something I love. Or some things I love:
The photo collage above shows four pictures. They are of Japanese Ladies depicting the four seasons. I’ve had them since I was 12 years old when, as part of my birthday presents in 1956 (the year I also received my desk which is in our hall as my main present) I received a box of notelets.
Fortunately, I had the sense to keep one of each of the four designs although, of course, I wrote to friends on the others. Some years ago I decided to have these four little notelets framed. For several years they have hung above my desk here in the study where I can see them each day. I never tire of them; I think they are both pretty and a little bit ‘different’. I also had a similar box of notelets around that time (1956) showing four different kinds of ballerinas but, sadly, I didn’t keep any of those.
The only difficulty I have had was photographing them because there were always reflections in the glass.
And now to books (again!)
On an Instagram account I recently saw a collection of paperback books called English Journeys. They were an imprint published by Penguin some years ago and one of them, Some Country Houses and Their Owners by James Lees-Milne really appealed to me.
This is a very slight book, just over 130 pages long, but it’s a little gem. James Lees-Milne (1908-1997) was a prolific diarist and it is his diaries for which he is best known. During the 1930s and 1940s, as a young man, he was engaged by the National Trust to visit many of England’s country houses and do his best to persuade the owners to hand over their properties for preservation by the National Trust. Some did, some didn’t, but his accounts of those visits are often very funny as he describes the owners’ eccentricities and a way of life which even then was fast disappearing.
On the strength of this one slender book I have now ordered the first of Lees-Milne’s diaries. (I have photographed the book on top of a Meissen dish, another inherited piece – I thought it was appropriate that a book on England’s country houses should have a ‘suitable’ background, even if a German one!)
You may remember that I bought D E Stevenson’s novel, Katherine Wentworth, a short time ago?
I have been enjoying it; it’s an easy read, but I don’t think the writing is first division, let alone premiere division. Writing has changed since the 1950s and 1960s, I accept that; but even though the characters don’t exactly leap off the page and conversations are rather stilted (although there are some amusing moments) it is a pleasant story and I have now bought the follow-up, Katherine’s Marriage.
As with the country houses that James Lees-Milne describes, these books and their characters belong to an age that has passed. Dorothy Emily Stevenson (1892-1973) whose father was a first cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson, would’ve been 72 even when Katherine Wentworth was published and 72 in 1964, was, well old! Thus I think her age had some bearing on her style of writing which might not have changed since she started writing around 1915, i.e. more than a century ago, first poetry and then novels. You wouldn’t have thought that the Beatles were around, or mini skirts, or that the M1 motorway had been opened five years previously (not that these three factors would’ve been pertinent to the story, of course.) But, as I say, enjoyable as light romantic novels, just as ‘chick lit’ novels are enjoyable today (and I don’t use the term ‘chick lit’ in a disparaging way; some of them are excellent).
We visited Marks & Spencer’s food hall yesterday and as Samantha kindly suggested in a comment to my last post, we found coffee ice cream there, so thank you Samantha for that advice. There is very little difference between the two (and the M&S one is very slightly cheaper.)
We did the main shopping in Sainsbury’s, the huge store in Torquay. I really should not say it’s awful because, really, it’s not; but it’s a whole world away from shopping in Waitrose and, for me anyway, it has removed all the enjoyment I had from food shopping. I just want to get in, get the food, and get out again ASAP.
I’ve always enjoyed shopping for food, shopping for the things we eat should be pleasurable. The store is huge and while there is lots of choice, that doesn’t always mean that you always want what is available! However, we have managed to find almost all the things we usually buy. One or two things match the quality of Waitrose, and one item is even nicer: Sainsbury’s Spanish Honey and Stem Ginger Taste the Difference yoghurt.
I bought white roses in Sainsbury’s and found a copy of The World of Interiors in M&S. I have recently subscribed to this lovely magazine, but I’ve yet to receive my ‘first’ issue.
It is a lovely sunny, but very cold, day. I am now going to make a cup of tea for us. Husband has been doing some gardening (in areas where the sun was shining; in the shade it was far too cold) and I have been doing several machine loads of washing – washing woollen throws in order to freshen them up after winter.
Until next time.