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A Monday Meander

To have done fewer things today than I have done would be difficult, bar stopping in bed for the whole day!  Husband even made the breakfast for us – porridge – which we had in bed, himself reading yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph and me finishing reading Katherine’s Marriage by D E Stevenson.

I have to admit, somewhat reluctantly, that I  enjoyed this book.  Reluctantly?  Well, I don’t wish to offend those devoted to this writer who was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s and remains popular in some quarters today, but the book read a little bit like an Enid Blyton for grown-ups.  The first part was totally unbelievable – Katherine, the heroine of the previous novel Katherine Wentworth, is now married to Alec and for their honeymoon, instead of Gleneagles – which is where they told people they were going – and where they’d have been smothered in luxury, Alec decides to take Katherine to a remote place in the highlands where they stay for a week IN A CAVE.  Yes, A CAVE.  And a kind “brownie” called Dugal (aka a highland gentleman who speaks little English) has provided bracken for the honeymooners to sleep on.  There is no mention of any ‘facilities,’ and washing means a dip in the loch in icy cold water.

I’m not sure how I’d have felt, instead of lovely linen and central heating and wonderful food at Gleneagle, if  my dear new husband had presented me with a CAVE for the first week of marital bliss! I’ve heard of “going native” but I seldom think it means this literally.

I won’t spoil the story, for it is an enjoyable one but, as I say, it’s like Katherine and Alec are 12-years-old and pretending to be the Famous-Five-minus-three.  But this is a very romantic story (even though they seldom touch one another, let alone anything else!) and Katherine appears to enjoy the experience.

And so while I enjoyed the book I have my reservations because I like an ounce of reality in my fiction and here there wasn’t any.  I have to be able to think,  “yes, this could’ve happened …” even if it were most unlikely.  But on the strength of these two novels, published in 1964 and 1965 and, I think, undoubtedly old fashioned even at the time of publication, I have ordered another D E Stevenson novel.  I have just reminded myself, too, that my mother loved D E Stevenson’s novels. Maybe I’ve just turned into my mother.

So, book finished, I got up, showered, etc, made the bed and then the morning simply vanished.  I decided to arrange the bouquet of flowers that our daughter-in-law’s mother very kindly brought me yesterday.

Pink and white spray chrysanthemums, a deep pink rose and two pink gerberas, with some foliage.  I decided to put the chrysanths, reduced in height, into my little blue and white jug, and that the rose and gerberas, with some of the foliage, would look pretty in three individual bud vases.

Yesterday, I took delivery of a new bread bin.  How exciting is that?  We had bought our Brabantia bread bin in 2000 when we ‘did up’ the kitchen, but it had seen better days (the bread bin, I mean.)  But it is a good design and so we’ve bought one which is almost the same apart from it being matt rather than polished stainless steel.

It fits in the corner of the worktop nicely and as the top of it is flat, I can park the onions (which I don’t keep int he fridge) on top.

I also took delivery of some new coat hangers.  Coat hangers are the kinds of items that seldom get replaced and for years lots of us made do, I am sure, with those awful wire ones on which clothes were returned from the dry cleaner’s.  Four years ago I bought new padded coat hangers for the guest bedroom but somehow they’ve found their way into our wardrobe and I needed to buy more for the guest wardrobe. I think, as they are so inexpensive, I will buy more and eventually get rid of all our old hangers so that all my shirts, T-shirts, and husband’s shirts will be on these lovely black & white polka dot padded hangers.  Such a bargain at £13 for ten hangers.

This morning another book arrived. I have been rather spendthrift because I already have an early Virago copy of this book, but how could I resist one of my favourite novels when it has been re-issued with such a lovely cover?

I dont’s usually ‘style’ my photos:  what you see is what you get, but in this instance I wanted to enhance the 1920s look of the cover, and so put it close to this giclee print of a very elegant 1920s lady in evening dress, plus my 1920s-created (well, 1919 for Mitsouko and 1912 for L’Heure Bleue) perfumes by Guerlain, and a couple of bangles which matched the blues and oranges of the cover.  I’m so looking forward to re-reading this lovely book.

After I had made the bed, tidied up the sitting room and kitchen, hung some washing out to dry and generally faffed around with the flowers and so forth, it was time to make lunch.  There was a cauliflower in the fridge that needed using, so that said “soup” to me, and so I made cauliflower and blue cheese soup, and tasty it was, too.

Now for a cup of tea and a read, not sure which novel to start next, or perhaps I might continue reading James Lees-Milne’s diaries (Ancestral Voices) or how Philip Gwynne Jones ( in To Venice with Love) and his wife set up home in Venice … choices, choices … but how lovely to have the time to sit and read.

Until next time.

About Margaret

Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. A new bread bin and coat hangers, such exciting stuff! I bought a new kettle last week, the highlight of my week! We certainly know how to enjoy ourselves!

    • Margaret

      Yes,Jan, but, for a moment being serious, it’s strange how buying often mundane objects can be pleasing, isn’t it? I really like the coat hangers. I do think I will buy more of them and try and get rid of all the old ones that we have. The company (called Hangerworld) do various types of hanger, even thouse wooden ones with a bar across for trousers and men’s jackets and overcoats.

  2. I’m with you and Jan on the ‘excitement scale’, Margaret. I have a new chopping board! Such seemingly ordinary purchases can bring disproportional delight, don’t you think?

    • Margaret

      Yes, that’s exactly right, Eloise: a disproportionate amount of delight! I think husband is much the same when he finds a little gadget in the ‘boys toys’ in Lidl’s (i.e. gadgets that appeal to men) or in B&Q or somewhere else like that, even an old tool in the Quay Antiques centre in Topsham. Ooh, a new chopping board – how exciting is that! Just think … new tea towels might send you into a frenzy of delight!

  3. Ha, I can see that you agree. Our responses were posted almost simultaneously!

  4. I bought some coat hangers last year, they were designed to take up less space so a contrast to yours Margaret but no doubt a necessary purchase even if just mundane household items!
    I had to look up D E Stevenson and I see she was related to the famous Stevenson’s, (Lighthouses and Literature) I think I prefer RLs writings and poetry, I don’t think I could read her books but it was interesting to read about her life as she certainly was a very popular Scottish writer at the time. I see she lived in Moffat which is a place we like to visit.

    • Margaret

      Yes, Heather, Dorothy E Stevenson’s father was a first cousin of writer, Robert Louis Stevenson and she was the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of civil engineers who designed many Scottish lighthouses (including ther Bell Rock and Bass Rock).
      I love the padded coat hangers but they do take up more space, but some clothes are better on padded hangers, they don’t dig into the fabric. I use them for jumpers, too.

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