Sunday, 17 February 2013

Home Comforts

For someone who loves domesticity as much as I do, I am, I'll shamefacedly admit, a pretty shoddy housekeeper. I'd like to claim, in my defence that I am both a conscientious mother and teacher and between them these leave me little time to clean the oven or wash down the skirting boards. Honesty compels me to confess though, that I always seem to find time to arrange flowers in a pretty jug, bake shortbread or reorganise my vintage teacup collection. It's a question of priorities I suppose and I've always chosen to put the fripperies that I enjoy before the hard graft. Things are starting to change though and it's in large part to this lovely book. Although it is ridiculous in places (do I really need dozens of pages of closely typed text on stain removing or slightly bossy instructions on how best to remove books from a shelf?) it is also an enjoyable, cosy read. Women of my generation - the horribly named "Thatcher's kids" - were brought up to expect much of ourselves in terms of career and life outside the home and therefore running an well-ordered, clean and comfortable home was not valued or considered important. Hence, I have got to my mid-thirties and am only just getting into a proper housekeeping routine.Of course, the seasonal urge to sort, scrub and clean brought about by the signs of Spring helps too. Plus I've developed a little method of doing a horrid job - scrubbing out that manky under-the-kitchen-sink-cupboard - followed by a lovely one - lining drawers with scented liners or organising the photographs into albums - which is working for me. My home is still FAR from perfect but I'm getting there. Still not entirely sure my mother would agree...

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Reading List - January 2013

I'm always fascinated by other people's reading habits. When I visit friends' houses I love little more than nosing around their bookshelves - usually, it has to be said, with a greedy eye on what I might borrow. So I thought it might be fun to keep a record of my own reading habits this year, month by month. I present to you, the inaugural list...

"Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons.
"Letter from Point Clear" by Dennis McFarland.
"Kitchen Diaries Vol.2" by Nigel Slater (yes, I really did read this like a novel).
"Pure" by Andrew Miller.
"The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore (my absolute favourite this month - loved it almost as much as it's prequel, "The Siege").
"The Provincial Lady in America" by E.M.Delafield (wonderful, of course).
"Saints at the River" by Ron Rash.