Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Woman under a tree
Ever since I was a schoolgirl, I have always needed to choose a book or two to put aside for the summer holidays. If I'm going away for my holidays then books in the suitcase are as important to me as the suntan lotion. When I was younger I remember spending days upon days lying on a hammock at the back of the garden swinging to and fro with a book in my hand and a pile of books waiting on the ground below.
This summer's book has been chosen - Dusty Answer by Rosamond Lehmann. I have two books on the go already and enjoying both of them but this book caught my eye in the charity shop and has been on my wishlist for a while now. It is Rosamond Lehmann's first novel and tells the story of an only child, who spends her childhood dreaming in her house by the river, her relationship with a family that move in next door and her experiences at Cambridge after the First World War. It's ticking lots of boxes for me already and the cover of this old penguin edition is delicious - "Woman under a Tree" by Walter Bayes.
This leads me on to my secret little fantasy. It all started a few weeks ago when I found at the bottom of a pile of ironing (no I never reached the bottom, I just jiggled the clothes around a bit) a tub of unopened halva. It must have been left unused from a supper we were having with friends, probably a supper involving wine otherwise no other explanation can be given for it ending up amongst the ironing. As gorgeous, tasty and sticky as it is I always find halva just a tad too sweet on its own (this from the woman who has just written an entire post devoted entirely to sugar and its consumption). I prefer it with grapes or, better still, a cup of peppermint tea.
So in my mind I see myself sitting under my apple tree on a quiet, warm summer's afternoon, book in one hand and tea and halva in the other. A little blanket to keep me warm if necessary. As the photo shows, it's all taking shape. I've even made a new cushion cover for my chair! Not too much to ask for on a summer's wishlist. I actually thought I might bring it all forward and have a little read this afternoon. Just a bit of quiet and calm before the school holidays begin. Just two more days before the mayhem begins.
However, this being real life I found out that Little Sister's school was closed due to strike action, the sun has been playing hide and seek all day and for once, this being the only time I can ever remember, there is no peppermint tea in the house! The garden is full of washing and rugs drying because at some point this morning I had the insane idea to wash them all and dry them in the same day.
Another book I want to be dipping into over the next few weeks is this old copy of "Profitable Hobbies and Handicrafts". I doubt whether it's going to solve any financial worries but it's a fun read and I'm hoping it'll get me going again on the crafting front. If you notice me making things from fish bones, silk stockings and breeding my cats, you'll know that I've taken it all a bit too much to heart.
As I write this in the evening, the rugs are still dripping in the garden, the washing has been taken from the line and there is a stillness in the air that has been absent all day, as dear old Hagrid would say "There's a storm coming Harry". Little Sister and I had a good day together, pottering around, chatting and enjoying each other's company. I think we both needed some quiet and a chance to be alone together. Hope you all have a good few days before the holidays begin , maybe a few moments of calm. As for me I'm psyching myself up for six weeks of trying to translate what my teenage daughter's talking about -
Kitchen table, supper time:
Big Sister: " Oh how nice, this looks like one of those places where they give you lemon"
Little Sister and I look at each other wondering what on earth she means this time
Big Sister, sensing our confusion and her brain just having caught up with what she's talking about: "You know, a restaurant..."