Monday 30 November 2009

Turning over a new leaf...

Hello! I'm still here. After weeks of frantic busyness, sewing, restocking the Emporium, visits to schools, old and new, applications to Sixth Form Colleges and new Secondary Schools, endless tumbleweed moments in the post office queue and neverending cups of tea, I cleared the decks and decided that I would sit down today and write a new blog post, apologise for my absence, tell you what I've been up to and get back into the swing of blogging and visiting you all again.
Well, hey ho, perhaps I was being a little optimistic. Last Monday morning in November and there was I expecting sunshine to take some lovely rosy photos in!!! Ha ha! That'll teach me. So forgive me if I change my mind about the subject of today's post but I'm unable to accompany it with the photos I wanted. For weeks now I have been giving myself a very hard time about neglecting this blog, and more importantly, not having the time to visit any of you. I have been walking round composing blog posts in my head (and believe me there are quite a few stored up there). I haven't even had the time to visit your blogs, have a quick read and leave without a comment, how bad is that, when I haven't even found the time to lurk. As the weeks have past the thought of writing a new blog became something akin to that dreaded piece of homework, the essay that you know has to be written, the one that makes you sit down and get on with it, and the one, ultimately, that will leave you feeling oh so much better for having finally written it.
Well this is it. I'm really sorry. Please excuse my absence. I owe this blog and my blog readers so much and feel very bad about having temporarily turned my back. So I promise, when the sunshine returns, however temporarily, I will snap those photos and tell those tales...

In the meantime, here are some photos of some of my favourite books that I have recently been able to hunt down and add to our Library at the Emporium (we've also been busy decorating the front of our Emporium, my goodness it was hard not using up all the snow from the roof in our snowball fights, a rather wet and soggy Dottie and I returned to the stockroom much later!).

Back to the books - I do try to find my favourite titles to add to our library. Books I have read myself, and can recommend. Old, original editions that smell like books should smell! Of course, my all time favourite would be "I Capture The Castle" and I have been lucky enough to find an old edition with dustjacket.

Recently, Mr Roses, Big Sister and I have been rewatching the BBC DVD of "Love in A Cold Climate". I can't tell you how happy I was to stumble across a first edition of this book to add to our shelves. "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a cold climate" were written for wet, rainy days like this, I'm sure of it!

At the beginning of this year I read "A Game of Hide and Seek" by Elizabeth Taylor, when it was republished by Virago. I must admit I knew very little about the author and had not heard of the story before, I was, I have to admit, attracted by the book cover! Having read the Virago edition and fallen in love with it, I set out to find an early edition with book jacket. Oh the thrill of the hunt! Nothing lovelier than finding a book unexpectedly when you've almost given up the search! What a scrumptious jacket too!

And there's more! The icing on the cake - not one book, not two, but four lovely stories in one book with original dustjacket too! The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield is one of the most amusing books I read last year. After reading it, I found an original copy of another in the title "The Provincial Lady in Wartime" and want to write more about this in another post. But here, in this edition of "The Provincial Lady" are four of her books. A real treasure that I am finding it hard to part with.
If you fancy a good read, or want to give a book at Christmas they're all on the library shelves.
I shall be back as soon as the sun appears with some photos and tales of 1940s Christmases, Horlicks, dried egg and woolly knickers!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Away above the chimney tops...

So it seems that the good old rain timer has been set again to its twice daily "let's coincide with the school run to make things as miserable as possible" setting. Between 8.30am and 9am you can guarantee a downpour and similarly at 3pm.

I quite like walking in the rain, in many ways I prefer walking in it to driving in it. Little Sister is of a very different opinion and the journey home, up and down two hills and those 120 "secret steps" along the "Cat's creep" leading up to our house can feel like a marathon at the beginning or end of a school day when your shoes are squelching, your school bag and entire contents are soaked and your umbrella has once again folded in on itself...

However, there are moments like today, when I looked up to the sky, and found a multi coloured smile shining back at me through the grey clouds. Not just one but two (if you look very closely there were two rainbows waiting for me today). Not only did it work its magic on me but a very happy Little Sister was waiting for me at the school gates. Having spied the rainbows through the classroom windows, she pronounced categorically that the rainbow definitely ended in the school playground, I'm not sure if they will be spending the rest of the week scouring the playground for pots of gold but it certainly made the walk home a little cheerier.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

A brighter shade of pink...

Hello! Hope you all had a good half term, if you had one. Ours was not as relaxing as we wished it to be. So lovely to have Little Sister back home again after her week away zip wiring, canoeing and forgetting to change her clothes... For Big Sister, however, it was somewhat of an assault course in terms of homework and coursework that needed to be completed before returning to school. Why oh why do they have so much to do in the holidays? She returned to school looking and feeling as if she needed a good break.

So we were unable to spend much of the time together, but there were a couple of times that we managed to get out and on each of these occasions I managed to embarrass both my daughters as only mothers do...
Little Sister and I went to see "Up" at the cinema. Thank goodness for the 3D specs is all I can say. My eyes were streaming from start to finish. I held my hand out as I thought that my daughter might need comforting, but not a tear had she shed. It seemed I was crying enough for the two of us. Well at least it was dark...

In the full gleam of the post office queue a couple of hours later, I found the December issue of "Homes and Gardens" magazine. Not having my glasses with me as usual Little Sister had to scour the contents of it for me to find my sachets. Yes! My sachets have been featured in the magazine this month (in the handmade gift ideas for Christmas). She then had to read very loudly to me what the article said etc (several times as I was so excited, much to her annoyance) and then watched my face turn from it's blotchy tear stained pallor to a very nice scarlet as I blushed with embarrassment! Hey ho, I'm sure it amused all the others in the queue...

At the weekend, I found out that Dottie and I were also featured in "Sew Hip" magazine. Further blushing followed and much whooping and skipping - yes I can understand why my girls find me a tad embarrassing.

Dottie and I have been very busy of late building our Christmas grotto and filling the shelves with all kinds of vintage festive loveliness. Please pop in and take a lot, I hear the elves are regularly updating the stock. Decorations, presents, stocking fillers, gorgeous vintage French haberdashery

and some lovely Christmas handmade items have been added throughout the Emporium too.

My new "Christmas Pudding" lavender sachets

To finish the week off, Big Sister and I went to see a special screening of "Bright Star". Sunday morning we arrived soaking wet at the cinema, drenched from a mad dash from home and settled down for a real treat. Please go see this film, it is absolutely beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... exquisitely filmed and beautifully acted. But please take your hankies, achingly sad. Again I sat and absolutely blubbed my way through this. There was one point when I thought I would not be able to contain myself and would weep outloud. Big Sister looked aghast as she could see what was happening to me but fortunately I managed to contain myself. Judging by the subdued faces leaving the cinema I was not alone.
I'm wondering now if my daughters think I'm too much of a liability to take anywhere...
Have a good few days.

(1950s Feathered Friends in our Grotto)

PS Just found that our Emporium is also mentioned in the Christmas shopping section in "Homes and Antiques" - time for me to go a deeper shade of pink, I think.