Bonjour, darlings! Long time, no LJ. I felt the urge to leap upon you all and tell you about all the good things in my life at the moment, because I was just in the kitchen making raspberry jelly and admiring the jars of passata and raspberry jam that Katie's parents brought us and the little box (sadly now empty) of Ladurée macaroons that Kathryn so superly gave me for my birthday, and thinking about how smashing my life is.
1. National Trusting. K and I have had NT membership this year, and I have been to loads
of places. Started with going to Polesden Lacey (near Dorking) with K and my mother, when we had an absolutely lovely day. The house was beautiful, ditto gardens, weather was perfect, we had a gorgeous picnic (including fizz), and I bought a tea towel with BEEEEES! On hols in Dorset, we went to Corfe Castle, which (leaving aside the carrot issue) was ace; Kingston Lacy, which is the house the Bankes family built when the Roundheads blew up Corfe Castle; and Mompesson House, which is a lovely, lovely Queen Anne house in the Salisbury cathedral close (I will be living there when not at the Mump; there's even a hut for Nellie). Also been to our local place, Ham House, twice - a brilliant C17th house on the bank of the Thames, just outside Richmond. Then, the other weekend, K and I finally carried out our longstanding plan to go to Hampstead to see 2 Willow Road (a modernist house which is hilariously like going to see a grandparental house rather than NT) and Fenton House (which is where we will live when the revolution comes - lots of alcoves; lovely little gardens; a freakishly huge number of china knick-knacks; lots of aged keyboard instruments). (Also Kenwood House, which is English Heritage but free - a bequest from the Guinness family - very worth a visit.) And finally (so far), a young crowd of us went to Osterley Park last weekend. I do love a house you can walk to from the tube. NT tat bought on these visits include: recycled wool rug (shades of blue and pink, very snuggly, and bargainous at only £12!), a multitude of tea towels (naturally), many souvenir magnets, lots of postcards, and a marrow (later stuffed).
2. I HAVE BOOTS! I bought them yesterday and am super excited because I've wanted some knee-high boots FOREVER but my legs are too short and fat to find any to fit, except NOW I HAVE!!! Sadly, the same boot is not available in brown, which would be the summum bonum, but nevermind, I will take the win.
3. Spent a lovely birthday weekend in Derbys. with my mother and brother. On Saturday we went to York. Popped round the Macarthur Glen place (I bought a le creuset spatula and some tea bags), then went into town and had a smashing lunch at Betty's. Chris ordered us a celebratory bottle of champagne, and then we were given little cakes because they knew it was our birthdays. On Sunday, we did not, alas, have time to visit a castle (any castle), but instead went to an unexpectedly amazing pub/restaurant in Rotherham (I had a Pim Pom to drink - best drink name EVER) and visited Grandma.
4. I whinge about our kitchen being too small, but that is only because of my PRIVILEGE. Actually, it can cram loads of people in when we have a party and everyone gravitates. We have a radio and two boxes of kitchen tapes (things like Noel Coward plays and 30s popular music and Dorothy L Sayers adaptations and Tom Lehrer and Elaine Paige). I have a shelf for all my recipe books, and there's another shelf for porridge. We have space for two sets of saucepans (non-stick and not), and about four sets of crocks, and fifty tea cups and sixty mugs, and a dozen or so melamine mixing bowls, and my everyday scales and K's antique scales, and two pots of utensils, and two racks of spices. I want a four-slice toaster, but we cope with a two-slice. We have a drawer for tea towels. And this month K's dad is going to build us a cupboard under the microwave and extra shelves and it's going to be ACE.
5. I have re-joined FOCS (had a story in the last mag; will have another one in the next), and started to re-collect the GGBP Chalets. Mostly have, actually, except for the super rare ones which I am hoping will be reprinted. Read Clare Mallory's League of the Smallest
, which is adorable and everyone should read it.
6. I have a kindle. It's amazing. Super, super amazing. I will be getting rid of loads of books, so watch this space.
7. To contradict point 6, I have bought more books recently. Here is a picture:
8. Been to the theatre a bit. Saw Anne Boleyn twice again at the Globe; also Doctor Faustus, The God of Soho, All's Well That Ends Well, and The Globe Mysteries. Disappointed we couldn't get tickets for Much Ado. Saw the first half of Emperor and Galilean at the National and honestly couldn't stand to stay for the second half. Also saw Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Haymarket, and A Delicate Balance at the Almeida. Going to see A Woman Killed With Kindness at the National in a couple of weeks, also hopefully the new Stephen Poliakoff play at the Almeida. And Matilda when it comes to the West End (MATILDA!!!!).