Home Life

There Goes The Bride: Wedding Memories On Our Tenth Anniversary

Every wedding has a moment where something goes wrong and ours (ten years ago, incredibly) was no exception. I suppose you could say that at least we got ours out of the way early on. On the morning of our wedding, I was painted and pinned, then poured and adjusted into my white lace wedding […]

Home Life

Well, apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how are you? Healthy, I very much hope and not suffering too badly with lockdown fatigue? So far, my week has included a funeral, a Covid 19 Health and Safety Policy update and a couple of policy debates with my children on the subjects of potty training and number […]

The Proof of the Pudding (or The Pudding That Is 90% Proof

Well, Happy New Year! I hope everybody had a a good time. About a week before Christmas, ablaze with festive idiocy, I determined to make another Christmas pudding. When I say ‘another’ I mean a) I didn’t do one last year and b) this was attempt 2 for 2019. The first effort tasted rather good but […]

The Wars of the Roses: Dispatches from the Horticultural Front

Well, in the words of enthusiastic amateurs everywhere, I think I know what I did wrong that time. As another gardening season draws to a close, (yes, I know it ‘drew’ some time ago but I thought if I put it like that, you wouldn’t notice the, er, length of time since a post last […]

Rebecca Syndrome

I can produce all sorts of excellent literary reasons as to why I love Daphne du Maurier’s 1937 novel Rebecca: that extraordinary tale of a gauche, very young, second wife having to take on not only the running of a famously beautiful Cornish country house but the uncannily vital memory of her predecessor, Rebecca. I first […]

It’s Not About The Journey or Travelling With Small Children

It began, as much chaos does, with the supermarket shop. I am not, I tell husband firmly, spending our precious holiday traipsing round said supermarket shopping for nappies or baked beans or tinned tomatoes, or bread or sugar lumps. We are renting a house for the week in Cornwall and we will take these boring […]

Hot House

  ‘And don’t,’ urged James*, our land agent, as we crunched the numbers on a biomass heating system once again, ‘underestimate the benefit of a warm house’. We were sitting in the dining room, freezing cold; all farm meetings happen in here and, in those days, they tended to stick to the point. The electric […]

A Happy Christmas or A Merry Christmas?

So, after my last post, I’m sure you understand why I did not approach Christmas with the full Dickensian appreciation this year. Indeed there were a few Scrooge moments and one of them occurred in a local bookshop, whose proprietor kindly wished me ‘Happy Holidays’. I really must perfect a response to this: ‘Happy Saturnalia’ […]

Last Words

About this time last year I was reading aloud to my mother as she lay in the final 24 hours of terminal cancer. I read a lot to her in the last ten days. By the time you get to that point, you feel that everything that comes out of your mouth ought to be […]

Fireplace of books, Pittleworth Manor, Hampshire

Hoisted On My Own Petard

  I just had to write it down, (or type it up) didn’t I? I had to go and call this house A Manor of Reading — and, if I’m honest, I was quite pleased with the name — but Pittleworth has reacted as if it had been written into being by J K Rowling; […]