Archive | September 2013

Tea with Miss Clare.

Village Diary - Miss Read

I am a big fan of Miss Read or, to give her her real name, Dora Marie Saint. She wrote ‘Village Diary’ in 1957 and it tells of a village school with two teachers, Miss Read and Miss Clare; Miss Clare is the older of the two and has recently retired from teaching. She returns to the school when needed. The book is beautifully illustrated by J.S. Goodall.

In this excerpt, Miss Read is going to have tea with Miss Clare. Why don’t you escape with me into the dreamy world of Fairacre, for just a few moments and read about life in a bygone age?

‘Miss Clare invited me to her cottage for the evening.  She refuses to let me fetch her or run her home in the car, but cycles, very slowly and as upright as ever, on her venerable old bicycle.

As usual, the best china, the snowiest cloth and the most delicious supper awaited me.

Miss Clare’s cottage is a model of neatness.  The roof was thatched by her father, who was the local thatcher for many years.  She has an early-flowering honeysuckle over her white trellis porch, and jasmine smothers another archway down the garden path.

In the centre of the table stood a cut-glass vase of magnificent tulips, flanked by a cold brisket of beef on a willow-pattern dish garnished with sprigs of parsley from her garden, and an enormous salad.  The freshly-plucked spring onions, were thoughtfully put separately in a little shallow dish.

‘It’s not everyone that can digest them,’ said Miss Clare, crunching one with much enjoyment, ‘bu my mother always said they were a wonderful tonic, and cleared the blood after the winter.’

Miss Clare’s silver was old and heavy and gleamed with recent cleaning.  How she finds time to keep everything so immaculate, I don’t know.  Her house puts mine to shame, and she has no one to help her at all, whereas I do have Mrs. Pringle occasionally to turn a disdainful hand to my affairs.

After we had consumed an apple and blackberry pie, the fruits of Miss Clare’s earlier bottling, we folded our yard square napkins – which were stiff with starch and exquisitely darned here and there – and washed up in the long, low kitchen, while the coffee heated on the Primus stove.’

When life gets frustrating, I pick up one of Miss Read’s excellent books. She has written two series about village life plus other stories and is always a joy to read. My favourite of the two series is Fairacre, which is written in the first person. I pretend that I am Miss Read, when I read the stories and live through all the ups and downs of village life along with her. The other books are about Thrush Green. Miss Read herself, preferred these. I suppose it is easier to write in the third person. I read them all regularly.

For those of us who live the village life, or try to! it is nice to dip into these books for inspiration. I encourage you to give them a try if you feel so inclined.

You can read more about Miss Read here.

Baby Sam update – 4 months old (nearly)

Sam at 3 months - 2

Just look at my newest grandson…. hasn’t he grown? This is my latest picture of him, which I’m proud to show you. He’s got such a winning smile and he’s a real little ‘buster’ isn’t he? – so different to Dylan, my eldest grandson, who is nearly three. Sam’s weaning at the moment and as you can see from the picture, he’s enjoying his food very much! He’s got his parents well trained!! and likes to be carried around all the time to enjoy different views of the house and garden whenever he feels like it.


Here in the cottage we’ve all got colds and feel miserable. It doesn’t seem fair after all the hard work we’ve been doing lately, but there it is, we’re sick; sneezing and coughing and groaning, day and night.

In between the bouts of fever and sneezing, I’ve been unpacking the last box today. In it were all my scrapbooks from America and all the ‘stuff’ that goes with it. I’ve been putting off that box because I knew it would be nigh on impossible to find room here for all of it and I didn’t want to start chucking things out. I unpacked the box and got rid of the rubbish and then repacked it for another day. I will get to it, I will, I will, I will.

Millie is so pleased to be with her ‘daddy’ again and takes advantage of a cuddle whenever she can…


So I’m back to my sniffing and snuffling, hoping to be feeling a bit better tomorrow…


Packing Crates galore!


This was the scene a couple of weeks ago when the lorry arrived with all our stuff from America on it! There were two crates; you can see the first one opened and the second one is to its left. Larry is going to supervise the operation.

There were various items of furniture plus about fifty boxes of varying sizes to unpack. I have been very busy going through it all and am now down to two boxes, which I hope to tackle tomorrow. When it all first arrived we had a hard time finding room for the boxes. They were everywhere.  Larry had done a great job of packing everything and nothing has broken. One or two knocks on the furniture told the story it its travels across 4,500 mile of land and ocean. Not one glass or piece of china was broken. Remarkable really.

All the boxes were numbered and packed with labels, e.g. U.K or North Carolina because a lot of our stuff went straight to L’s kids. They have gotten their inheritance early!


A Very Busy Two Weeks


It’s been a very busy two weeks, here at the cottage. It started with the building of Larry’s new shed (see picture above) and it ended with our spending a few days with my eldest son in Bristol. In between times, the furniture and effects arrived from America and are currently standing in many boxes all around the cottage.

Consequently, we have been busy and exhausted at the end of each day and I have spent very little time on the computer. Apologies therefore if I haven’t visited you lately, but I will be doing the rounds shortly.

The shed went up very nicely and compliments the garden. I think every man (and woman) should have a shed (doghouse) to go into from time to time. Larry wanted his for a specific reason, which I cannot reveal at the moment. We also thought we may need some extra storage space for those boxes, which will have to wait to be unpacked.

During the upheaval of the shed construction, we decided that a small patio in front would be an advantage so L and J went to Homebase to buy some small paving stones to put in the space. On arrival back at the house, they began to unpack the stones and carry them into the back garden. Larry decided to remove his wedding ring and put it in his pocket so it wouldn’t get scratched. Somewhere between the car and the shed and the house, the wedding ring got lost. We all three of us spent the next few days looking for it to no avail. Finally, when we had almost given up, J decided to buy a metal detector to help to locate the ring.  It arrived from Amazon a few days later and the two men put it together and took it outside to search for the ring.  They didn’t find it down the alley, nor on the patio by the house. They did find three nails, which were useless, of course!

I wondered if the ring could be under the new patio, which L had just laid the day before? He took up all the stones he had just laid and searched underneath. No sign of the ring! Then, of course, he had to put all the stones back! Not a pleasant task.

The metal detector was hopeless because it picked up everything and nothing. The beep was going off all the time. The neighbours must have wondered what on earth we were doing, crawling round the driveway at the front, peering down drains, metal detecting here there and everywhere.

In the end we gave up and it’s still lost – damn it!!!

Bad omen I call it!!!

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