It was one of those mornings this morning, that shouldn’t be lovely, yet was. You know those days when the sky is overcast, and the streets are wet from rain that has now passed, yet lingers on in the air a little; the wind is cold and whips your hair into a tangle. The kind of day when you get roses in your cheeks from the cold, and all the grey everywhere makes you think happy thoughts to compensate.
I had two walks today- one into work, and then another at lunch time to collect a letter from the sorting office (another birthday card winging it’s way to you Tash!). I set out for work wrapped up in thoughts of a hot cup of tea when I reached the library, when something caught my eye. Crossing the road just a little way up from me was a little grey squirrel. I often see them in the back garden, but not out on the street. I love the way they seem to flow and ripple as they scurry. A Mexican wave starts as they bound forwards, and travel from their paws right to the tip of their tail.
When I walked down to the sorting office at lunch time, I was similarly diverted, although this time it was by flowers. I took a short cut through the Cathedral (I read that it is the second smallest Cathedral in the country; I don't know if that is true or not, but it is a beautiful building, small or not) and had to stop to admire the flower beds. Rippling and shivering in the breeze were tiny little violas. In some beds, they were all deepest velvety purple, with a boarder of white flowers, and in others there were white violas circled by purple. I love purple and white and yellow together, they speak to me of spring flowers, of daffodils and crocus, and they are the flowers of renewal, spring and hope.
Having two such lovely moments made me about Sarah Ban Breathnach's scrumptious book, Simple Abundance and how she advocates listing things that you are grateful for each day. I was musing on this when one of my favourite adverts came on tv (is it terribly sad that I have a favourite advert?!) the one for the skoda car, where they build the car out of cake, to the song 'My Favourite Things'. That started a chain of thoughts, things that I love, things that I am grateful for, lists, lists, lists.
So fix a cup of tea (definitely one of my favourite things!) and think about your favourite things while I share with you some of mine. I would love to hear some of yours!
A Few of My Favourite Things
Tea. Well I guess that one was always going to feature in my list! Maybe it is being a lady, maybe it is being English, or maybe just being me, but Tea is always welcome. It is so restorative both to mind and spirits. A cup of tea can be shared in celebration, commiseration, or almost any circumstance. In a big hearty mug or a delicate china cup. Regular P.G. Tips or delicate Lady Grey, taken at your kitchen table or a London hotel palm court. Have you noticed how just saying the word tea makes you smile just a little bit?
Reading. Where would I be without it? Other people loving reading is how I earn my living, and pennies to spend on books that I love. Reading can be a solitary pleasure, where I restore my spirits in the bath with a good novel, or a really good group chat at Booktalk group. So far this year I have read:
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House
A delightful read, in which the diaries of Jane Austen reveal her sleuthing adventures. Bliss with a cup of tea in a china cup, although it does make me speak in an Austentatious manner when I am finished!
The Kite Runner
My latest read for Booktalk group. We discuss it on Friday, and I picked it up rather late on Monday. Finished it last night- it was a much easier read than I expected, although it is not an easy subject matter. I can see why it is so popular, but I would rather read something a little happier. I don't think the redemption at the end compensated for earlier parts of the story.
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley
I was given three of these novels for Christmas, and had barely finished the previous one before picking up this one. It made me long to waft about the house in my nightie with my chamber stick, and also made me want to visit Bath, and Portsmouth.
Size Doesn't Matter
Meg Cabot of Princess Diaries writes for adults too. Heather Wells, ex teen singing sensation works at a New York university, and finds her boss shot in the head. Has to solve the murder, stop the student strike, juggle her boyfriend with the man she really loves AND resist the temptation of chocolate bars. Like a grown up Enid Blyton.
Buttons. I blame my Mum entirely for this. When I was tiny, she used to take me in my pram, and then pushchair, into a Drapers called Wenlocks, where they kept the buttons in those long tubes, with one button glued on the end so you could see what was in the tube. I love buttons as a result. I can spend many a happy lunch hour perusing the buttons on the haberdashery stall of the market. One of my New Year's Resolutions is going to be to use buttons in my crafts more. I have a vague idea that buttons might be my theme for Christmas next year...
Red Lipstick. I can only wear it if I am in the mood, but when I am, I really adore red lipstick. Really bright red, a la Dita Von Teese. In fact, the shade I wear is exactly the same as hers. It makes me feel polished and glamorous. Even if I am only going home to cook the dinner, I feel like I am going out for a night on the town, dancing.
Violets. I am sure you have all picked up upon my partiality for Violet Creams, but the truth is, I love all things violet. Violet coloured ink on cream coloured writing paper. Devon violets perfume that my gran used to buy me, and I used to dab behind my ears feeling very grown up indeed. My posy of silk violets that cost far more than they should, but I could not leave behind. Violet tissue paper. Crystallized violets amongst the sugar lumps in the sugar bowls at our wedding. I hear that you can get Violet liqueur. I would like to investigate that, and have a go at making violet ice cream this year. Oh, parma violets, how could I forget those?!
My new hair colour. I have been toying with the idea of changing my hair colour for a while now. And on the second-to-last day of 2007, I took the plunge, and my hair is now a glossy espresso colour. Although it is quite a departure, I feel like it is the colour my hair was always meant to be, and somehow feel more like me. It looks better with my red lipstick too!
Making soup. Is there any better way to spend an hour? The rhythmic chopping and slicing and dicing, the heavenly smell wafting through the house, the feeling of nourishment and nurturing. The feeling of thrift as you transform the elderly vegetables languishing in my trolley to a delicious lunch. And making soup gives you the perfect excuse to make bread, which is really so very easy, and yet feels like magic, and immediately transforms you into a Domestic Goddess.
Feather Pillows. We stayed in the most delightful bed-and-breakfast a summer or so ago, and the bed had feather pillows on it, the first I had slept upon. I could not be without mine now. I love to fluff them up, and every night before I lay down, I spray mine with either lavender pillow mist, or my favourite in winter, nutmeg and peppermint. (Thanks for introducing me to that, Fairycakegirl!).
Fridays. Twice a month I have a Friday to savour and enjoy, to have crafting and cooking adventures and to see my Mum. Friday is associated with the planet Venus, which associates Friday with love, peace and relaxation. What can be better than that?
My washing up brush. A strange thing to love perhaps, but you would understand if you used it. My lovely friend Anna gave it to me. It is pink and stands up on its own, and has a great big flower on the back of the brush head. It looks like it should be more pretty than practical, but it does the best job. And surely anything that makes you sing as you scrub the dishes amongst the soap subs must be a good thing!
I could go on....and on, but I suspect your tea will be cold now, and I have to leave you with my last favourite thing- my blog friends. You are all lovely, and really enrich the world of blogging for me. Wherever you are, I hope you are surrounded by a few of your favourite things.