August 31, 2009

food and cheer and song

We packed up the dining room and kitchen over the weekend. Boxes of china and crockery, bowls, platters, jugs, and cups fill the foyer. We're down to just enough of everything.

Kitchens are so important; a bad kitchen can ruin an otherwise good house, and a great kitchen can elevate a passable house to the level of wonderful.

I prefer an eat-in kitchen, for the simple reason that there's a place for people to sit and laugh and drink wine and taste-test while the cooks cook. Dining rooms are still best for most meals, but midnight milk and cookies are best enjoyed at the kitchen table.

I like all of these kitchens (the last one is my favorite!):

8) unknown

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." -J.R.R.Tolkien

August 28, 2009

most constant of friends

I've begun packing my books away.

I have never had enough bookshelves. Someday soon I hope to remedy that. A library, or reading room, would be nice. Wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling shelves for books and treasures; a comfortable chair and just right ottoman; a table big enough for stacks of books and cups of tea and a bowl of shells and pebbles; good light, a window with a view, music.

Books make any room better.

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers." - Charles W. Eliot (1834 - 1926), The Happy Life, 1896

August 27, 2009

leisured cosiness

There are so many kinds of country houses, and I seem to like them all, from the cabin in the woods to the Victorian cottage in the heartland to the clean-lined, simple croft hostel on the Isle of Iona, Scotland (above)...

Just looking at these makes me feel peaceful and comforted:

The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured cosiness.- P G Wodehouse

August 26, 2009

wild and precious life

all photos: me
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver, The Summer Day

August 25, 2009

Lunch with Erin

I went to a farewell lunch for a friend and co-worker today. The food was nothing special, and the atmosphere was decidedly uninspiring, but the company was good.

When I came home I wanted comfort food (in other words, carbs!) So I pulled out the scone cutters I brought home from a charity shop in Scotland, and made biscuits.

Food is so much more than fuel for the body. The lovely dining rooms, below, are soul food in and of themselves.

Erin, you'll be missed.


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