At the beginning of this journey I was like most new converts an evangelist and an extremist. There are some who would say I still am (most notably the teenagers who are, I suspect, stockpiling plastic as I type). How ever I have clearly mellowed for yesterday I did something that I would never have done back in June.
I bought a magazine. To be fair I did um and ah for a while, I did go off and do some other shopping before I finally handed over cash for a disposable item. I finally justified it by reminding myself that all our magazines go to the local dentist or doctor. Their waiting room reading matter is prehistoric or ghastly rags written by a spirocheate on a bad day and attempting to be a poor copy of a 1960s edition of Readers’ Digest.
So I bought this.
A bit of a contradiction in terms no? A magazine about Simple Things. But I have read the entire magazine. There was no article in which I wasn’t interested. I have book marked some recipes and some events, I even saw a photograph of the first flat I ever owned (94 Landor Road, London SW9 just in case you are interested 🙂 ) in a wonderful article about The Edible Bus Stop, it is amazing (the story not my flat) go and read it and maybe even plant one yourself. As a final added bonus it feels good, the cover is just a little heavier than most magazines, the photographs and the LO just a little less in your face. The only thing that grated was the standard bit at the beginning of every lifestyle magazine, two double page spreads on “beautiful things for your home”. Wouldn’t it be lovely if instead there was a double page spread of “beautiful things you probably already have in your home”.
So in that vein, here are some of the simple things around my house that make me happy, make me smile and make me glad to be who I am.
The first cup of tea of the day. I drink a lot of tea, I like it strong and black. I am not a very nice person until I have had at least one cup. The teenagers go so fed up of me asking for cups of tea when I was working upstairs that they bought me my own kettle and tea caddy for the bedroom.
Fresh roses from my garden. Their perfume is heady and goes beautifully with my first cup of tea. One of my greatest thrills is to be able to fill the house with flowers and foliage from the garden. You just have to be inventive, it doesn’t have to look like a bouquet. In winter I bring in armfuls of redberried holly, winter jasmine, bare branches, anything that catches my eye.
Clementime curd. I made this yesterday after repeated requests from the Dancer. The recipe comes from the amazing Karen at Widehaugh House. It is sublime and is a family favourite but never lasts long. It is best eaten with a teaspoon out of the jar 🙂 The result of any curd is a bucketload of egg whites. We are a bit bored with meringue and I am the only person who likes Angel Food Cake so I made Nami Nami’s Egg White Cake instead. Next time I will reduce the sugar content, but it was good to use up the ingredients in something I knew would be eaten.
My favourite bookcase, or rather the bookcase with my favourite books. Foraging, gardening, the Desert Fathers, meditation, living off the grid.
Freshly made bed. I cannot understand, particularly in these days of duvets (though I can still make a pretty mean hospital corner thanks to 11 years at boarding school) why so many people don’t make the bed. I can’t bear getting into an unmade bed and will make it before I get in if I have to!
Open windows. I can’t wait for the icy winds to pass so that I can throw open the windows and the doors. Sadly I am alone in this. The Boss doesn’t really notice and the teenagers must have some kind of cold blooded reptilian DNA as they close windows and doors as fast as I can open them. I am winning 🙂
The Floor of Singer 2’s bedroom. You will notice that there is nothing on it. Singer 2 is the one child who has my tidy gene. It makes me as happy to see her room as it terrifies me to see those of Singer 1 and the Dancer.
Finally my Inuit bear. My father spent many years in Toronto and Montreal and collected a lot of Inuit Art, both carvings and prints. I have much of that collection, but this bear is my favourite. She has been with me since I was at university, travelling from London to Yorkshire, back to London to Scotland and finally to Durham. I don’t know if she is the first thing I would grab in a fire, but she is pretty close to the top of the list.