Monday, March 07, 2016

March. The Simple Woman's Daybook

 From 'The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady' by Edith Holden 1906

I'm sharing this' month's Daybook Edition, which I post the first Monday of each month. It's a little of this and that, and since Downton is still fresh in my mind, you will find that seems to pop up in more than one of these paragraph prompts. Hope you enjoy...

 For Today...

Outside my window... It hardly seems possible that we are so near to Spring, but with the unusually mild winter we've had, our thoughts do wander more easily for yonder glimpses of pussy willows, catkins, and daffodils tips poking through warming soil. Except ... it snowed last night and outside my window the ground is white with just one shade of grey in the overcast sky, so today it looks nothing like Spring.

I am thinking... I woke up in the middle of the night with two things right there on my mind: Downton Abbey and our upcoming England trip. I can totally understand why Downton was so close to my thoughts, having watched just hours earlier several episodes including The Grand Finale with all its touching and happy moments. Were you glued to the television over the weekend?

But I'm not sure why I was also thinking about luggage ... must have been dreaming about our upcoming trip to England and just how much luggage we'll be able to bring since part of our trip includes a coach tour we've booked. Guess England and Downton are irrevocably intertwined in my conscious and unconscious mind.

I am thankful... for the wondrous gift of smell. For today my house is filled with the fragrance of a single purple hyacinth bulb that's come into bloom. Oh my ... I wish I could bottle it and link the fragrance to you. Seeing a hyacinth blooming on a windowsill on a sullen, grey day must surely provide pleasure for anyone, even the most gloomy of souls. Which thankfully I am not, so you can well imagine my own unbridled delight.

A poet of ancient Persia once wrote:

“If of thy worldly goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

Although it's too late to force hyacinth bulbs this season, here is a link on how to do this for next winter. Now, hopefully it's not too late to find pots already in bloom. As The Earth Lady puts it, "Splurging on blooming hyacinths is permissible. So on your next shopping foray to the grocery, forego junk food and buy hyacinths – as many as you like. Hyacinths are fat-free, sugar-free and gluten-free, and it is time to start your diet."

I am wearing... black slippers, dark jeans, and a black vee-neck cotton shirt. Brass rosette earrings and bangles at my wrists.

I am going... to England this summer, and we just found out this morning we're finally booked for a small group day tour to Highclere Castle and Gardens including nearby villages. Woohoo!

Of course it will be fun to see where various of our favourite episodes have been filmed, but I'm truly more excited about driving through the delightful Oxfordshire Cotswolds countryside and just seeing places I've only ever read about or seen on television. Soon, soon ... I'll be breathing English air. 

I am wondering... If I'll have time to watch another episode or two from Season Three of Downton Abbey this afternoon.

Last week, I started watching the whole series over, but there was no way I could watch the complete series before last night's final episode. I got as far as Mary and Matthew marrying.

What I'm finding interesting is as I'm watching more episodes in a row how I notice the changes with each series and time frame as the story unfolds. Not just fashion, but how the rooms are decorated, how the characters have evolved and developed. What I also notice is that I'm not as traumatized with all the sad things going on in everyone's lives, including the travesty of Sybil's and Matthew's deaths. Thankfully! I never have watched that season since it was first aired. I was too angry at first and then I didn't know if I wanted to see that rip-up of happy life. That happens too much in real life, I truly don't want it in fiction. 

And now that I know the story and how it all ends, there are just so many other wonderful, funny parts to enjoy and focus on. It's been a lot of fun.    

I am reading...Still working my way through the very fat autobiography by Agatha Christie. Thankfully, she writes in a most entertaining way as she shares some interesting stories of her life growing up and living in England through the very late Victorian and Edwardian eras, two world wars, all the way through the post-war 1950's, and modern 1960s and '70s. Although not a comic, she writes in such a way that I find myself often chuckling, even bursting into laughter, especially as she describes her experiences and what she was thinking at the time of those people and the world around her. Neat thing is that I've learned some things about myself as I read Dame Agatha's story.

I am hoping... My laundry is dry when I go down to check the dryer. Do you like folding clothes from the dryer (or the clothesline)? For me, there is something soul satisfying about it ... giving tea towels and pillowslips a hearty snap to smooth them out before folding, not to mention watching the mounting piles of folded socks, undies, t-shirts, and towels as another clean load is done.

I am learning... Some computer tech stuff -- always something new to figure out; and, I'm working on my Chopin piano piece. I'm also learning to let go of being anxious for even the teeniest of reasons as soon as I recognize the symptom of agitation. My soul is much more at peace on a regular basis because I'm learning to cast all my cares upon Him -- the Divine Source of All Love -- Jesus. 

In my garden... Flocks of redpolls, a few chickadees, a downy woodpecker, and one bluejay squawking for peanuts. No sign of Spring here yet.

In my kitchen... An open face tuna sandwich for lunch with a couple of German gerkins on the side, with a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea poured into a Johnson Bros. teacup and saucer that creates a most delicious clink when I set the cup back into the saucer after a sip.

A favorite quote for today...
Countess Violet, upon hearing Lady Edith was learning to drive a car as well as a tractor at the onset of World War One: “Edith, you are a Lady, not Toad of Toad Hall.”

One of my favorite things... Buying a couple of new magazines with gorgeous photos and nice things to read.

Sharing A Favourite Lady Edith Link... I found the most beautiful photograph of Lady Edith on her wedding day. She's standing with her Papa in front of Downton with her veil over her face.

You can see how exquisite is her dress as well as the stunning bouquet of roses. It's just over the top gorgeous! I'd love to post the photo here, but dare not for copyright reasons, so please follow the link to Mirror.Co.UK.

Wishing you a beautiful day with hugs,


  1. Edith Holden's illustrations are so wonderful. I've always wanted to learn how to watercolor and that is my inspiration. I love the poem and the final line - 'hyacinths for the soul'. I have to have flowers just for that reason. The scent of fresh laundry is very satisfying. I find myself burying my nose in the clean towels :) I subscribe to Victoria and Tea-time - another gift for the soul. I have the very first issue of Victoria and have loved it ever since. Your trip sounds wonderful. You must be positively giddy. I missed the last episode of Downton - I can't believe I missed it. I am going to buy the series, so I will get to see it over and over and over :) Hope your week is as lovely as this post was to me. Hugs xo Karen

  2. So many lovely things to comment on here. Glad you enjoyed the Downton finale, we saw it at Christmas. I was so glad Edith got her happy ending. I almost went to Highclere last Summer, wish I had done. The Cotswolds are gorgeous!! If you go to Burford at all, visit Huffkins tea rooms!! The Hyancinth is glorious too!!!

  3. So many lovely things in this post and so many lovely things for you to look forward to during your visit over here. I do hope you have a wonderful time. I do miss Downton and was pleased that everyone was happy in the end, I do like all the loose threads to be tied up. The Cotswolds are very pretty with lots of lovely and quaint villages which I'm sure you will enjoy:)

  4. What a wonderful trip you will have! I hope you will post lots of pictures and notes as you travel! Of course, you could let me tuck in a bag... I'd be very good. Promise!

  5. Gracious Brenda you certainly made my spirits soar with all the wonderful things you shared here. Love your March page from Edith's book. She was such a lovely artist. Thank you for being such a blessing as well as a reminder of who holds our peace - Jesus - love and hugs coming your way.

  6. I love the way you've broken your day into all these delicious morsels! I have never read Agatha Christie but I may now:), as For Downton I am going through it at my leisure as I bought the DVD. I sure noticed the changes as well compared to the first seasons. Have a sweet day, your trip to England sounds like a dream!

  7. A friend gave me that book and it's a treasure, isn't it? How exciting that you will go to England this year and see such beautiful sights. What a wonderful trip to look forward to! Enjoy your week. Hugs, Diane

  8. Lovely to read your interesting answers and to hear your excitement about your travels!! I do hope that you will have a wonderful time! xx

  9. I'm thrilled to hear that you'll be visiting Highclere Castle so that I can live vicariously through you. I liked Edith's wedding dress much better than the dress that Mary wore when she marrried Henry. I had "Auld Lang Syne" stuck in my day after the finale.

    1. Typo correction: should be "stuck in my head". Heh.

  10. Another thing we have in common--our Johnson Brothers China... Love it!

  11. it is sad that Downton Abbey is over but my hubby and I really enjoyed it immensely and it was something we could do together. I envy your trip to England-would love to go again.

  12. I hope you thoroughly enjoy England. And Highclere Castle....."Yummy", as Lady Mary would say.
    England is where tea is served the way it should, visit as many tearooms as you can.

  13. I spent several hours this windy, rainy Sunday afternoon planning our trip to England and Wales - such fun to look at internet sites and plan. Anticipating future pleasures adds to the enjoyment, I think. Highclere would be a lovely place to visit, but alas, it's not on our itinerary. I hope we get to see another grand estate. Happy new week, Brenda.

  14. You're going to England! How wonderful even though I'm jealous, haha! I would love to go sometime too along with seeing Ireland.

    I enjoyed your post. Looks like we have a lot of the same magazines waiting to be read. 😊

  15. Downton - I was glad they went for a sappy happy ending for everyone (those who survived the journey, that is). It wasn't quite in keeping with the spirit of the show but I've grown ford of these people and was happy to leave them all well sorted.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo