Thursday, October 10, 2013

A List for Hibernating in Fall

A List for Hibernating in Fall

No matter the weather, whether I’m tired or peppy, hurried or un, whenever I’m in London I always make time for a stroll in St. James Park.  Partly because it’s lovely in any season, and partly because I like to follow in the footsteps of Clarissa Dalloway.  In that setting, so unchanged throughout the years, (the footbridge notwithstanding) it takes very little imagination to see her walking beside me, her gloved hands moving in the sunshine as she tells me all about the party she is to have that very evening.

On a gorgeous fall afternoon last month, after all the drama of our holiday, I left The Songwriter recuperating in his suite at The Draycott and set out for my usual walk through the park.  I wandered through the Buckingham Palace gift shop where I picked up a baby Prince George tea towel and then entered the park under the gaze of the golden Queen Victoria monument.  I took my time, walking slowly, admiring every flower and tree, saying hello to every duck and pelican, until I reached the charming outdoor cafe beside the lake. A restorative cup of tea and a ginger biscuit were in order.  Usually an Earl Grey or Darjeeling girl, this afternoon the idea of Peppermint Tea totally tickled my fancy.  It sounded somewhat rejuvenating, yet soothing at the same time.  So I carried a steaming cup to a table from which I could easily observe all the hustle and bustle of a September Sunday and sat down to collect myself and munch my ginger cookie.  And right there, a new favourite tea was found.  I discovered I quite adored Peppermint Tea and have been having a cup, or three, every evening since returning home.  

 I have also been reading.  A lot.  And knitting.  A lot.  And cooking.  A lot. With The Songwriter’s activity somewhat curtailed for three more weeks, we’ve been quite the homebodies, which is actually rather nice when the nights get chilly and the days get shorter. I've discovered that forced hibernation is not so bad.  It’s given me time to share some of my recent finds with you.   Some books, some book related items, and a bit of whimsy.  All perfect for this most delightful time of year.  As usual, click on the photo and you’ll be transported to find out more.

1. The Bookcase 
 At antique shows, I’m always drawn to bookcases.
  Particularly round, revolving ones.
I have several, and adore them all.  
But this one is the ultimate. 
 It’s seven feet tall!   

2. The Candy Jar 
 This is just magnificent. 
 I can easily imagine it filled with all sorts of sweet things. 
From marshmallows to gumdrops.
 Can’t you?

3. The Witch 
 Recognise this witch? 
 I’m so looking forward to seeing her in the upcoming film adaptation
 of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. 
 Oh, and it’s Meryl, just in case she fooled you.

4. The Settee
As I said, The Songwriter and I have been doing a lot of reading these past couple of weeks. 
 (He’s really enjoying this book.)
  I’m thinking what we need is a settee like this one.
  Don’t you agree? 
 I can just see it covered in this fabric.
5. And, The Books.....  Here’s a few I’m dying to get my hands on!

An English Room
 By Derry Moore
 With Sherlock on the cover... who can resist?

Dog Songs
 by Mary Oliver 
My favourite poet.  
My favourite subject. 
 Cannot wait.

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life
 by Marta McDowell 
 Having had the pleasure of wandering through this lady’s enchanted garden
 at Hilltop Farm in Cumbria,
 this is a book I’m so excited to read.

Memos - The Vogue Years
 by Diana Vreeland, Edited by Alexander Vreeland
During her revolutionary years at American Vogue, Diana Vreeland was famous for dictating memos to her staff each morning from her Park Avenue apartment.  When she  arrived at her office, which by the way was never before noon, she would type these up and dispatch them around.  Needless to say, they were over the top, just like the lady herself.  This, I am sure, will be one entertaining book!

6. My New Favourite Tea
Seriously, try some.

7. Scotland
And lastly... I’ve gotten some letters and comments from sweet readers concerned that perhaps our recent adventures in Scotland might dissuade us from making a return trip in the near future.  Just look at the photograph below, taken two days before The Songwriter broke his ankle.  Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, that we wouldn’t be going back to Scotland? 
 It’s like going home to me.


  1. I always love your seasonal roundups Pamela. I am going to jump to An English looks intriguing if only for Bendedit Cumberbatch, I admit to a slight Sherlock kind of crush.

    There was a great article on Mary Oliver in the NY Times this past weekend, did you read it? I pulled out my Beatrix Potter book the other day, a momento from our travels through Cumbria. Like minds...

    Scotland Forever!... xx

  2. Oh Pamela,
    Whenever I read your posts where you wax lyrical about The British Isles, it reminds me how lucky I am to live here { and, to be so close to Europe too ! } My brother-in-law did his PhD at Cambridge just after they were married and my sister used to walk over the Bridge of Sighs every day on her way to work. She had to remind herself, everyday, how lucky she was.I pop into Cambridge quite often too.
    .....and, the new series of Sherlock will be starting here soon { they are being very hush, hush about the date ! } plus new series of Mr. Selfridge ' and 'The Paradise '...... what with 'Downton Abbey ' , you won't be able to prise me away from the television !!
    Hope that The Songwriter is well on his way to a full recovery. XXXX

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  4. So glad you are celebrating the comforts of home!
    Yes, the Mary Oliver book is high on my list too.
    And yes, of course you'll be back in Scotland before too very long.

  5. I love peppermint tea too!

    That looks like a good selection of books and of course a wonderful view of Scotland

  6. How beautiful. The time I went to London, it was near the end of our european adventure, and I didn't go to the park as all I could think of was going home to my dogs. I wish I could leave them and not worry. Speaking of dogs, just read a study today, that they've taken MRI's of dogs brains and they show that dogs have feelings like humans (they could have just asked us) and that maybe they will get more rights. I wish I could take my dogs with me on trips so I could travel more.

  7. I love fall too and your suggestions sound great. That photo makes me want to go to Scotland right now! Could you say where that top picture is from? I really like it.

  8. Hello~ I just recently stumbled upon your blog and I find it quite enjoyable. I am especially drawn to it since am taking my masters degree in English Lit. I am profoundly fascinated with the North Country.

    I adore the bookcase you posted---I would love to have such a bookcase in my home, as my books are overflowing. :)

    Scotland looks indeed very inviting and should I ever find my way North, I hope to visit all of the above plus the Emerald Isle~

  9. An interesting list and a gorgeous photo at the end. I LOVE your header picture. From a 1920's house and garden magazine? Do you know where you found it? Enjoy your hibernating, but I'm sure eventually cabin fever will set in and the golden light of fall will draw you back out again.

  10. Perfect post, Pamela for a wonderful fall day. I immediately ordered the Beatrix Potter gardening book. I have always loved her work, and look forward to seeing the gardens which inspired her wonderful paintings.
    Hope the Songwriter is healing speedily.

  11. what a lovely post + amazing books + love london(doing a house there now) so you see I am in love with this post.

  12. Hi Pamela!!!

    I can't believe that until today's post that I haven't seen a round book case!! How beautiful!! The candy jars are the same!! I love unusual beautiful pieces!!

    And that brings me to Edward the beautiful!! In the picture of him waiting for you to come home there is a white (?) lamp shade in the picture. I love it!!

    Scotland is on my bucket list, along with all of Great Britain!! My dad was born in Glasglow and moms parents were both from Edinburgh, so, I have a wee bit of Scottish in me. I love your blog and the beautiful pictures!!

    Enjoy the rest of the week!!


  13. Mary Oliver is my favourite poet too but I can't face her book just yet as I have recently lost my dear dog.

  14. The bookcase looks wonderful and I want the Beatrix Potter book. I have a book recommendation for you, I am positive you will love it. An Innocent, A Broad. By Ann Leary, wife of Denis Leary, It is both hilarious and heartfelt. The true life story of their tiny premature baby born in England while they were on vacation. They were "stranded" in England unable to travel back home to the US and had to navigate the British healthcare system for several months and live in London. I know that your husband breaking his leg doesn't really correlate to the experience of a woman giving birth but I am positive you will be able to identify on some level. And it is just a good book. I loved your last post and can't agree more. Being British and living in the US I tend not to "criticize" the American health care system very much, but truth be told I think the system here is pretty close to sinful.

  15. I too love Peppermint tea Pamela - as you say it is both restful and rejuvenating if it can be both! Glad to hear the Songwriter is on the mend.
    Not return to Scotland. Apart from the dreaded midge at some times of the year then I cannot think of a single reason to stay away.

  16. Love the fact you and the SONGWRITER are snuggled up together.Your reading list looks divine and I adore that 7 foot round book vessel!How many do you have???I will definitely try the Peppermint tea as soon as I return from my little jaunt to VENICE and PARIS!Departing today!Europe does wonders for my soul!
    More photos of Edward Please!

  17. Just arrived back home from a month in Italy and found your blog like "coming home". It's one of the things I missed most (when time to think about it) and reading certain blogs are just part of my routine.

    Am ordering two books you showed - An English Room (for me) and Dog Songs (for a BFF) as a Christmas gift. Your selections are always spot on!

    Sorry to read about The Songwriter's "misadventure" but glad he's on the mend. Just so you know - I had a similar experience (though far from the travail you all went thru) in Scotland several years ago. I broke my leg (walking on a golf course and I don't even play) and had to go from a cottage hospital Granton on Spey, to Aviemore and then on to Inverness where they set my break. Like you and The Songwriter, whilst not a grand experience, the people were absolutely wonderful and I was able to take a set of x-rays home with me (unheard of in our country). Great service, wonderful people and all for the great cost of $114. Scotland Rocks!!!!

    Plan another trip soon and truly enjoy - The Isle of Mull is quite special and it's people warm and friendly.

  18. Dearest Pamela,

    Your latest post was especially delightful and added to my birthday weekend! I simply adore autumn and love the fact that my birthday "falls" in the season I love most! I look forward the "serendipitous" connections between your posts and the things near and dear to my own heart. Here are a couple from this post: Upon receiving some money for my birthday, my first thought was, Perhaps this should be the beginning of my Scotland travel fund! I've thought that many times but always seem to find something else to spend the money on--usually art--that I can enjoy on a daily basis. But, oh, how I dream of going to Scotland! Never been, but it calls to me… With your stunning photo as inspiration, perhaps I can actually sock the money away for Scotland!

    Books! I just received "The Signature of All Things" by Elizabeth Gilbert ("Eat, Pray, Love") for my birthday. It's a period piece about a woman botanist who falls in love along the way. How can I possibly not lay hands on it until Christmas break, when I have time to savor this deliciously fat novel?… Finally, the book carousel made my mouth water! As another reader commented, how could I not have known such a beautiful thing exists? Wish there were room in our little Victorian cottage for such a piece… (I clicked on it anyway; no price listed, of course. ("If you have to ask, …" as the saying goes.) Ah, well, costs nothing to admire and appreciate!

    Thank you for more reading suggestions and ways to enjoy this most wonderful of seasons!

  19. Pamela I feel just horrible that it isn't until now that I read of your trip to Scotland last month and all that you and the Songwriter went through. I would have helped you in any way I could have even though several hours away. I cringed thinking of you alone. To read your story I must say you are amazing; one very strong woman that you held it al together. Just know when you visit Scotland again, that you can alway contact me. I would happily give you our numbers before you leave the states, just in case. I'd say the songwriter made the best of a tough situation too. I hope his ankle is mending well and you are settled in for a much less exciting fall! Take much care, both of you.

    Cheers, Deb x

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  21. What a fun list for fall! I adore that photo of you in Scotland. I hope you left your holiday with good memories despite the stressful end. I thought of you when I saw the dog poems in the book shop

  22. I just bought that tea today! And have never had it before. I need to get the Beatrix Potter Book. It looks wonderful.

  23. The candy jar is marvelous! And yes, I can imagine it beautifully and dangerously filled with sweet color! I will look for Dog Songs as seems it would be a delightful autumn read. Thank you.

  24. Pamela,

    Scotland is like home to me too. I felt it the first time I stepped off of the plane and every time after.

    I hope that your self imposed resting is doing you both a world of good. How nice to be able to read, sip tea and to be together with the ones we love most.

    Hope the Songwriter is mending well.


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