Friday, January 17, 2014

No Regrets

No Regrets

Watching a late night talk show whilst knitting the other night, I looked up to see a beautiful young actress perched on a chair telling the story of her latest movie.  She was stunning.  But then I noticed a tattoo, and not a very good one, emblazoned on the inside of her arm.  A blight, at least to my eyes, and a distracting one at that.  I couldn’t help but wonder if she ever regretted getting it done.  But then, I noticed another on her other arm, so I supposed not.  As for myself, I cannot even imagine having something permanent etched into my skin.  Of course, this is coming from a person who refused even to have her ears pierced, so make of my opinions what you will.

Her tattoos got me thinking about regret.  We all have them.  I’m not talking about the big regrets that have lasting effects on one’s life, but the little ones that irritate and make us cringe just a wee bit.  You know, the “why on earth did I wear that to the wedding?” ones.  The “did I really say that?” ones.  The “why on earth did I waste X$ on that movie...those shoes... that mustard-coloured shirt?”.   I look at the dress that smiling woman is wearing in the top photograph and wonder if she ever regretted that one.

I began to look back over the last year and rather than focus on those things I wish I hadn’t wasted my time or money on, as is my wont I turned it around a bit and started to recount all the things I did not regret from the last twelve months. 
 Oooh, this was fun.  
Hope you enjoy it and will perhaps share with me those things you’re glad you did
... or purchased...
 or saw.

1.  The Perfect Coat
The photograph above was taken below Tintagel Castle, years ago. 
  Notice the long black coat, which I will say unabashedly that I loved.

See this photo, above?  
Some years later, on the streets of Edinburgh.
Yes, same coat.  
As The Songwriter and I tend to travel in the fall, I tend to reach for this coat and my passport simultaneously.  That is until this past trip to Scotland when it dawned on me that, if you only went by my photographs, you couldn’t tell which trip I’m on.  All of them look the same, because in each I’m wearing “The Coat”.  So... time to get a new one.  This proved much more difficult that I’d counted on.  I tried on coat after coat, in store after store.  I patrolled the online sites.  Nothing seemed to suit.  It needed to be warm.  Had to be waterproof.  Not too heavy.  And a coat with a hood was preferred.  Fake fur trim, a bonus.  Just as I was about to give up and take “The Coat” to the cleaners in preparation for our trip, a catalog arrived in my mailbox.  From a London shop called Poetry.  And there... on page three... was my coat.  I ordered it immediately and kept my fingers crossed that it would be as perfect as it appeared.  It was!!  I Adore It.....and if you remember.... on our wild Scottish adventure... I actually had to sleep in it for three nights, so it passed a rather strenuous test with glowing marks.
I just checked the website.... it’s still there.

Find it HERE.

2. Redgrave and Dench
I was fortunate enough to see both these great actresses on stage in London this year.

 3. Pink Streak
In the summer, I had my long time hairdresser put a bright pink streak in my hair. 
Yes, I did.
Right at the back of my neck, a little on the right side,
 under most of my hair so it really isn’t visible unless I want it to be,
 which I occasionally do. 
It looks wonderful when my hair is up.
Always good to keep people guessing, don't you know.

4. Those Boots
I’ve wanted a pair of Dubarry boots for ages.
Well, this year after a particularly prolific month of book sales, 
I sprung for a pair just like the ones above.
I swear ... what did I wear on my feet before I got these??
Love them.
So glad I got them.

5. The Cuckoo’s Calling
So happy I took this book on holiday with me in August.
It was the perfect beach read.
Creative, engrossing, entertaining.
Yes, J K Rowling is much more than Harry Potter.
Find it HERE.

6. Scotland
Yes we had some wild adventures in Scotland in September.
(You can read about them HERE, if you haven’t already.)
But those adventures gave us both entrance into the backstage world of Scotland, one tourists rarely see.  We found the Scottish people to be the most caring, accommodating, and efficient souls.  They took such good care of us both.  From doctors to cab drivers, inn keepers to perfect strangers, we have never seen a country perform with such incredible kindness.  If our journey had gone as planned, we would have never seen this side of the Scottish people in such detail and I can only hope we Americans would be half as stellar to strangers as they.
We cannot wait to go back.
Oh, I stopped the car to have a conversation with the fellow above
on my solo journey back up on the Isle of Mull.

7.  Traveling, Once Again, With Wilmont
I’ve written before about Wilmont, our little stuffed monkey that, more often than not, accompanies us on our journeys.  That’s him above in a fabulous hotel in Scotland a few years ago.  Yes, he was with us on our Scottish adventure last year and Lord knows we appreciated his comic relief.  He provided a good bit of levity, even for the doctors and nurses who insisted on bandaging his leg to resemble The Songwriter’s cast. 
We left it on until The Songwriter was mobile again. 
Both he and Wilmont are now all healed and ready for another journey.


8.  Knitting Wands
The haberdashery at Liberty of London is a place of great temptation to me. 
 Skeins of wool, unusual buttons, ribbons, fabric, needles, paper flowers, feathers...
 I could, and frequently do, lose my ever loving mind.  
And yes, I purchased these knitting needles that resemble magic wands.  
So happy I did.

9. Leaf Pillows
I finally sprung for the Cowtan and Tout tartan wool plaid 
that I’ve been drooling over for years to recover two of my favourite chairs.
  And so happy I knitted these two leaf pillows to sit in them.  
Find the pattern HERE.

10.  Berwick Church
It was late in the day and we were getting tired.
We'd already explored Sissinghurst Garden and Monk's House.
Already wandered the rooms and gardens of Charleston Farmhouse.
So we almost didn't go to Berwick Church.  But I'm so happy we did.
Totally alone, we stood underneath the incredibly lovely wartime murals
painted by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell.
Totally inspiring.
Totally amazing.

11.  Taking it Easy
Everyone told me that having hip replacement surgery a mere eight days before Thanksgiving would mean a scaled down holiday for me.  I would.... the dreaded words... have to “take it easy”.  These admonitions were delivered with stern doubt.  Seems no one thought I possessed the ability to actually do as I was told.  Ha!  I slept, I dozed, I sat.  Yes, I still gave a few parties, but I actually ordered in fabulous cakes instead of making them myself.  I accepted help.  I read, I knitted, I watched The Bishop’s Wife.  I strolled, rather than charged, through the holiday season and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And now, completely healed, I’m back to walking Edward at a fast clip, something he’s very happy about.

What DON'T you regret?


  1. First of all re coats Pamela - I have a cream cashmere trench coat I bought in 1984 when we went to Russia in mid winter. It comes out every winter and I love it just as much.
    I also shop at Poetry - super clothes.
    As to things I don't regret - marrying the farmer for one. After a long and happy first marriage I had resigned myself to widowhood when along came the farmer and now, after twenty years, I am having another long and happy marriage. How could anyone regret that?

  2. Oh that I could travel like you. The boots are fabulous and what an expert knitter you are. The pillow is so beautiful. Can't think of any non-regrets right this instance, but I am always amazed when I hear someone say that they have no regrets.

  3. I, also, found the coat and I saw the Galapagos and Macchu Pichu. So glad I did!

  4. Oh, THANK YOU!! I often (but not as frequently as before) trash-talk myself into "why did I ...." Living without regrets for me means forgiving everyone (might take a little while) and that includes me. I'm going to make a list right now of all of the things I'm glad I did in 2013 and 2012!!
    Kisses to Edward. Congratulations of the books sales numbers.

  5. Pamela, first let me say I enjoy your posts and have read and reread your book many times. I, too, had a favorite coat that popped up in every picture. So much so, that friends thought it was the only coat I had (poor thing)! I tried to click on the icon for "Poetry" but it didn't respond. Would you be able to provide their searches turned up nothing.
    Thank you for beautiful writing and inspiration! Happy New Year!
    Angela Muller

  6. Dear Anonymous... thanks for letting me know about the link to the coat. It's corrected now!
    xo, p

  7. Greetings from Toronto. I enjoy your blog very much - and photos of Edward also. Trying to track down the Knitting Wands but they were not on line at Liberty, only sewing goods and kits. Do you happen to know of another site where they can be purchased? Many thanks

  8. One of the things I am most grateful for, dear Pamela, and will never, ever regret, is my friendship with you!

    Your being an absolute Guardian Angel to me last summer when I fell ill is not something to add to your Gratitude List,
    But, It is something I penned very dearly to mine.

    This post is a good reminder to look for the good memories in all our days this New Year, and please don't either of us fall or go sidewards or upside down!!

  9. Hello Pamela

    I am giggling looking at Wilmont all bandaged up and enjoying his travels.
    We bring a framed photo of our dog on our trips and it sits on the nightstand. I love your carefully chosen items all timeless and in excellent taste.
    I made mention of you today on my blog

    Delighted to hear your health is fully restored

    Helen xx

  10. Dear Pamela: I do not regret my decision to purchase new winter sweaters. I purged my itchy ones for cashmere and merino wools. And I gave away the others to a Women's shelter. It took a couple of season's to convert over to the other side, however, I don't regret it one single stitch.

  11. I'm glad to see you enjoyed your British holiday before the accident and pleased to hear that you are all on the mend, after taking it easy. I have similar reservations about tattoos. I don't regret blogging although I had hesitations when I started 7 years ago. It's been so nice to "meet" you and other bloggers.

  12. I do not regret going to France this summer, even though all of the walking aggravated my hip (I apparently have some muscular problem). Paris and Provence, and it was absolutely glorious. The best part of all is my husband loved it too. He wasn't a very enthusiastic international traveler but I think this has changed his mind.

  13. The coat is no longer available...

  14. Love the new coat, it has a touch of Mod about it.
    With your appreciation of a "good" tattoo, your fraternising with scruffy haired Highland boys with pierced noses and getting pink streaks in your hair, I am detecting the wild rebel within.
    Now I am imaging how Edward will look in the sidecar once you buy your new motorbike.
    Happy New Year!

  15. I really loved this post Pamla ….. we should always focus on the positive too. I'm sure we've all done things we regret but, life wouldn't be right if everything was perfect !!
    I always get the Poetry catalogue ….. they have some lovely things but, I think that your coat has sold out now.
    Hope you are enjoying ' Downton ' ….. ' Mr Selfridge 'is back on Sunday and, look out for ' Death comes to Pemberley ….. P.D. James' continuation of Jane Austin's ' Pride and Predjudice ' …. I think that you will LOVE it !!
    So pleased that your hip replacement was a success and that you are back walking etc. XXXX

  16. Wow regrets + only can think of things that I am grateful for right now. I am loving the coat you bought + the pink streak in your hair.

  17. Hi, I have no regrets over asking my husband for a sewing machine for Christmas. I am starting to learn to sew and would love to one day be able to make a quilt. I love making my home with purchases I love but also with things that have a homemade touch. I love your tartan chairs.

  18. Reading your list lets us all know more of you. I agree, it is hard to find a coat that satisfies these days. I have turned to vintage coats from estate sales. My black cashmere, single-breasted camelhair, and winter white cashmere wrap are currently keeping me warm - albeit, not all at once.

  19. I enjoyed reading about your year, and like that your coat and boots are comfortable AND stylish. They will last for years, I can tell. I like the chapel you visited, nice to be alone there, oh, and your pink streak too.

  20. I love that coat. I wrote to Poetry but they don not send items to Chile.
    What a pity! I would like to buy the caramel one. Thank you for your writing, Pamela.
    Happy New Year!

  21. It's all about the coat. Thirty-one years ago I bought a navy cashmere pencil coat in London. I wore it for more than twenty years, until time and moths had taken their toll. In October, while I was in Shanghai I had the coat replicated. I hope it lasts twenty years - I feel warm and chic when I wear it.

  22. Wonderful post, Pamela. I prize gratitude and imagination about all else! I also think you are a splendid knitter. The pillow is fabulous.

  23. The coat is still available on the UK Poetry website, for anyone who would be willing to pay the shipping charges!

    I don't regret taking as much time off work as possible whenever my daughter was home from university and her overseas travel. Precious time which I will treasure, unlike time spent at my office computer!

    Come back to Scotland soon, there's lots more to see.

  24. You temptress, you! Both the coat and boots are fabulous! (Is the coat no longer available because your loyal fans purchased them all? ;-) Are the boots the next to go? I'd better order a pair soon!)

    What don't I regret? Becoming a teacher--and, more precisely, staying a teacher! I don't know how I survived the first few years; they were awful, and so was I! But now I can't imagine being anything else. Teaching adolescents is like going to an amusement park every day. Or the zoo! Or a combination of the two! I am so glad I didn't throw in the towel after a rough start in the "noblest profession."

  25. PS Pink stripe in your hair? You go, girl!

  26. Dubarry boots and a pink streak….very cool!

  27. Great post. It is very impressive that you found something as elusive as a fabulous coat while actually looking for one. I am off to check out that site...! xo, N.G.

  28. To my untutored hands, your pillow looks like a fabulous work of art! You almost persuade me to take up knitting. How many dishcloths do I have to make before I am accomplished enough to attempt something as masterful as your pillow?

  29. Great job on the leaf pillow, so pretty!


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