Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inside The Box Of Summer

Inside The Box Of Summer
(and A Special Summer Giveaway!)

A box full of summer days arrived on my doorstep on the twenty first of June.  Much like Pandora, I lifted up the heavy lid to take a peek inside with nary a thought of what I might release.  And sure enough, blowing past me with an angry gust came the hottest summer in recorded history, heat to fry the fragile flowers and burn up the skeptic’s tome.  Edward and I huddled in the cool shadows of the house as the days grew hotter and the breezes evaporated into the red clay ground.  We banished the box of summer days to a dark place in the garden where disquiet often grows, vowing to ignore its presence as best as we could.  
But then, I wondered... had we been too hasty?  Had we slammed shut the lid on this summer too soon?  Could there perhaps be some pleasures still hidden in the dry, dusty corners of that seasonal box - some colour, some laughter, just waiting to be found?
So I carried it back inside the cool house and gingerly opened it up...and discovered many things still left to enjoy this hot summer season.  So, in spite of the news and the weather, here are some of my favourite things for this summer of record!  And keep reading, there’s a great giveaway at the bottom to cheer us all up on these blistering days!

1.  Masterpiece Theatre

Edward loves to watch Masterpiece Theatre with me every Sunday evening.  He curls up at my feet and adopts his most studious air.  This summer we’ve been enjoying both the new productions of Agatha Christie’s, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.  Beautifully photographed and more faithful to the original stories than in recent years, these have been and continue to be, a complete treat.  This marvelous drawing by Amber Alexander reminded me so much of Edward, absorbed in Murder on the Orient Express.  You can find out more about these productions HERE, and you can see more of Amber Alexander’s wonderful art, HERE.


2.  The Hat

If I had somewhere to wear this, believe me, I would.


3.  Handbag

Handmade by London’s, Susannah Hunter, these handbags are whimsical and divine! 
See more HERE.


4.  Knitting

I’m dying to knit this!  The pattern can be found in the Early Fall issue of Vogue Knitting and it looks fairly easy, believe it or not.
See more HERE.


5.  Fall Clothes!

They will be here soon... and autumn is my favourite season for clothes.  
This ensemble by Ralph Lauren is my first choice!


6.  Movie

When I exited the theatre after seeing the sumptuous movie, I Am Love, I felt as though I had spent two hours inside the colour orange.  With each scene seemingly kissed by fire, each frame luscious as honey dripping off a red, red rose, this sunny colour dominated my senses just as it clothed the main character.  The movie is sublime eye candy, to be sure, but the real jewel of the piece is the remarkable performance by Tilda Swinton.  The change in her character from the first scene till the last is simply phenomenal.


7.  Books

I have been reading like a fiend all summer.  Is there a better activity on a sweltering day?  Here are five I’ve loved:
Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson - witty and so much fun
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - I reread this one for my classics book club. Just magnificent!
Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson
The Diaries of Virginia Woolf
What Is Left The Daughter by Howard Norman


8. Song

If The Stars Were Mine by Melody Gardot
Like a warm breeze off the sea - pure summer.


9.  Smiles

One of my favourite scenes on film has always been THIS DANCE by the great comic duo, Laurel and Hardy. So charming and sweet, I could watch it over and over.  The aforementioned actress, Tilda Swinton, must feel the same way because last month in Edinburgh, she led a public performance of this very dance.  This makes me smile and I do so wish I could have taken part.  I love to see humans behaving like this.
 See Ms. Swinton's version, HERE.


10.  Laughter

THIS just makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.


Bonus!  A Giveaway!...

So many of you wrote me following my post on To Kill A Mockingbird in which I mentioned the song I cowrote with The Songwriter.  The song is called “Jump On It” and it was recorded by John Anderson.  It’s also on The Songwriter’s latest CD, so as a special summer giveaway, I’m including, not only this CD, but a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird as well.  The only rule... if you’ve already read the book, you must pass it on to someone who hasn’t!  
Just leave a comment on this post and you’re entered.  
The drawing will be midnight Friday the 30th!
  Good Luck, and Happy Summer to You All!

Congratulations to Michelle May!
She's the winner!!


  1. We've had a lot of seventies here in the Willamette Valley, although 94 is forecast for tomorrow. The heat was one of the big reasons I left Mississippi. Here, we average ten days a years in the 90's, and the coast gets none, and it's only 60 miles away.

  2. Dear Pamela, I love your idea of a box of summer, or indeed, a box of any season, into which and out of which a happy assortment of memories can tumble. I should certainly add to my box of summer the shade of a wonderful tree since that is where I have been found for weeks now wherever I have been or gone.

    As I write it is 31C in my drawing room in Budapest and the authorities are dispensing water to people in the streets. Roll on autumn...

  3. I had planned to comment even before I saw the give-away - BONUS! I so enjoy your blog - it lifts my life from the day to day chores and loves to a more refined place, if only in my mind and soul. You write so well with generous and insightful art. This entry today particularly hit home as we are in high 90s w/humidity taking us to heat indices of 100-110. I checked each link - I love handbags and hats. At one time I was a two dog household. Now I have a dog sanctuary - all 19 can be in my home at one time - it no longer looks exquisite as no breakables can be near the floor or middle of the walls: I have mostly hounds and those tails can whip :). However, what we lack in gentility these days we make up for in love. Those who have visited either officially or as guests say the same thing "Your dogs are so happy." Priceless, to quote the ubiquitous MasterCard commercial. I will pass on "To Kill a Mockingbird" as I have read it and will enjoy listening to the Songwriter's CD. Oh, and autumn is my favorite time of year as well, though here in MO, spring is a close second.

  4. I love your posting and enjoy Laurel and Hardy as well as the other which was a take-off.
    Thanks for mentioning Masterpiece Theater. I have had a hard time finding these series and enjoy them so much.
    Have a great weekend!
    Ladybug Creek

  5. I really enjoyed this post. love the idea of a summer box. We complain about our Scottish weather being too cold and wet, but I cetrtainly couldn't cope with a constant heatwave.

  6. I should have this wonderful book, and I don't. I would re-read it and pass it on to a friend that I know hasn't had the pleasure. And the music... what a gift for summer. Those babies are adorable.

  7. Dear Pamela, what a fabulous post. I couldn't agree more with your choices. From Masterpiece Theatre and the knitting (what a gorgeous sweater) to the fall clothes (in particular Ralph Lauren). Saw I Am Love...omg could it have been more delicious ? Ooops, I've got some catching up to do on the books thing but I love that clip of Laurel and Hardy...that was pure joy. Thank you. Hope you're having a great summer.

  8. Thanks for this post Pamela!...What I number of laughs I had...I can't remember when I last watched Laurel and Hardy...that dance...and the band backing them a hoot! I would have loved to have been at the Tilda Swinton flash mob dance:)

    Mr O and I have been enjoying Masterpiece Mystery immensely! I think these are better than any previous ones...

    ...and laughing quadrulets? I have to admit I was dying to know just what their father was doing to get those belly laughs...

    I would love to win the giveaway even though I am in the middle of re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird right now. The copy I am reading belonged to my mother...she bought it when it came out...

  9. A lovely post... I followed your many pathways to laugh and to enjoy the magnificence of human beings. Maybe one day we'll figure out that what we are SUPPOSE to be doing is dancing in the streets and figuring out the best way to get babies to laugh - and then get everyone laughing... I'm pretty sure we'd still have plenty of time to work sometimes!

  10. I just came in from the sweltering heat, trying to revive my brave plants that are in a swoon, and here was your most delightful post to chase the mid-summer blues away.

    I agree with Edward and have my own place reserved each Sunday night for Masterpiece Theater. We also get Masterpiece Classic and I will watch each one again whenever I can.

    I chuckled with the babies and tapped my toes about and am still smiling as the thunderclouds roll in.

    I would love a chance to hear your song and listen to the Songwriter's CD as much as I would love to pass on To Kill a Mockingbird to one of my daughters, most like the younger who is a new mother and I know would save it to read to her own daughter one day.

  11. My daughter just saw I Am Love in NY and absolutely loved it. Can't wait to see it!!!

    (counting the days till fall)

  12. hi pamela, i love reading you... please put me in your draw. i know how you feel about summer, i live in australia, still a little while yet til ours... i can't wait for summer to come and then i can't wait for it to end.... but i wouldn't be anywhere else!
    cheers christine xx

  13. You're going to have to fight me for the Ralph Lauren outfit!
    As to the laughing babies, I want to know exactly what Daddy is doing...

    Hope things are cooling a little for you now.

  14. You feel the same way as I do about Summer. The only good thing about it for me is I catch up on a lot of reading...... but I would still like to pack summer away in a box .... with rocks on the lid. I LOVE the knit! The pattern on the back is wonderful! ...And the hat .... how exciting to meet someone in a hat like that.
    Holding thumbs for the lucky draw!!!

  15. Yes, yes ! I want to try my luck in your give-away.
    Thank you for showing so many beautiful things. I have a smile on my face now.

    Have a wonderful weekend


  16. I have to be very quiet right now. Mr. B is asleep. I want to tap a couple of your links but I'll come back and do so. Awesome hat, delightful purse, cool weather clothes. Thank you Pamela for showing us such delights!

  17. Oh my, what a delightful post...I love everything about it...and now you've done it, you've caused me to swoooon over that magnificent HAT! Those are sweet peas up there, right?! MUST.HAVE.THAT.HAT. :>]]

  18. I laughed, because hubby and I are itching to watch Masterpiece theatre every Sunday - it's so well done! Also, did you see the actor who plays Poirot taking a tour on the Orient Express as a passenger? (for half a hour, after the program where he played Poirot).
    Ugh, August is so packed - can't think on Fall yet, but you may want to start, that cardigan looks a lot of work!:)

  19. Murder on the Orient Express ! Far too exciting for Wilf - he will however sit riveted watching Master Chef or indeed any programme featuring food.

  20. Thanks for the laugh with Laurel & Hardy this morning, Pamela, and some of the pleasanter aspects of summer. I'm sure you could find somewhere to wear that hat if you really wanted?!

  21. A brilliant list and review of summer pleasures Pamela. I cannot wait to see I Am Love.....Happy weekend to you, xv.

  22. I just love your summer list and I'm dying to see I Am Love. We were on our way twice this week and had major obstacles come along....still hoping to see it in the theater!

    In my my son told me that he'd never read To Kill a Mockingbird. How can that be that children are growing up without reading it? At any rate, after much encouragement, he bought it and read it - finally!

  23. much like mine, I am reading quite a bit. of course Masterpiece-we are front and center Sunday night-they are wonderful. & keeping cool-yet the most challenging of all. pgt

  24. Oh, what a delicious giveaway!!! I hope, I hope, I hope to win.

    We leave our Florida home behind each summer to avoid hurricanes and heat.
    Hmmmm...landlocked Iowa is warmer than Florida's gulf coast this year and tornadoes churn up the landscape...we may stay in Florida next summer.

  25. At the risk of sounding COMPLETELY cheesy: you LIGHT UP my life with these wonderful posts!!! I am beyond delighted! Please count me in on the giveaway!! I hope to be lucky enough!!!

  26. Oh wow - that hat - wish I dare wear it, although it might well attract a swarm of bees, Pamela.

    Love your summery pastimes - I am a Kate Atkinson fan too.

    I shall pass your blog on to my son Dominic Rivron, I am sure he will enjoy it.

  27. Love the hat, love the Fall and love your blog! Going to rent that movie, thanks!

  28. Listening to Jethro Tull's "Songs from the Woods" -- way too hot here in DFW -- simply withering here! Love your writing and your choice of Ralph Lauren's ensemble -- it is divine! But just the mere thought of wool sends me to open the fridge and stand in the cool air! LOL!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  29. That CD would be so fun to listen to, and I might have to search a little before finding somebody who hasn't read Harper Lee's amazing masterpiece, but there must be somebody out there who hasn't yet had the pleasure, right?

    Whewie, summer is here; find a way to enjoy it y'all.

  30. Thank you for a delightful half hour Pamela. A beautiful positive posting for these hot summer days.

  31. We have no heat here,just grey clouds now.Our Summer seems to finish after Wimbledon!
    I love the hat,amazing!

  32. You have it all here Pamela...I can feel the heat and am happy that I am sitting in Auckland :)

    We share many interests...english classics,
    hats and the more interesting the better,
    Susannah Hunter (did you see the chair I posted @ Finding My die for),
    I wish I had that knitted beauty now,
    Ralph Lauren--yes, although I might have to skip the velvet pants,
    I love your comment about spending two hours inside the colour orange (brilliant!)..
    I know all these books!
    Melody Gardot is an all time favourite along with Madeline Peyroux,
    smiles and laughter are what life is all about and what a fab giveaway...I love this post!!

    Wishing you a breezy day!!

    Jeanne :)

  33. You always have the most magical way of describing seasons...and finding the subtle beauty in each...I have missed reading your wonderful posts...and will be perusing them happily and headuly this weekend.

    Your warm thoughts were heard. Thank you for that. So much.

  34. Such a wonderful post Pamela - I must grab my box from the trash can, rummage through and try to find fun, beauty and music for these torrid days!

    I will try to catch the movie - in a cool theatre - read more books to keep me off the laptop and iPad - dance in the cooler early morning - and definitely look for a stunning Autumn outfit!

    I enjoyed Kate Atkinson's 'Will There Be Good News' earlier this year also - she's a clever writer. As for 'To Kill A Mockingbird' I'm almost ashamed to say I've never read it! Perhaps it was not as popular in Britain. Now I've been 'a Southern gal' for 33 years I'd better get moving on it! Hearing so much praise with the 50the anniv., I would love the chance to win a copy....and having the Songwriter's CD would be even more special.

    Stay cool - and tell Edward hello.

  35. I am now desperate to see the new Tilda Swinton film, to listen to the CD and song and to read 'To Kill A Mockingbird' as an adult, when I will no doubt fully appreciate it. Sigh........

  36. OOOH, put my name in the hat please. By the way, I would love to wear that hat too, wouldn't that be good? Let's see, we could go to the Ladies day at Ascot or would you prefer a summer garden party at Buckingham Palace, on second thoughts I think Edward might enjoy around with the corgies.

  37. There's so much in this post to think about, see and do! Enjoy the rest of your summer day cause bitter winter will be here way too soon!

  38. What a wonderful post, you have such a clever and creative mind! I love your writing style, the way you share your thoughts, truly awesome!

    Have a cool Sunday!


  39. I too like the idea of a box of summer, we are not that hot here in Wales but it was dry today. Great post as ever and I like the list of ten at the end.

  40. Hi Pamela and Edward. I also LOVE Masterpiece Theater. I wait (sometimes impatiently) for Sundays so I can sit back, relax and bask in Agatha.
    Also, To Kill a Mockingbid is my all time favorite book and movie. We watch it every Halloween. It reminds me so much of my childhood with the freedom children had back in those days (even though there weren't a scarcity of bad people then either). Harvest fairs, staying out late, mysteries in the neighborhood, the grumpy old lady on her porch, and the Sweet Miss Maudie. I miss all of that.

  41. Loving Masterpiece this summer. What a treat...I would love your old man’s CD...his mandolin looks beautiful. So, yes please enter me in your giveaway.

  42. How I loved this! The drawing of the dog is amazingly like dear E. We've given up our satellite dish, so must await M. Poirot on dvd. The Tilda S. movie opens soon at our little theatre. And I've found my reading slow this summer, much like my movements in this heat. Finally, finally it is cooler and my head is clearer. I'll go look at the dance. I don't need the book but would adore the album.

  43. I loved your post and it just made my summer so much better! The laughing babies were adorable.

    I loved finding out that you are a songwriter!!! A wonderful givaway!

  44. As always a wonderful post. I really love that Ralph Lauren outfit! It will be cool again before we know it.
    I would love to be entered into your giveaway. I loooooove music and I have not read the book. I do share books with friends after I read them though.

  45. Oh I soo hear you about the hot ht summer..but I have little to complain about as my sister lives in Lake Havasu Arizona where it was 123 degrees last week at 11 AM!!

    I'd love to be considered for your drawing! Thank you for being You and sharing Edward (and your words) :-)

  46. Beautiful post, as always! I love, love, love Masterpiece Theatre too! Everything about the post was delicious for the eyes or ears.

    Thank you!

  47. I so enjoyed this post..thank you.
    The little dance was fun to and my husband did this ones on a family party..I was Hardy..and I am a very petite person:))

    I hope Summer will stay for a while..unlike other summers I want it to take its time. Fall is my favorite season..and mostly I can't wait for it to arrive,but this year its different..hurray for a summer day..Fall ...please arrive late...

  48. Dear Pamela..
    Love the box of summer..
    especially in the dead of winter..
    I am a Florida beach girl..
    living here in Denver Colorado!
    would love to win your wonderful giveaway!
    warm sandy hugs..

  49. Please enter me, Pamela! I would love to hear the songwriter's music, and my copy of To Kill a Mocking Bird is sadly deep within a box, waiting for the day when I have my own little space again. When that happens I promise I will pass it on for someone else to love it!

    I too am an autumn lass. I was sorting through my wardrobe trying to find items for a summer weekend and own hardly anything summery - warm knits seem to rule my fashion!

  50. Oh, oh, oh!!!! John Anderson's Jump On It is one of my sister-in-law's favorite songs!!!! I can't wait to tell her I "know" the writers!

    I'd love to be considered for the giveaway - I've given away several copies of Mockingbird myself, simply because I want everyone to know the pleasure of that story. But I must admit, I was hoping you'd be giving away that HAT!

  51. The clips you included, Laurl and Hardy and Swinton, and the Laughing Babies..... What a great gift to us all. Had to pass them on to my FB friends.
    Thank you for all your delightful, thought provoking pieces.

  52. Box of Summer - what a great idea - I saw acorns on the ground today - fall is near - it's true - it'll be short, but we'll enjoy it to it's fullest. In the meantime - Brie, the dog/office assistant, is on her third bowl of ice of the day - she rests her head and shoves her front feet in too - she's on to something.

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Box of Summer: Pure treasure revealing secrets therein.

    While I'm always pulled to Lauren, this is true sartorial splendor, one I will replay in the days ahead.

    Yet the Laurel and Hardy dance stole my heart. Sweet, yes. Funny, unquestionably.

    But oh so endearing: gentle, kind, thoughtful, innocent and elegantly sparse. Thank you.

  55. Pamela not sure what makes me happier, the laughing babies or Laurel & Hardy? What a special and kind giveaway. How great it would be to own a cd of your so talented song writer & one of the greatest books of all time.'s time to watch the babies once again!!

    Cheers ~ deb

  56. Thank you for the great giveaway and for the reminder not to throw away summer just yet! I've been counting down the days to autumn but after I read your post I called my mother, packed up the car and headed out for a summer adventure! We came home with a camera full of pictures, car full of plants and antiques, and a great summer memory!

    Thanks for reminding us,

  57. Just watched "Infamous" with Sandra Bullock playing Harper Lee. Apparently Truman Capote was quite envious of her Pulitzer Prize win. That sweater is to die for, has a 19th century quality.

  58. How lovely. Hope I am in time. I love that title of the CD - laugh for a million years. Very evocative. Loved the link with Tilda Swinton dancing. She is magnificent and fascinating. I could draw her face all day.

  59. I have a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by Mary Badham, but I would love to hear your Songwriter's album. If, by great good chance, you pick my name please send the book to the second pick.

    This is such a good list. I was very sorry to miss I Am Love, but I am going to buy it the minute it comes out on DVD. I have a rather ugly orange and yellow gladioli that is blooming at the moment, but that gaudy orange always cheers me for some reason!

    p.s. I would love to see you in that flowery hat! You COULD wear it on Ladies Day at Ascot.

  60. Loved Laurel and Hardy dancing - esp. the tango part :-)
    I haven't seen this in years! Thaniks for reminding me of how much I love these guys.
    xo xo

  61. Pamela, thanks so much for reading my blog, you are such a talented woman, I am envious. I really enjoy how you bring your thoughts to a page so we see it clearly to the point you can almost touch your words. Thsnks!

  62. I just dragged the hat into my hard drive, I want to make one!! I had a bouquet pocket book that I called my Holly Golightly bag. I loved it! I also loved I am love. It was loaded with complex people. It is so hot in N.C. we are trapped inside as well. Might as well fall into movies and books. I just found your blog and love it. Thank You!

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