Housekeepers Carousel

By Alison April 21, 2010 5 Comments 6 Min Read

Woo hoo! The Carousel is back in town, so hop on board and let’s go for a spin around all that is scrumptious in this lovely little world!! Oh Ok Spoilsport, enough already with the over-enthusiastic exclamation marks. I agree. Grey chin hair proves beyond all reasonable doubt that I am not a teenager.

* So first up, my April collage above. Crocheted squares, saucers full of pastel buttons, roses, ballet slippers, a desk I wish I could set up shop at, and right there in the middle, a portrait by the great Russian artist, Valentin Alexandroitsch Serow, called Children, taking centre stage because standing there that little boy looks just like my Finn did this morning before he left for school in his Summer school uniform of shorts, shirt and requisite, Year One, gap, where the teeth used to be


* Next along, these divine Miette Wallpaper Cookies spotted on Design Sponge. Did  you ever see such pretties? And oh the possibilities if you are clever enough to translate pattern into baked goods! Me I can’t even turn cookie dough into baked goods so the chances of getting fancy with an icing bag are slim to none, because although my darling sister bought me the retro inspired Tala icing bag tin for my birthday I am yet to get to grips with filling it properly, let alone doing swoon-worthy florals on (burnt) biscuits. Still, a girl can dream can’t she?

* Moving quickly on, High Wages by Dorothy Whipple, which was quite the finest example of early twentieth century girl power I have read in a long time, telling as it does the tale of a young girl who equipped with talent and a good eye, takes herself off from the dress shop floor on which she works to the ranks of owner in a period when both her sex and social class went vastly against her. Though my copy of High Wages was the orange and white Penguin, one shilling version bought for a song on AbeBooks,  it has not so recently been re-issued by Persephone (with a foreword by Jane Brocket) and is I think, required reading for any woman doubting she has the gall to set up by herself. Or for she who has ever known the futility of loving a man tied to a marriage he cannot leave.

(Ooooh and while I’m on the subject of Persephone look out for Paperback Reader’s “Persephone Reading Week”, running between May 3rd and May 9th, now won’t you?)

* Dreaming about a long car journey. An afternoon nap on a very hot day. Remembering how it was to be pregnant through the hottest Summer this century.  Mistaking wind for the flutter of a baby in my stomach.  Dipping ginger biscuits in melted chocolate. Wearing a silk slip. Wrapping old books up in ribbon tied parcels just for the hell of it. Waking up with violent scent of Hydrangea engulfing my bedroom. Feeling momentarily, bizarrely, petrified by it. Assaulted by fragrance before I have opened my eyes. Seeing Sophie Dahl reading the very copy of the collected works of Dorothy Parker I have hidden under my bed for fifteen years just in case my Mum takes it into her head to demand it back (you can’t have it, so let it go Mummy!). Misty Morning, Albert Bridge. Dwelling on disappointment…

“Disappointment is considered bad. A thoughtless prejudice. How, if not through disappointment, should we discover what we have expected and hoped for? And where, if not in this discovery, should self-knowledge lie? So, how could one gain clarity about oneself without disappointment? We shouldn’t suffer disappointment sighing at something our lives would be better without. We should seek it, track it down, collect it. One who would really like to know himself would have to be a restless, fanatical collector of disappointments, and seeking disappointing experiences must be like an addiction, the all-determining addiction of his life, for it would stand so clearly before his eyes that disappointment is not a hot, destroying poison, but rather a cool, calming balm that opens our eyes to the real contours of ourselves.”

Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

* Now contemplating Christmas in April. Quite accidentally, because LoveFilm, in their infinite wisdom have seen fit to send me Christmas Holiday, when I was hoping for Once. Still an afternoon with Deanna Durbin is never a wasted one, and throw in a teapot full of Earl Grey and this years Christmas Planner and I do believe I’ve got myself a par-tay. Albeit a dementedly out of season one, but apparently that’s how we roll around here: I have watched this Target Christmas advert a few times over, because I have never heard Rachel Ashwell speak (she’s got a kind of transatlantic thing going on, as I suppose you might expect), and in one scene during this little video she is, fleetingly, the spitting image of Alison Steadman of Abigail’s Party and Gavin and Stacey fame…

*  Still feeling astonished that I didn’t know Cath Kidston and Kirstie Allsop were cousins. Though as my parents like to (frequently) remind me, the gaps in my knowledge are chasms devoid not only of geography and world events, but clearly that which I purport to know. But there you have it. I’m a purporter. One shouldn’t trust me further than you can throw me. Dear Darling daughter, we love you, but you are thick.

* And finally, in celebration of National Poetry month, Katherine Mansfield’s Camomile Tea, because occasionally melancholy comes wrapped in gratitude and contentment.

Outside the sky is light with stars;

There’s a hollow roaring from the sea.

And, alas! for the little almond flowers,

The wind is shaking the almond tree.

How little I thought, a year ago,

In the horrible cottage upon the Lee

That he and I should be sitting so

And sipping a cup of camomile tea.

Light as feathers the witches fly,

The horn of the moon is plain to see;

By a firefly under a jonquil flower

A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.

We might be fifty, we might be five,

So snug, so compact, so wise are we!

Under the kitchen-table leg

My knee is pressing against his knee.

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,

The tap is dripping peacefully;

The saucepan shadows on the wall

Are black and round and plain to see.

Have a lovely week Housekeepers.


  1. Gena says:

    Oh that poem is so lovely!and for sure I am going to read High wages,sounds my kind of story,kirsty and cath?really? well! you live and learn! and yes I too have that book that Sophie was reading,I thought last week she was reading from'the love letters of great men' which I also own,me and Soph are like peas in a pod arent we? Lol! bet she never says lol.

  2. Alison May says:

    I'm of the notion you can't go wrong with a good Lol Gena… and as Sophie is clearly one of us, I'm sure she would agree.x

  3. The Good Little Housewife says:

    I love the video. Then again, I love Target. I just bought the Shabby Chic line for my daughter's room.She had some very unique ideas for table setting. I like to use white dinnerware and I have chargers that I use. Some of her ideas would serve very well for an elegant dinner to a picnic table brunch.

  4. Beth says:

    A Shabby Chic quilt was my big splurge a couple of years ago. I just love it!

  5. BellaRosa says:

    Hello Alison May 🙂 What a great blog you have! I am so glad you came by to visit my lil blog, Thank you so much for the lovely birthday wish that you left for my mama, she gets all happy each time I read a new one to her, she doesn't get this blogland thing ( I think it is a lil overwhelming for her 🙂 But I know she is happy that I have met so many wonderful people… I look forward to visiting again, your lil man is absolutely gorgeous 🙂 Besos, Rose

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