Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison September 18, 2020 4 Comments 5 Min Read

Hmm now let’s see: a beautiful Indian Summer’s day? Check. An abundance of vegetables harvested from our teeny little vegetable patch? Check. Naughty nobody’s cat still invading the garden and delivering dead mousey presents? Check. Bathroom tap still being temperamental? Check. No sign of the lost garlic press? Check. Covid related anxiety through the roof now it has been announced that our area and all surrounding regions are back in some semblance of lockdown? Checkity, checkity check!

Well now, I do believe then that everything is as well as can be expected at a time in our history when the entire kit and kaboodle seems a little off its chops.

And it is sunny! Who could be even remotely cross when the sun is throwing her annual September parade and the doves are a-dancing noisily on the conservatory roof, and by dancing I mean rather hilariously losing their footing and skidding with a claw-like clatter down the slope as they try to top off their tan? Who could really be cross when doves are dopes and the children next door serenade us with their saxophones every afternoon at precisely five thirty PM? I shall miss their dusk chorus when the time comes to close all the doors on to the garden because a chill has settled upon the flags. When I cannot start every day with a barefoot dance across the grass as Ste shouts “Get off my lawn!” (his pride and joy) and I ignore him and dance my way towards the wildflower patch to see if there are any honeybees curled up in the sunflowers, without, apparently, caring a jot, for what is grass for if not to dance upon?

Yes, for the first time in my life I do believe I shall miss Summer when she is gone and I am so grateful to her for fluttering her sunny eyelashes at us for one last time before Autumn truly gets a grip. Much as I adore quilts and cocoa, there is much to be said for seeing the sun rise on a garden planted with hope,

I have been thinking recently, how different life is now. Not just beyond my front door where all is so very different but here inside too. For while the past few months have desecrated much of what we have all taken so very for granted before now in terms of our beloved culture and society, at home life is so very much better, in a million little ways I can barely put my finger on. It has been good for Ste and I. His depression and anxiety deeply soothed by the repetition of calming routine and ritual. A program of EMDR that is proving miraculous. The strain of the workplace while he manages manage mental health and hormone issues removed in favour of predictable days and evenings planned to gladden our hearts with meals he takes time cooking, quiet walks and meditation without the constant interruptions of work-related phone-calls that can go on deep into the night, and the kind of conversations between us we are finally able to have after five years together, without the bewilderment and rage so familiar to those who live with PTSD.

My day has acquired a rhythm that suits me. My work better for consistency, and the constant influx of new that has long afflicted me, set aside in favour of quiet commitment to the simple vision informing all that I am creating now. I feel different. No longer bloated with worry, social media or cheese (oh woe is me). No longer trying to please, but forging my own path and refusing to feel compromised by naysayers and those who would seek to have me create something in their image instead of my own. Finally owning it all.

I feel different. After a few weeks of domestic dedication, our room is once again the sanctuary it had ceased to be in the muddle of the pandemic, when tension over-ruled all but disinfecting anything that cared to be caught standing still. My armchair draped with nubby blankets, a proper old-fashioned dressing table laden with potions, candles, and bowls full of teeny parfums, rose quartz, beads and tiny little treasures, the mirror fairy-lit and adorned with old postcards and costume jewellery and my bed once again made the BrocanteHome way. I can truly live in it again. Spending mornings easing into the day by the soft pink light of the Himalayan salt lamp. The new rug a pleasure under my feet as I stretch and bend and try to bully my body into flexibility. My wardrobe no longer a black hole but a scented cabinet containing a few clothes I wear and so many I don’t, but really must again.

I think I feel restored.

This afternoon then. A child to ferry hither and thither. Geraniums to be brought in and re-potted for over-wintering in the laundry room. Clary sage on hormonal wrists. Relief for some terribly good news (You know when you work yourself into a worry and don’t realise the degree to which you have been worrying until good news presses the breathe button)? A weekend without Finley as he spends it with his Dad before restrictions between our districts are imposed on Tuesday. Miss Plum and Miss Penny. A bag of rosemary almonds. Another hilariously entertaining Walter Presents box-set (Maximilian Rapp, you raffish clown, you!) And a snuggled up evening with Ste, doors flung open on the garden and a good ol’bottle of rioja between us.

And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all shall be well.

P.S: Ste has just read over this and informed me that said garlic press is in the bin. There is much to be said for his rather excellent house-husbandry but his tendency to chuck out anything even remotely shabby does not bode well for this vintage housekeeper!


  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Alison, your words say what I have been feeling. (how do you do that?) The initial weeks (months) of this Covid Craziness were scary as we marched forward to sanitize everything in sight, keep our distance and stay home. But now you are right it does feel different. The simplicity of staying home and appreciating all the good that we have has surfaced. Today I am harvesting my basil and stocking the freezer with pesto. And it doesn’t feel like a chore…I am so grateful that I can make pesto even though outside world seems to have disaster after disaster happening.
    Thank you for your words and way of looking at life.
    And Miss Plum and Miss Penny look like a cozy little read for me!

  2. Sasha says:

    Love this. And love that Ste got the EMDR and it is working! All such good news. Even if we all have more challenging days ahead, yes, like you, I feel a new rhythm has formed it’s ‘groove’ somehow. And for the first time ever I am sad for what became a salvation of a summer. X

  3. Lovely post and I’m in need to some loveliness. Work is overwhelming and now the spectre of more lockdown is looming and like so many others, I’m fed up with the inability of our elected officials to actually lead during this crisis. But I am enjoying the incoming new season! Haven’t we been blessed with a wonderful September, evenings and weekends spent out in the backyard watching the giant maple over the fence turning gold. The birds flock over the newly mown hay field behind us, foraging. The equinox is on Tuesday the 22nd bringing the wind and wet that is the jet stream. But no matter, we have these last sunny days.

  4. Arwyn says:

    Always a refuge coming here for a “visit” in the morning! Thank you for sharing and … I’m with Ste! I just chucked a lemon squeezer that was looking far to shabby to be any longer considered the least bit “chic”! I am so glad the EMDR is working well for Ste. The brain is amazing! I am saddened to be telling my lovely flowers goodbye. But your book on the Autumn Home is helping me look forward to the next season. Thanks for that!

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