Mrs Ames and a Chocolate Apple

By Alison November 5, 2010 3 Comments 4 Min Read

Good morning Sweeties, isn’t the end of Autumn beautiful? Though the little path up my house is perilously slippy with a carpet of wet leaves seemingly glued to the floor, still it gladdens the heart to step out into one’s own landscape and see it so deliciously transformed by all this russet glitter…
I am finding it hard to sleep at the moment. There is a cough living in my throat and tickling me relentlessly at odd hours in the morning, and when I am not choking to death I am lying, eyes wide shut listening to the drip drip drip that is the rain falling through the hole in the roof and puddling upon the stairs. And so as each day passes I get more exhausted. I feel moody and swollen, my feet get wet every time I descend the stairs and what should be simple, seems impossible.
And yet there are of course small joys. Always tiny pleasures to keep me sane. This weekend I am resigned to spending a couple of days alone: Finley will be with his Daddy and the possibility of infecting Richards Dad with my croaky lurgy leaves me no choice but to let Richard settle him into the care home alone.
Though solitude barely suits me when I would rather be wrapped in a permanent hug, still it offers opportunities all of it’s own- A Downton Abbey Fest! A chocolate dipped apple to munch on while I watch the sky light up with fireworks. A bracing walk to the flower shop to fetch another bundle of physillis to dry. An autumn cocktail of cinnamon and nutmeg spiked sloe gin. Christmas magazines. My favorite Chorizo bean casserole in the slow cooker. And of course, the new love of my life, my Kindle, now sporting a red cover that lets it stand up all by itself so I can read with no hands. Which is just about the sum of all my ambitions me thinks!
Because yes indeed my adoration of the little wonder that is the Kindle endures. Though my Mum has warned me that too much Kindle trumpet blowing on BrocanteHome, too many mentions of all the absolutely fantabulous books available online for free, will in fact do nothing more than alienate all those of you who can’t imagine not being able to sniff the pages of an old book, it is apparent that this is one little snippet of advice I have no choice but to ignore (at my own peril), because I am a woman on a mission to have every last one of you, the great unconverted, putting this lovely little gadget right at the top of your Christmas list. Or heck, living on baked beans and ordering yourself one right now! Trust me: I am a reader.
All of which, brings me to Mrs. Ames- the latest on my list of books downloaded and consumed like so much vanilla speckled ice-cream. While the book has recently been added to the darling Bloomsbury collection that is the currently tickling the fancy of every old fashioned girl in the country, it is also available for free download on the Internet Archive making it accessible to anyone with a computer, a printer, or an e-reader. Oh joy!
And what a comical little joy it is! Mrs Ames is the charming little Edwardian social battle-axe at the centre of all the festivities in the village of Riseborough and while she is blessed with both her full quota of Edwardian middle class snobbery and a face like a toad, she is from the middle of the book the kind of character who worms her way into your heart because she is just so recognizably human and the war she fights to save both her marriage  and her place in society from the grasping clutches of Riseborough newbie, Mrs Evans, while simultaneously embracing the Suffragette movement with hilarious consequences, is both admirable and endearing, not to mention often laugh out loud funny in a Heavens I can hardly bare to look kind of way….
The genius of E.F.Benson’s (of Mapp and Lucia fame) book is that while it rolls along in giddy style with set pieces that are almost comically theatrical, through the laughs both politics and the desperate business that is holding a marriage together make themselves known, giving the  story both a heartbreakingly futile twist and firmly establishing a sense time and a place that is gone but not forgotten in the lives of women today.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. And though I couldn’t wait for the inevitable conclusion if only for our beloved Mrs.Ames’ sake, I was sorry when it was over and feel all the better for my happy little romp through Edwardian society.
Have a lovely weekend won’t you Housekeepers? Widgets


  1. Jenny says:

    Still not quite sold on the Kindle, but feel free to be as rhapsodic as you like. I immediately went to the web and dowloaded this story. I'll read it when I get a free moment. I beleive my young men are gone camping next weekend. That will work just dandy. Oh, and the painting is by whom? Beautiful.

    1. brocantehome says:

      Hi Jenny, the painting is called "Silent Hours" and it is by Sigmund Walter Hampel. Stunning isn't it?
      Enjoy Mrs Ames… and the peace and quiet!x

  2. Megan says:

    Oh dear… Im sorry your house isn't hugging you at the moment, I completely understand how destabilising that can be, I hope you can both come to some agreement 😉 I notice you've switched to The book depository, good move. I have a serious addition to that place (my wish list fluctuates between 10 and 12 pages long…Ahem) Ill be sure to use your links when I inevitably go there now. Megan xx

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