The Diary of a Provincial Lady.

By alison May 27, 2006 20 Comments 2 Min Read

Provincial

While I am certain I have mentioned this little delight before, I am chasing away the blues of being both childless and Markless today (It’s dutiful Daddy, take your son to McDonalds day), with a gentle titter at the wit and humour of E.M.Delafield.

Oh how I love the Diary of a Provincial Lady, if only because in it’s dear, silly 1930’s housekeeping heroine we  have moment after  moment  of cringing recognition, and occasionally in her chaos find hope and joy for the domestic dementia that possesses us all from time to time…

The book begins:

"November 7th: Plant the indoor bulbs. Just as I am in the middle of them, Lady Boxe calls. I say, untruthfully, how nice to see her and beg her to sit down while I just finish the bulbs. Lady. B. makes determined attempt to sit down in her armchair where I have already placed two bulb-bowls and the bag of charcoal, is headed off just in time and takes the sofa.
Do I know, she asks, how very late it is for indoor bulbs? September, really, or even October, is the time. Do I know that the only really reliable firm for hyacinths is Somebody of Haarlem? Cannot catch the name of the firm which is Dutch, but reply Yes, I do know, but think it my duty to buy Empire products. feel at the time and still think, that his is an excellent reply. Unfortunately Vicky comes into the drawing-room later and says "O Mummie, are those the bulbs we got at Woolworths?"
Lady B. stays to tea. (Mem. : Bread-and-butter too thick. Speak to Ethel.) We talk some more about bulbs, the Dutch School of Painting, our Vicar’s wife, sciatica and All Quiet On The Western Front.    
(Query: Is it possible to cultivate the art of conversation when living in the country all year round?)

And goes on to regale us with all manner of housekeeping traumas, minor disasters, constant niggles about the state of the household accounts and the utter, somehow, compulsive weariness of being in possession of a reticitent husband and "gleefully troublesome" kids.

Trust me, you’ll love it.

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20 Comments

  1. lizzie says:

    I am going to order this book right now – I loved To Serve Them All My Days – it is ages since I read Delderfield. You are great Alison – may you eventually find someone worthy of your passion and grace (no more pearls under the feet of s………….)

  2. lizzie says:

    Perhpas I mixed this author up with another ? If I did they are both great !!

  3. julie says:

    Thanks, Alison…just checked my local public library system and they have the entire series!!! Hurrah!!!

  4. janet says:

    Yes, I've watered my garden this morning, the library would be a nice treat. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. happyapple says:

    This looks like the EXACT book I need to read right now … I looked it up on amazon and there's a sequel too!

  6. Tash says:

    I have had that book for an age now – how funny it is! One forgets that women back then often found household drudgery just as perplexing as most women do now. Have you read the original "Keeping Up Appearances"?

  7. I should not be surprised by now, and yet somehow, I still am! I discovered a lovely old edition of this in a charity shop a few months ago and just adored it! Now I must go and rummage amongst the bookshelves here at the library and see if there is not another one in the series…

  8. peggy says:

    well now I have a new read I must check out… thanks

  9. Holly says:

    Ooooh and I have an amazon gift certificate I've been saving! I'm off to get this one!

  10. Lina says:

    Hi Alison,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now and love it! You provide so much inspiration and encouragement. Thank you for this book tip. I'll have to check it out.

  11. Gena says:

    I just have to read this!!! is it still available?

  12. Gena says:

    apologies Alison…. just clicked on the link to amazon! will order it!

  13. Suzie says:

    Oh Ali, I Loooove the new look!!

  14. Kim says:

    Oooo, look at the new look for summer!!! Very cute! And, (you enabler you!)you've convinced me that I need yet another book 🙂

  15. Kim says:

    Oooo, look at the new look for summer!!! Very cute! And, (you enabler you!)you've convinced me that I need yet another book 🙂

  16. Meredith says:

    I LOVE the new look of the site! Very fresh and scrumptious!! Hope you're doing well!

  17. Mimi xxx says:

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    xxx

  18. Mimi xxx says:

    Oohhhh, just popped in and I LOVE the polka dots! I am coveting a red polka dot pair of shoes right now…have you seen the new range at New Look? love Mimi
    xxx

  19. Gena King says:

    Hurrah!!! My copy of the book arrived and I cannot put it down! Thank you Alison for recommending this fantastic book,I notice in the forward by jilly Cooper that there are more "provincial lady" books to be had,I must have them,our Heroine is at once humorous,sometimes flustered and dare I say awfully familiar! even though this book was written many years ago,her domestic problems are our domestic problems,read it and weep!

  20. Gena King says:

    Hurrah!!! My copy of the book arrived and I cannot put it down! Thank you Alison for recommending this fantastic book,I notice in the forward by jilly Cooper that there are more "provincial lady" books to be had,I must have them,our Heroine is at once humorous,sometimes flustered and dare I say awfully familiar! even though this book was written many years ago,her domestic problems are our domestic problems,read it and weep!

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