Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ode to Autumn!

'Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods,

And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt.

And night by night the monitory blast

Wails in the key-hole, telling how it pass'd

O'er empty fields or unpland solitudes

Or grim, wide wave; and now the power is felt

Of meloncholy, tenderer in its moods,

Than any joy indulgent summer dealt.'

--William Allingham

Monday, October 1, 2007

Time Management

I find Mrs. Beeton's Everyday Cookery and Housekeeping an indispensible guide. Sure, it's filled with antiquated philosophies and chauvinist sentiments, but it also provides some pretty valuable advice on how to run a household. While I do not have a host of maids and cooks to accomplish the various tasks mentioned by Mrs. Beeton, most of the duties she mentions still need to be looked after one way or another--even today.

I love the following selection. I'm going to try to stick with it over the next week and see if it works!

33. As it is good for the maids to have a settled plan of their work, so it is good for the mistress to arrange her day, by rule, as far as possible. Interruptions will occur from time to time, but a resolute woman will generally carry out her plans for the week satisfactorily.

34. It is impossible to arrange the time of any individual. The following work the mistress should do. Two hours devoted to the house and morning duties brings one to eleven o'clock; on Monday the mending must be carefully executed up lunch time. A daily walk should be taken, weather permitting, and the lady should first go and order anything required for the house, then return visits, or take a good constitutional until four o'clock. From four to five write letters, or read for an hour (serious reading, leaving light reading for evening). At five, when necessary, go downstairs to speak to cook, glance round to see all preparations are getting forward for the six o'clock dinner ; then go upstairs, inspect the housemaid's performance of needlework, always laid in your room for that purpose, and dress for dinner. Go into the dining-room, and see all is ready, put out the wine, arrange dessert and flowers. Then be ready at a quarter to six to receive le mari, and see that he has his hot water, slippers, &c. At six, dinner, after which coffee and amusements of music, reading, cards, or needlework of a light nature.

So the basic idea is:
9am-11 am or noon morning duites (for me, this means dishes and laundry or housecleaning) 12am-4pm luncheon and afternoon walk with some work thrown in (for me that means writing) 4pm-5pm write letters or read (I always have lots of letters to write, so this is important)--and I also have get ready to receive le mari at this time, since I have no cook!
5pm to 6pm make dinner After dinner, tv, needlework and other amusements!


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I received some of these Williams Sonoma toile napkins for my wedding shower. They are durable and lovely and come in both blue and claret. I've had a hard time finding everyday napkins to use with my Spode Blue Italian China and these are just perfect. You can order them online at: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/l890/index.cfm?pkey=cLINPRNI