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gertrude

October 2018

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I was going to post today about Mary Portas and her doomed attempt to turn around a failing charity shop but thelondonpauper has said it all brilliantly already. So, having misled you twice...



What do you read in a heat wave? (No sign of it ending today here in Dorset.)
There’s something about the rare summer weather we get that makes people indulge in a Country Living English dream: a garden full of blowsy roses, meals outside (don’t say patio), Pimms, strawberries, just-picked salad leaves, cucumber sandwiches; a sort of Emma Bridgewater/Cath Kidston-fest of chunky china on flowery cloths. Katie Fforde fits the bill here. I’m currently reading Practically Perfect but it’s nothing like as good as Wild Designs, which has an older heroine, a lovely house, gardening and even the Chelsea Flower Show. Raffaella Barker’s story of upper middle class life in rural Norfolk, Summertime, could be photographed to fill an issue of Period Living. For the real thing rather than aspiration, Angela Thirkell is a good choice: try Wild Strawberries, Summer Half or Before Lunch. And you can never go wrong with a P G Wodehouse like Stormy Heavy Weather.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I disagree with thelondonpauper on charity shops, though - or perhaps I live in the one place in the UK with good ones. I do suspect that living near Bath, which as a wealthy town has lots of residents who give good stuff to charity shops that then filters out locally, but in a very working class town, where to buy things secondhand means to many people admitting you can't afford new*, means Trowbridge's charity shops have a decent supply of stock.

Last week's haul was a moss-green silk M&S blouse, a knee-length handkerchief hem flocked black skirt, an ankle-length turquoise and black paisley skirt, a black shirt dress (no belt, but I've been planning to make one anyway, so this is the perfect dress to go with it!) and two shirts for Pete. Okay, none of it was 'vintage', but then I don't expect it to be. It's all just good-quality clothing at a very decent price - less than £20 for the lot.

I got loads of compliments on the shirt dress yesterday, and have had some already on the paisley skirt today!


*I grew up in this sort of environment, and the perceived gap between 'shops at Tesco' and 'shops at Dorothy Perkins' is massive. At the fruit factory I actually worked with a woman who stated out loud, "I buy all the kids' clothes from Next because when they've got Next written all over them people know they're not council house kids." I did not push her into the apple sorter, although it was tempting...
Whoops, was my comment about the charity shops of Trowbridge.

(Anonymous)

I never used to go in them until the past 12 months or so - I went in on a whim, bought an M&S skirt and top for about £6 and became an instant convert. I have no idea why so much M&S stuff ends up in my local ones, but I picked up a Per Una skirt with the tags still on in one recently. It now seems silly not to check the charity shops first before buying new. (And I dislike the 'all suspended from a yoke' style of top around at the moment on myself; being busty they make me look like I'm dressed as a circus tent, which is another reason I haven't been buying new.)

I haven't bought trousers, that said - no second-hand crotches for me (eew) - and would not touch anything like nightwear with a stick. With skirts and blouses I'm fine, though.
I'm keen on them but haven't found anything for quite a while. I should go further afield, to more up-market places. You did well with the Per Una!

Edited at 2009-06-03 02:23 pm (UTC)
Lucky you!
I never used to go in them until the past 12 months or so - I went in on a whim, bought an M&S skirt and top for about £6 and became an instant convert. I have no idea why so much M&S stuff ends up in my local ones, but I picked up a Per Una skirt with the tags still on in one recently. It now seems silly not to check the charity shops first before buying new. (And I dislike the 'all suspended from a yoke' style of top around at the moment on myself; being busty they make me look like I'm dressed as a circus tent, which is another reason I haven't been buying new.)

I haven't bought trousers, that said - no second-hand crotches for me (eew) - and would not touch anything like nightwear with a stick. With skirts and blouses I'm fine, though.
Lovely ideas for summer reading. For me, Katie Fforde divides very sharply into 'Old Katie Fforde' = good; and 'New Katie Fforde' = lazy and not worth the money. The last one of hers that I really enjoyed was Flora's Lot and even that was mainly because of the Heyer references.

I was very pleased to buy some strawberries in the co-op yesterday and on closer inspection find that not only were they English, and not only were they from Staffordshire, they were actually from my friend's farm! They were very good indeed.
I'd agree that Practically Perfect is lazily written. Since when did anyone acquire a lap top and start sending emails the next day with no prolonged negotiations with BT? Just one example.

Last year I was picking strawberries from my own garden. Yesterday I bought local ones from the village shop and they were *much* nicer than those I got at the market. This garden is full of alpine or 'wild' strawberries, not fruiting yet. They are a shocking weed but delicious.
I confess to losing my appetite in a heatwave ...

The Go-Between is the perfect read in "the grate heat", as Leo Colston calls it!
lol! I just checked your weather on the BBC. 23/24 degrees a heatwave? Hmm. We had 19 today in winter! Three days in a row of 43 - now that's a heatwave ...

Having said that, low 20s is a nice, pleasant temperature and I hope it lasts for when I'm over. But 30+ would be nice if I'm to put my shorts on ...
I know, we moan about snow, we moan about sun. The trouble is, the temperature can vary by ten degrees from day to day, so we don't get acclimatised to our own climate! You'll be getting used to it all over again.

(Anonymous)

Summer reading

There is a novelist whose books I adored in the 1990s but who doesn't seem to be published any longer: Elizabeth Falconer. Look for her novels such as The Golden Year and The Counter-Tennor's Daughter, and you have perfect sitting-under-the-apple-tree, glass of Pimms, reading.
Margaret P

Re: Summer reading

I've never heard of Elizabeth Falconer but I'll keep a look out, thank you.