Sunday, February 12, 2017

A tranquil Sunday morning by candlelight, musing on Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle for my new book The Home as Hero, a series of vignettes about houses that are central to novels. It'll be chronological, and I've only done Otranto, Mansfield Park and Waverley so far, so I should be studying Emily Brontë's Gondal writings and her father's novels, but I felt like a bit of light relief.
Interesting that Dodie was in Los Angeles when she wrote ICTC, such a vein of nostalgia. I must revisit Alexandra Harris's wonderful The Romantic Moderns to get context.
Betsy and Baby Susan making bread
Nature of domesticity high on my agenda as I compare my now ordered house with the delightful revisiting of family life that I've had since October: youngest daughter Susie, husband Joe, Lenny (5) and Betsy (3) have been living here for three months or so while their house is extended. Also perhaps a flash to the future, if I end up in a granny annexe...
It is a marvellous and unusual recreation of the extended family to have three of my four daughters a few minutes away - Tilly and her family are renting at the top of Cumnor Hill at the moment, but they'd like to settle nearby. But also great to have Daisy and her family in a glorious clifftop dwelling just west of Falmouth. We've booked a cottage on a creek of the Helford River at Porth Navas for a month in May; will hopefully take the Mirror dinghy down and get Fox and Woody sailing.

I've now sold my beloved British Moth dinghy Gipsy, which feels the end of an era, although the new owner has gallantly said I can sail her whenever I want to. But Dulcibella, now hooded against the weather in Oxford Cruisers' boatyard, has become my favourite way of being on the river. She is of course to the river what I called our motor caravan in The Canary-Coloured Cart a 'travelling cottage approach to the unknown', but what's not to like about having room for a picnic hamper, a choice of books, and cushions and rugs to snuggle into?

On posting this. I realise what a long time it's been since I posted anything. 2016 was a wonderful year, not least because I celebrated my 70th birthday, first with the family in January and again with a garden party in July, which was a terrific gathering of friends and family, blessed with a fine day. Here's some photos:

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