Sunday, February 17, 2013

On the page, I’m perfectly charming

It’s been a lazy weekend so far and I feel like I should re-organize my closets tomorrow just to make up for it. It was terribly cold today and with the wind chill factor, it felt about 10 degrees. The sun was constantly going behind clouds but each time it made an appearance, I felt like cheering.

And speaking of cheering, that’s what these tulips are doing for me on this winter’s day. I’d always known the trick with the penny in the tulip water (makes them stand up straight for longer) but I never knew the one with hydrangeas until now. I had come downstairs this morning to find two of the stems completely wilted and the other looking like it was thinking about keeling over. I googled the solution: Boil a cup of water, cut the bottoms of the stems and put them into the boiled water for 30 seconds. Then plunge stems into a vase of fresh room temperature water. It took all afternoon, but by golly – it seems to have worked. (And in case you’re wondering – no I didn’t take pictures).

But I do have pictures of the cool vase that the tulips are in.

 

 

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Please excuse the pizza boxes. They were our gourmet dinner last night.

The vase looks to be clay that has had a stencil applied to it while wet, then dried and glazed with a white wash that’s been brushed off the raised areas. I found it at a farm market gift shop that always has cool unique decorative items for sale.

 

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It’s pretty, isn’t it?

 

 

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And we can’t forget the pink countertops.

It’s been nearly 4 1/2 years since we’ve moved here and I’m totally used to them.

 

 

:   :   :

 

Guernsey-coverI’ve just finished re-reading one of my favorite books: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. You know the feeling you get when a really good book is getting to the end and you don’t want it to stop? You want to keep hearing about the characters because you’ve pretty much fallen in love with them. This is how I feel this evening. My book is over.

The story takes place in the time immediately following WWII and centers around Juliet Ashton, a published author. One day, she receives a letter from a man introducing himself as Dawsey Adams, a resident of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He’s written her because he’s found a book that he loves and it used to belong to her. Her name and address are written on the inside. He asks a favor: does she know where he can find more books by this author? The author, he says, made him laugh, and reminded him of something that happened during the German Occupation on the island. He tells her about a Literary Society and how it came to be a lifeline after its rather odd inception. Through letters back and forth between both him and then eventually the entire society, the writer begins to fall in love with the island. Through stories she learns from each of them in their letters, she begins to piece together not just a topic and characters that she becomes passionate about, but her life as well when she decides to come to the island and meet all of them.

It’s a story with an underlying theme of hope, and it’s one that is told quite uniquely, through beautifully-written letters. There are surprises along the way and on sunny days, a sparkling sea that shines throughout.

As the mail boat lurched into the harbor, I saw St. Peter Port rising up from the sea on terraces, with a church on the top like a cake decoration, and I realized that my heart was galloping. As much as I tried to persuade myself that it was the thrill of the scenery, I knew better. All those people I’ve come to know and even love a little, waiting to see ~ me. And I, without any paper to hide behind. Sidney, in these past two or three years, I have become better at writing than living – and think what you do to my writing. On the page, I’m perfectly charming, but that’s just a trick I learned. It has nothing to do with me. At least, that’s what I was thinking as the mail boat came toward the pier.

~ Letter to Sidney Stark from Juliet Ashton, 22nd May, 1946

Highly recommend.

Until tomorrow, then ~

123 Signature[5]

26 comments:

Country Gal said...

Oh what a lovely story , this book sounds wonderful I will have to look out for it ! Glad you were able to revive your flowers . I do like that vase it's pretty . It was cold but sunny and blue sky's here up until 5pm then it snowed like crazy the roads were all clear and grass was showing not any more lol oh well ! Thanks for sharing your day with us and the book . Have a good evening !

Cindy said...

I agree the story sounds lovely and wonderful. Interesting how its told through letters. I might just have to read this when I get a chance. The vase is beautiful and I don't think I've ever seen pink countertops.

Have a great Monday!

~Cindy

Ashley said...

I looove that book and have it as an audio book. Next month I start commuting to work (an hour each way) and I think aim going to have to put it back on my iPod and re-listen! Thanks for reminding me how great it is!

Hilary said...

I just put in a request at the local library for it.......I liked the last book you recommended......so I'm betting I'll like this one.

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

I listened to the book on CD. I intend to read it though. It was so good!

I just finished Unbroken. Incredible. WWII nonfiction that reads like fiction.

JaneK said...

Thanks for the vase picture :-) it is cool!

Enjoy your day tomorrow!

Cloudia said...

you and me both, kid!!


ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

One of my most favorite reads...so glad to hear that you enjoyed it too.

Jen

Jeane M. said...

Gorgeous dear, the vase and the flowers made me smile. Really sweet story. Will certainly remember this one when I go to bookstore next time. Thanks for sharing. Got my eye on your next posts.

Kerri said...

Tulips, Pizza,a good book.... and the sun peeking thru the clouds.... it doesn't get any better than this!

Annie said...


OK, you've convinced me to have another go at reading that story, Kate. I did start it once but don't remember finishing it..found it difficult to read, maybe there were too many things going on in my life at the time..maybe baby twins being born and helping to look after them ..hmmm, I wonder. Will have to go back and see when it was published.
Loved the hydrangeas. Tulips, yes, but hydrangeas are just gorgeous! Especially the blue ones!
Have a great week Kate, hope it warms a little for you. It is wet wet wet here again, with another almost cyclone going past tonight.

Daryl said...

good book are meant to be read many times

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting - I have tried to read this book several times and have totally failed to get into it. Wish I could.
Yes - I agree about Spring flowers - they make one feel so much better.

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jinxxxygirl said...

That is exactly the way i felt when i finished reading Lord of the Rings for the first time many years ago...Those huge books are tomes! And you spend a very long time reading them and getting attached to the characters and when it all comes to an end and they all separate and go about their lives i had tears streaming down my face just like the characters......The movie was good and it still invoked sadness when the characters separated but a three hour movie is just not the same as a couple months of reading.....

Lord of the Rings is the first books i remember feeling that sense of loss when the book ended..
Hugs!deb

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becky up the hill said...

I really love this book. Reading it was a pleasure for a few different reasons. I learned about epistolary style books. I’ve been interested in the Channel Islands for years. Their history during WW2, very complex. Now I am ready to read it again, thanks for the reminder.

beth said...

i think you're part EMT....you saved those hydrangeas!!

it was almost like mouth to mouth resuscitation and those babies are alive now.

they should thank you :)
xo

Mental P Mama said...

I love books written as letters....xoxo

Helene Titsch said...

I love reading books comprised of letters...it's so very personal, like the letters were sent to you, the reader. Love that vase! And you've made me realize that I should buy myself flowers once in a while even if it's only to tell myself I'm perfectly charming...on the page at least. Stay warm this week!

Lili said...

I just last week learned the penny trick on Pinterest, but didn't know the hydrangea one, so thanks for that! Oh, and your vase was done using a technique known as sgraffito, I have always wanted to try it actually. xo

Andi said...

I am loving this book! :D I am also finding myself curious about trying to find the books the Society have read and reading them myself.

Carolynn Anctil said...

We've got 40 mph winds today and it's absolutely frigid out there. Not happy.

I'll check out this book. I've really enjoyed the others you've recommended, so far.

Carolynn
A Glowing Ember

Donalyn said...

I loved that book too - someone in the family has it now, but I'll definitely read it again when it finds its way back to me.

And while we have a lot in common, getting used to pink counter-tops is not one of those things, though a pretty vase of tulips is making the best of the situation for sure.

Lisa Gordon said...

Beautiful photographs of those tulips, Kate!
Really, what would we do without Google???
I for one, would be lost.

I hope you've had a wonderful day.

GailO said...

Pretty vase!