Friday, 1 August 2008

Tuesday 22nd July 2008

Today I return to the pool. It’s been two months since I took the waters at Milton Common! This is because my back has been playing up. I have been bent and tucked by my chiropractor Julie and finally feel better.

I have rewarded myself for the swim with a pedicure. A girl needs incentives!

I’ve received another missive from Fanny. Actually that isn’t her name, but she wants to remain anonymous.
We have this ill conceived illusion that we are modern day Jane Austens and, on occasion write to each other in Georgian speak. Fanny works as a TV producer and is also a fabulous actor. I haven’t heard or seen her for a while, probably because she is in disguise, so this letter was a lovely surprise.

Oriental Club, London.

Dearest Sister
Bath was simply marvellous. So calming to take its waters once again and it does the Colonel so much good.
We are now, as you will have established, staying at his London Club. I must own, I find city life rather too grey and busy for my liking but it is so pleasing to have the freedom to call upon ones London companions. We shall be departing for the Kensington countryside tomorrow. Not so arduous a journey as one might imagine.

Oh how I thrilled at our delightful sojourn with your dearest self. Always so hospitable, so companionable and with, as I always say, the finest cook in the country. You must endeavour to keep her on at all costs. This talk of her moving to London for some QC or other is most distressing and must be discouraged at once. Do your utmost my dear.

Another point which held my peculiar interest was that regarding the health of Miss Honey. Her recovery from such a dreadful wasting illness is indeed remarkable. I own, in fact, to never having seen anything quite like it. Do continue your special regard for her. I feel she needs to be directed carefully and yours is just the hand to do it.

By the time this reaches your fair hand you will have returned from your visit to Lady Someoneorother, I do hope you enjoyed it and look forward to hearing of it and your financial recompense at your earliest convenience.

Your room shall be waiting for you as ever upon your arrival in August. We look forward to it my dear and may even retrieve some wine from the cellar. Once more, so many thanks for your kind attention.

As ever, yours affectionately,


My reply. I really must get on with some proper work!

Cook’s Cottage, Oxfordshire

My dearest sister

Once again, I find myself sitting at my writing desk. Parchment in place and quill in hand to regale you with my joyful news.
I do believe that Colonel D’Arsey himself will too be overjoyed.

My short trip to Worcestershire was as successful as it was agreeable to my purse. Indeed, I am now able to oblige my many future social arrangements and connections.
Lady Someoneorother greeted Miss Honey and I with deep affection, as if we had known each other as cousins for many years. Lord Someoneorother was disposed to take very kind proper notice of Miss Honey.

A rather grand carriage arrived early at my cottage. Not early enough to miss the eyes of my neighbours and make us the centre of enviable gossip. This carriage, I am to make known to you, belongs to Lord and Lady Someoneorother. I have to confess that we did have a slightly worrying moment on our journey. I only wish that Miss Honey’s propensity to carry a little more weight than is proper hadn’t caused the carriage wheel to fall off.

With great luck and fortitude we were only delayed for a short while and arrived in Worcester for a light supper.

I fear I am so caught up with our journey, that I am not telling you of my joyful news. Gossip has reached me and has put me in such a glow.
Rumour that left us all so very vexed regarding my cook leaving to work for Lady Saunders, is just that my dear, rumour.

I believe the contemptible Lady Saunders and her odious husband, both of disagreeable character, started this nonsense without thought or consequence of my feelings.
It has left me with nerves in tatters. Miss Honey too has suffered terribly at the thought that the finest cook in the land might be taking her leave of us. So much so, dear sister, that she has taken to her bed, and is, as I write to you reclining gently upon her pillow.

I have been so happy to receive the news that your time in Bath was agreeable to Colonel D’Arsey’s health. I do hope that your time in the Kensington countryside is both enjoyable as it is diverting.

I am so looking forward to spending time with you in August. London is so pretty in summer with its avenues of chestnuts. I believe that society is quite at its best with the optimism of warmer days ahead.

Please do not trouble your dear selves with talk of opening the cellar. I do not wish to be an encumbrance. Just a small glass of sack to fortify me is all I require.

With deep affection


Celebrated Georgian day by making a syllabub trifle for the Husseys who are coming over tonight.
About three years ago, I decided after crocheting an enormous bedspread whilst filming Dial a Mum on ITV, that I wanted to start up a knitting/crochet group with the girls in the lane.
It took a while to persuade them, but when I mentioned wine, they all seemed keen.
Since then, every other Tuesday we get together and ...drink wine.
I am afraid the knitting and crochet has taken a back seat recently. We’ll get back to it when the evenings shorten.

Recipe for a very excellent syllabub trifle. - Available Soon

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