Sunday, 14 November 2010

Hearth and Home

The next chapter in Simple Pleasures talks about the pleasures of one's home.  The writers listed:

a nice hot bath
music (both listening and playing)
a good log fire

This is my list:

First, about hearths:  old houses have mantelpieces and fireplaces.  Grandma and Grandpa's house had a gas fire in the living room (and a floor furnace).  I never saw Grandmother's heaters on, but the mantel still served as a wonderful focal point for the room.  I might have settled for just that (and anyone can make one of those), but I'm rather spoilt now.  This house has fireplaces in the living and dining rooms and in the two larger bedrooms upstairs, though only those downstairs have gas fires.  I would sorely miss the fire now.  Of course log fires are even better, but we live in an area with air quality standards which require smokeless fuel, as is the case with all but the very rural areas of Britain.  My point?  There is enormous pleasure to be had in closing the curtains against the dark and sitting in a room cozy from the fire.

Showers are my first choice but a hot bath is good if one has just finished a long run in winter.

Hot drinks, usually coffee but tea is far cheaper; I keep meaning to switch, but suspect I'd have to give up caffeine altogether first.  I have done that for Lent before...maybe that's an idea for next year.

Reading.  Since learning to read I cannot ever remember a time when I didn't have a book on my nightstand.  I know I'm getting older because I view Kindle with suspicion and hold that a world without libraries would be the end of civilisation.

That said, computing (writing, researching and just goofing about) is one of my chief pleasures.  I could imagine life without TV given a few more tweeks to our computers (and that would mean the end of the TV License fee - yea!!!).

Jigsaw puzzles for January nights.

We sometimes sit and listen to classical music, ie Dvořák or Tchaikovsky (had to go look those up!), or something more modern music like Nickelback or Bonnie Raitt.  Bill loves Celtic folk music, sort of Irish blue grass.  I love quiet the most.

Coffee in bed, reading in bed, computing in bed.  What can I say?  It's warm, and I'm a lazy creature.

Cleaning?  You must be kidding.  The only part of it I agreed with is that ironing is quite satisfying:  you get impressive results and stay warm whilst producing it.  I prefer to do 'Nesting':  creating order out of chaos (my natural state), changing things around for a little excitement or to meet a particular need, making things prettier, puttering around with and enjoying my things.  When I don't enjoy them anymore, it's time for them to go.)

Sleep.  Is there anything better than a good night's sleep?

Solitude.  I'm an only child and I need a certain amount of solitude as much as I need sleep or food.

I agree that knitting is a pleasure, also other crafts and sewing.  Mainly I like hand work as I don't always trust the machine to do what I want.  Far too much space in this house is occupied by tools, projects, materials, supplies, etc.  I can't think of a statement of intent that I'm confident of fulfilling here, so I'll say nought.

Entertaining.  Cooking and company, sometimes an excuse to dress up.  It's not as simple as it ought to be, but only because I choose to make it complicated, I'm sure.

Food...but that's a separate chapter.

What are the simple pleasures you enjoy in or about your own home?


Steph said...

Interesting list. I've been mulling lately how much pleasure I take from "running a tight ship" in my home, from keeping it sanitary and tidy to creating a safe place of beauty to cooking everything my family eats. I recently decided to quit my job as soon as possible and keep my home, I love being home that much.

Also, I feel Kindle will usher in the end of civilization, too. You know in Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith spends his time re-writing history? How easy will it be to do that when everything is electronic?

Shelley said...

Steph - I can manage 'safe place' and a bit of beauty. Tight ship just isn't in my repertoire of behaviours - I'm full of admiration for you.

I follow you exactly about quitting work and staying home. There is usually less money but a much higher quality of life. Then part of your job becomes ensuring that quality is also experienced by the working person (if they don't get to stay home too). I think that's fair.

Must confess to having never read 1984...should check that out. I'm sure history is already not exactly what happened, but I really enjoy reading about it anyhow (you may have noticed).

Rick Stone said...

Enjoyments about the home? Uhh, not being here? Much prefer being out in the second home with the open road and a new "front yard" on a regular basis. The home on wheels is much preferred to the house that is nailed to the ground.

The English Organizer said...

My list would be very, very similar except I've never learned to enjoy coffee and am not that good at relaxing sufficiently to entertain well. Knitting and I are not close cousins, either.
But libraries, fires, hot baths after cold runs, jigsaw puzzles and the internet... bliss!
Can I add toasted teacakes (or similar) to the list?
Struggling to be Stylish is now The English Organizer. Please visit me at

Karena said...

Shelley I really love your thoughts on this list. I cherish all of these special moments!

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