It’s chilly here in Florida. (I won’t insult my northern friends and neighbors by referring to “cold” but 40-degree temperatures are just plain cold to me.) I have a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove. We have had hints of frost for tonight so pineapple plants and a few other sensitive plants will be tucked in again, and the potted plants will spend at least one more night on the porch. Having celebrated the holidays, and now having a cold snap, nothing beats a warm old sweater, some comfort food, and a good book. With all the turmoil in the world, it’s easy to forget how very fortunate one is, and how comforting the simple things can be. Today is a good time to remember those things. All best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2018!
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Annie Whitehead, noted author of TO BE A QUEEN, ALVAR THE KINGMAKER and contributor to 1066 TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, as well as one of the team in charge of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, was very gracious and kind when she interviewed me for her own blog. You can see it HERE
Please visit her author page on Amazon to check out her work HERE
(Drawing of Louise Lehzen 1835 by Princess Victoria from Wikimedia Commons)
I have a post up on the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog. Today, I am discussing an important and formative influence on Queen Victoria: her governess and friend, Baroness Louise Lehzen. Please check it out by visiting the English Historical Fiction Authors. While you are there, please be sure to check out other great posts!
I have always had a fondness for china. It just FEELS good when used. Somehow food looks prettier on a porcelain plate, and tea definitely tastes better out of a bone china mug or cup. However, I have not actually purchased any for quite some time. Recently, the passion reared its head and the urge to buy was irresistible. Even more peculiar, none of these recent purchases go with my existing sets.
I fell in love with this Nippon hand-painted cream and sugar set. It has a Morimura mark and is definitely hand painted. The tag indicated it was made between the 1890’s and about 1920’s. I checked on line, and did not find an exact match for this pattern, but did find some similar that were all dated to 1911, which feels right. Cream and sugar sets are so appealing, and can be used in other ways (as well as a useful adjunct for serving tea, with all the different kinds of milks and sweeteners we use these days!).
The next item I fell in love with was the cup and saucer in the Royal Albert Symphany Series, with the little roses on the pale green background. It doesn’t match the Old Country Roses tea set, but coordinates nicely; it would definitely work as an extra cup, if needed! Royal Albert produced variations of this pattern for some time. It was not hard to find that this particular pattern, the Symphany Series, was produced in the 1970’s, and appeared in different colors. I was very happy with the pale green, and snapped it up.
My last find occurred in a delightful shop in Fernandina Beach. It made me think of one of my favorite novels by Patricia Wentworth, SHE CAME BACK (American title), in which a main character had “the familiar tea things-Queen Anne silver and bright flowered cups bordered with gold and apple green….” (1) I was traveling and not expecting to make a purchase, but I could not resist. It was a total impulse buy. Again, it doesn’t match the tea set but tones with it beautifully in color and style.
None of these purchases were expensive, or intentional. None are especially old or valuable. However, all three were very satisfying. While I doubt if I make any more purchases (at least for a while), I expect to enjoy using these new finds over time. Unexpected pleasures!
(1) Wentworth, Patricia. SHE CAME BACK. 1945: J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and New York. P. 141.
Photos by me.
I thought that yesterday was the 4th of July; now it’s almost the middle of October! Where has this summer gone? On one hand, I look around and feel like the time just vanished. On the other, I do see signs of accomplishment. Work has been done on my next novel, which should be coming out this winter-more editing on what has been completed and more writing done, moving forward. On the work front, new procedures have been implemented and there are new programs yet to learn; again, moving forward. It seems funny; when I was a child, summer seemed endless (especially August, when I was waiting for school to start again). Now time seems to go by in the blink of an eye. It is truly alarming to go into a store and see Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations leering at me from all sides. Talk about rushing the season! I miss a more leisurely progression, where one has time to really enjoy the now, instead of rushing headlong through the pleasures of today to get to the next holiday or the next event. It seems so unappreciative, even disrespectful of our life and time. I will at least strike my own small blow: no Hallowe’en decorations until that week; no Thanksgiving decorations until that week; DEFINITELY no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. It’s important to savor the pleasures of today. Time slips by quickly enough; there is no reason to try to make it go even faster.
July is a busy month! Author Anna Belfrage will be posting on the blog on Thursday July 24, 2014 in celebration of her new book Revenge and Retribution, 6th in her popular Graham saga. Please be sure to stop by and check out the blog. (Hint: there’s a preview!) You won’t be disappointed.
Author Laura Purcell has just released a new novel, The Queen of Bedlam, about Queen Charlotte who was the wife of King George III. She is on tour for this release from June 9 through July 15th, and we are fortunate to have her stop by. Today Laura has written a wonderful post introducing the six daughters of George III.
George III and Queen Charlotte had a remarkable fifteen children, thirteen of which made it to adulthood. They were unusual amongst monarchs in being particularly keen to have daughters. Once they had provided an heir and two spares, they were heard to say they hoped they would have no more sons! Similarly, when George III’s first grandchild was born, he rejoiced to hear it was a girl.
Nice as it was to be appreciated, George’s six daughters later had reason to find his love suffocating. His fondness for them, along with natural fatherly anxiety, made him reluctant to arrange marriages. Fear of parting with his daughters became more pronounced as George III began to suffer from mental instability; it seemed the princesses would never find freedom. In consequence, the girls humorously referred to their home as The Nunnery.
Here is a short introduction to the six princesses and their remarkable lives.
Charlotte Augusta Matilda was the eldest Princess, known amongst the family as “Royal”. She was a talented artist but a poor dancer and hated music. It is also rumoured that she dressed very badly.
Beloved by her father, who she greatly resembled, Royal often clashed with her mother Queen Charlotte and had a reputation as a “tale-bearer” amongst her sisters.
Shy, stuttering and often clumsy, Royal was nonetheless a determined woman. She was the only one of George III’s daughters to marry before the age of 40 and with his consent. Her husband was the only one to be found – the famously fat Frederick of Wurttemberg. Despite the shifting fortunes of the Napoleonic wars and rumours of domestic abuse, Royal lived a happy life in Wurttemberg. She remained there with her step children after her husband died.
Augusta was the second of the six Princesses and the most popular. Her easy-going, unaffected nature endeared her even to people who disliked the royal family.
Augusta was a beauty but not vain, letting hairdressers and wardrobe women do whatever they liked with her appearance. She was good-humoured, kind and extremely patriotic. Sometimes, she went a little overboard in her fervour. During the Napoleonic wars, Augusta unleashed her wit upon the French in letters to her family, and was even scolded by her father once for not respecting the death of enemy troops.
Her sisters often teased her about her “military rage” and it is suspected she secretly married a solider, Sir Brent Spencer.
A talented artist, Elizabeth illustrated several poems and decorated the inside of Queen Charlotte’s cottage at Kew. The third of six sisters, she was Queen Charlotte’s favourite and close companion. She often struggled with her weight and was known to her younger sisters as “Fatima”. She frequently got in trouble for her blunt honesty.
Elizabeth finally achieved her aim of marriage at the age of 48 but sadly never had the chance to bear the children she dreamed of. Her husband was a large man with mustachios who smelt of tobacco. The match was much mocked in the press but Elizabeth was devoted to her mate.
Mary, the fourth daughter, was the great beauty of the family. She was fascinated in the world outside the palaces and subsequently became a great gossip. Despite adoring clothes and fashion of every kind, she was not a shallow woman – she devotedly nursed her sister Amelia through her last illness to the detriment of her own health.
Mary finally married her cousin William in her forties – it was whispered he had proposed to her no less than twenty times over the years. This was the Duke of Gloucester, known in the press as “Silly Billy”.
While the marriage was not precisely happy, Mary made the best of it. She took frequent opportunities to escape from the marital home and visit her brother the Prince Regent, to whom she was devoted.
“Little Sophy” was the darling of the attendants and a very caring woman. As a young girl she reportedly gave all her pocket money to help poor prisoners. Her chief hobbies were sewing and reading, though she was also an accomplished equestrian.
Sophia was, perhaps, overly sensitive and often made ill by sudden shocks. Her health, never good, became terrible in later life, robbing her of sight and nearly all hearing. She bore this, as everything else, with sharp wit and good humoured forbearance.
It is rumoured Sophia gave birth to an illegitimate child by her father’s equerry, Thomas Garth, and there is strong evidence to support this. However, scandal mongers at the time maintained Tommy was incestuously fathered by Sophia’s brother, Ernest.
The youngest sister and child, Amelia was “the little idol” of the family. Her father adored her and many historians blame her early death in 1810 for the final loss of George III’s mind. Spoilt as a child, Amelia grew up into a spirited and almost feisty Princess, defying her mother to keep up a love affair with her beloved Charles Fitzroy. She is recorded as being old-fashioned in dress and untidy with her inkstand. Sadly, she died at the age of 27 after a long, agonising illness, which she bore with great fortitude.
(All images from Wikimedia Commons.)
Here are Laura’s buy/social media links: