Marjorie is pretty big on Gumption. It’s the kind of quality that you’ll know when you see it in action. For me, having gumption means not complaining about minor difficulties and reminding myself that certain problems are not that stressful in the grand scheme of things.
Work this week was long and tiring. So much so that I’ve broken one of our ‘good’ plates and let a few other necessities slide. And had far more coffee than is good for me. This morning I made myself go for a run, and I’ve been reaping the physical and mental benefits all day. I need to have more gumption about work. It really doesn’t dominate my life the way so many other people’s jobs seem to, and most of the time I don’t need to remind myself how lucky I am to work in an usual profession doing something most people who enjoy writing would love to do.
Despite my previous post on budgeting, I must admit to a secret weakness. I have been spending time and money collecting secondhand Chalet School books. It definitely sparks a lot of joy to see my bookshelf slowly filling with these books, which I am shameless about enjoying.
One welcome source for my collection and where I can buy unabridged copies of the series is Girls Gone By publishers. I can highly recommend it for tracking down copies not only of long out of print Chalet School delights but forgotten titles by Elinor Brent-Dyer and others. Smashing.*
*Yikes. Now I need to pay a fine.
… is Marjorie’s chapter on budgeting. She outlines a variety of her ‘cases’, some of whom fritter their money away, others of whom have various ways of making sure their money works for them. While I don’t have a budget for ice compared to the single ladies enjoying life in the 1930s, her stern approach rings true today. If you don’t know where you stand, life can be very difficult indeed.
I will freely admit I was better at handling my money when I had less of it to handle. When I was 15 I got regular babysitting jobs and when I turned 16 I got a proper part-time job and ever since then I’ve been in the working world. A little overspending caused me a lot of anxiety and I made a resolution to try much harder to acknowledge where my money was going.
I’m in the very fortunate position of not having to worry too much about how all the bills will be covered, but I sometimes wonder where my budgeting skills from leaner days have gone. One of my orchids is to make more of an effort to ensure that I stay on top on my money and, to paraphrase Marjorie, it’s less painful to know where you stand.
I’ve only just managed to sort out the last few boxes from our recent move. (Side note-it was a month ago, so I’m still calling that recent!) In them I found several items that I’d either been searching for or had forgotten I had. Things like a voucher for a local spa (immediately prompting me to book a massage), a facial toner I had written off as lost, some small leather items of a sentimental nature and a luxurious body cream a friend gave me some time ago.
Finding these things, and organising my wardrobe and tiny bathroom into a manageable space, has led me to use the things I have and make a resolution to buy nothing until I need replacements. I have a lot of eye cream, makeup and lotions and potions to get through, and now they’re in plain sight I find myself reaching for the body cream after a shower and remembering to slather on some eye cream. All of which gives me a little boost each day, and which really cost me nothing because I had everything I need all along.
I only yesterday discovered that there is a lilac tree in the garden in our new home. This is a very welcome surprise. I love the colour and smell of lilacs and there’s something very satisfying about having a nicely mature tree to enjoy. The lower branches also act as convenient washing line holders, which is yet another unexpected orchid.
Time to sit and have a coffee all by myself.
Finding a voucher for a beauty salon during a tidying session and immediately booking a massage.
Seeing clothes I had my eye on on sale at a substantial reduction, and having the money to be able to purchase them immediately.
Reading new books as well as revisiting old favourites.
Sunshine, and the promise of more on the way.
One of my current orchids is collecting books I loved as a child, or filling the gaps in my collections, a process made infinitely easier thanks to various online book sellers. I’ve been tracking down copies of the Chalet School series, written by Elinor Brent-Dyer. I only had two copies of the series growing up, but I managed to read others by borrowing from friends and the local library.
I love these books and I have no shame about enjoying them even more as an adult than I did as a child. They’re certainly of an era where the term ‘smashing’ is considered slang unbecoming of young schoolgirls and there’s no way a real school could operate with as many accidents on every single outing as the plucky Chaletians and their teachers do, but they’re delightful all the same.
As I adult I obviously relate more to the teachers than the pupils, and there’s a hint of the friendship and perhaps more in some of the stories that concentrate more on the staff. Of course, there’s no whiff of impropriety but one can’t help but wonder how an all-female staff would interact, leaving aside the ones who are regularly married off to doctors or other successful men around the place.
Dated though they are, they’re really very endearing and I look forward to the arrival of the post when I know one is on the way. A major orchid will be completing my collection, which depends on how much I’m willing to pay for the rarer titles.