Gumption. Or, in layperson’s terms, Getting on in the world.

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.

Gumption. Or, in layperson’s terms, Getting on in the world.

The Chalet School Part II

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.

The Chalet School Part II

YOU’D BETTER SKIP THIS ONE…

… 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.

YOU’D BETTER SKIP THIS ONE…

The joy that comes from using your orchids

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.

The joy that comes from using your orchids

This week’s orchids

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.

This week’s orchids

The chalet school

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.

The chalet school

FIVE YEARS’ TIME

The year before I met my husband, this song was on fairly heavy rotation on the radio and for many reasons it was an earworm for me throughout that summer. I’ve heard it on and off since then and it kind of crept up on me lately because we celebrated five years of marriage earlier this month.

It feels nice being married for five years. The correct gift for five years of marriage is apparently wood and rather than rush and buy something wooden we’ve agreed to wait a bit and buy something more meaningful for our home once we’ve the time, money and inclination to think about home decor again.

I took the wood thing a little laterally when I organised our wedding anniversary date. I booked tickets to see a play, thinking that treading the boards was definitely in the wood-type area. Before the play we ate dinner in The Hot Stove, which was delicious and efficient. The waiting staff were really well briefed as they knew we were attending the play and as a result we had a relaxed meal as we knew they’d keep us on schedule. Nothing felt rushed and we liked the food a lot.

Then we celebrated our marriage by seeing a play about marital dysfunction of various hues. I love the Gate Theatre and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a classic. I did not, however, join in the inevitable standing ovation at the end. I’m perhaps a little curmudgeonly after five years of marriage, but the performances, while pretty good, didn’t merit an ovation.

FIVE YEARS’ TIME

THE PEOPLE V OJ SIMPSON

The OJ Simpson case passed me by in 1994 and 1995. I was a teenager when the murders and subsequent trial took place. I’m not into sports at all so his sporting achievements meant nothing to me and being on the other side of the pond his celebrity status wasn’t really on my radar. This was a time when about two other people in my class in school had internet access and the only rolling news channel was Sky News-even the BBC would shut down for the night after a particular hour.

So I wasn’t expecting to be as gripped and mesmorised by the TV series about this trial as I was. I hadn’t thought much about the case for a long time and I only happened to watch the first episode because my husband was away for a night and it was on at a convenient time. I’m extremely glad I watched it, because it is thought provoking on many levels. The age I’m at now and my life circumstances mean I relate a lot to the juggling Marcia Clark was doing during the case, alongside constantly being judged based on what you’re wearing. I couldn’t help but wonder how she’d be expected to cope with Twitter these days and what cruel hashtags would accompany her various makeovers.

Vanity Fair did a really interesting series of fact checks and I fell down a rabbit hole reading about a trial I remembered little about, beyond the fact that it was shown on TV-shocking for me because here trials simply don’t ever appear on TV-and the verdict was an event in itself. Gofugyourself also had a recap of each episode, and again the links within the recaps fleshed out a lot of the case for me.

As with any TV show, things need to be rearranged and dramatised for both artistic and storytelling reading. I was so glad to see the two victims shown at the end of the last episode. And another detail shook me, namely, how young they both were. I’ll turn 35 this year, the same age Nicole was when she died. Ron Goldman was only 25, and was killed because he was doing a good deed and, as much as I hate the phrase, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It didn’t strike me at the time, but it certainly does now, that justice and the law are often two very different things.

THE PEOPLE V OJ SIMPSON

We were very much Amused

For our fifth wedding anniversary, part one (we have two dates to celebrate as we had two ceremonies) we went for cocktails in Peruke and Periwig. It was a nice way to start the evening, especially as the bartender whipped up two cocktails that weren’t on the menu, both of which were delicious.

We then went for dinner in Amuse, just across the road. We’ve been meaning to try it for a while so this was the perfect opportunity, and it didn’t disappoint. It offers two tasting menus-we went for the shorter one, which had a few little surprise courses in addition to the listed ones. Everything was delicious, in particular the raw and cured fish dishes. We’re already planning a return visit as this place definitely has the potential to become an orchid.

We were very much Amused