|Although the illustration was titled "Ratty's House", I have been told this is indeed Mole's House by Inga Moore. :)|
Having seen the long range forecast last week, I had set the large chicken from the freezer in a Pyrex dish to defrost in the frig until it could be made into soup. A very good thing indeed for we needed the chicken soup yesterday for our cold bones as well as our soul. Brrrr...
The news tell us of all kinds of frightening happenings all over the world. Even everyday life seems to be more a struggle for many. I do find solace in the Word of God and in beautiful lyrics and music which remind me of His love and sovereignty. I hold them dear to my heart in this age in which we live.
But do forgive me and not think me a heretic if I say I have recently been finding peace between the pages of favorite books. True, one finds the way to Salvation only in the Holy Book. But there is much to be said about the power of Story and as God created it all... I believe He understands.
So more than a few times this past week (and since the re-doing of the Study), I have been eager to return to my overstuffed 1990's era hunter green chair, the quite old piano bench style footstool with faded tapestry, a cup of tea on the tea table at my side, sometimes a Maine Coon kitty, and always a book.
These are usually the days I prefer old favorites and when possible... old volumes. But I do admit to using the Kindle App on the iPad from time to time (have I mentioned it was the best birthday gift ever, with the exception of our family being together for a week). Hubby has been reading a book on the original Kindle.
There are authors and titles I particularly love this time of year. While newer books were on the Kindle, old friends were brought from the shelves and dusted off. Most are still awaiting their re-read, a couple to be read for the first time, and one in particular already being enjoyed.
For it is the perfect time to re-read one of my all time favorite works of fiction, that being The Wind in the Willows. I don't think of it as a children's book, it is much more a weary grown up person's book if you ask many of us who return to it quite often. A book that talks about my favorite things like home and friends and food.
|Ratty and Mole by Angel Dominquez|
From the very beginning he is quite wonderful with his explanation to his new friend, Mole, about what he has packed in the picnic basket...
"There's cold chicken inside it," replied the Rat briefly; "coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscressandwichesspottedmeat gingerbeerlemonadesodawater..."
Later in the lovely chapter named Dulce Domum, we enter Mole's house which Ratty describes as...
`What a capital little house this is!' he called out cheerily. `So compact! So well planned! Everything here and everything in its place! We'll make a jolly night of it. The first thing we want is a good fire; I'll see to that--I always know where to find things. So this is the parlour? Splendid! Your own idea, those little sleeping-bunks in the wall? Capital! Now, I'll fetch the wood and the coals, and you get a duster, Mole--you'll find one in the drawer of the kitchen table--and try and smarten things up a bit. Bustle about, old chap!'
You really must read the entire chapter and how Ratty goes about showing Mole... who has been apologizing at how dusty and shabby is his little home... that his place is quite lovely and that there is a feast to be found in the simplest of foods.
Many of my favorite meals have been just the kind Ratty makes in this chapter. When my children were younger, my favorite picnic to pack was what I called my "Loaf of bread, jug of wine (juice), and Thou" collection. Which usually included good bread, cheese, fruit a beverage, and sometimes perhaps a summer sausage to slice if we were quite hungry.
I adore such food so much that our Christmas Eve meal has most often been a collection of homemade appetizers. The restaurant Stephanie chose for my birthday dinner was a Spanish style tapas place (I have sinned by envying my son-in-law's business trips to Spain!). We feasted on a quite elegant selection of little dishes... albeit fancier than Ratty's meal and amazingly delicious.
But I digress again... kind of... sort of.
When the weather turns cooler, it is such a perfect time of year to read books that talk about houses. I have a few Gladys Taber books on my shelf that I return to each Autumn. Isn't she wonderful? I wish I had more of her books but I'm so happy to have what I do. How I would have loved to settle by her fireplace with a cup of hot New England cider and a long chat.
Of course, are there any better books that talk about homes then The Eliot Trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge... The Bird in the Tree, Pilgrim's Inn (known as The Herb of Grace in England), and The Heart of the Family. Although it is the middle of a trilogy, it was suggested my first Goudge book read was Pilgrim's Inn and since that time... it is the book I also suggest to a new reader.
Sometimes my cooler weather reading takes me to a place instead of a house. A very precious blog reader sent me at one time some vintage Gene Stratton-Porter books as she is one of my favorite authors.
My husband's college roommate owns property close to the original Limberlost area and we have driven by it before. One of the books waiting in the stack to be read is The Song of the Cardinal. (It is actually free for the Kindle, perhaps because it is not as well known as the others?)
What other books remind me of places I want to visit in my overstuffed chair? There is always a return to Mitford! Jan Karon has a new Mitford book which I hope to read someday but I have many on my shelves to re-read.
I could be here all day thinking of authors I prefer to read in cooler temperatures. But I need another cup of coffee with a teaspoon of Splenda and a dollop of cream. I may pop a DVD of Last of the Summer Wine in the player to watch a program or two (did you know the writer had the friends from Wind in the Willows in mind when he created this show about three elderly men who wonder around getting into various "situations"?).
But I will soon return to my overstuffed chair and my book and my tea (coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon). Perhaps to ponder again why some titles and various authors tug at my heart when the weather turns cool.
*All book links are Amazon Associate