While the joy of regimented (school imposed) routine has brought brisk new efficiency to my domestic affairs, I cannot help but feel a little wanting.
Do you get that, a gnawing ache for sweet satisfaction somewhere? Weird frustration in your fingertips? Need a teeny tiny thrill or two to see you through the day? Feel the urge for something a little more scrumptious than jam on your cranberry toast? Like you might find yourself running around the house screaming like a pinny wearing hyena if something doesn’t spark your imagination?
So when the novelty of crisp new school uniforms has worn off, and the laundry basket has been attacked with the vengeance of a women wronged by fabric conditioner stinky enough to make her cry, and when even the thrill of an evening’s dalliance with Marco Pierre White ain’t enough to make her happy, (I can’t hold it in any longer. Oh. My. God. Who knew he was soooo divine?), the Vintage Housekeeper needs a puttery treat or six to get her through the night.
Which is, I think a better choice than gin. Though I wouldn’t say no to that either.
Take your pick.
* Set the table in sumptuous style before you go to bed tonight and throw yourself a little cornflake party in the morning.
* Feed the birds. Fill up birdfeeders, buy a diddy little bird house, make fat cakes, and provide our feathered little friends with a daily saucer of fresh water. Nothing is more enchanting than watching little birds dance around your garden.
* Clear away the last vestiges of summer in the garden. Be kind to your trusty tools by giving them a thorough cleaning and oiling (Use wd40 for the metal parts and boiled linseed oil for the wooden parts) and then reward yourself by going shopping for daffodil, narcissi, hydrangea, crocus and amarylis bulbs…
* Bundle rose bush cuttings and apple tree branches together and put them in a basket by the fireplace for sweet scented kindling.
* Turn vintage tray cloths into lavender scented envelopes for matching underwear sets. Pile them prettily in your underwear drawer.
* Make Autumn Chutney and eat with blue cheese jacket potatoes and cider in the garden. Blankets optional.
* Spend a day filling the freezer with chilli’s, stew, casseroles and soups ready for cosy afternoons spent snuggling instead of slaving at the stove. Use Marthas helpful freezer labels to identify what’s what…
* Thread laurel leaves onto string, add lavender and rosemary branches and swing the garland across the fireplace… break them off as required and add to real fires for fragranced warmth.
* Stuff the housework. Spray your pillow with a blend of orange blossom water, vodka, mandarin and bergamot essences and take an afternoon nap. Life is for living. And daydreaming.
* Choose a big, old, nubbly cardigan and hang it near the back door ready for early morning dashes to the laundry line.
* Now I know this might seem a teeny bit anal, but emptying out your pantry and doing a stock take will make you feel dementedly organised and the likelihood of you doubling up on stock cubes will simmer down to nil…
* Mimi please don’t tell me off for this one, I’m sure it isn’t good library etiquette, but go to the library and stock up on as many library books as they will let you take out (20 here) and stack them by your bed. Reserve Cold Comfort Farm, Graham Greene novels, all the Elizabeth Berg you haven’t read… Nothing compares to literary abundance for when chilly Autumn evenings are drawing in.
* Order a compost bin. They are free in many areas of the uk, and now is as good a time as any to start reducing the amount of waste your household creates. Remember (green) virtue is a grace…
* It’s that time of year again. Take yourself on a creative excursion in search of a notebook that makes your heart sing: it’s nearly time to start planning the Christmas to end all Christmases…
* Create a proper old fashioned utility cupboard. Stock up on household candles and tealights, a huge roll of string, replacement bulbs and fuses, glue, parcel/masking tape, drawing pins, wd40, salt for frozen paths, car de-icer, etc, etc.
* Turn the heating up and get naked. Scrub yourself silly with a dry brush then dive into the shower and drown yourself in something milky. Drag a scrumptiously starched white victorian nightie over your head, add woolly silly socks and get into bed. Going to bed stupidly early at least one evening a week will change your life. Lights out by 9pm please. (I do 8pm, but if that seems a tad mental 9pm will do…)
* Spray glue a really pretty piece of fabric across the base of your snuggly jumper drawer. You’ll be going in there a lot over the next few months, make it a sight for sore eyes…
* Download or rent an audio book or two, and make washing the dishes a literary sensation.
* Get a notepad, sit down somewhere quiet and write down what your ideal day looks like. Not the one from your dreams, but the one you’ve got, but better. What do you eat for breakfast? What time do you go to bed? How much housework do you do? Do you find time for your art? Tv? What are you wearing? Do you iron your knickers in paradise?? Write it all down and resolve to do your best to shape your world the way you authentically wish it was…