Monday, 5 December 2011

Died then Dried - can Shermouse Holmes lift his flagging career?

Just when we thought this story all but over, your reporter has received another call from Mr Holmes.  It seems that another victim has been found at Pine Tree Cottage.  One of the big ones was vacuuming behind the woodburner getting the room clean and tidy for visitors (why do big ones do that?  why don't they keep their nests clean and tidy all the time?) when it appeared that there was something stuck on the end of the nozzle of the cleaner. A small fieldmouse, very dead, and very dessicated too was found.  She switched the infernal machine off (although in fact it was not this which caused the death) and collected the mumified body and dropped it into her rubbish disposal box!  Not even a decent burial!  And how do we know this, readers?  because Bob, the postmouse - pictured here returning to the local pub, "The Ear of Corn", for a small barley wine after his ardous task of delivering the post, glanced in through the window and slammed the brakes on at the sight he saw!

He called Shermouse Holmes straight away, as of course only seeing the body, and not  knowing that it was dried out, thought that this was a new murder!  A new case for Holmes then, but not a new murder - rather, an old murder!  So Shermouse Holmes is now investigating whether the mouse in question was murdered or died of natural causes (which is what they call a heart attack - although it would be better if all concerned understood that being frightened to death should be called murder under Mouse Law) and again, he will report to this newspaper with any news.  Will the mayhem never end?  Will Shermouse Holmes every regain his reputation?  Was the postmouse telling the truth?  Only your intrepid reporter will be able to answer these questions........

Tongin Cheeeeeek reporting for the Daily Fieldwhiskers. 

Copyright SusanMaclean


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont

Product DetailsMrs Palfrey, widowed, and with just a little "capital" arrives to live out her days at a third class hotel in the back streets of West London.  The bed is single, the food is passable, and the company of the other permanent residents is not what she hoped for.  She has no friends, as a great chunk of her married life was spent in Burma, and the rest of it on the coast of Sussex.  Her daughter lives in Scotland, and they correspond but never meet up, and she has a grandson who she loved when he was a child, and now never sees. 
When she falls in the street, and Ludo bounds up the basement steps from his bedsitter, it is not long before she finds herself in love with him, not in a sexual way, but in the way that the elderly appreciate great beauty when theirs is gone.  She pursuades him to call at the hotel, and tells him she will introduce him as her grandson.  Ludo, who spends his time in Harrods banking hall sitting in large armchairs, and writing his novel.  His luck in coming across Mrs Palfrey is that his book is about the elderly. 
Set in the 1960's, this is a fine short novel which observes the elderly and leads us gently where we must all go.   Elizabeth Taylor was an English writer who died in 1975.  Her observation of humanity in all its forms is devastatingly accurate,  and whilst only set 50 or so years ago, you will get the feeling that people of Mrs Palfrey's age will have a much better life now than they did then.  An old phrase came to mind: "old before their time".  Gently but beautifully described, Mrs Palfrey's last days are laid before you. 

Big bedroom make-over - at last! From rubbish to loveliness without too much heartache and if I discount the works done on the walls themselves, this was not an expensive makeover.

This is our spare room.  It was a glory hole with a bed in it and way too much furniture before the makeover. Now its so nice I wish it was our room!  But its nice for guests to have a room that they can swing a cat in....

Corner of door and original colour of wall behind bed.

Sun falls on
                                                                                                     bricked up fireplace.

Street window-
                          see original frame for plasterwork?

Garden window
                                                                                           and what a mess!

So.... that's the befores.  Stripped of old lime plaster back to the stonework.  Plaster only held in place by the old wallpaper, painted over many, many times!  This is the last room we tackled, and as we are in this house 9 years, really did think it was about time!  And now you can see what you think of the room after....
The wardrobe is too intensive to have finished it, but it will be painted the same green as the wall behind it, except for the interior, which you can see I have started in dark red.  The open area is a cupboard, but will have doors on it eventually.  Underneath that is a flap which makes that area into a desk, and under that are 4 drawers, with the hanging space on the right..................

At night....

My lovely mirror - £14 and painted to match the walls.  Then,
 propped up on a piece of solid oak sanded to a velvet touch by him indoors, £2 for a bit of skirting board.
Slightly closer view of the stand for the mirror, and this is why he chose it - the lovely knot hole, perfect!

Bookcase from our previous home, repainted to match wall. 
 Also, a little chair £18 from the Barras, Glasgow, probably 30 years ago.  New seat pad.

The bargain bedlinen!  plus luxy cushions!

Kelly Hoppin eat your heart out.  My own bit of interior design... a pair of shoe trees, Bridport market a few years ago  So beautifully made.

Bed and garden window (see before pics above)

Seat pad on little chair - more of this material later

Street window and now my reading corner when
 we don't have visitors!  Had the little cushions made to match the little chair pad.  The fabric makes me laugh!  Had it for years hoping to use it, and I see its still available at John Lewis.  Local upholsterer did them for me for about £17 each, filling, cover, zip and all!

That little bookcase again!  I love it, the dimensions the colour, and the fact that it now holds all our classical CDs, all my "keeper" books, and a few tringum trangums!  Well, that's it.  But of course it isn't - as him indoors recently said that he "didn't like our own bedroom now" - so back to the drawing board!!                                                                                                                  


Early One Morning - Virginia Baily

I was attracted to this novel purely by the cover (as I suppose this is meant to happen!) and it has very little about the contents on the b...