This Liking For Winter

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"There's something special about the log fire.
I like the smell of it.
I like its companionable ways, how it flares and flickers like a conversation, animating the room."

Katherine Swift  in The Morville Hours: The Story of A Garden.

I have found a book that my heart loves.  I wasn't going to write about it, because it's in my sidebar, but I am so enjoying it that I just have to. It was a slow start - I nearly gave up. She starts the book with alot of Anglo-Saxon history and Roman catholic rites and rituals that are woven through English history. They are interesting in their own way, but a little dry at the beginning, but I do love the way that the author goes right back to the beginning of England and traces the history of her county, village, house and garden. I am two hours into it (as I don't get time for curling up by the fire with a good book these days I mostly use audible), and I'm hooked. I have a funny feeling that this is going to get added to my list of favourite books.

There's a delicious slowness about this book - about the story of her garden, her house, her life and the lives of the villagers and the people she knows and the people who have lived in her house. This is no romantic thriller, or on-the-edge of your seat book, but a beautiful, slow, romantic dance through an English garden. It's a celebration of the seasons, of nature, of history, of human creativity. A musing on the great privilege of drawing breath, living, seeking, meeting, creating. It's a book about beauty. And that's what I like about it - in a world where there is chaos, evil, indifference and harsh assaults on our very senses, this book reminds you of the good, the romantic, the lovely, of things worthwhile.

I've been reading today in the Morville Hours about the delights of winter. I am a winter lover too.
I love the way winter draws you in to the small cosy world of your four walls - it makes you feel safe and wrapped up in warmth while the winds and rain and snow batters at your door and lashes against the windows.

Part of the joy of winter for me is having a real log fire. The flickering of the orange flames, the dying embers, the crackling of the wood and the unrivaled warmth and embrace that comes with a real, proper fire.

Remembering when I was small and getting dressed by the large open fireplace after a bath. I can still smell that woody, winter aroma as the sparks flew and the wood crackled. I'm glad that my children will have that memory too and the memory of sitting by the fire having stories read to them before bedtime.

Here is Alice with her big cousin Angela reading her a story by the fire just before bedtime.

One thing I have loved about living in the South Island are the extremes in the seasons. I love a snowy, rainy, icy cold winter just as much as I love the fresh, warm, fragrant summers. If I ever move far enough north where the seasons are not so defined,  I know I will miss that.


Cottage Tails said...

Sounds a good book!
I like "nice" books - and I'm sure it's cause there is enough drama in real life that I don't need to listen/read to more - grin.
I love our fires too - can't imagine never having a real fire.
Will ring you today
Love Leanne

Roz said...

Loving reading your blogs have a cosy 'scent-filled' week! Roz

Megan said...

that book sounds lovely- going to try and track it down at our library- love good book recommendations. You might like a similar book I read a few years ago A Garden in the Hills by Christine Mc Cabe- a story of her new garden and how she transformed it set in the Adelaide Hills. I loved it!

Rachel said...

Absolutely loved talking to you today Leanne!
Hope you are having a good week Roz - would love to catch up soon.
Thanks for the recomendation Megan - sounds like a good book - I'll definitely look it out.

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