Sunday, March 1, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.
Today was the first day of my seven days of vacation, or holiday time. I am delighted that the bad cold that gripped me for the past couple of weeks does seem to have pretty much drifted into history. So...I will be able to enjoy these days of freedom. I am going to try to not give the shop another thought, although this will be difficult for me.
I knew that I would be enjoying this week on a budget, courtesy of the financial crisis which has not drifted away like my cold. In the deepest part of my soul/brain, where I hold my fears, I do fear that the financial recovery will take a long, long time, and think that all my decades of financial planning for my old age have been thrown out the window. Realizing that others are in even worse shape that I am does not really calm me.
Yet, I won't let those worries mess with my time off.
The major news of today is once again courtesy of Mother Nature. We might actually have an overnight snowstorm here in New York. So far we have been graced with dainty snows that really didn't even produce proper slush.
Tonight may offer the real thing.
And so, after a slow, relaxing start to my morning, with real breakfast and the Sunday New York Times, I ventured out to obtain the tradition item required for impending snow, or hurricane. The fresh quart of milk.
Once that was taken care of, I took a bus across the Park to the wonderful little library that provides me with all sorts of reading treats. I needed to return my copy of The White Tiger, having finally finished that novel. Rather than checking out another new book, I decided to venture into the many layers of Stacks. It is such fun to roam freely through these shelves, with a list in hand, but also being prepared to be sidelined by a sighting of a book you never saw before, or a book that you always hoped to see.
Today's official mission was to find Emma Smith's The Great Western Beach. Found it. Then back into the funny little cage of an elevator to explore some other stack levels. Found 84, Charing Cross Road, which inexplicably, I have never read. Back into the cage for another ride.
And that was where I found a real gem, a 1986 large print re-publication of the original 1942 collaboration of author H.E. Bates and illustrator C.F. Tunnicliffe, In the Heart of the Country. It is an amazing book, very much reflecting the war in the countryside, but beautifully championing the strength of the countryside.
For this dreamer, the book will be a delight to savor.

Then leaving the library, I caught a west bound bus to take me back across the Park, and on my walk back home down Amsterdam Avenue, stopped into a tiny flower shop to pick up some paintbox primroses to cheer up my apartment, as the snow watch commences.

I so hope that the predicted 12 inches of snow does accumulate. If so, I will be out early with my camera, and will be back here soon with some urban snow scenes.

Meanwhile, I wish you all sweet dreams as this brand new month begins.


  1. Enjoyed you discription of your first day off.
    Perfect way to spend it.
    We used to come to NEW least for my birthday in late Nov.
    before 9-11.
    Many places we walked thru are no longer there.
    My favorite ship is back,so will have to visit her again with My better half.More is open to the public now.He was Air FORCE,So liked the planes.

  2. p.s. We liked the musicals and walking in Time sg.Stopping for a late night snack or a drink.
    The store windows at Christmas.
    My Grandparents lived over looking
    River side Drive for many years.
    No place else has quite the feel.
    Keep us posted.

  3. Good evening, Frances.
    I like the thought of you heading out today to provision the apartment for the impending storm - milk, books and flowers.....what else could you want for a snow day?
    I look forward to seeing some wonderful shots of NYC in the snow.

  4. That's an H E Bates I don't know. And I love Tunnicliffe. He had a house near where I once had a caravan so a lot of his sketches are of places familiar to me. Yet another one to add to my endless list of 'to be read's.

  5. Oh I hope you enjoy Helen Hanff's '84 Charing Cross Road' - it's such a charming and charmingly told tale. And I also hope you enjoy your holiday week. Warm wishes V xx

  6. Hi Frances,
    Just as you'd love to come car booting with me, I'd love a rummage through those book stacks.
    Enjoy your break.

  7. Enjoy your holiday Francis,

    I am sure you will love Helene Hanff, you are in for a treat!

    My friend in Maine has had so much snow recently, I hope it does not all come your way.

    It's rather nice here today, spring is in the air.

  8. I woke up to a slight frost here this morning, but hopefully we won't get snow again. I loved your photo of the quart of milk, we don't get decorated boxes like that. I presume a quart is 4 pints - we just have boring plastic containers with handles. I havent read that HE Bates but do love his writing. Hope you don't get snowed in Frances.

  9. Oh I am glad you have managed to get your hands on some lovely Tunnicliffe drawings at last. You will love 84 Charing Cross Road too - like you I was late to it (only last year) and loved it. Another brilliant collaboration between Britain and a reading New Yorker!! I looked at the weather today and it looks like you have your snowstorm - better stay put and finish some of that crochet project...

    I am loving reading about a place I can now recognise and remember... can you believe it is nearly five weeks since we admired Bonnard's beautiful work?

  10. A Happy Holiday to you Frances, and throw your cares to the wind!
    You have all the ingredients you need for a good time - friends, especially on PC, excellent books to read (you will certainly enjoy 84 CXRoad. There is also a film of it)Skills - those delightful paintings of yours and provisions - especially the milk!

  11. Hi Frances, thank you for sharing your holiday with us. May you have a worry-free time and not too much snow.

  12. Frances, you certainly have yourself well geared up for your week off. Enjoyed the trot arounf NY with you. Still sweltering here in Brisbane. Magical holiday coming to an end. Home on Friday. Need to knuckle down to some serious work. Must get a few blogs up. Have a fun week, and enjoy every minute of it. Talk to you soon xx

  13. So did you have the predicted snowstorm I wonder? Will we see photos?
    I have the Helene Hanff book, and her others too, though didn't enjoy them half so much as 84 Charing Cross Road. And coincidentally, I found the DVD in one of those bargain bucket things in a DIY store, so watched it last week, and even though I had seen it before, like the book, it made really good second helpings!

  14. It was lovely reading about your day...
    At least you'll have some good books to keep you going if you get snowed in..

  15. I was your customer in Soho, and am happy you're doing well. Happy reading, I've just started Capote In Kansas, a fictional account of his relationship with Harper Lee. I too will venture out with my camera for my photo blog, which I invite you to peruse. (maureendonegal.blogspot)

  16. Your library sounds fantastic Frances. The primroses are beautiful & like you my most important ingredient, the absolute MUST have is milk. Not only for tea or cereal but also for making comforting food, semolina and custard or a quick and easy supper like macaroni cheese or cheese and potato pie. Can't live without milk esp if it snowing, or raining what better than large cup of tea or milky hot chocolate, watching the weather out of the window when you are snug indoors.
    I do hope you have a lovely relaxing holiday and don't think about the shop.

  17. Have a lovely holiday week Frances and make sure you get a well earned break - let it snow - you've got the milk in and the books.....

  18. Enjoy your week of freedom Frances.

    Has the snow materialised I wonder? I'm sure you'll find much to do even if you are snowed in. Look forward to seeing some of your holiday pictures.

  19. Sweet dreams to you Frances and I hope you enjoy your snow if it comes. I must admit to being glad to see the Spring here and hopefully wave goodbye to all signs of Winter (probably spoke to soon). Have a lovely break xx

  20. I love your library and want it for my own. You make New York sound so sane and civilized.

  21. Lovely to catch up with you Frances. I like the thought of you all safe and cosy and wrapped up in the city in the snow! The financial crisis could drive us all insane if we dwelt too much, I fear. Enjoy your break.

  22. the book shop sounds truly wonderful and l am so glad that your cold is on the wane. Having never been to new York l really enjoy hearing about your life there! Hope you have a good few days off so that you can recharge your batteries!

  23. Frances, enjoy every moment of your week off, even if you are expecting storms!
    Like you I fear that the recession will take a long time to recover. We feel it here too, shops are closing as no one has any spare money to spend. English people who receive their pensions from UK are losing a third!

  24. Dear Frances,

    I did so enjoy reading this wonderful post.

    I have seen the film of Charing Cross Road, also went to see it at the Theatre a few years ago, but am thinking that I would love to read as a book.

    I too love H.E.BATES writing Frances.

    No snow here in Norfolk sadly, I do so love the snow.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation Frances, and hoping that you will be painting some more of those beautiful water-colours for us to enjoy soon.