Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Old-Fashioned Girl--Discussion Thread

Patience is another one of those Puritan virtue names. In this case it fits her personality. I always feel bad for people who are named for virtues or attributes. Upon meeting them I am always aware of how they fail to embody it sufficiently rather then it prompting me to think of them in that way. Chastitys who aren't, Faiths who don't, Hopes who are downers, Bellas who are homely, Serenas who pitch a fit, etc. (I'm thinking of poor Venus and Serena Williams during their unfortunate pony bead years...) It's like walking into a gorgeous room and seeing the tiny wrinkle in the carpet or the one panel of wallpaper that doesn't align correctly. [Betty Debbie] That's why I'm plumping for 'Mindwell' as a middle name. Takes some of that pressure off - no one need know (except the neighbors - when she's in trouble and all of her names are called).

Patience answers a door (during the duties of factotum-ing) and talks to a man selling double-glazed windows in January. Now, now, you're thinking it's a silly time to be selling a thing like that but when the weather is worst and the wind is coldest and you're wrapped in a Snuggi, freezing, with only a copy of Mrs. Beeton's Household Management to warm you, double-glazing sounds like a mighty fine idea.

Miss Murch sings the praises of the dishwashing machine back in London. The Lovers van Voorhees have a well-documented affection for their dishwasher, having been without during spells of their marriage. When you think about the kinds of multi-course meals our doctors are accustomed to, it only makes sense to have a little appliance help in that direction...

The only book Patience can find to read during the snowstorm is Beeton's Household Management. Pardon me, but no television and no radio would have me pounding on the study door toot sweet for something to keep me occupied. Earnest Victorian Housewifery would make for thin gruel, at best. Surely, in a house that size, a few Betty Neels novels would certainly be secreted away. They were maiden aunts that lived there before. The Venerable Neels would have been right up their alley. If there's no answer on the study door, I'd be applying a large axe tout de suite.

Along with a quickly diminishing supply of flour,and one chicken in the freezer, this is all she can find in the pantry:
  • dry lentils
  • one tin of prawns "good"
  • some rice "I'll make something of these"
  • mandarins in orange liqueur, "they'll be nice"
  • stem ginger "now that's no use at all"
  • duck mousse with port wine
  • canned oysters "I don't know what to do with them"
  • Paxo stuffing "Oh, I'm so surprised she doesn't make her own"

Betty Debbie has a bit of a bone to pick with all these Neels housekeepers who don't have anything in the pantry. Last Sunday at church we were all challenged to go for the next six days without shopping for food and to be ready to share the experience the following week. (Food storage and disaster relief is a bit of a Mormon hobby, humor us.)Thank you Betty Kylene! If you need any tips on Dutch oven cooking w/coals, give me a shout-out. Dr. van der Stevejinck and I usually take ours camping (so we can make all the other campers jealous). Those with Paxo stuffing and canned oysters would be mildly up a creek and those with a several months supply (Betty Debbie, I'm looking at you.) would be in better shape. Eek, I thought, good thing I'm headed to Idaho and this won't apply to me. Good thing I just went shopping. Sadly, my oldest left the garage freezer door ajar yesterday and the ice cream is ruined. I just hope my husband doesn't run out of milk and start shooting varmints that happen across the backyard for protein. How would you be fixed for a week or more? We would do just fine, thank you. We would run out of fresh milk - but I have plenty of powdered milk (I'm not a milk drinker, so that doesn't bother me)

Patience takes her aunts to a nice little hat shop instead of buying them much cheaper at a 'high street' store. (High street is evidently Brit for 'main street'.) This is actually rather sweet. I like the old ladies and they don't annoy me half so much as languid middle-aged mothers that batten on their thin Aramintas for everything.Warning! Languid middle-aged mother in our book to be reviewed Monday.

Julius goes to Northern Ireland to operate on a soldier and Patience is worried lest he be hit by a stray bullet. Here's what you get when you wiki 1992 Northern Ireland: Yes, well I see how one could worry...