Thursday, February 13, 2014

Betty in the Wild: the Deep South

There is, of course, no such thing as a deep south in either the UK or the Netherlands.  However, Betty would certainly find much of interest in Sarasota, Florida, and Savannah, Georgia.

Sarah Ann loves arranging flowers, for instance.   A handsome clump of
Spanish moss can add unexpected, New-World flair
to an heirloom Delft vase-ful of tulips or whatever.

Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens might help an old-fashioned English girl lose her distrust of vulgar Americans.  Or maybe not - are orchids vulgar?

Maybe purple generally is vulgar.  It is certainly neither pink nor clerical gray.

I understand that they would not wish to live there, but Florida can certainly make a great place to visit, say if the Scottish winters start to feel a bit daunting.  Maybe I'm just thinking that, though, because I was in Sarasota back in October, and now I'm back in DC, where the second segment of a good-size snowstorm is dropping another 4-6 inches of snow on the driveway I just cleared of approximately 14 inches.  My Florida friend is testy because the upcoming holiday means the beaches are crowded with tourists.

Ha ha to her come spring, though, when I get back out into the garden as she ducks back into the air-conditioning and mosquito screens.

Personally, I'd prefer not to garden with mangroves, but I suspect Hugo and the Mrs.
are up for anything.

As we all know, touring, whether in Avignon or along the Gulf coast, is exhausting, and requires a nice pick-me-up in the mid-afternoon.

Tea at Selby gardens.  Really, paper cups were all they had.  Oh, woe.
But the menu of loose-leaf teas available was a skosh insane with the variety.

Savannah, Georgia, is famously eccentric in ways that might not appeal to everyone, but it also has proud traditions that would surely earn the Van Elvens's approbation.

For instance, birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.

Birthplace of the Methodist church, or something like that.
Sure, Methodism isn't CofE, but it's pretty well-mannered.

By the way, that last one's for you, Betty JoDee.  Mwah.


  1. Happy Valentine's Day! And thank you for this lovely little post. I bet you'll be ever so pleased to know:
    Orchids are not vulgar in Neelsdom.

  2. My favourite picture of the bunch – the orchids. Gorgeous colours.

    More happy news for you, Betty van den Betsy.

    Purple is not vulgar per se in Neelsdom.

    In A Star Looks Down Beth Partridge has
    purple eyes and and she owns a purple dress.


    Beth Partridge has
    violet eyes and she owns a violet dress.


    Beth Partridge has mauve eyes and owns a jersey dress of a deep mauve.

    Alas, Beth does not own a dress in a clerical grey but she bought a jersey dress in a quaker grey.

    I would have to read the novel again to ascertain if the purple dress, the violet dress and the mauve dress are one and the same, as I think they are. Meant to read the novel last night, although the thought of encountering Dirk, the back-stabbing little blighter, was a little off-putting. Anyway, I couldn’t read it because supper was from McDonald’s and if supper is from McDonald’s I like to read a bit in the novel where McDonald’s is not just mentioned but where they actually like to go there.

    Purple velvet – ah, now that’s a different story.

    The only lady wearing purple velvet in the Canon and wearing it well seems to be Grandmother ter Mennolt (The Mistletoe Kiss).
    Betty Anonymous

  3. Today, I discovered a three year old post Betty Neels and the Incredible Shrinking Heroine on Remember to read the comments as well. Very interesting. And I am not just saying this because one of them is by our very own Betty Magdalen.
    Betty Anonymous

  4. A Star Looks Down, © 1975

    In an aside, at some point Beth was in the professor’s sitting room choosing a book to read from one of the book shelves and she "was trying to decide between the newest Alistair Maclean and
    Ira Morris‘s Troika Belle, which she had read several times already".

    The Troika Belle, published in England 1969,
    published in the United States as The Rake and the Rebel in 1967.
    Rake, as in rakehell, with a string of mistresses? Hahaha.

    1. Betty Barbara here--
      Thanks, Betty Anonymous, for reminding me of this scene. I giggled a good deal the first time I read it, because I, too, am a big fan of both Alistair MacLean and "The Troika Belle".

  5. A Star Looks Down was one of seven of Betty’s novels published in 1975, uhuh, seven in just one year:
    • A Small Slice of Summer (1975)
    • Henrietta's Own Castle (1975)
    • A Star Looks Down (1975)
    • The Moon for Lavinia (1975)
    • Cobweb Morning (1975)
    • Heaven is Gentle (1975)
    • Roses for Christmas (1975)

    Assuming A Star Looks Down wasn’t a novel TGB had stashed away in a drawer for years, the "newest" Alastair MacLean could have been Breakheart Pass, first published in 1974. Or possibly Circus, depending on when it was released in 1975.

  6. Yoohoo, Betty Barbara, I can see you!

  7. Betty van den Betsy--
    Betty Barbara envies your trip to Savannah, one of her favorite cities. And I do share your distress over tea served in anything other than a china cup!

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