Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Land of Discombobulation and The Red Velvet Coat

When I was just seven I got a bad dose of the chicken pox.
I was miserable!
My mother had left & I had to stay home from school in bed for a week.
My aunty Margaret came and cared for me, since she had two small boys of her own, that was very kind of her.
Nobody read to me in those times, but my aunty patiently sat and read me The Magic Faraway Tree.


I loved those stories of silly magical much.
And the whimsicalness & the possibilities!
When you got to the top of the tree you would burst out through the clouds and find yourself in a different land with each and every visit. Sometimes it was a very strange land indeed! 
I think I must have climbed out the window by mistake on this particular occasion, as I ventured up through those clouds, as I have found myself trapped in The Land of Discombobulation this past week or two.
This is a very horrid land full of nasty little goblins who keep leading you up the garden path to the wrong place & who have the audacity to give you half of someone else's cold and then, even more rudely, they make you bleed for ten days on end and they give you confusion and sadness for dinner.
They make all the flowers disappointed and Dame Washalot actually lives there and everything is damp and clammy and it makes everybody odd and cranky. The roads have huge ditches, so deep they can swallow a small car whole, as they did with my boy's just bought one. Fortunately he climbed out of the ditch with kind assistance and sirens attending and left the awful land and came home for dinner and comfort, as if nothing had happened at all.

If you don't know The magic Faraway Tree you might like to watch this lovely little video 
And if you do know it you might like to watch it too! 
Late this week, I found some flowers still smiling. 
 I wish you could smell this winter is heaven on earth.

 Raindrops on maidenhair fern.
 This white Sparieshoop has got a little ahead of itself and mistaken the seasons.
 Camelias are always so lovely.
 After gardening I visited my friend Ruth.
Isn't she the kindest friend, she picked me these glorious narcissii.
 By the time I left Ruth's house I swear there was not another tiny space left in my car. I forgot to take a photo...stuffed as it was with primulas & polyanthas, sacks of walnuts, jars of flowers, persimmons, apples from the tree-ripened stall along the way...
Imagine the sight if I had been found in a ditch that day, covered in fruit & dirt & flowers!
I have never had this happen before with a rose, but even after all this time, (well over a month) the roses that Trish had given us at the camping ground for Lucy, are still going! Well one is.
 My lovely neighbour over the road, came over with this sweet tablecloth for Lucy this week..wasn't that so kind!
I stopped here just before the sun went down to get some more tree ripened apples. The people are so kind..they pick just the ripest ones every few days & leave them in wooden bins at a little honesty stall so that we can come & help ourselves.
 My brother took his son to a model show a week or two ago & look what they found to show me!
Oh dear, we sent for some more Cath Kidston recently & thought that the blue spray flowers might be great to have for Lucy..when we need it next. But I am rather cross, after it coming all that way..I think it is very naughty of them to say that this is blue!
Very polite & all that, & have been able to leave a review but no responsibility taken.
I have listed it on Trade me.

 When I was last in The Little Red Book Shop I found this adorable wee book.
 "Once near the Tinkling brook, where the water swirled in to deep pools, a tiny little Sprite sat upon a stone, watching a speckled trout in the water...
...when they came to the home of Bertha Bumblebee, she asked them why they were so happy, and they told her of the new Field Mice Babies. "Their happiness makes me happy!" said Bertha Bumblebee, "so I will hum-m-m-m!"
And she went down the road with Granny Cricket and Thomas Toad and they fiddled and drummed and hummed until they came to the home of Catherine Catbrird and told her why they were so happy".

The stories are so sweet and so are the illustrations.

 And I adore the dedication:

Almost lastly, I finished this book some weeks ago and I am still thinking about the story even now.
It is very deep & intriguing and complex and you may well enjoy it too.
It reminded me a great deal of a richer version of the Secret Garden.
Here is Kate Morton herself to tell you about her story:

The red velvet coat is a little shy & didn't much like being photographed.
In the window of the Hospice shop this drew me in the door where I found many of the staff clustered together behind the counter. I was able to tell them all how much I love their shop & the new fabulous window displays. I tried on the velvet coat just for fun...but it was perfect!
After I remove the pins from the hem & sew it up I shall where it to a winter wedding at the end of June.

Thank you so much for visiting me.
While I was trapped all that time in the nasty place it was a huge comfort to know that you were all still there!!
Hugs & grateful friendship friends & readers.


  1. Oh my, for a dreamer like myself, this post was heavenly! Love the stories, the velvet coat (!), the roses and narcissus, linen and so on...
    Oh dear, I better get back to earth...dinner's hour and nothing comes to mind...Phew...
    Keep it coming please!

  2. I'm glad you are out of the nasty place, dear GK!
    I love your red velvet coat. So, is the CK piece green then?
    My beans are coming up! Yay!
    I planted basil, lavender, and parsley, too!

  3. Lurking into nasty lands and being there for a much longer stay than we'd like is never fun. I'm glad you've said goodbye and hope you never get lost down that windy path again.
    Once again your post is full of gorgeous images that soothe my soul. I just adore your new velvet coat. I'd love to see a photo of you wearing it. Have a fabulous week ahead.
    Anne xx

    1. Thank you so much dear Anne. It is so nice to have journeyed with you for some time now & to know that you understand those hard places well.
      I appreciate your lovely comments so much.
      Yes, I had better hurry up & finish the hem first before wearing the coat or I might sit on a pin...suppose I better figure out what else to wear under it too! Harder to know in winter.
      Have a great week,
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  4. I absolutely love your red velvet coat - it's really special. It feels strange to read of your Season when we are in another, although the UK is still cold and wet. This morning I heard heavy banging on my conservatory roof to find blackbirds taking moss from my roof guttering and dropping it in flight - I think some birds are nesting late or maybe second nesting even? I love CK things but you have to own an awful lot of it to get 'the look'! She does the most exquisite silk Summer dresses, I liked your 'blue print' but can imagine the disappointment if the colour doesn't match your expectations at great cost. Betty x

    1. Hi Betty, thanks for your lovely comments. I have been doing a lot of selling lately..mostly fabrics & it's been quite interesting to discover the fabric is the hardest thing to photograph, most especially velvet...reflects light. I didn't have a hope of capturing the true colour of the coat.
      Tell the blackbirds to keep it up...nice of them to tidy up the roof!
      Yes, that is true abut CK stuff but I guess we've collected so much vintage stuff already it's all coming together quite well. The oil cloth that I bought is still pretty just not a forget-me-not kind of blue.
      Hopefully I will sell even some & then it won't be so bad.
      I wish for you some glorious sunny days!
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. So is it not blue? It looks blue on my computer screen.

    Glad you are feeling better now. Just love the way you weave a story and we all loved the Magic Faraway Tree stories.

    Beautiful velvet coat.

    1. No, Lorraine it is not really blue at all, honestly. Quite hard to photograph being oil cloth but the background is decidedly grey/green "in person". Definitely different to the tiny sample pic on the website & very insipid.
      Thanks for visiting some more. Glad that you liked the Faraway Tree too.
      Hope you're having a good week.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  6. ah, the faraway tree! i loved it too, though i was as much intrigued by the idea of all those people living in a tree as i was by the lands atop it. i always wanted to live in a tree-like in brambly hedge books when i was a kid-in a round room!
    i thought of you today when i found, finally a copy of the little match girl today for claud x
    Your beautiful new coat looks like a hug, its glorious.
    i'm enjoying velvet tonight, making tiny pin cushions from acorn caps and green velvet. i'd love to send you one, would you email me your address? i'm not a great sewer, but they are so cute!
    hope the land of this new week coming is a kind one x

    1. Yes Max..I think I loved the tree living arrangements just as much & that is no doubt why the Brambly Hedge pictures always seemed somehow so familiar!! And so adorable...the details!
      Ah...The Little Match sad.
      A red velvet lovely.
      Max that is SO sweet of you. I would love a wee acorn pincushion. I'll pop through my address very soon. Do you need any more green velvet? Let me know if you do.
      A much kinder land, thank you. A land of apple cake & a birthday for the boy in the ditch (now recovered form his fright!)
      I'd be interested to know how long your monarchs "hang" around for too.
      Much love Catherine xoxox

  7. Invitation - In
    I'm Brazilian.
    Spent reading here, and visit his blog.
    I also have one, only much simpler.
    I'm inviting you to visit me, and if possible follow together for them and with them. I always liked to write, expose and share my ideas with people, regardless of class Social, Religious Creed, the Sexual Orientation, or, of Ethnicity.
    To me, what will interest is our exchange of ideas, and, thoughts.
    I'm there in my space Simpleton, waiting for you.
    And I'm already following your blog.
    Strength, Peace, Friendship and Happiness
    For you, a hug from Brazil.

  8. I hope you are no longer discombobulated and are having a lovely weekend. I used to love reading the magic faraway tree and the wishing chair too! Your coat is gorgeous.

  9. Oh my goodness – where to start! So much loveliness in one post is amazing. I love the magic faraway tree, and Raggedy Ann book is beautiful. Thank you for sharing the two video clips, I so want to read the forgotten garden it sounds like just my kind of thing. Your velvet coat is adorable and perfect for a wedding. Your flower pics are wonderful as are the photos of Lucy. I’m so happy you are out of that horrible dark place. I do hope your boy and his car are both fine now. I loved this post, but then I love all your posts. Barbara xx

    1. Hello Barbara, I am so glad of your visits. Sorry that I am rather scattered in my replying! Isn't it so nice to share common interests right across the globe! If you do get to read The Forgotten Garden please do let me know what you think of it. I just found Kate Morton's The Distant Hours today in a secondhand clothing warehouse! Hardback too. Her books are not quick much detail.
      Thank you for asking after the boy. He is just fine, had another birthday & done lots more driving since the ditch incident..inexperience mainly. Car is well gone : (
      It has been a grand chance for him to drive with his dad & build on adult relationship so that's a very good thing.
      Hope you've had a good week.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  10. I'm so glad you're out of the nasty place & feeling better. :o)

    I love the two videos you shared - both books look so good. I'll see if I can find some copies of my own to read. I especially want to read 'The Forgotten Garden'.

    Do maidenhair ferns come back there in the spring? I'm thinking about adding one to my garden but I may have to bring it inside for winter. They don't like our very cold winter weather.

    And those roses lasting a month! I wonder if you could have rooted one & grown your own bush? They are so beautiful.

    Love the tablecloth - sweet friends are such a blessing. And the model is precious.

    I share the part about the very pretty red coat with my husband. we went to a June wedding yesterday - outside, in the sun on a very hot, humid southern day. Neither of us like the hot humid weather, we both love coat wearing weather so I knew he'd enjoy hearing you were planning on wearing your red coat to a June wedding.

    I have six weddings to attend this year, by the way. Yesterday was the third one & I have three more to go. The last one will be in October - my son is getting married. :o) We're all very excited & looking forward to an outdoor fall wedding here in the Ozarks.

    1. Hello Jenny, I am so delighted that you took the time to watch the little videos...amazing what you can find out there!
      I am sure that you will find copies of the books if you keep your eyes peeled...hope you do!
      Maidenhair ferns don't mind the cold too much as long as they have some shelter. Now that mine is established in a damp sheltered place either side of the back porch steps it hasn't died down at all this winter, even though we've had frosts.
      I have actually grown many of my roses from cutting, but to be honest, I didn't love these ones quite enough to strike them.
      Golly, six weddings is good going!
      How wonderful looking forward to your son getting married..hope it is all just wonderful! fall sounds like a lovely time for a wedding.
      Hope you've had a good week.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x0x

  11. Hello Catherine, I am so sorry to hear you have found yourself in the land of discombobulation this past week, not a pleasant place to be I can imagine. Do hope things have picked up now for you & also that your son is okay after his car accident!!??
    The flowers from Ruth are just beautiful - seems early for Narcissii ... mind you I notice my Magnolia tree in full bud already. The seasons perhaps are also in the land of discombobulation!!??
    I was sorry to read of your misleading purchase re the oilcloth, this can be so disappointing when they do that to you. It does photograph bluish on the screen but perhaps is a greeny/grey ??
    I adore your red velvet coat & think it will be quite simply perfect for a late June wedding my friend. Do hope your coming week is much improved on the last. Much love Julie x0x

    1. Hello dear Julie, thank you..David is fine, most fortunately!
      The narcissus are apparently right on queue. Ruth's father used to grow flowers commercially & grew many narcissus too, so she knows her bulbs. The double ones with yellow centres are Double Romans & have lasted much longer than the others. I have Sol 'dor just out...I love their bright yellow cheerfulness. the daffs come later.
      The oilcloth was a disaster. I think blue ought to be blue not um/ah/um/ah not sure! Too pale in "person" & a decidedly grey/green truly! I have it listed on Trade Me so here's hoping I sell at least some of it.
      Oh dear I had better hurry up & sew up the hem on the coat hadn't I! Miss Julie would never procrastinate over needle & thread like I do!!
      This week has been considerably better, thank you my friend. Very chilly these last two days though eh!!!
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  12. I read The Forgotten Garden last winter and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Sorry to hear you have been unwell, and I hope that is behind you now.

    1. Hello Lynne, glad that you enjoyed The Forgotten Garden. Have you read any of Kate Morton's other books? I just found The Distant Hours today in Savemart...although it is a hardback book & very heavy!
      I have had a lot better week this week, thank you.
      Hope you're well & have managed to keep warm.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  13. The Magic Faraway Tree was my favourite book as a child... the land of discombobulation doesn't sound the sort of place that Moonface and his friends would enjoy I do hope you have escaped safe and well. The red velvet is beautiful and enough to make anyone feel more cheery ... with good wishes ~ Sarah X

  14. What a wonderful post. So glad you are feeling better and escaped from that dreadful land, did Moon-Face and Silky help?
    I loved those books as a child, and so did my children - and the other book you show with the amazing illustrations is gorgeous.


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