Sunday 6 February 2011

Comfort zone

China tea, the scent of hyacinths, 
wood fires and bowls of violets -
that is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon.

Constance Spry

Her house was lovely.
It was comfortable in a way that was not as usual 
in 1910 as it is today.
For instance, there were several bathrooms,
invariably provided with delicious essences 
for softening and scenting the water
which was always hot.
The beds were soft and sheeted with the finest linen.

The Rising Tide - Molly Keane

and from Agatha Christie's The Hollow,
Midge a shop assistant,
 on being told she would understand the class struggle better
if she were a worker:

'I am a worker. That's just why being comfortable is so attractive.
Box beds, down pillows -
early morning tea softly deposited by the bed -
a porcelain bath with lashings of hot water -
and delicious bath salts.
The kind of easy-chair you can really sink into...'
Midge paused in her catalogue.
'The workers', said David, 'should have all these things,'
...'I couldn't agree with you more,' said Midge heartily.

Our daily lives are full of stress,
much of which is unavoidable.
I believe that if our homes cannot provide 
some kind of refuge or respite from that stress,
both physically and emotionally,
then they have failed in one of their most critical functions.
From supporting the body at rest or during relaxation -
physical comfort at its most basic -
to most elemental pleasures that put people at their ease,
comfort provides a necessary sense of renewal.
For me, comfort is neither mindless luxury 
nor suffocating indulgence:
it is the essential breathing space 
in which we can simply be ourselves,
surrounded by the things we really like
rather than things we think give us status.

Sir Terence Conran

I shall cleave to these 
images as the house is
colonised again by the electrician
in pursuit of The Fault
and the builder  eliminating the cause of
The Mould.
P.S Can you still get bath salts?


  1. I've just had early morning tea deposited by the bed - not that softly, as the tea bringer tripped over his slippers!
    Hope the builder and electrician quickly, quietly and without making a mess! fix the fault and bring the mould under control.

  2. Lovely excerpts as always, Lucille. And isn't Sir Terence exactly right?

    If that blue-edged bit of white in the last picture is bedding, then we share much the same taste - I bought the same (slightly paler cambric blue) just recently!

    Think of those colonials as knights in shining armour.....

  3. Enjoyed reading the different quotes and seeing the soft light.

  4. I enjoyed this lovely post so much, the excerpts in particular. They reflect a completely different way of life to my own where we're currently taking strain in a heatwave where even a light sheet on the bed at night is too much to bear and only the cold setting on the shower will do. The electricity and mould problems do however resonate.

  5. We've just had a gentleman come and put a vent in our roof for the new bathroom fan (v. powerful and quiet) installed to help with our black mould problem.
    Tea, baths, soft pillows - a very dignified way to live in my book.