Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Anatomy of a mood

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I woke up in an absolutely filthy temper. My sleeping patterns are a little out of whack, and I have not been getting my strict eight hours, and so I wake with a sensation of having a large, heavy plate pressed down on my head. I always feel a failure if I do not rise in gaiety and delight to greet the new day. (There are days when I actually wake up singing.) I like to think I am good in the mornings. So the excess grumpiness is compounded by a dark feeling of inadequacy.

I think I may have been watching too many political programmes. I was so overjoyed when the summer recess was over that I plunged into an orgy of MSNBC and BBC. I got Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and Andrew Neil. I had Newsnight a go-go. Paxo was paxo-ing about like the magnificent silver beast that he is. What could possibly go wrong? I was in geek heaven. The trouble is, we are in one of the most fractious and uncertain political seasons I can remember. No one can agree on anything. The idea of people joining hands across the aisle in the national interest is a hollow joke. The Keynsians are yelling at the austerity hawks. The trades unions are threatening winters of discontent. In America, there is a bizarre new strain of Islam panic, led by the entirely inexplicable Newt Gingrich. People always say that he is the great intellectual of the right, but I have only ever heard him say really quite astonishingly stupid things.

No wonder I felt grumpy.

I contemplated going back to bed and letting everyone go hang. But I have guests for dinner, and so errands had to be run. The village always cheers me up. The lovely thing about living in a small community is that shopping does not mean trailing about a soulless hypermarket, baffled by twenty-seven different kinds of breakfast cereal. It means chat and jokes and running into people. I was buying Vignotte when I bumped into someone I know in life who actually reads this blog. 'Oh, I love it,' she said. No grumpiness for her; she was a walking ray of sunshine. 'I am telling everyone to read it.' It is very hard to go on with a mood when showered with compliments.

I bought cheese and three different kinds of biscuits and new potatoes and parsley in pots and lamb and mackerel and baby carrots and a delightful dry fino in case anyone should want an aperitif. I am a great fan of dry sherry, even thought it seems so old-fashioned now. I came back and made an Irish stew and a smoked mackerel paté. The house is tidy and the table is laid. The sun even came out. I thought: I really can't be grumpy when there is all this.

There are busy bees on the violas:


And gentle sunlight on the rosemary:


And roses blooming just as if it were still high summer:


And elegant ladyships lounging about on the lawn:


And the bluest of blue flowers:


And my little salix getting all autumnal:


And, I suspect, there is honey still for tea.


  1. "People always say that he [Newt Gingrich] is the great intellectual of the right, but I have only ever heard him say really quite astonishingly stupid things."

    The two parts of that sentence are not mutually exclusive.

    This is not to say that there have not been genuinely thoughtful conservatives in the United States, but over the past two decades those who haven't died or become increasingly senile (George Will, anyone?) have gradually been shouted into oblivion.

  2. people always cheer me up too as long as they are not work colleagues or old grumps. i wish i was coming round for dinner, sounds delicious!!

  3. I feel exactly the same way about my sleep.... sometimes if I sleep badly and I have a good book to read I retreat to the spare room and relish the time.....other times I too just feel grumpy.

    Great photos.

  4. It's lovely when a remark cheers you up like that.

    You are very passionate about politics and have so much more understanding and intellectual argument with it than I could, so I respect you for that. I think world issues can bog one down sometimes. I love to watch an escapist movie but saying that I always enjoy Question Time.

    Dinner sounds delicious. I love mackerel, great brain food. I'm also partial to a dry sherry. It should be brought back as an aperitif. Have a fabulous evening xx


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