Sometimes I think I must've spent nearly a quarter of my life with my nose in a book!
But rather than lose a quarter of my life, this means I've lived much more than just my life..... I've lived other people's lives as well.
I've experienced their emotions, I've travelled far and wide, and I've done things I'd never do in real life!
But best of all, I've seen a glimpse inside homes of all sizes.
Homes of all shapes.
Homes of all sorts.
I've been inside a hobbit hole. I've lived at the top of a beautiful forest amongst the trees. I've wandered through manor houses with mysterious corners, roaring fires, rooms full of books, and comfy armchairs.
I've stayed in old churches, castles, ranches, cottages, penthouse suites, cabins in the snow, tropical paradises, and more.
I really do think the beautifully written words of so many wonderful authors across the years have influenced and moulded the way I think about the word 'home', and what it means to me. In my mind I can visit my favourite storybook homes whenever I like, and the feelings they create are as real and tangible as I imagine they would be were I to really set foot in them.
I can only hope the atmosphere I bring to homes in this real world, is half that of the descriptions I'll forever pay homage to in books.
So, as I've felt so at home in so many of these atmospheric abodes over the years, I thought I'd take the time to share some of them on an occasional basis!
Every now and then I'll post a short (or long!) 'description of home' from one of the books I love. If I can find a picture to go with it I'll post that too, but the words alone will paint a picture worth imagining, at least they do for me! :)
The following extract is from The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, first published in 1946 by the University of London Press Ltd. This was one of my favourite books as a young girl..... magical, whimsical, mysterious, and joyous!
'The turret stairs ended at a door so small that a large grown-up could not possibly have gone through it. But for a slim girl of thirteen it was exactly right. Maria stopped and gazed at it with a beating heart, for though this little, narrow, low door was obviously hundreds of years old, yet she felt as though it had been made especially for her. For if she had been able to choose her own door, this was the door she would have chosen. It was more like a front door than a bedroom door, like the door of her very own house. It was of silvery grey oak studded with silver nails, and it had a knocker made of the smallest, daintiest horseshoe Maria had ever seen, polished so brightly it shone like silver. ...The door was opened by a silver latch that clicked in a friendly sort of way when Maria lifted it, as though it was welcoming her.
She went in, latched the door behind her, put her candle carefully down on the floor, leaned back against the door and gazed and gazed, with her lips parted and her usually pale face glowing like a pink rose, and her eyes like stars.
No pen could possibly do justice to the exquisite charm and beauty of Maria's room. It was at the top of the tower, and the tower was a round one, so Maria's room was circular, neither too large or too small, just the right size for a girl of thirteen. It had three windows, two narrow lancet windows and one large one with a window-seat in the thickness of the wall. The curtains had not been drawn across the windows, and through them she could see the stars. In each of the windows stood beautiful silver branched candlesticks with three lighted candles burning in each of them.
It was the light from one of these, Maria realised, that she had seen from outside shining through the branches of the cedar tree. The walls had not been panelled with wood, as in Miss Heliotrope's room, but the silver grey stone was so lovely Maria was glad. The ceiling was vaulted, and delicate ribbings of stone curved over Maria's head like the branches of a tree, meeting at the highest point of the ceiling in a carved representation of a sickle moon surrounded by stars.
There was no carpet upon the silvery oak floor, but a little white sheepskin lay beside the bed, so that Maria's bare toes should meet something warm and soft when they went floorwards of a morning. The bed was a little four poster, hung with pale blue silk curtains embroidered with silver stars, of the same material as the window curtains, and spread with a patchwork quilt made of exquisite squares of velvet and silk of all colours of the rainbow, gay and lovely.
There was very little furniture in the room, just of couple of silvery oak chests for Maria's clothes, a small round mirror hung upon the wall above one of them, and a stool with a silver ewer and basin on it. But Maria felt she wanted no more than this. Heavy furniture such as Miss Heliotrope had, would have ruined this exquisite little room. Nor did she mind that the fireplace was the tiniest she had ever seen, deeply recessed in the wall. It was big enough for the fire of pine-cones and apple wood that burned in it, filling the room with fragrance.
But when Maria started to explore her room she found that it was not without luxuries. Over the fireplace was a shelf, and on it stood a blue wooden box filled with dainty biscuits with sugar flowers on them, in case she should feel hungry between meals. And beside the fireplace stood a big basket filled with more logs and pine-cones... enough to keep her fire burning all through the night.
It was all perfect. It was the room Maria would have designed for herself if she had had the knowledge and skill.'
Apparently they've recently made a movie adapted from the book that doesn't do this lovely story justice.
My yellowed, dog-eared, old copy still sits proudly on my bookshelf..... it'll do me fine. :)
Here's another post featuring maps from some of my most adored books...