September is an interesting month. Everything speeds up again after the summer lull and once more, life takes on form and structure. I was reminded that it is again time to read Rosamunde Pilcher’s “September”, a delightful book set in the lochs and hills of Scotland.
I had picked up a book about Rosamunde’s life (if I may be so bold as to call her Rosamunde, she is something akin to royalty in my heart) in a thrift store and I sat down to read it this afternoon. In it, she speaks about the different places she has lived and what they meant to her. I was struck once more by her vivid use of written imagery to paint a wonderful picture of peace and harmony.
Taken from “The World of Rosamunde Pilcher”, edited by Siv Bublitz (page 14), she describes a property they were considering buying in Sutherland (spoiler alert: which they did decide to purchase).
“Shallow stairs, carved pine banisters, pale green carpet, pale walls, lots of white paint, everything clean and new and scrubbed and shining. On the first floor, curved archways led to rooms on the left and the right, and there was sunlight everywhere, flooding in through long sash windows. The sitting room had beautiful mouldings around the ceiling, and the bay window looked straight out, across the street to the Cathedral.”
Just a reminder that the 29th Pittenweem Arts Festival is on August 6th to 14th. With nine days of over 100 individual visual artists and hosting between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors, Pittenweem is a picturesque fishing village in the East Neuk of Fife.
What began as a photographic exhibition to raise money for lifeboats 29 years ago has continued onto today with the arts festival providing some unusual spots for artists such as sheds, garages, gardens and cottages.
I realized as I was reading about this that I did post a blog about this back in May so it must have caught my eye even then. I could be wrong but it somehow puts me in mind of Rosamunde Pilcher’s books set in Cornwall with the winding streets down to the ocean and people painting in their back sheds.
If you are interested in volunteering, I did see a posting on the volunteer website asking for greeters, ticket collectors, moving equipment and generally being helpful, giving directions, etc.
I have been somewhat remiss in replying to a wonderful privilege awarded to me by my new blogger friend Christine from Writing from Scotland. She has graciously nominated my blog for a Stylish Blogger Award.
In order to pass this lovely thought on, the rules are that I need to tell you 7 things about myself and then I will also nominate some of my favorite blogs for the award (I have heard 7, I have heard 5 … I am going to go with 7, as that is what Christine did). So, that means if I nominate your blog, if you like, you can the same and so on and so on. (I apologize if I am over-doing the explaining here; I just had a little trouble getting my head around it at first, so the instructions are for those of you who are like me 🙂 ).
1. i love anything citrusy .. in color or smell.
2. some of my favorite authors are John Grisham, Ian Rankin, Maeve Binchey and Rosamunde Pilcher.
3. one of my best memories of being in Scotland was going to Pitlochry Theatre with my friends to watch Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Shell Seekers”.
4. i am not too fond of hot weather. don’t mind some sun but don’t like extreme heat and i LOVE the wind.
5. i am very fond of the ocean. i also enjoy being on a ferry and living on an island.
6. a couple of things i think i would enjoy if i actually did them are gardening and artwork. getting started is the hardest part.
7. i like pottery.
Now, this is a little tricky and i need to put a disclaimer that i think all my friends who write blogs are great but i can only pick 7. so here goes, my nominations for the Stylish Blogger Award are ~
1. Pebble Heart ~ a stay-at-home mum who makes the most amazing crafts.
I don’t mean to be rushing things a little but the weather today reminded me of how much I love the autumn, especially those last few days of August and the month of September. It puts me in mind of returning to school as a girl and feeling the crispness of September in the air.
I was reminded of one of my favorite books by Rosamunde Pilcher, aptly named “September” and I have unearthed it out of my bookshelf, in order to share a paragraph or two with you.
“Born and bred in Scotland, she experienced each year this lifting of the spirits as August slipped away, off the calendar, and one could stop pretending that it was summer. … too frequently the months of June, July, and August were nothing but a long and soggy endurance test of frustration and disappointment…. The first snap of frost was actually welcome, and she was able to put away her cotton skirts and shirts with some satisfaction and revert once more to friendly old tweeds and Shetland pullovers. …. Those first light frosts cleared the air, so that the colors of the countryside took on a stronger and richer hue. The deep blue of the skies was reflected in loch and river, and with the harvest safely in, the fields stood golden with stubble. Harebells grew in wayside ditches, and the scented heather, coming into full bloom, stained the hills with purple.” (September paperback, pages 192-3).
I know some people get sad to see the leaves falling off the trees and to have summer ending but I love the vitality of September. For me, it’s as if the sleepiness of summer has lifted and the world comes alive again.
I’d definitely recommend Rosamunde Pilcher’s book. It’s a beautifully written book, full of homecomings and heartbreaks, friendships and forgiveness.
I want to share with you one of my most favorite authors. Rosamunde Pilcher has become a dear friend to me, although i do not know her personally. I have picked up her books, of which i keep a row on my bookshelf, at various times during my life … her books are so full of stories about people and their lives, their loves and their families.
Most of her stories describe long country walks, comforting foods and the pleasures of domesticity. A Pilcher novel, a reviewer once wrote, is “like a big mug of cocoa in front of a blazing fire on a winter night.” In some ways, she reminds me of my childhood author of choice, Enid Blyton. Through those books, the world seemed interesting yet orderly and purposeful. In the same way, Ms. Pilcher’s books also make me feel comforted and somehow understood. She has a lovely way of writing so that you feel like other people really do experience and feel the same things as you do.
A brief biography is:
Rosamunde Pilcher, nee Scott, was born in Lelant, Cornwall, on 22 September 1924.
She was educated at St. Clare’s Polwithen (in Penzance, Cornwall) and Howell’s School Llandaff (in Cardiff, South Wales), then at Miss Kerr-Sanders’ Secretarial College.
She did military service with the Women’s Royal Naval Service 1943-46, and married Graham Hope Pilcher in 1946. They have two daughters and two sons.
“I don’t ever write about a place or a person or an experience that I don’t know a lot about.” Cornwall, where she was born, and Scotland, where she has lived for many years (in Invergowrie, Dundee), therefore figure largely in Pilcher’s work.
I enjoy all her books and have bought them over time. They’re the kind of books i guard jealously and need to know where they are at all times. A couple of favorites are “September” and “Winter Solstice”.
A cast of memorable characters from Europe and America converges on the Scottish town of Strathcroy– for a birthday celebration–where intertwining tales of romance, excess, and heartbreak unfold.
A moving tale of loss follows the lives of five people, buffeted by life’s difficulties, who come together on a rundown estate house in Northern Scotland during a revelatory Winter Solstice.
Another great story was the Shell Seekers, which has become quite popular.
A story set in London and Cornwall between World War II and the present, it tells of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heart-break that have held them together for three generations–a story of life, hope, children and death.
I was privileged to see a performance of this play at the Pitlochry Theatre and rumor had it that Rosamunde Pilcher herself was there, although i regret to say that i didn’t see her.