Sunday, 29 December 2013

To Resolve or Not To Resolve - What Is Your Resolution?

Well, I have to say that I enjoyed enormously the recent BBC three part series 'Death Comes to Pemberley.' Despite TV doing what they usually do with adaptations of novels, which is to leave things out and add things in and move plot details around in a sometimes brain spinning order, it was a thoroughly enjoyable Regency romp and has re-fired my enthusiasm for all things Jane Austen. 

I often think that Regency England must have been a jolly civilised time in which to live - providing you were nicely middle to upper class of course, and not a pauper or a strident feminist. And if, like me, you are a fan of proper manners and afternoon tea, and frocks which are prettily simple in design and made from delightful stuff like 'sprigged muslin', and trotting along in horse drawn carriages and taking a promenade or two in the Assembly Rooms, then what more could a refined lady require from an historical era? To be honest, if all I was required to do every day was to read and sew and approve the menus for the week, and organise a few flowers I'd be quite happy. I try to do these things in the 21st century, too, but am often encumbered by other requirements like having to earn money to pay bills, arguing with cold-call irritants on the telephone machine and feeling I have to shout for equality in all things lest I let the girls' side down. 

Anyway, I have spent a very pleasant hour or so today absorbing a bit of Regency reading and looking at websites like the Jane Austen Society and sighing over the loveliness of the fashions of the day, and how smart the gentlemen looked. And I think that I might do a mini-research project in order to broaden my Regency knowledge as part of the 'Learn Something New' urge that occurs every now and then and especially around this time of year because it is nearly The New Year and Time For Resolutions.

Do you do Resolutions for the New Year? And, more importantly I suppose, do you stick with them? And if you, like me, are gearing up to plan-making for the New Year (because I can't help it - I love plan making because being a control freak is part of my nature and I rather like me) then how do you go about choosing what to focus upon?

There's the usual boring ones - giving up smoking/drinking/sugar/nail biting etc - and there's the associated health ones which involve dashing to the local gym and signing away a goodly proportion of cash each month for the privilege of running nowhere fast whilst inhaling sweat-stained air conditioning and 'feeling the burn'. Bleuch!! (And when gym people say 'burn' they really mean 'pain' and I am a firm believer in pain being Nature's way of telling you to stop doing something dangerous, and I refer you back to my previous post and the grabbing of the red hot serving plate - now that really was feeling the burn. And pain. So I listened to my body and dropped the plate. Y'see??')

And there are ones to do with learning something new - playing the piano/ trumpet/ euphonium - or how to knit/sew/macramé a frog - or p'raps getting to grips with a new language or sport, or developing better habits, like walking instead of driving and managing your finances more efficiently by not spending the electricity bill money on having a tattoo done. 

Some people decide on something to do with philanthropy or charity, like being nicer/kinder/more patient towards family/ strangers/ abandoned goats. Or fundraising for a good cause by being sponsored to do something like trek across a very dangerous mountain range/ make cake/ sell cake/ eat cake. Or do volunteer work like using one's car as a free taxi service, or proving nutritious meals, or taking in laundry - oh no, hang on, I've been doing that pretty much all my adult life. Might be time to ease back on that one!

Then there are very specific resolutions. Andy, for example, announced this morning that 2014 is to be the year when he 'perfects the bagel.' He started this morning, to give himself a bench mark, and produced  10 very nice bagels. Well, I thought they were anyway.

But then Andy is turning into a baking perfectionist, and thus he embarks on his Bagel Journey and I shall be with him every bite of the way. (And yes, I know there are only 8 bagels in the photo, but he ate one and I ate one and very nice it was, too.)

And me? Well, I am, as I say, still in the planning process and enjoying it enormously because a) I have a lovely new notebook to use specifically for the process of planning (and I do love a new notebook!) and b) I have several ideas rolling around in the old Malarkey brain and some of them are quite thrilling! Also, planning means I get to sit next the wood burner and drink tea and eat the remnants of the fruit cake I made just for me because I am the only person chez nous who likes fruit cake. 

But top of the list so far is definitely 'Regency England - Become An Officianado Of'. 

(P.S When I say 'thrilling' I don't mean things like learning to paraglide, wrestle, tame lions or white water raft. My idea of 'thrilling' is far more genteel than that. Just thought I would make that clear. So you didn't get too excited.)


Countryside Tales said...

Now I agree with you wholeheartedly on the delights of Regency England dresses and have long yearned for one of those gorgeously simple creations that have two pieces of lacy/ musliny type material round the neck and across the shoulders/ chest area, thus rendering the bosom modestly covered.

We do lists of what we'd like to have achieved for the forthcoming year, and then have a laugh looking back at them the following crimble time.

And you can tell Andy from me those Bagels looked yum! x

Denise said...

The bagels are yum! The texture and chewiness is just right but he is fretting about the visual aesthetics.

I think I might write a resolution letter for 2014, pop it in a sealed envelope and then re-read on New Year's Eve 2015! Xx

Olly said...

No resolutions chez Olly, but I like the idea of a planning notebook.

Denise said...

You are clearly a Very Sensible Person, Olly. I just LOVE a new notebook. Put me in a branch of Paperchase and I just don't know where to start! Happy New Year, Astral Twin!!

rusty duck said...

I shall go through the usual pointless exercise but I don't think I've ever managed to keep to a resolution yet. Perhaps the trick is to have at least one that you actually enjoy? Andy has the right idea.

Denise said...

The only resolution I have ever kept was giving up watching 'Eastenders.' Haven't seen an episode for 4 years now!

Lou Mary said...

I love planning too! I love making lists of things to do each day and ticking them off - so maybe I'll make a list of things I would like to accomplish each month. Wow - that is a bit sad. Maybe I'll just stick with stop biting my nails (awful habit of mine), re-learn the piano, carry on volunteer work and also to keep in touch with my friends more!

Andy's bagels look yum - no perfecting required surely!

Good luck with your resolutions and I hope 2014 is a really happy and healthy year for you :)

Denise said...

I am glad I am not the only one who likes a list, Lou Mary! And I confess to being a nail biter, too...ah well...

Wishing you all the best for 2014 - keep taking those beautiful photos and showing our county to its best advantage. X