Here, at long last, are the answers to the five questions Susie asked me. These were great questions, Susie, and some really took some thought. Just the kind of questions I like best! 🙂
1. What is your favorite room in your house and why.
At one time I would have said the kitchen, for all of the obvious reasons. But, since the onset of the CFS, my favourite room is definitely my/our bedroom. Not so much in the early days of the illness as it felt rather like a prison. But now it’s very much my quiet retreat. I’ve always needed some quiet time to myself, even in childhood, but that need has increased greatly since the onset of CFS. It doesn’t take much to send me into sensory overload now, and said overload is more exhausting than physical exertion. The family understand, so there’s no resentment when I retreat upstairs for an hour or two behind a closed door.
2. Describe a trip you would take if cost or time limitations were no object.
As I’ve mentioned in other memes over the years, I’d take myself off across the Atlantic for an extended tour of Ireland and the UK. And I do mean an extended tour! Part of the time would be spent tracing ancestral roots, and visiting some lovely friends I‘ve come to know through pen palling and my blog. But mostly I’d just roam around, visiting historic sites, places of literary interest, and so on. Properly visit, that is, as in taking the time to soak up the atmosphere and feel the “vibes“, rather than just doing a zoom through/past, like one does on organized tours. I’d also want to just mingle with the locals in each place, and get a feel for their day to day life. Preferably I’d make the trip with my nearest and dearest, but I’m not sure that their fascination for such things would last as long as mine! Which wouldn‘t be a huge problem, of course, as I could just leave Richard in East Anglia with his family and friends, and Stephanie has a friend or two over there with whom she would happily hang out for an extended time.
3. Tell us: What is your very favorite money saving tip ?
Hmm, let’s see. Being a farm girl, and the eldest in a large family, I’ve never been one for extravagance, really. Nor am I into accumulating “stuff”, so I tend to just buy what I need, when I absolutely need it. With the exception of books and stationery items, of course. But we’re all entitled to our small addictions. 🙂 But to answer the question, I suppose that my main money saving tip is something that just comes naturally to me, given my background. Most of the stuff that we ate was home grown, and pretty much everything that hit the table was made from scratch, rather than coming out of a can or box. So, if gardening is your thing at all, grow your own produce and learn how to preserve/freeze it. Sure, it’s work at the time, but it saves a lot of money over the course of the year, and the product is so much better than what comes from the supermarket. For instance, Richard is a marmalade addict, and goes through it like mad. Think of the price of one small jar of good quality marmalade from the supermarket. Now think about the cost of four oranges, two lemons, and a small bag of sugar. Divide that by 20 and that’s how much it costs me to make each jar of my marmalade from scratch. Big difference. The time investment is a couple of hours, tops, including washing up after the event. The same principle applies to cooking food from scratch, rather than opening cans and boxes. It’s so much cheaper to make it yourself, and the end result is real food, not something laced with chemicals. It often takes no more time to whip up something from scratch, than it does to prepare something that comes in a box. Just think about Kraft Dinner or Hamburger Helper, as examples. Also, cook in quantity when you have time, freeze the extra, and then you have something quick and easy to pull out on super-busy days.
Oh, and use a clothes line, rather than the dryer during the warm months. 🙂
4. In your opinion, what is the greatest invention in the last fifty years?
A toughie here, as I’m a Luddite by nature, severely technologically challenged, and quite happy to remain so. I put this one to the family and of course daughter’s first response was computers. To which I can agree, with certain conditions attached. I’m not sure that everything about our computer-driven society is great, but the computer age has certainly made for huge advancements in medical technology, which is a very good thing. My other thought is about all of the medications that have been invented/refined over the past fifty years. Once a nurse, always a nurse, you know. 🙂
5. You have found yourself transformed into your favorite historical character. Describe a typical day in your life!
Okay, this question is the hardest of the lot, and I’ve given it much thought since getting the list of questions. The problem with it is that I’m such a history fanatic that it’s pretty much impossible to choose one favourite historical character. My interest in history extends to all of human history, so that’s a whole lot of time from which to pull one single character!
But, since I have to choose just one for this exercise, I think I’ll go with Eleanor of Aquitaine. And not just because of her name. 🙂 I’ve been ploughing through a series of thick, rich in accurate historic detail, medieval novels over the past couple of years, and she (or her “ghost”) figured prominently in all of them. Historians have given her somewhat mixed reviews, but I like her. She was born in a time when her great beauty, marriage to two kings, and being mother to two more, were her greatest claims to fame. But she was so much more than that. She was a force to be reckoned with, in her own right, at a time when women, even Queens, were expected to be subservient, compliant, “ornaments“. You go girl! 🙂 She’d have probably terrified me if I had known her at the time, or even now, but I really admire gutsy, nonconformist people.
So, a typical day for Eleanor … hmm. I’m not sure that “typical” applied to any of her days, but let’s give it a shot. She was ruler of Aquitaine, Gascony and Poitou in her own right, but sometimes served as Regent of England, while her husband, Henry II, was off doing battle against somebody or other in France. So, let’s put her/me in England, with her/my children, doing the Regent bit.
After being awakened by one of my ladies, and doing all of the assisted morning preparations that Queens do, I’d pop into the nursery to greet the children. The future King John, the youngest, would be off brooding in the corner by himself, as was his usual habit. The future King Richard, and his other brothers would be squabbling in another corner, as was their habit. The young princesses would be doing whatever was their habit in another corner of the room. I would greet the girls, separate the squabbling boys, and lavish extra attention on Richard, my favourite. John might get a perfunctory glance, as he’s my least favourite. I just don’t understand that boy, and never have. Then, the mother thing done, I sail out of the room for a quick visit to the palace chapel, then on to a reception room to deal with whatever disgruntled Dukes, Earls, or Ambassadors are awaiting my royal attention. A stroll about the gardens late morning is my usual habit, eith
er alone, with my ladies, or perhaps with one of my friends, invited to stay at court to help pass the time until Henry’s return. And to fill me in on all of the juicy gossip, since my last sojourn in England, of course. Then it’s off to the dining hall to partake of the midday meal. Eel stew and other delicacies, perhaps, served on trenchers of stale bread.. Trenchers merely serve as plates, of course, but the soggy, used ones, are tossed outside the palace gates, and eagerly pounced on by the waiting hungry poor.
The afternoon might be spent on more official duties, checking on the preparations for that evening’s banquet, spending a bit of time with the children, more visiting with a friend, or perhaps a visit to a nearby abbey to do one‘s duties for the less fortunate in the kingdom. Perhaps a messenger will arrive with a letter from Henry, which is always a bright spot in my day. Despite my independent spirit, I am deeply in love with my husband, and find the long separations very difficult. At least at this point in my marriage.
Then it’s back to the palace to prepare for the evening’s banquet. There are generally some high ranking visitors to entertain, so the meal is a lavish affair, followed by entertainment and dancing. I slip away briefly to say goodnight to the children, then return to the banquet hall to oversee the rest of the evening’s activities. And to partake in them, of course. I am definitely not a wallflower! I have always been a faithful wife to Henry, but my beauty and feminine wiles can be put to good use politically, you know. Of course the high-ranking church officials are throwing me looks of disapproval from their chosen spots around the room, particularly the peculiarly newly pious Thomas Becket, but I don’t care. Let them glare all they like, particularly Becket. The more I can make him bristle, the better. The festivities will go on until the wee hours, but I have my limits with such things. So, eventually I make my exit, in a Queenly manner, stopping off at the chapel to pray for my husband‘s safe return home. I might not care for some of the men in high positions in the church, and tend to flout tradition in most ways, but I am a devout Christian nonetheless. Then it’s off to bed, assisted in my night time ablutions by one or more of my ladies, of course.
Now it’s your turn, dear reader. If you’d like to be asked five random questions, just say so in the comments and I’ll see what I can come up with for you!