You just can't underestimate the comfort and poetry of ordinary things. There is so much to be said for them, so much in their favour. I've always know that I'd take ordinary over extraordinary any day, ever since I realised that extraordinary isn't always a good thing (and partly because I find it impossible to use the word 'extraordinary' when it is so overused to describe something which isn't really that out of the ordinary),
But while I love ordinary things, I find that by taking time to notice and enjoy them, it's possible to raise them into something special. I may not have written much here recently about the things I included in The Gentle Art of Domesticity, but they still form the backbone of daily life: colour, pattern, texture, baking, making, growing, sharing.
I still get excited when I see the roses are out and smelling sweet (each one is slightly different), when the love-in-a-mist and poppies and marigolds self-seed and turn up in the most unexpected places, when the peonies we planted a couple of years ago flower properly for the first time and I find myself already looking forward to seeing them again next year as part of the annual cycle of ordinary things.
I still grow basil on the windowsill of my study and marvel at the first tiny leaves and the way my strategy of totally overcrowding the seedlings always works, despite the fact that it goes against all sowing practice.
I still use the same recipes to make favourite cakes (this is the easy lemon cake in the Gentle Art of Domesticity) because most of the time you can't beat knowing that a cake will turn out fine and will taste exactly as you want it to, and because I'm really not convinced by the latest fashion for good-for-you/anti-guilt cakes which feature strange flours and a touch of hair-shirt and penance.
I am still cutting up fabric and putting it back together (as I described the art of quiltmaking in my book). This top includes fabrics I bought a long time ago which have been waiting to go into a hot pink and lime green quilt; this really is a case of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose because it's one of the combinations I've loved since I was very little and buying felt squares on Stockport Market.
And reading, always reading, because some things simply cannot, do not change. Novels, memoirs, biography, autobiography, guides, architecture, cookery, Persephone and lots of stained glass. (One small change, though; I've quite surprised myself by being so modern, so contemporary in my recent choices.)
And we still have Tom, Alice and Phoebe, except they just don't live here much - if at all, in the case of Tom and Alice who are happily established in their own, independent lives. This is the biggest change, the hardest, yet while I know it is huge and difficult, it is something that doesn't change over the generations. 'Twas ever thus: they grow up, they move on, you apparently stay the same. Plus ça change. All the more reason to appreciate the poetry and comforts of ordinary things.